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Artist Statement

"My goal is to render the everyday, the ordinary, in simple and direct compositions, an unpretentious approach to reality." I read that somewhere, not in those exact words but it applies to my approach today.

When I was in art school it seems every other class had an assignment on writing an artist statement or defining ones concept. It never occurred to me that to become a photographer I would have to write a narrative about what my photography was trying to say.

It was in Glasgow, Scotland that I shot my first roll of black and white film, a city where contrast and grain comes so naturally. The first time an image revealed itself to me in the darkroom I was intoxicated by the process and the feelings of accomplishment. As time goes by the passion for this process has become a close friend. I make images because it keeps me whole. It is a language I understand.

Currently I am using digital and film to capture the light and make my images. I may enhance color, change tone, eliminate detail, or dodge and burn as never before possible.

I am constantly searching for the perfect photograph; the light will be soft and golden with a full range of tones from purest of whites to the blackest blacks. Color may play a special role. The composition will be like a well-played symphony with every part in tune and in accord with the other.

My journey has taken me into the streets to engage with the world, involved me in the research of social issues and the pursuit of reportage. My camera is a witness to the places and people I know. Snapshots, portraits, photo-essays and images suitable for hanging, I am a

photographer.

If my photographs seem familiar, it is not an accident, there is a connection, our memories and experiences overlap. The human condition is universal, the streets and neighborhoods, our towns, we have much in common. This type of photography often ends up being good documentary photography without really trying, especially after the passage of a few years.

I am interested in community and the sense of belonging. When I was involved with the Cranhill Arts Project, which is based in Glasgow, I became aware of how the arts can be used as a platform to meet new people, form relationships and build trust. To engage in programs that brings people together to address everyday issues like housing, education, jobs, local crime and drugs on our streets.

While working with homeless programs I realized that homeless people don’t have pictures or family albums. I have seen the power of photography used to give them a possession that is theirs alone. To share the magic of the darkroom, watch a print come to life in the developer or see their image included in an exhibition. I am fortunate to be a photographer.

I have rejected the quick, sensational pulse of news pictures and the high gloss portraits of the studios on Main Street. I strive for a body of work that is honest and creative. My techniques and equipment remain simple; I use basic equipment: a camera, a couple of lenses and a tripod. My ambition is to show everyday things like we were seeing them for the first time.

If you want to ask me a question then email me Ricktardiff@roadrunner.com

Rick currently has an exhibition at the Lighthouse Arts Centre, Bucksport, Maine - running through summer 2016 - take a look.

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