In 2004, good quality digital pocket cameras became reasonably affordable and being without a camera to take family shots, I bought a small Minolta. While on a walk taking pictures of the family and the lovely countryside I live in, I discovered I really liked taking outdoor shots. At this point, I bought a copy of Practical Photography as it contained an article on one hundred tips to better photography, so I bought a copy and purchased the prosumer digital camera they recommended at the time, namely a 6MP Fuji Finepix S7000. After about six months of learning the ropes of landscape photography, mainly by experience, I began to get results as you see them on ArtGallery.co.uk. I now use a digital SLR camera to capture the scenes.
Water and Skies have to be the number one elements in many of the scenes I capture, I really think the UK is amazing in its diversity as far as subjects for landscape photography are concerned and there are mountains, rivers, forests, castles, brides, ancient monuments and any number of other great subjects to choose from.
You seem to relish the light of early morning and late evening – how do you ensure you capture the right moments?
There is only one answer to this and it is to find a location that has all the elements you want to photograph in it, water, sand, pebbles and then to determine whether it is more likely to be a morning or an evening shot. Once you have done this, you simply turn up at the right time, set up and wait to see what unfolds before you. It could take as long as a week to get an image that you are happy with and reflects the true potential of a location. You really must enjoy the experience for its own sake and be prepared to walk away from a scene with no pictures taken. I may only press the shutter release once to capture a scene. Planning and patience I think.
It’s taken a long time to work out how to translate an image held on a computer to one that looks lovely as prints. To select the fine art paper that I currently use, I had to print an image on around thirty different papers to judge which one I personally preferred most. The James Cropper paper isn’t fully textured, but isn’t perfectly smooth either and the photographs look absolutely superb on it. I also use other papers and mediums also, from photographic paper, Cibachrome prints to Canvas and people even have my work as wallpaper covering a full wall in their homes.
At present, I offer my work immediately as fine art prints on the fine art paper, as larger prints on photographic paper and as Cibachrome prints and also as larger canvas blocks. These are only examples of mediums and sizes that I am happy to work with and if someone would like a print that is for example 60"x40" on fine art paper or canvas or any other printable medium, I can do this as I have through the time learnt who to work within the printing industry and who can translate my vision of a final piece into reality.
My own personal view is that a photograph as seen in for example my own work takes a great deal of artistic and technical thought and a great deal of perseverance to create even a single example and then that work can never be replicated exactly so is totally unique to that moment. The great difficulty and joy of photography is that you can’t just make it up; the scene actually has to exist in reality even if only for a few seconds for it to become a great piece of art. I think educated collectors understand this and treat really great photography as first class art, which can fetch five figure sums for work like you see on ArtGallery.co.uk as limited editions. I cite the current lovely work of Elizabeth Carmel, whose limited edition prints go for up to £4000 each. Poor landscape photography isn’t art, it produces pictures not artwork.
It’s great to find an online art gallery that feels like a bricks and mortar gallery, with real people that don’t hide behind the scenes, but who take the time to interact with artists and collectors alike, I simply say look at our conversation here as proof of that. I've never had this level of attention from an online gallery before. It’s great to be able to show my UK scenes on a British website. and being technical about it, it currently lists in the top ten under Google for an "Art" search worldwide. ArtGallery.co.uk's relationship with its clients and the trust built up over the last few years will mean that that my work will be purchased with absolute confidence, not to mention great value.
Given what I have said already, I plan my photography over years as a single year can yield fewer images than fit on a traditional roll of film, from even fewer locations. My aim over the next ten years is to continue to capture the beauty of the UK landscape which is more than a lifetime’s ambition, extending the subjects and locations – I’ve barely started.
Andrew Fyfe, photographer of Essex talking about his love of photography to ArtGallery.co.uk
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