I rarely use direct photographic references in my work. While I will often look at various kinds of reference material before working on a piece, in general I won’t refer directly to this material when actively engaged in the work. For example, prior to starting a piece that includes plants I may look at a book on botany but I won’t have the book or its pictures next to me when I’m working on the piece. However, when I was developing Encounters: 5 from its collage towards its finished form, I decided to include an image of the Japanese landscape in the background. It comes from a library of over twenty thousand photos I took in Japan, some specifically taken as reference material. This is the first time I can remember using a direct photo reference in my fine art—as opposed to commercial illustration, where this was a common practice of mine—but it is a technique that is likely to gradually be integrated with my practice.