Almost Tropical, Deal BeachAbout Flash of Darkness

As a small boy, family photos often show me with a camera, but I only took up photography as a serious pursuit in 2007 after an injury to my right arm made me doubt I would be able to play the guitar again. A Fender Stratocaster plugged into a Marshall amplifier had been my main creative outlet until that point. Happily, in time I made a full recovery, but I was hooked on photography by then.   Once I had mastered the basics I found my preference was for black and white.  My images improved though practice and as I discovered the power of specialist mono conversion, and a workflow soon became a necessary part of getting the pictures to look the way I want them to.

I favour contrast and atmospheric subjects. A friend once described my pictures as ‘apocalyptic but with a hint of redemption’. I love that description, but fear my pictures do not live up to it.  The contrast often relies on a combination of a circular polarizer on the camera, as well as a red filter in mono conversion and of course contrasting light.  There is light in the subject as well as darkness, whilst I am very interested in what lies beneath the surface of the places I visit – which can make some images somewhat gritty – unusual sources of beauty are still beauty.

My favourite light of all occurs on those rare days with dark clouds and bright sunlight, which creates incredible natural contrast.   The name of the site – Flash of Darkness came from one of my daughters when she first saw lightning.  I like it because it is contrary: we all know darkness does not flash, and it hints at drama and contrast.

I started with landscapes, particularly of the Kent coast and Deal (where I grew up) and in the beginning would go to great lengths to exclude people from the shot.  Over time, and as I have learned street photography, I now do the opposite and try to find a way to include people to strengthen the image.   I’ve always travelled a lot, professionally and personally, and my purchase of a Leica Q has really helped me to take advantage of that to become more of a travel photographer.

I am continuing to learn all the time, and I’ve been inspired by many photographers. I think the most notable, whose work has had a really big impact on me are William Klein, Fan Ho, Cindy Sherman, Brassai, Anselm Adams, Paul Strand and Trent Parke.  I don’t sell copies of my pictures, thought they are up on the walls of friends in many countries and I am happy to share them.  If you are interested in an image please send send me a DM on Twitter to @Flashof dark.

Thank you

Nigel