Amberley Wildbrooks – Gerry Gavigan
“I have spent most of my working life in the film industry assisting other people to realise their artistic dreams and stories. After many years I felt the need to travel my own creative and narrative journey and chose photography. I would be telling a story but in still images. A major difference to the solitary endeavours of photojournalism and street photography was the absence the huge team effort of a movie crew. Another crucial change was that I was making decisions simply to satisfy myself but of course I hoped people would like the photographs.
“My work was traditional B&W documentary but was encouraged by my (then) photo agency to shoot in colour if I ever wanted to make any money. The first colour essay I produced was “ Jackeroo, Jilleroo and Ringer”, the result of two months cattle mustering with the station hands in Australia’s Northern Territories. Creating mood with colour was an exciting revelation.
“Landscape photography came about with the chance to travel around the world for six and a half weeks to assist on three TV commercials for Singapore Airlines and as if I needed extra persuasion, would I shoot the landscape stills as well? Being familiar, in the work place, with seeing images letterbox shaped through a movie Panavision lens I used a Linhof 6×12 roll film camera. The wide format seemed suitable for wide screen television.
“I used this camera for a number of years but ultimately felt the need for more creative control and moved onto a Large Format (5×4) camera. At present I tend use wide angle lenses creating images where, I hope the viewer imagines that with one step forward they could be standing in the picture. I can’t remember the last time I used a long lens for a landscape. I am now trying to take this style into digital capture. With my limited computer skills, I try to retain a look in the image akin to how it was when I clicked the shutter. I don’t like the ramped up colour I sometimes see in magazines.
Amberley Wildbrooks, West Sussex (Top Image)
“Only the second image I ever took with a 5×4 camera (borrowed) using tilt and movements. The baseboard obstructed the grey grad filter across the sky which meant I had to insert it upside down. I was lucky it didn’t create a harder line on the horizon.
“I had used a LF camera before (an old MPP) for my documentary stories shooting only one image at a time (magazines were worried about sheet film prices when I put in my expenses). But basically I used the camera like a giant box Brownie, I simply racked out the focus till the subject looked sharp, no movements!
Camera: Linhof Technica. Lens 90mm. Film Fuji Velvia
Chanctonbury Ring – Gerry Gavigan
Chanctonbury Ring, West Sussex
“I had noticed this picture a year before but didn’t have interesting light at the time. A calendar company used another image from this set-up but it was shot earlier in the afternoon and a bit too chocolate-box for me. I was a little disappointed that they hadn’t chosen this one. Short listed for Landscape Photographer of the Year 2007 I was pleased that it made the book and the exhibition.
Camera: Mamiya 711. Lens 43mm . Film Fuji Velvia
Clavel Tower – Gerry Gavigan
Clavel Tower, Kimmerage Bay, Dorset
“I shot this on a very blustery evening. The sun was perpendicular to the tower and sitting just above a thick cloud on the horizon. It was a scramble to take the shot. Although I had hung my camera bag on the tripod to help steady it I was still hanging onto it for dear life, trying to flag the hard sun from the lens and operate the cable release all the while balancing on the cliff edge. I took one frame and the sun slipped into the cloud. Normally I keep technical notes of each set-up but I was so convinced that I had missed the shot I wrote nothing down. Imagine my surprise when the film was processed.
Camera: Linhof Technorama 6×12. Lens 65mm. Film Fuji Velvia
Am Buachaille – Gerry Gavigan
Am Buachaille, Sandwood Bay, Cape Wrath, Scotland
“If ever the Gods were with me it was this evening. It’s a fair walk to Sandwood Bay (over four miles) but when I got there the weather was poor and I thought a return visit would have to be on the cards. However just as I was thinking of hiking home the sun slipped around the headland and under the clouds. The sky and sea lit up as if everything was on fire. Here I did use a longish lens, 70mm to pull the curving wave and the sea stack together.
Camera: Nikon D700. Lens. Nikkor 24-70mm. ISO 100
Treath Llyfn – Gerry Gavigan
Treath Llyfn, Pembrokeshire, Wales
“Normally I wouldn’t be on a west facing beach first thing in the morning but I had shot here the previous evening and was camped near by. The next day storm clouds were building and I was intrigued to see what might occur. I guess sometimes you have to break with you usual behavior.
Camera: Nikon D700. Lens 21mm Zeiss (borrowed. I’m a great borrower) ISO 100
“Other than my ongoing wish to photograph Scotland I have a number of projects in the pipeline namely the landscape around Sussex and the Downs and one I call “The End of the Sea”. This is in b&w but shot on Holga and pinhole cameras to give an other worldly or dreamlike look.
“I am still shooting people-based stories. I currently have a set of pictures I took in South African townships to work on. Without resorting to b&w I am looking to produce this with a limited colour pallet and still retain a gritty look. With my lack of computer skills I haven’t quite found the style I am happy with. All I need is some computer time”.