Life is a journey and, bearing in mind recent global events, a strange one at that. Like many of you no doubt, I feel as if I have been hidden away in some kind of bubble, protecting myself and those close to me by not really mixing or travelling in the way that we used to. This has had quite a detrimental effect on my motivation to produce any new work. My time has mostly been spent looking after my health and getting out there into nature as much as possible. The creative mind is a restless mind however, and I had an itch which needed to be scratched. I've finally embarked on a new project which has reignited my creativity and imagination.
When I began to take my passion for photography more seriously, in around 2013, my aim was always to produce a beautiful, stand alone image of the landscape. I have been very lucky to have had many opportunities to work with photographic companies and have been an ambassador for (in chronological order), Manfrotto, Phase One (Capture One), Induro tripods, Benro UK, Sigma UK, FigBags and LEE Filters. I am not bragging here, so please bear with me. How I managed to pull all that off I'm not quite sure. Those years from 2014 up until 2020 seem like a mad blur in which I was constantly on the road seeking out the next image to share on social media to keep the sponsors happy. Did that make me happy? Well, yes and no. It's great to have an image 'do well', but this is of course a completely ephemeral hit. I needed my work to mean more, even if just for myself. I knew the direction I was heading in would not be the social media-friendly pretty land and seascapes that had brought me to the attention of various sponsors.
Why am I saying all of this now in a blog post? The reason is that I'd like to reach out to other photographers, and there are plenty of them I know, who would dream of having even one ambassadorship. Photographers are busy tagging the manufacturers in an attempt to get noticed, to have their images shared. Maybe even just to get some 'free kit'. I just want to say to those people, from experience that this can be a huge distraction from your true calling as a creative. With those titles can come a pressure. And though it is a nice pressure, you will feel obliged to produce work that you think your sponsors or followers wish to see. That was all well and good for a while and I'd travelled from the farthest south to the most northerly point of the UK on Unst in search of sweeping vistas and dramatic scenes. Over time I needed to produce something more meaningful to myself. Over the years I've been working on a few long term projects, all of which I feel the need to wrap up. These projects were always a kind of background noise that I would deal with one day. In the meantime I was chasing those stand alone images to keep up with social media and promoting myself in an attempt to make a living from this. With the global lockdown came a time to stop and reflect; being forced to stop was probably what a lot of us needed.
My work is now firmly based around long term projects and these projects excite me and give me the chance to express my view of the world and our place in it more fully. Of course like any photographer, I will still produce stand alone images, moments in time that require no back story.
I hope my waffle resonates; I just wanted to get this off my chest, from experience which I have gained very quickly over a brief period in time. I wanted it to be of use and maybe it will help you to reaffirm your goals as a photographer.
Anyway, a little about the image. I've recently picked up a medium format Bronica RF645 and I have to say that I am really enjoying the camera. I'd probably go as far as saying that it really does feel like an extension of myself! Everything is in just the right place and it feels so good in use. The scene is Saltwick Bay on the North Yorkshire coast, a much-photographed location and I've shot this on Kodak Portra 400. I love the fine grain which, for me, adds to the mood of the scene. The image is also part of a new body of work, the details of which I'll save for a further blog post.