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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Twitter – @sfurb