My photographs illuminate an intimate experience with the subject matter, its unique properties and elements.  Each photograph I take is depicted in clear, intricate detail, with forms, lines, and patterns precisely arranged within the composition.  A consistent regard for clarity, tonal quality and the infinite nuance of detail pervades my work, this enables me freedom to achieve the images I desire.

Using a structured approach, I prefer to work in the special beauty of shaded light as I feel sunshine creates shadows, highlights, and accents on the surface that commandeer the eye.  I create photographs where the light appears invisible - so as to neutralise its role in the appearance of things; allowing the soul of a place to come forward and present itself in the photograph without directing attention through light and shadows to certain features within the scene.

It is imperative that I succeed in creating a photograph devoid of any conditions that can influence how the scene is interpreted by the viewer.  For instance, if you were to strip the scene bare of all outside condition or distraction, by circumstance or light, then only the subject matter itself can be presented for critique or acknowledgement.

The more signals and information presented in my photographs, the more scope there is for visual and emotional interaction.  With the large format process I am able to point out elements in my photographs that may have been beyond my awareness at the time that they were made.

Revering description, detail, tonality, and clarity I decided to use a cumbersome large format 8”x10” Deardorff field camera.  It is a precision instrument that is based on early nineteenth century designs.  Not considered in this day and age as a documentary photography tool, as the negative area is sixty times the size of a negative created by a regular 35mm camera.  My reasoning is that I am now capable of capturing a staggering amount of information that is not necessarily apparent to the naked eye unless isolated by this particular photographic technique.  

The large camera with its formality is a device that grants my subject matter dignity.

Leon West

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