on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Al Brydon

Featured Photographer

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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Al Brydon

I'm a photographer based in the north of the UK working on long term landscape photography projects. I have been published and exhibited both in the UK and abroad and am co-founder of the Inside the Outside photography collective.

Landscape photography is the perfect vehicle for narrative and storytelling. I'm interested in the history of landscape and human interaction and alteration of landscape. The long departed people who have shaped that world sing songs. I'm slowly learning to listen.


This issue's Featured Photographer is an old contributor Al Brydon. Al has been intriguing us with his crepuscular concoctions for a while and we wanted to ask him some of the usual questions and get an update on this and his 'two photographers' Holga experiments.

Al Brydon featured photographer - 1Can you tell me a little about your education, childhood passions, early exposure to photography and vocation?

As a small boy I was surrounded by strange boxes of junk my dad would buy at auction for a quid a box. Aside from old radios and general detritus, there would occasionally be a very old camera for which the old man would get some film. I would then set my toy dinosaurs into a makeshift garden diorama and photograph them in various stages of a battle. Many years later when I was sixteen I attended Chesterfield Art College and used a darkroom for the first time. Seeing my first image appear in the developer was the moment, as it were. Even though I knew an image would appear I was still surprised when it did. It was really then that I knew what I wanted to do so I started a HND in photography at Leicester College and then completed a further 6 months study at the now sadly defunct Picture House. All these years later thankfully I'm still being surprised by photography

Al Brydon featured photographer - 2What are you most proud of in your photography?

Whatever I'm currently working on. Once a project is finished it's finished and I want to move on. I find it increasingly difficult to look back at older work and still remember how I felt about it at the time. Retrospective revelations about what I was thinking can be fairly illuminating and may then influence the next set of photographs. Building upon old ideas and taking them somewhere else seems to have allowed an evolution to the work. Mentally I always feel six months behind each project. I make the photographs then work out why afterwards.

Al Brydon featured photographer - 3In most photographers lives there are 'epiphanic’ moments where things become clear, or new directions are formed. What were your two main moments and how did they change your photography?

“Downgrading” to the Holga (toy camera with a fixed focal length plastic lens) was a fantastically liberating experience. The sudden absence of technology forced me to approach landscape photography in a completely different way. One shutter button and a focus ring that seemed to make no discernible difference no matter which way it's twiddled offered a complete oneness with the subject matter in front of me. I found it was something I could apply to my other landscape work with relative ease after a while. The other revelation came from mostly shooting in fairly awful weather conditions. No sunshine or chocolate box photographs, not that I have anything against that type of photography but it just doesn't interest me. The landscape is a tactile environment, especially on a rainy or windy day. There's so much more going on and the harder I have to work to get an image and the more I lose my sense of humour the more interesting the result seems to me. I want to have to work hard; it should never be easy.

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