14 April 2009

Featured 'tog Tuesday - Clare Robinson

Today's featured 'tog is Clare Robinson a photographer and sometimes model.

BLAB: Please tell us a bit about yourself

CR: I started taking photos on a small red plastic camera that I bought for £5 at a Blue Peter Bring and Buy sale held at our house many years ago! Over the last 6 years I've been taking photos with whatever camera I've been able to get my hands on- from my Canon Powershot point-and-shoot to my 400D that my other half bought me for a rather special birthday/christmas present!

I have a lot of friends who are photographers, which interested me to try amateur modelling to help them with portfolio work. Eventually I found the modelling wasn't really my bag- being a bit of a tomboy, I wasn't used to allocating time for curling my hair, painting my nails and all those kind of things! I was however, pretty interested in trying it from the other side of the camera. Thanks to many of my photographer buddies, I got to have a little experiment playing with their cameras and equipment, and found that although my technical knowledge was almost non-existant, I wasn't terrible at shooting models. Since then, I have shot a number of local models -in studios, on location and in my makeshift studio in the dining room- and am thoroughly enjoying the new challenges that it brings me! I think my experience on both sides of the camera is extremely useful when putting models at ease- but it also ensures I have realistic expectations from my model shoots. I intersperse shooting models with some self portrait work with varying degrees of success!

I'm the first to admit that if it wasn't for digital cameras, I would not be a “photographer”- though many may argue that unless you understand the processes and can shoot on film that you're not really a photographer! I still struggle with technicalities, but I enjoy creating beautiful and interesting images of people, places, things and experiences- and I am learning so much as I go along.

BLAB: In keeping with our usual style, here's a few questions we put to Clare.

What colour would your Ferrari be?
CR: I'm afraid I just wouldn't have one! I'm a bit of a hippy environmentalist type, and I can't imagine anything more ridiculous than the idea of spending £200,000 on a car! Having said that it, if I had to have one, it would be in an embarassing or ridiculous colour like lime green (do they DO green ferraris?) or orange to match my folding bike!

What's your best bit of advice for a new photographer?
CR: I think it would be just to keep taking photos, to experiment and be self critical in a constructive way. Most of my photography is self taught- with advice from friends stuck in there along the way. Inspired by a friend, I challenged myself to do a 365 photographs project- which I started with my point and shoot Canon Powershot A530. It ran over about 15 months (not the 365 days straight that I envisaged) and really made me work to find something of interest or beauty in my everyday life. It also taught me how to select my better pictures and take critique- and I would highly recommend it as a way to really start taking photos.

If you had been paid ten thousand pounds for being our 'Tuesday tog', what photo equipment would you spend it on?
CR: I'd probably just catch myself up the the level of every other photographer on the planet! I shoot with a 400D, using either the kit lens or a Tamron 28-105mm that was given to me by a friend. I like to keep things basic and to be resourceful when shooting- a lot of my self portrait work has been done balancing the camera on a tower of books, and lit using desk lamps! I have recently bought myself a few extra bits and bobs, but on the whole I don't have a lot of spare cash to spend on camera gear. I'd love a really decent macro lens- my interest often lies in the detail of an image- especially finding an obscure or perfect pattern in an unexpected place. I'd also make sure I had a great portrait lens, some flash units and a proper set of studio lights with all the accessories!

Which of your images means the most to you and why?
CR: This is a really hard question that I've been pushing myself to try to answer! Although not necessarily my “best” image, day 19 of my photography project means a lot to me! It was taken on the first foreign holiday I took with my (now) fiancee, and we went to such beautiful places across Brittany and had such a lovely time! I think it was one of the first “good” photos I took, which I thought about and planned, and used technical knowledge mixed in with a “creative vision” to come up with a satisfying outcome!

The pictures I have chosen to represent the range of my work are:
This image was taken during the snow in February 2009- and for some reason it's one that I always come back to. My “style” if I have one involves slight desaturation of colours- and this represents that and the sombre effect that it creates.

The next image is of one of the models I shot in 2008:
The Story
This was the first time that I used a model to create an idea or vision that I had about how the overall image should look and feel. The model (Lisa) was brilliant- able to take direction and bring her own style and movement to the shot. I put the three images together as a tryptich to better express the emotion and story behind the picture.

Spiney Mice
I haven't really travelled anywhere particularly exciting, but I always want to prove that you don't HAVE to travel to exotic locations to take interesting images. This was taken at Whipsnade Zoo- I couldn't believe how well lit the animals were, and how clean the glass was through to the vivariums. This is two baby Spiny Pocket Mice feeding from their mother- an absolutely captivating experience!


I always feel that it's a good idea to mix photography with whatever other hobbies you have. I have squillions of other hobbies, but sailing is a particularly pituresque one (sometimes!). This is the Ripple (or Patience), a beautiful restored Broads Yacht who I have had the pleasure of sailing a number of times- and on a sunny day with a strong breeze- there's nothing better!

BLAB: Thanks to Clare for being the 'tog for today on the blog. You can find more of Clare's photography in her regularly updated flickr stream, it's well worth a look.

As always if you want to be here one Tuesday then let us know via the comments.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice to learn a bit more about Clare. I think it's typical story today. I liked the comment about film - I think that through similar experiences to Clare's more people have the chance now to get to learn about the photography process in the digital world, than there would have been in the purely film world. I certainly enjoy Clare's pictures which shows that you can learn just as well in this day and age. marcmo