FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER: Will Gortoa
I’m going to slightly cop out a little with the two photos. They are recent personal favourites, but I've always been intrigued by the inner machinations of Flickr's bizarrely named 'Interestingness' thingy, and these two currently sit at 1 and 2 respectively in that ranking. [Which, by definition, presumably means that if you don’t find either of these interesting, then, according to Flickr, you won’t find any of the others interesting either! : )]
This was almost an accident. I took a couple of images of the young girl running towards me in the fountain; the first full length, the second ‘accidentally’ chopping her face off at about eye level. When I processed them, though, removing her head entirely suddenly seemed to produce this ‘everyperson’ image. A wonderful accident.
Street photography is often all about timing. This is certainly one of those moments, where a fraction of a second before or after this image was taken would’ve negated its impact entirely.
1: How long have you been involved in photography?
When I look back, I think I’ve always taken photographs [having bought my first Nikon SLR in my mid-teens] and seemingly possessed an eye for photography, to some degree. But I probably wasn’t really ‘captured’ by photography until I returned to college to study it full-time for a year in 1993/4 – on reflection, one of the happiest year’s of my life. Even then, though, during the next few years, circumstances dictated I had to allow that desire to drift. However, about a year ago, I embarked on a new photographic chapter, following the acquisition of a gorgeous DSLR camera and the passion has returned tenfold...
2: Equipment you use?
I always used Nikon gear and lenses in the analogue days. Currently, my digital set-up is fairly straightforward, though:
Nikon Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens
Photoshop Elements 5
3: Mac or PC?
PC. [About to collapse under the weight of these new images!]
4: What inspires you?
Elliott Erwitt fundamentally provided the spark for my love of photography. I had been fumbling around in the creative wilderness, occasionally producing the odd memorable family or holiday image, buying into modern imagery in fairly sterile modern photography magazines, when I metaphorically bumped into Elliott Erwitt. Everything changed.
Since then, and certainly since joining Flickr, I’m increasingly inspired by the many quite extraordinary photographers that inhabit this network.
5: Preferred subject matter?
I admire many forms of photography, but my personal favourite is comfortably documentary, photojournalism and/or street photography; capturing those candid, decisive moments of everyday life.
However, on a recent deserted coastal holiday [due to the complete absence of people! : )], I experimented a little with more abstract landscape images; utilising textures [a processing technique that has recently crept into my street images, too.]
And I haven’t really even tried traditional portrait photography yet. [That is, where the person actually knows they’re having their portrait taken! : )]
6: Name one thing you haven't caught with the camera that you REALLY want to capture.
Interesting question. Well, my profile introduction begins with: “…sparkly new Nikon D300 in hand, I’m about to embark on a new photographic voyage... I have no real idea where this may take me, or indeed, if time, tide and life will allow me the space to fully explore my renewed passion. And, I dare say, as I explore the medium again it might well result in a somewhat eclectic mix of imagery.” And, a year later, that feeling remains.
In simple terms, I’ve recaptured my photographic enthusiasm. So, my only desire now is that it continues to be this enjoyable.
7: When in doubt about your art, who do you confide in?
To be honest, I’m fairly self-contained. I often work quite quickly* when editing images; occasionally producing up to 6/7 versions of a single image, before quickly deleting them all and keeping one favourite that relates to my gut instinct. Sometimes I’ll get stuck and ask my wife… uh, then keep the one she doesn’t like! : )
* The room I’m sat in actually doubles up as a traditional darkroom. [Rather pointlessly points to old enlarger gather dust in the corner.] I used to handprint all my own images. Anyone who’s done this will know it’s a magical [seeing the image slowly appear in the chemicals] yet very slow process. The speed of my work in Photoshop Elements seems to be a reaction almost, the antithesis of that.
In fact, if I had one criticism of Flickr, it might be that the vast majority of people – quite understandably – leave positive feedback. Which is great, too. But I think I would actually quite appreciate someone who might offer more challenging or constructive criticisms. Any applicants for this position can send a CV via email. Uh, but the pay is lousy! : )
8: Qualifications/training in anything? ie: Photoshop
Aside from that exceptionally memorable and rewarding one year of full-time study [Advanced Diploma in Photography and Audio Visual Studies], it’s largely been discovery by fumbling-around-in-the-dark experiences, really. [I think that might just be a metaphor for my entire life, actually! : )]
9: Plans for the future?
Mow the lawn, take the dog for a walk, uh, pay off the mortgage… Maybe become an adult? : ) Seriously, though… I’m happy to have rediscovered photography this past year or so, and I can only hope it continues to give me the pleasure that it has during that time. I’m definitely going to take some serious portraits one day, though. You see!
10: In one word, describe your photography.
One word… Blimey! [No, wait, that wasn’t it!] I mean, in someone with a tendency to waffle, that’s a real challenge! In a word…
Uh, can I put the word ‘Always’ in front of that, too? ;-)