FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER: Swiv
I trained as an Ancient Historian, and the forum Romanum has got to be one of my favourite places on the planet - I could sit there for hours and just be. This was taken when I was at a conference in Rome, and I had an hour free, so I fled down there with my camera (fortunately it was National Heritage week in Rome and everything was free). I was lucky enough to catch it just as storm clouds came rolling in across the sunny spring afternoon, and this was the result. One of my nerdier friends described it as "The Roman sky that Philip saw at Pydna."
This is a photo I'm particularly proud of because I feel like it managed to capture the atmosphere I was going for. I thought quite a bit about the kind of photographs I wanted to take when I visited Auschwitz, because I really didn't want to just take a bunch of snapshots. I wanted to capture something of the bleakness of the place - and with this one (taken from the guard tower above the entrance arch to Birkenau), the scale.
1: How long have you been involved in photography?
I got my first camera when I was seven, inheriting my mother’s old one for a family holiday to South Africa (it took 110 film... those were the days! ) I’ve been taking photos ever since. I had a few classes as a teenager, but it only really started being a proper hobby about eight years ago - and then I discovered flickr and it got serious.
2: Equipment you use?
Primarily a Canon 400D, with acollection of lenses – a 10-20mm, 17-70mm, 70-300mm, and 50mm 1.4f – that covers all the major bases, and a few filters – my ND-grad is one of my best friends. I also have a compact Canon Ixy , plus a Lomo Diana F+ and a Vivitar Ultra Wide for fun.
3: Mac or PC?
PC. I keep thinking I’d like to try a Mac, but I don’t have that kind of money – and if I did I’d probably spend it on a plane ticket first! But I'm quite happy with my PC.
4: What inspires you?
The beauty of the world around me – I grew up in Cornwall, near the sea, and if I’m stuck in a rut all I have to do is go to the beach to watch the sunset and then I’m ready to go again.
5: Preferred subject matter?
Travel sights generally – so landscape, architecture, people all feature. My favourite has to be beaches, though.
6: Name one thing you haven't caught with the camera that you REALLY want to capture.
The Galapagos Islands. One day I’ll get there.
7: When in doubt about your art, who do you confide in?
I’m more likely to try and work out what’s wrong, what I don’t like and how to improve it – so I’ll browse flickr looking at shots I like and try and work out why I like them and how I could use some of those things. Occasionally I’ll ask a friend of mine who’s a portrait photographer for some advice – if I’m feeling strong enough for his honesty!
8: Qualifications/training in anything? ie: Photoshop
I had a little bit of Photoshop teaching when I was doing a writing course, but that was mostly learning to edit photos for publication, rather than post-processing editing. I’ve taught myself to use Lightroom and Photoshop for that.
9: Plans for the future?
More travel! I’m currently in the limbo that is job-hunting, though, so I want to start taking more photos around Cornwall and trying a little experimentation to get some new perspectives on things I’ve been seeing (and shooting) for years.
10: In one word, describe your photography.
Hmmm, possibly ‘gadabout’.