What first drew you to photography?
My first memory I have of photography was when I was 8 or 9 and my Dad let me take some pictures on his black and white polaroid camera. I was amazed at the magic of being able to capture images that I could hold in my hands. It wasn’t long before I had my own camera – a Kodak Brownie 127. The thrill of collecting my prints was wondrous, the torture of waiting for my negatives to get printed was excruciating and the cost well that was very limiting to say the least. So when I grew up I ended up working for over 20 years in the voluntary sector, finally realising my goal as CEO. However, I was taken suddenly ill over 3 years ago and rediscovered my creative self and love of photography which also became my therapy to recovery.
What is your favourite photographic memory, and why?
I won my first photography competition at the age of 11. I took a photo of a beautiful pink and red sunset while hanging out of my bedroom window. But my favourite? Now that is difficult but I’d say taking photographs of music legend Robert Plant playing live was fun. Shooting Big Big Train, Francis Dunnery, Deborah Rose and friends performing at a charity concert last year and having my images chosen to use on social media – so exciting. Having my images exhibited, and purchased even and of course being chosen by Canon to feature in their online showcase on the theme of Portraits.
Who is your favourite photographer, and why?
Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Hurrell, Richard Avedon and Dorothea Lange are just some of the photographers who have inspired my love of black and white photography (which I prefer mostly these days). Though worlds apart their stylish images reflect the times they lived in staying true to their own style and vision. Another of my favourite photographers is Andy Rouse. I have had the pleasure of meeting Andy, he is so down to earth; I respect him for his energy, compassion for animals and shooting (in the best way) the most amazing wildlife photographs. He now shoots Canon and facilitates awesome photo safaris (though sadly far too expensive for me). I also don’t take myself too seriously and always have fun with my photography.
What would be your ideal camera, and where would you take it?
I currently adore the camera I am using right now, the Canon EOS 6D. It’s relatively light compared to many other full frame cameras and easier for me to use. Due to pain and weakness in my wrists and arms due to a chronic illness my camera has to be comfortable for me and not too bulky or weighty. The quality it gives me is great and is surprisingly portable and versatile.
Tell us what you enjoy most about your own work, and what has inspired you recently.
I love the endless creative possibilities. Photography to me is very much an art form that allows me to create quirky, abstract, thought provoking, beautiful (or not), personal views of the world as I see it. The bonus being that somebody else may also appreciate or even like my images too.
My nosey nature fuels my love of people watching and I especially enjoy street photography. It is so unpredictable and challenging but amazing to capture a candid view of a moment in time of real life as it happens. I recently visited my son in Nottingham and walking through the city centre I noticed a striking ad poster that looked like the model was reaching for the telephone while a young man walks by looking at his mobile phone.
Hanging on the Telephone by Lorraine Poole
Do you have bursts of creativity – and when/where are you most creative?
Yes, very much so but it can also depend on my health at the time. Bursts of creativity can come from anywhere. I often see things out and about that spark my curiosity and entice me to find out more, and capture the object/person/moment in time. I rarely go out with a plan of knowing what I am looking for and what I want to shoot. Though I do have images in my head that I would like to create, I end up going out with my camera and coming across a subject/opportunity as a matter of chance. An example of this would be when I traveled down to Lyme Regis to see the Instant Exhibition and meet Chelsea for the first time. While I was there it was a beautiful sunny day and so I took a walk around the town (with my parents). Close to the Mill I saw a small building that looked dark and mysterious inside. Being inquisitive I walked through the open door and came across a wonderful pottery workshop and met a lovely potter there who allowed me to take photographs of him putting the finishing touches to a number of mugs he had just made. I never use flash but used what light there was and shot a series of ‘portraits’. I later processed these in black and white which worked well to contrast the differing textures of the artisan potter, the fascinating workspace and challenging light.
Potter in Lyme Regis, Dorset by Lorraine Poole
How do you spend a creative day?
If I am awake there is a strong possibility, I am finding something to photograph! I am also a big fan of the camera on my iPhone 6 plus so there’s no stopping me. I am a nightmare to go a walk with because I am always seeing things I have to stop and snap. Because I can have problems with my mobility I have become good at finding wonderful flora and fauna to shoot in my tiny garden. Have also been having fun experimenting with macro and trying to capture the stunning beauty of the smallest things. Nature is another love of mine and I am extremely lucky to live in the country at the edge of the New Forest. As an amateur photographer I am also continuously editing and looking at my photographs with a view to building up a portfolio and one day hosting my own exhibition. Apart from daydreaming my day also consists of talking to my husband and dogs and eating chocolate.
What are the most important elements of a successful photo?
What is a successful photo? Photography as is art is extremely subjective. Winners of photo contests – I rest my case. To me the lighting is important, the image should encourage a response or emotion. Technical excellence to me is not everything as I will often choose to shoot images out of focus, soft, grainy and dark to add to the overall feel and mood. It is important to me to stay true to who I am as an artist. A successful photo to me is one that I am really happy with and in turn contributes to my confidence and learning.
Tell us about your favourite photograph, either your own or someone else’s.
I couldn’t possibly choose one photo but Richard Kalvar’s high contrast black and white street shots are some of my favourites.
One of my own favourites is a portrait of Robert Plant on stage. I really wanted to capture a classic shot of his powerful performance, an image of energy and realness. Processing in black and white gives it that classic rock feel.
Robert Plant on Stage by Lorraine Poole