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I was born in 1926 in Latvia and settled to live in UK in 1947. After studying the flute at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London I worked as a freelance musician embracing chamber music, solo work and teaching until retirement in 1987.
My serious interest in photography began in the 1970s. Skills were acquired attending college courses and joining several photographic clubs. In 1984 I became a member of The Royal Photographic Society and was awarded Associateship and Fellowship distinctions in 1987 and 1997. On both occasions panels of bromoils were submitted with 12 and 20 prints respectively.
From the day of seeing a bromoil image for the first time, I became fascinated by this early photographic printing process and since have channeled all my energies towards exploring the potentials of this unique medium.
In 1985 I joined the Bromoil Circle of Great Britain, a society established in 1931. Under the guidance of the late Gilbert R. Hooper FRPS, one of the foremost exponents in GB, I persevered to improve and perfect my technical control of the process. As a member of the Circle, being surrounded by practitioners steeped in the old traditions regarding a subject's suitability for the process, considerably influenced my own choice. However, right from the start I was determined to avoid, at all costs, elements of sentimentality in my images.
Little by little I became convinced there was no reason why an old historic photographic printing process should be under any restrictions as to the choice of subject matter. So, out went the pretty cottages and landscapes with beautiful sheppardesses and grazing sheep.
Here in England amongst the post WW ll bromoilists very little work was produced using coloured inks. Starting to apply them in my own work opened up new horizons. In search of expanding the variety of subjects greater use of abstracts and abstractions started to feature in my output of images.
Like many other bromoilists I consider the Bromoil Transfer print as the ultimate goal in ones pursuits. In them every trace of the use of photographic materials has been eliminated. The transfer has become a print in its truest sense, thus increasing its link and relationship with the Art world.
© Maija McDougal (August 2006) - Used with permission