It’s tricky to know how to market myself with specialisms as diverse as adventure photography and hotel photography. They are two disciplines with very different techniques, audiences, and clients. But there is a centre-point that connects the two and makes my choice of subjects seem more logical, and that is travel photography.
My life of adventure started by working in the travel industry, initially in ski chalets, so the focus was perfectly logical to me. The overarching principle, from a commercial point of view is to evoke desire in the viewer, to make them place themselves in a photo whether it’s clinging to the side of a mountain or lazing in a four-poster bed.
You might think I enjoy adventure photography much more than hotel photography – on the face of it, it’s more exciting and more universally appealing to a viewer. But from a photographers’ point of view the two things complement each other well. I love to find form and shape in nature, but this is nicely balanced for me in the geometry of architecture. Photographing a hotel room presents its own challenges of perspective, and composition, and balancing soft lines with hard.
In particular Lake District hotel photography offers a beautiful combination of the two disciplines; for commercial purposes it is essential to remember why people want to holiday in this area, and shooting hotel exteriors makes this abundantly clear. This is why I’m so excited to be offering elevated photography in the Lake District.
Perspective is so important in imagery, and to be able to offer something unusual is a bonus. To be able to offer an aerial perspective, to all at once take in the whole of a building in the context of its grounds, and the full sweep of its surroundings, is priceless.
I’ve only just started my adventures with elevated photography, but I can’t wait to get stuck in. Onwards and upwards!
My first blog entry. Well I’ve been blogging for other people for so long, I thought it was about time I did so for myself; but I’m going to start with a piece I wrote for Jottnar as it seems an appropriate place to begin.
Why climb mountains? That’s a tough one. I was asked why I photograph mountains, and maybe the same answer applies to both questions. To conquer giants or to capture giants?
Artistically and elementally, there are no better colours and shapes than those found on a jagged summit ridge, a sandstone tower or a meadow of alpine wildflowers. No better interplay of light and shadow than when the peaks cast their forms far down into the valleys or when rock catches fire at sunset. No better sense of bewildering scale than the tiny piton holding lives above the chasm.
But photography is best when it captures and evokes emotion. From tranquil solitude to tempests and terror, the mountains provide a varied diet of soul food for a healthy mind. Some climb to test their limits, to understand their own reactions to fear, isolation, beauty, adrenaline, autonomy and vulnerability. After years of discovering my own limitations I really began to notice adventure photography and it was this self-awareness that heightened my reactions – the realisation that the limits of others are way beyond my own. This makes an image inspirational.
This is only part of the story. I love mountains. If you’re reading this I imagine you do too. Climbing – in rock boots or hiking boots, crampons or skis – can be a way of involving yourself with beauty and nature and getting intimate with the landscape. Photography can be the same, but maybe it’s also an attempt to hang on to that intimacy for a later date. For me it’s an attempt to share that intimacy.
Whether I’m capturing adrenaline, wonder or pure beauty, for commercial reasons or not, I think my unconscious aim is always to evoke desire: Desire to be there, to have what it takes to get there, or even to own the gear to enable you to get there. I guess this is why you should always photograph things you love.