Inside this issue
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
John Irvine is only a recent convert to landscape photography but he's been producing some wonderful work and in the last few months has, through external constraints, found a passion for his local area.
Can you tell me a little about your education, childhood passions, early exposure to photography and vocation?
My educational background is one of engineering, however I did not pursue that for long, and joined the Police Force when I was 21. I do remember being very fond of drawing, design and creating things and although I was competent, I would never have been talented enough to pursue any kind of educational major or career in the Arts.
I can recall being interested in taking images and if I had a disposable camera in my hand, i'd try and catch the most dramatic image I could. However for one reason or another it never progressed from that. My earliest photographic memory was taking an image of a crashing wave near to where I grew up in Northern Ireland, and like any special photographic moment, whether it be with a disposable or an IQ260, I can still remember it well.
What are you most proud of in your photography?
Probably my ability to self educate. I've never attended any kind of training/workshops/ or hands on assistance - I've learnt it all by myself. Not that it's been an easy journey, far from it. I started taking photography seriously in 2010 when I got my first full frame DSLR however that doesn't mean I haven't taken a poor image since, there's been loads of them. I suppose the encouraging thing that the poor to good ratio has got smaller and I take less frames to achieve what I want to create.
In most photographer’s 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?
OK, the first one isn't very 'Holywood,' however it was my realisation that fuel prices were crippling my location hunting and exploration. Coupled with time constraints, I had to make a conscious effort to shoot locally. Although I resented it at the time, it has actually improved my photography no end and I'm happier than ever. I would be lying if I said that I didnt want to visit Wester Ross again, however i'm not craving it like I once did.
The second moment was when I had travelled to Elgol for the night in my old classic mini. It had been raining quite heavily in the journey and water and old minis don’t mix well. Not well at all. The troubles didn’t manifest until I was 5 hours from home and out of mobile phone coverage. I was in a fairly wild place, in off season with a broken mini. But I didn't care. I was happy. The conditions were glorious and I set off to see what I could find. In those 4 preceding hours, I didn't once think about how I was going to get home - I was just content to be alive and witnessing what was occurring in front of me. (I got home safe after a lot of swearing and strikes with a hammer - and some WD40...)
Tell me about why you love landscape photography? A little background on what your first passions were, what you studied and what job you ended up doing
I grew up in Northern Ireland and still considerate it my home. All my family still live there however my wife is Scottish and wont move back. Plus the job is a little different back home for various reasons. As much as I love the Scottish landscape, my first memory of wonderful scenery were the regular trips my family and I made up the Antrim Coast road to the north coast. This is such a beautiful and dynamic coastal area and every single time I visit I feel an overwhelming sense of inner energy come over me.
I have always been interested in a vast array of activities, sports, athletics, sailing, canoeing etc however I never concentrated solely on one. I suppose thats when I knew landscape photography was very special to me, as I focused so heavily on it and being better at it. I'm a Detective in the Police, which brings its own pressures, like any job. Most definitely my interest in photography was a direct result of me trying to 'de-stress' from work, no doubt. Especially with the role I'm in now. My job role is guided by laws, general orders and various rules, leaving little room for creativity and spontaneity. I think this is why I enjoy my photography so much, its completely opposite to what I do for a living.