The Artist

If I think back I feel I have always 'seen' images. Having the ability to capture them in the way I wish to see them has always been the challenge. I am particularly enthused by light and the sun. If I am in a room, I have a overwhelming urge to always move and place myself near or into the natural light, particularly sunlight.

During my teens when I started to photograph more seriously I was finding my way to the type of images in this book. However on this journey I did try as many photographic forms as possible, dabbling in sports, surf, landscape, music and people.

However, my focus was brought into sharp detail when, following my injury in 1982, aged 21, I was left paralysed from the shoulders down and unable to grip or pick up my camera. I decided to give up photography as just another one of those things I was going to have to accept in my new life as a quadriplegic wheelchair user. What I hadn't counted on was that I couldn't just give up what I saw that easily.

With help from a number of key people, in particular Ian Dickens, Head of PR at Olympus Cameras and photographer Keith Barnes, I was able to start taking pictures again just over a year following my injury.

It wasn't until I moved to a medium format camera and started to travel that I found my real challenge. That challenge is to photograph people in their own environment in a relaxed setting and at their ease. I am not quick, I cannot run after my subjects and I certainly can't blend into the background as Henri Cartier-Bresson mastered so skilfully. However I can present myself to my subjects who are generally as intrigued by me, as I am by them. A foreigner in a wheelchair with a camera is not something one sees everyday, if ever in many of the countries I have had the privilege to travel to.

I am inspired by the way people live and in many countries I go to, how their faces tell many stories, often of hard work and struggle to survive in a way that we, living in more privileged circumstances, often take for granted. The recent history of a place or country always fascinates me and I try to photograph people who would have lived through or even possibly will live through times of great change in their country.

The images on this site have been taken over the last 20 years, often in moments squeezed into or around my working day. Luckily for good light, one has to rise early. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I have enjoyed taking them.

David Constantine
July 2011