In 1989 I founded Stormlight Publishing as my publishing imprint. Its purpose to produce high-quality West Australian landscape images for publication and promotion.
After more than a quarter of a century of publishing, I have returned to my first passion for film-based black and white landscape photography and hand made darkroom prints.
My aim is to provide a collection of unique, handcrafted, silver gelatin prints of our landscape, and be a resource for print collectors, printmakers, and photographers.
There is something remarkably powerful in an image created by light falling on an object before a lens and captured on film. It’s a light-sensitive photo-chemical process resulting in an image that is both physical, and viewable to the naked eye. There’s an element of inseparable truth, intrinsic to the photographic medium. A point fixed in time, a split-second of reality.
So, here’s the nub between film-based photography and digital photography. It is this very fascination with the truth that the digital photography medium cannot hold. Digital photography is not a physical, image forming photo-chemical process. Neither does it require light falling on an object before a lens. Digital photography is really computer imaging, containing no single fixed point. There is no inherent truth or reality frozen in a split-second. Digital photography is perpetually fluid and therefore has more in common with painting and drawing than film-based photography.
My early days were spent borrowing one of the 35mm SLR cameras from my high school’s Media Department over the weekend. When possible I would spend lunchtimes in the school’s darkroom trying to make small prints. I would return home with a lunchbox of small wet prints, unwashed, clumped together, and smelling of fixer. Basically a printing disaster, but never-the-less, informative.
Later, while at high school, I worked weekends in a darkroom of a Fremantle photography studio, proofing their colour wedding and portrait photos. Fortunately, they gave me the use of their studio equipment for my own projects on weekends and nights. With self-directed assignments, I experimented with portrait, ballet, and folio photography, having some recognition when Dolly Magazine published one of my images. But it was my interest in landscapes and the publication of landscape photography that really drew my attention.
My first paycheck for published images was back in 1984, for an article in The Australian Women’s Weekly. This was another self-directed assignment photographing caves of the Margaret River region. Then followed landscape photographs published in other magazines.
In 1989 I commenced photographing, publishing, and distributing what would become a series of highly successful postcards dedicated to the unique landscape of Western Australia’s national parks.
The postcard series grew to include the Leeuwin Naturaliste Series, the Southern Forests Series, the South Coast Series, and the Stirling – Porongurup Range Series.
Stormlight Publishing also published and distributed greeting cards, gift cards, posters, calendars and books.
Its publications received both State and National Print Awards for excellence in print. Stormlight Publishing has also received international recognition. It was the Australian finalist for two categories in the Paris Gourmand Awards, for Pemberton Wine Region Western Australia.