Inside this issue
Interview with Paul Whiting
What's beyond a competition win?
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
This issue we're talking to Paul Whiting who won the Amateur Photographer of the Year competition in 2005. We talked about his approach to photography, how he came to win the competition and what happened afterwards. We first asked Paul a couple of background questions about the start of his path toward landscape photography.
Paul: I was thinking back to where photography first started fitting into my life. In between finishing A Levels and when I was doing university I’d do summer jobs and I managed to scrabble enough money together to get some Canon SLR’s. It was obviously film then.
Tim: When was this?
Paul: Oh let me think: 1986
Tim: .. you went to university doing?
Paul: I went to university in 1984. I went out in Essex, I was an Essex boy then, grew up in the Midlands actually, ended up in Colchester. Don’t know if you know that part of the world?
Tim: I do yes.
Paul: Yeah, interesting place - I’ve never been back. I did meet my wife there, so there was one good thing that came out of it.
I’d gotten enough pocket money together to go and get things like ... I think my first one was probably a Canon T70 or a T90 maybe. I bought it, was really delighted with it and then it broke - I took it back to Comet where I bought it from and they said “Yeah we’ll fix that for you” and called them up a week later and said “How’s it going?” “Yeah, yeah”, two weeks later, “Yeah”, three weeks later “Yeah, yeah, no problem we’ll sort it”. About a month later I went in and said “You know this camera, have you still got it?” And they went “Well actually the technician has run off with it, so we haven’t got it!”
And they said “Look, okay have your money back”, and I went down the road to a camera shop and bought an EOS 620. So that was my run around SLR. I wasn’t really doing landscape as such then, I was just generally interested in wondering around and capturing things that interested me.
Tim: Why did you pick up a camera in the first place?
Paul: Do you know looking back, I don’t even know. I mean I’d bumble along and go through phases not even really bothering to do photography that much and the sort of the epiphany moment where I really got hooked on landscape came quite a bit later.
I’d picked up a photography mag and I’d seen an advert for a Charlie Waite talk up in London and I went my wife for the day. It was probably ’95/’96 and was in one of the exhibition halls in London.
Charlie had got a Hasselblad and medium format projector and he was starting to show some of his slides and I was just absolutely blown away!
He’d got some of the iconic stuff out of his "Making of landscape photographs", Buttermere and stuff and I was just hooked then.
And so I persuaded my wife that it would be a good idea to a get Blad as well, one with an 80mm and a 150mm and I just started trying to think about what I’d seen, because I hadn’t seen landscape photography like that then.
This is just to give you a feel for where it started for me, maybe later I’d go through a ‘Joe’ phase, but now if I look at who I would aspire to or how I’d like to think I’d try and approach photography, it is probably David Ward.