Graham Riddell is a specialist freelance photographer at Graham Riddell Photography in the Scottish Borders, offering a stunning collection of nature-themed Wall Art & Stock images. Call 0777 764 5813. Commissions also welcomed for Portrait Photography, Event Photography, Corporate Photography, Publishing and PR and photography lessons.
As a photographer, exploring the arts and mysteries of image capturing and image making, can be a perplexing business.
For a start, what kind of photographer do I aspire to be?
I have always been attracted to raw natural beauty and the drama and uniqueness of the ever changing landscape. Nature in all her moods is I imagine, not unlike a mistress. Exciting, challenging, captivating, even dangerous. Her moods and expressions keep me in awe and I have always felt a special kind of bond with Her which comes from an inner sense of connection to the land that engages my very soul.
On my web site I describe this interaction as a 'process' having once been asked by a client what my 'process' was for images I was exhibiting. I did not know what he meant or how to answer at the time but it got me thinking and so I came to realise that the process of taking pictures for me was about two things.
Firstly, my eyes which see the potential and secondly, the 'connection' from my inner being to what I am seeing. This is a personal and unique perspective which sometimes I don't always understand even though I am the creator. It seems almost from the subconscious mind. I can fully appreciate however, why others might also be attracted to certain works, since they clearly resonate with them, perhaps on a level I am not even aware of. For this reason I try not to be too prescriptive about my work. Either you will like it or you won't. It has to 'move' you in some way to make you want to own it and pay me for the privilege.
Other photographers may disagree with me and probably with good reason. They will say that there is actually a third essential element to this process which all the Great artists must possess - 'Vision".
This I suppose is my greatest weakness, yet what I enjoy is the excitement of the chase, of not knowing, working in real-time to capture something illusive and fleeting. This also affects how I shoot events, or a portrait, a small intimate wedding, or pretty much anything else. I may have a back-of-mind idea but I have often been left with 'mud on my lens' where the weather didn't play ball, or the situation wasn't right when I got there to do a planned shoot. This difference is perhaps what separates us ordinary photographers from the true masters.
Taking my due process forward, I am keen to develop more people-oriented work (my landscapes have always been devoid of them!!), asking friends to sit for me, creating personal projects, or paying professional models in order to explore deeper whatever piques my interest. Working with people is much more challenging. They have emotions and appearances which demand respect.
So I attended an introductory portraiture class with the world renowned Trevor and Faye Yerbury Studios near Edinburgh to watch two masters of their art at work and learn some basic pointers and creative principles. Communication with the sitter or model is vital and crafting the image is key to success, whereas the landscape keeps her council.
People are also directly affected by you. There is a fluid dynamic at work which my other 'mistress' doesn't react to. 'She' is almost unaware, candidly taken which is a style I like to adopt generally where possible. So when I got the chance to put my methodology to the test with a paid photo-shoot with a professional model, I wanted to explore the full gamut of possibility. It was an appetiser and far from A LA Carte. A blunt encounter with professional talent.
In two hours I explored the Classic look, the Corporate look, the Fashion look, right up to the difficult challenge of Art Nude on a one-to-one basis. In each I looked for the poses and shots she performed that attracted me and where I felt I failed was in the 'vision' shots where I had images of paintings I wanted to use as a basis. I did the best I could or was capable of in such a brief encounter in an unfamiliar studio.
So what kind of photographer am I now?
This is what I am trying to unravel. The basic process remains much the same but the eye has sought new stimulus, new projects and new life.
If you would like to see the images I took on the shoot then please follow these links below. There are some nudes so please don't if you might be offended.
Finally, I leave you with a few images from the people shoots I have been working on more generally.
Happy New Year and thanks for your interest in my photography journey so far.
"Photography is more than a technical image or captured moment......
It is an interactive process....
….the distillation of engaged emotion”
©Graham Riddell Photography