I was never very good at school. I got 4 GCSE’s and for me that was quite and achievement. I’m severely Dyslexic and wasn’t very good at most things at school. I really had to work for it. There was one exception……Art.
Once I found art, or art found me it all felt right. I could spend hours lost in the art department at school. I was one of the best in my year at something….this was unheard of for me. I was in my element. I loved being able to transfer my ideas, my thoughts, how I saw the world, without having to use words or numbers or anything academic. Being creative came naturally for me. I went on to study art and design including photography at art college after school. Then onto University to study fine art including history of art.
However it was only when I picked up a Digital SLR camera almost ten years ago that things really became clear. The light got switched on. I had always struggled with the frustration of having a creative idea, a thought, an image and the time that it took to convey that to someone. I could come up with something, but then have to spend a day painting it, or a couple of days in a workshop sculpting it out of some material. When I took a picture with this new digital camera, I could show someone exactly what I was thinking there and then. I could finally convey to the world what I wanted to say. How I saw things. What everything looked like to me. It was as though everything had been in black and white and now the world was in colour.
I’m very fortunate to come from a loving middle class Jewish home with a fantastic family and parents who have been married for over 40 years. My parents are part of the baby boom generation. The first modern generation after the war. I think part of growing up in this environment meant that it was always drummed into me to push myself, to be better, to strive for the good things in life. We’re never a family that settles for the easy life. We would never sit back on our laurels, we would always be working to get a better life for us and our families.
Why do I tell you this?…..well I think that this applies to my photography in a very relevant way. I’m always trying to take that better picture. To push my photography. To take more creative images. To get the perfect portrait of someone. To see where I can take my lighting. How I can capture a day better for couples. I think this is what drives me with my photography. Why I like to shoot new wedding venues, new couples, new challenges. I want to take the best photos that I can for me and for my clients. I’ll never be satisfied with my photography, I’ll always be pushing myself to be a better photographer.
So I mentioned that my folks have been married for over 40 years. Well my grandparents were married all their lives as well. Much as I hate to admit it, as it spoils the macho image that I’ve built up over the years…..I’m a hopeless romantic. I’m a big soppy eyed lovey-dovey. I’ve been married to my wife for almost 10 years now and I’ve always said that I hope we will be that old couple who sit on the park bench and never run out of things to say to each other. The ones that still hold hands as they walk down the street. I do silly things like leave little notes for my wife all around the house when I go away for a few days. I whisked her off for a surprise trip to Paris for her birthday and got down on one knee, with the engagement ring she didn’t realise she’d picked out a month before, with the lights of Paris twinkling in the knight sky to propose to her. I still get a little lump in my throat when I see a couple exchange glances during the wedding ceremony. I always take the same shot at weddings, which is our favourite shot from our wedding as a tribute to my wife.
So how does all this apply to ‘What I see’?
Well I’m still using my art background and training, I’m using the techniques that I learnt about during art history that artists used for composition and holding the viewers attention. I’m using colour and light that I know work well from days on end spent in the art department being taught colour theory. I’m using the lighting methods and poses of Renaissance artists all to take the perfect picture. I’m constantly pushing myself to capture the little romantic things that I know a couple will look back on in years to come. I see the world in my own way. I notice little things. I notice big things. I want to capture all of this and show people…’This is What I see’ and ‘How I see it’.
Adam Bronkhorst is our very brilliant resident lighting expert. He is an old romantic at heart and is frequently the only male at our workshops. Being more than a tad metro-sexual, he doesn’t seem to mind one bit and he has a very intuitive, non technical way of teaching flash. He is offering three classes at the upcoming Farm Week 29th Jan – 2nd Feb covering on and off camera flash at weddings plus ‘The Mobile Studio’ which will explore how to get studio lighting effects anywhere so you can shoot more portraits and commercial work.