Michelle Williams: Inspirations.

Gateway to the Moors II North York Moors by Joe Cornish

Gateway to the Moors II North York Moors by Joe Cornish

 

I have many photography hero’s but to name only a few, I love the work of Joe Cornish, known for his large format and wide angles, the way he works with light is intrinsic, and I think he has made a real difference to the way Landscape Photography is seen and perceived in this generation.

I also love the work of Elliott Erwitt, the humour in his work is like no other, but it still retains a sense of honesty and integrity and Dorethea Lange is another favourite.

 

Don McCullin is amongst the ultimate masters in the field of Documentary photography. I find inspiration from his famous quote:

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”

CYPRUS by Dom McCullin

CYPRUS by Dom McCullin

When I first read this quote, I felt it expressed perfectly what photography is about – feeling, engaging, emotive, a ‘sense of place’ and his words continue to inspire me, and without a doubt many other photographers too.

SOLDIERS by Dom McCullin

SOLDIERS by Dom McCullin

My number one inspiration however is the work of Steve McCurry, something just lights up in me when I look at his work, if I could produce just one piece of work as compelling as his images I would be a happy lady!  His use of colour, composition, and connection between photographer and subject is simply awesome.

I am currently in the process of updating my gear, and will be working towards a distinction with the RPS this year.  I normally shoot in a classic/purist style but recently have been working in a more impressionistic way, using textures and layers, this style can be seen in my woodland images. I am also finding new avenues to showcase, sell and promote my work and currently in talks with a local gallery regarding a possible exhibition.

Going forward I endeavour to continue learning and progressing, aquiring skills and experience in all genre’s of photography, particularly in Landscape and Documentary, those genres being my main passion.  My long term goal, health permitting, is to take some extended period of time again to travel, and I have plenty of ideas of where I would like to go, what I would like to photograph/document and how I would like the work to look, and the impact that I hope it will have.  But I’ll leave that a secret at the moment….you cant give everything away, so watch this space!

Happy snapping fellow photographers, and for all those that simply enjoy photography, art, or have a love of the landscape, I hope you always continue to have this love. To support our planet in even a small way can make a huge difference both today and for future generations to enjoy.

Take a look at Michelle’s images and buy direct through the Shed Gallery.

Getting to Know Michelle Williams

It is such a privilege to be picked for both Image and Artist of the week. There are some fantastic photographers at the Shed Gallery, who inspire me on a regular basis. So thanks Ben and Chelsea for the opportunity to raise my profile. And for the work that you do for all the photographers and artists you work with.

Michelle Williams

Camel Caravan by Michelle Williams Photography

Camel Caravan by Michelle Williams Photography

Camel Caravan was the Winner of the Big Picture Telegraph Competition and also in their line up of the top 15 images of that year.  Also a National Geo Graphic Editors Pick.

I have always loved creative pursuits, from an early age I was forever doodling and playing around with scrap books.  I distinctly remember being captivated by landscapes, asking Dad to pull over to look at a view as a small child, and collecting flora and fauna with my Grand father, who’s beautiful poetry we added to our scrapbooks from weekends exploring the landscape together, and being enthralled by the natural world.

Peace II by Michelle Williams Photography

Peace II by Michelle Williams Photography

Peace II was shortlisted for the Travel photography Competition and finalist in ‘straight down the middle’.

As I got a little older I developed a desire for travel.  Far-flung lands and spice Islands, tribal cultures and beautiful vistas stirred my imagination, and I have been lucky enough to be able to fulfill my dreams of travel, living and traveling throughout the UK and worldwide. It is from these experiences that my creative expression grew.  Photography at first was (like for most people) a means of documenting these memories, but from as far back as I can remember I had a desire to pick up a camera and really do justice to the places I was seeing and the wonderful landscapes around us.  People started to comment that I had ‘a good eye’ that they really enjoyed looking at my images, and from there the confidence in my ability became stronger and the love and passion for photography became a way of life.  Like a lot of photographers I doubt myself, and I have a lot to learn still, but to be honest that excites me and propels me to carry on moving forward on this wonderful journey.  Landscape and Travel photography was my first passion but Documentary photography is something I have become more and more interested in over the last few years too, there is something so compelling about ‘freezing’ a moment in time, the feeling is almost paradoxical, poetic and thought provoking, and I find it extremely rewarding to be able to story tell with a single and/or a series of images.

Waves in Motion by Michelle Williams Photography

Waves in Motion by Michelle Williams Photography

Waves in motion was shortlisted in the Travel photography Competition.

Unfortunately I have suffered some difficult times and ill health over the last 5 years, which has left me with fatigue related issues, this can obviously create hurdles in terms of traveling and in getting out and about with my camera as much as I would like but creative bursts and opportunities are still there, and it is a major priority and driving factor for me in my recovery.

Under the Pier by Michelle Williams Photography

Under the Pier by Michelle Williams Photography

Under the pier was shortlisted in the Travel photography Competition.

On a more positive note, I am feeling proud with my accomplishments to date, along with winning some National Travel Photography competitions, some local landscape competitions and online documentary competitions, I have also had work exhibited and sold both in the UK and overseas.  I have undertaken large project work for local tourism, again both in the UK and overseas, and a number of smaller jobs in various genres.

Peaceful Contemplation by Michelle Williams Photography

Peaceful Contemplation by Michelle Williams Photography

Peaceful Contemplation was voted in the top 10 in an online competition.

In terms of preference for colour or Black&White imagery it really depends on many variables.  I feel I have a slight lean towards B&W particularly in documentary style work, but ultimately I think it depends on the subject, the light and what message you are trying to convey within the image.

Urban life by Michelle Williams Photography

Urban life by Michelle Williams Photography

Urban Life was voted in the top 10 in an online competition.

Gossip II by Michelle Williams Photography

Gossip II by Michelle Williams Photography

Gossip II was voted in the top 10 in an online competition.

Shed Artist of the Week, Susan Furber.

Introduction

I am really pleased to have the opportunity to join the Shed Photography Community, as a new creative, after seeing the great opportunity it provides to showcase my work as well as meet other creatives.  Here is a bit of background about me and my photography journey.

The morning after by Susan Furber

The morning after by Susan Furber

What first drew you to photography?

I started my photography journey back in high school, learning how to process black and white film and then did a further advanced course later while I was working.   I tended to only really dabble in a street photography, travel landscapes, a bit of wildlife and some macro in parks and gardens.  When I started a working holiday in the UK 6 1/2 years ago, I bought a new digital SLR, a Canon 400D, before I left, but had no idea how to really use it – as I hadn’t learnt much about digital shooting or editing.  I loved taking snaps on my travels and was drawn to capturing the landscapes of countries more so than people.

In 2008 I went on a photography workshop in the Pyrenees with Fine Art Black and White photographer, Jonathan Chritchley through his workshop company, Ocean Capture.  He taught me how to shoot in manual mode, how to start to see and compose images differently, but more importantly about connecting more with the emotion of photographing.  This trip ignited in me a passion for capturing the landscapes of the amazing locations I have been able to travel to and I have been developing my style over time with my travels.

Sea horse by Susan Furber

Sea horse by Susan Furber

What is your favourite photographic memory, and why?

I have been lucky to have done three trips to Iceland, a popular location for photographers nowadays, but on my first trip is was relatively unknown.  The third trip was a complete 360 trip around the island to photograph the varying landscapes from the rugged west coast to the waterfalls in the South.  In the west, we stayed in this great little guest house and early one morning I got up to explore and photograph sunrise along the waters edge.  I was completely by myself, lost in my long exposure shoot, joined only by a sheep on the shore and a seal in the water.  It was such a surreal moment.  This was also the morning after witnessing the Northern Lights for the very first time, so it will always be a very special memory and place for me.

Who is your favourite photographer, and why?

This would have to be Jonathan Chritchley (http://jonathanchritchley.com/) who has taught me more about photography than I could ever expect one person to do.  I am not a very ‘technical’ photographer and I think this is why I never previously completely connected with all the fstops and numbers, there was a missing link – which he has helped me find.  His images, which are fine art and black and white evoke emotion and every new one I see I like more than the last.  A mentor and friend.

South Wales by Susan Furber

South Wales by Susan Furber

What would be your ideal camera, and where would you take it?

I have just recently upgraded to the Canon 5D Mark 3, which I have just used on my trip of a lifetime in Patagonia.  There are many more countries and locations on the list to explore still, including a return to my home country, Australia next month to continue the photographic journey.

Tell us what you enjoy most about your own work, and what has inspired you recently.

Learning the long exposure technique was a big find for me.  It enables me to take a photograph how I love to – caught up in the moment, finding peace and tranquility in the busy world we live in and with only the sounds around me.  I enjoy trying to see new perspectives on things, finding a different angle, or viewpoint – I am not always completely successful but I enjoy trying.  I was recently inspired by a workshop I did in France where we were introduced to Michael Levin, a very successful Canadian photographer. His journey, approach and editing process were all completely different from mine but I learnt so much about thinking outside the square, persistence and having your own identify, all of which are vitally important to me and my work.

Stormy Sun by Susan Furber

Stormy Sun by Susan Furber

Do you have bursts of creativity – and when/where are you most creative?

Definitely – I often have times when I know it is not worth going out and shooting as I am just not feeling it and then others when I am inspired.  Generally when I am relaxed, calm and happy I am at my most creative.  I love photographing the ocean and have spent much time over the last few years doing this, but I also very much enjoy wandering around parks, or gardens with my macro lens to find some of the smaller details in life as well as the larger landscapes.  This is an area I would like to develop further in the future

What are the most important elements of a successful photo?

I think for me, it has to be that it evokes an emotion in the viewer.  I know this sounds cliché and is not necessarily the best selling image, but it needs for someone to see it and say…’I remember’…or ‘I feel….’

I find commercial imagery very ‘samey’, especially now that the digital world enables us to view so many more images than we ever could, so something a bit unique or a different viewpoint, for me is also an important element of a successful photo.

 

Tell us about your favourite photograph…

One of my favourite photographs that I have taken, is called Determination and is available in my Collection and also on my website.

Determination by Susan Furber

Determination by Susan Furber

Ironically this is not a traditional landscape image or part of my usual style, but it had many of the elements that I love -  enabled me to capture movement, emotion, landscape and wildlife.  It was taken on an Ocean Capture trip to the Camargue in France, where the white horses run through the sea and the plains and the feelings of freedom, anticipation, excitement and calm all engulf the photographer over the course of the shoot.  I won a small prize for this image, so it has a special place in my heart as the first of my images to do so.

How do you spend a creative day? 

The ideal creative day for me involves shooting, preferably in the morning at a new location that I am seeing for the first time. I have started trying to use different techniques and come up with ideas as I shoot – so generally the location is ideally visited a further time to fine-tune the image ideas.  This isn’t always possible on big trips away or far-away locations, so I try and be creative as I can within the timeframe given.  I also quite enjoy editing my images, but I have learnt that it is better to give a bit of time between shooting and editing, so that you don’t have the emotion of the image tied up in your edits, so it is a more measured process and image selection and processing can be done more accurately.

What’s next

I have now travelled to over 20 countries and have visited 6 continents to explore and develop my portfolio.  In December I will be returning to live in Australia again, after 6 years in the UK.
I am currently planning some further photographic travels, including some time travelling around my home country, Australia and hopefully further visits to Africa, Asia and South America.

Susan Furber Photography Website 

Facebook 

Twitter – @sfurb

Astrid McGechan picks her Shed favourites.

I love being part of the Shed Gallery community! It’s great to see so many talented creatives. And every time I look at other artist’s work, I find something that inspires me.

Spring Rain by Jenifer Bunnett

Spring Rain by Jenifer Bunnett

I love Jenifer Bunnett’s close-up shots. ‘Spring Rain’ is such a beautiful capture of the lavender in the rain – I can literally feel the dampness and smell the lavender scent! It takes a great eye to capture such seemingly small scenes that many people would not notice.

Fistral 2 by Rachael Talibart

Fistral 2 by Rachael Talibart

Rachael Talibart manages to capture the seaside in all its facets so beautifully. I love the simplicity of Fistral 2, a photograph I could easily have on my wall and look at again and again. It is full of movement and drama and the fact it only features so few elements somehow underpins the power of nature for me.

Barn and Barley by Kris Dutson

Barn and Barley by Kris Dutson

Kris Dutson’s Barn and Barley image is stunning. I love the simple composition and also the combination of the warm colour of the barley with the stormy sky. Pure drama. It conveys the feeling of standing in the middle of this field to me.

ZEPHYR, Croatia by Asmita Kapadia

ZEPHYR, Croatia by Asmita Kapadia

Asmita’s landscapes are very atmospheric. I feel drawn to very simple compositions, just featuring one or two elements, like in the Zephyr photograph. I love the pastel colours and the movement, which makes this image one I can well imagine on my wall. I would never tire of looking at it.

Upcoming exhibition dates and venues featuring Stephen Banks.

What a year it has been, and it’s not even December yet!
Thank you to The Shed, who have chose me as Artist of the Week again last week. Working with them this year has been a lot of fun, especially during the Muse summer show in Lyme Regis. Not sure if Ben or Chelsea found it quite as much fun, with all the busy preparations they had to do beforehand! But I think we can all agree it was a great success, and I certainly look forward to future exhibitions with them.
Milky Way Above Portland Bill by Stephen Banks

Milky Way Above Portland Bill by Stephen Banks

Following on from Muse, I have a couple of exhibitions of my own coming up. The first is at the Cowshed, in Highland’s End Holiday Park, Eype, where there will be Christmas greeting cards, my ‘Dorset’s Dark Skies’ 2015 Calendar and, of course, The Shed prints available to purchase, for that extra special festive gift. That runs until 15th December, including Sunday (23rd November) for Eype Makers’ Market.
Illuminated Knowlton Church by Stephen Banks

Illuminated Knowlton Church by Stephen Banks

In the new year, I have a whole month occupying the walls of The Exchange’s cafe in Sturminster. It’s a substantial space, so be sure to pop in during February. The exhibition runs from 1 – 28 February.
Archway to Heaven by Stephen Banks

Archway to Heaven by Stephen Banks

I will be entering the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition in 2015, after they put the deadline back in 2014 to April. The vast majority of my astrophotography is taken during the height of summer, when the Milky Way is at its most visible. As I’d already entered my best images from Summer 2013 into the 2013 competition, I didn’t have any images in time for April 2014. So, fingers crossed for further success this coming year. Let’s hope I can once again put Dorset on the stargazers’ map!
Milky Way above West Bay by Stephen Banks

Milky Way above West Bay by Stephen Banks

Thank you to everyone reading who has purchased a print from The Shed; my images and everybody else’s. I’ve been chatting to Ben and Chelsea and they’ve got some interesting things planned for the future. Watch this space!