What first drew you to photography?
When I was a teenager, I was given one of those small cartridge cameras, the sort with a case than folds out to become a handle. It took terrible photos but I didn’t know any better. I was hooked immediately.
What is your favourite photographic memory, and why?
I have two. The first, from way back in the days of film, was on my honeymoon in Zimbabwe. We went out to watch the sun set over Lake Kariba. My husband and our guide sat watching the sunset from the jeep, sipping gin cocktails, while I crouched in the grass with my camera, getting bitten by bugs. The shot I took of an elephant silhouetted against the sunset reflected in the lake remains one of my favourites even today. I have lost the negatives and only have a 6×4 print but every time I see it, I smile. (And I don’t like gin anyway.)
The second is from a trip to Nantucket back in 2011, when I was lucky enough to photograph one of the most exciting storms I have ever seen. Lightning struck pretty much without pause for two hours, and I photographed every minute of it. The ultimate photographic rush.
Who is your favourite photographer, and why?
Such a difficult question! I derive so much inspiration from the work of other photographers in all genres. Lately, I have been enjoying the work of Kilian Shoenberger. Every one of his images draws the viewer in, making you feel as if you were actually there, able to walk through the image’s surface and into the landscape beyond. The rich, yet natural colours are stunning and it amazes me that this photographer is, in fact, colour blind.
What would be your ideal camera, and where would you take it?
My ideal camera would combine the power, functionality and resolution of my present DSLR (Canon 5D Mark III) with the light weight and sleek styling of my travel camera (Fuji X-E1) and a lens that zooms from 16-400mm with the same quality as a prime. (Well, you didn’t say it had to be realistic!) I would take it absolutely everywhere.
Tell us what you enjoy most about your own work, and what has inspired you recently.
What I enjoy most about my photography is that I am always learning new things, about photography and about my subjects. The day I stop doing that will probably be the day I stop taking photos. Recently I have become a judge for the Surrey Photographic Association. This takes me to camera clubs all over the county, and I am often impressed and moved by the images I see. Sharing is a huge part of my enjoyment of photography and I consider it an honour to be invited to view images shared by fellow photographers.
Do you have bursts of creativity – and when/where are you most creative?
If I could spend all my time creating images, I would. So I suppose I am most creative whenever I can spend time on photography, and not very creative at all the rest of the time!
How do you spend a creative day?
For me, the best part of making images takes place out in the field with my subject, whatever it may be. I try to spend as little time at the computer
as possible. That does not mean that I eschew photo manipulation, and I must confess I get a little tired of photographers who declare that their images are ‘straight out of camera’ as if that is a badge of honour. It’s a bit like saying, in the days of film, that all one’s images are processed at Boots! But in the end nothing can beat, for me, the joy of simply, and quietly, waiting for the light.
What are the most important elements of a successful photo?
Another hard question! The obvious answer is: composition, composition, composition. Having an understanding of light is also vital. But above all, I think the photographer must feel strongly for the subject of his/her image. That is when the magic starts to happen.
Tell us about your favourite photograph, either your own or someone else’s, and please send us a copy/link from their website.
I have so many favourite photographs. Picking one is impossible. So I will just choose one of the many images I have enjoyed this week, a magnificent photo of a giant wave breaking over La Jument lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper standing nonchalantly in the doorway:
What a shot.