MY DEAR WATSON
I have always preferred to work in monochrome; it’s reductive and interpretive. With good printers that can achieve a wide and true breadth in the tonal range, the results in a portrait can be very powerful. Of course, some pictures can work better in colour, especially if the colour of the subject is what defines it, whether it be the orange in an orangutang or the red in a corvette.
But with this lowland gorilla there is no debate; it must be a black and white portrait. I find the best results are when the lighting is soft and even, like on this cloudy morning. To see this image large is most affirming.
As a proud Scot, I am honoured to be represented in the same stable as two of my peers from my homeland - Harry Benson and Albert Watson. They are paragons in their field and have consistently preferred to work in monochrome. I am proud to call Harry a dear friend.
Albert Watson has always refused to be categorised and his subject matter has rich diversity. The one constant has been the artistic beauty of his black and white prints and I remember being transfixed by his work with a young Kate Moss in Marrakesh. The shot of her arched back is a masterpiece.
Photographing this gorilla is a world removed from working with Kate, but Albert was in my mind we printed this. I am in awe of my printer - a portrait like this is the result of true collaboration.