How did you get started in photography?
I asked for a 110 instamatic for Christmas when I was about 10. One of my first portraits was of my grandfather asleep. I guess even then my photographs erred on the kooky side. Later on I built a darkroom and became pretty obsessed by processing and printing.

Did you go to college?
I went to the Berkshire College of Art when I was seventeen. I had tried to get a job as an assistant but coming from a small town in Scotland it was impossible. Art College got me close enough to London where I felt I had to get to. Luckily there were a couple of great lecturers there, namely Geoff Weston who was able to push us visually and think outside the box. I was lucky to do my 'industrial release' as it was called then with Nick Knight and Richard Croft who were just starting out at the time. That was quite inspirational.

Did you assist?
Yes. I assisted on everything from the Habitat catalogue and editorial to big advertising productions. It was a great grounding in photography that possibly isn't there anymore. It was the mid-eighties and London was booming in music and design. I spent a lot of time working for Chalkie Davies who was a rock photographer moving into still-life photography. We worked on The Face and Arena Magazine doing still-life and rock stars. It was quite a wild time.

How did you find your first commissions?
Chalkie moved to New York and I continued working for Arena. I was also working for Blitz magazine as I knew Christophe Gowans the art director from college. I picked up work here and there, bit's for Vogue and The Sunday Times Magazine.

Why did you form Merton Gauster in the 90's?
It just made sense at the time to work with Jules Merton. Still-life photography is incredibly complex and time consuming, a dark art. The more hands on deck the better. There were a few duos at the time like Davies and Starr and the Douglas Brothers. It's quite lonely working on your own and at least if there is two of you can gang up on the art director.

Merton Gauster were known for fashion and music still-life photography. How did that come about?
We were never going to be fashion photographers but we loved the aesthetic of fashion and music imagery so it seemed obvious to mix things up and take techniques like cross-processing from fashion and apply them to still-life. We wanted to bend some rules and take still-life images that reflected the times - not the classic bottle and glass image shot on 10x8 transparency. Also with the advent of dance and electronic music there was an element of musicians wanting to be faceless so we slotted in quite well with that. The music needed to represented in an abstract way.

You're known for the Leftfield Leftism cover in that time. How did that come about?
Luck I guess. We were in the right place at the right time and there weren't many offbeat still-life photographers around in the early 90's. We had no idea the Leftfield imagery or music would become so iconic. When the album took off we were offered quite a lot of music-based work for artists such as Can, Spiritualized and Mansun. We worked with some great art directors such as Julian House at Intro.

What else did you work on at that time?
As Merton Gauster we did get sucked into advertising work, which is a double-edged sword, but it helped pay the bills. We shot the last ever Silk Cut advert for MC Saatchi and advertising campaigns for Sony and Volkswagen. We also did some work for H.R. Stern through Tomato and fashion still-life work for Gucci. Gerard Saint of Big-Active was art directing Scene Magazine and we tried to push some boundaries there.

In 2003 you took the step of leaving photography - why was that?
A few reasons really. The photography industry was changing and Merton Gauster had become bloated and we'd lost our direction. Our photography was based on in camera trickery and processing techniques. Digital didn't sit well with us at all and it felt like the advertising work was eating our souls. We left it somewhat ungraciously.

You started working again in 2011?
Yes I'd totally escaped and ran off to do other things. Really my life had nothing to do with photography anymore but I started to get drawn back in again. I started photographing my friends and not worrying about things too much. It was so nice to just shoot and not be answerable to a client. It was like being 10 again. I guess I wanted to make new mistakes.

How do you feel about the photography landscape today?
That's a tricky one. I think photography today is quite complex. Economically it's tough for everyone if you are going to make a living from it but the growth in the acceptance of photography as an art form or an everyday activity for many people is exciting. Photography can be anything you want it to be now which is beautifully liberating and confusing all at same time.

Your current work is in contrast to the work of the past - why is that?
I took 8 years off and now have a different set of parameters to work within. I've stripped everything back to the bone and inevitably been influenced by documentary and street photography.

Your work has been described as Lo-Fi - explain?
I guess that it's just my personal take on photography at the moment. I like the idea of a kind of punk rock aesthetic. Here are 3 jpegs now make a Blurb book for £20. Mainstream commercial photography looks so dated today, full of clichés and pastiche. Art photography is in the danger of becoming over intellectualized and grandiose. I think the most interesting work is going to come from the space in between - "Outsider Photography" might be a better name for it.

Why did you produce a book of Mattresses?
I live in mattress city. Really they are everywhere where I live, looking as if they have just landed from the sky. They are just telling a small story of my local urban landscape. A friend of mine described the mattresses as visual red herrings, a kind of excuse to photograph the textures of the street. I quite liked that.

Who influences your work?
Recently I've been quite influenced by artists such as David Shrigley and Jeremy Deller. I think it's because they use photography that is ideas based and not propped up with technique.

What's coming up?
I'd like to collaborate with a writer or musician on a project. I think that would be an interesting path to follow. We shall see........