I got interested in photography (hooked may be more accurate) as a graduate student, notwithstanding my plans to focus on getting that PhD first. As is so often the case, something as small as getting permission to try and shoot a couple of artefacts, set a series of events in motion that resulted in me getting paid to shoot.
While I since left academia, I did return to the alma mater as a visiting professor in 2014 and 2018/2019, and teach whenever the opportunity arises. While archaeology is never far away when I shoot artefacts, I since broadened my horizon by incorporating architecture and landscape, and by trying my hand at event and concert photography.
I'm also a sucker for the technical side of both the gear and the process. I keep telling myself it's an essential part of my pursuit of maximum image quality, but admittedly, it's at least equally likely that I'm simply a slave to that same drive that once led me down the path of science: I want to know, and to get an understanding of reality.
That fascination with reality runs deep enough to guide the way I shoot and post-process: the visual esthetic I'm drawn to, that I identify with on a basic level, is one of natural, simple (to the point of abstraction) and true representation of a scene - with the possible exception of some of the low key images I like to produce, and, obviously, the black and white.
My preference for shooting on instinct, capturing what grabs my attention in some way, does not contradict that, quite the contrary: it adds a measure of subjectivity that I believe enhances the imaged reality, rather than being detrimental to it. Without 'feel', an image is merely 'see', a two-dimensional projection of what was in front of the camera during exposure. Without that subjectivity, the viewer remains detached, and unable/unwanting to complete the illusion of reality.
Photography should therefore not merely aim for the eyes - it should reach out to the mind and to the heart, and nudge them in the gentlest of ways.