Inside this issue
David Queenan is a freelance graphic designer and photographer based in central Scotland. He credits the use of Photoshop in his career as a graphic artist with rekindling the passion for photography that began while studying for a degree in Graphic Design. He now shoots mainly Scottish landscapes; he has been commended in the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year and ‘Take a View’ Landscape Photographer of the Year competitions, and won the Scottish Nature Photography Awards in 2015.
My images combine an early love of drawing and painting with a long-standing passion for photographing the landscape. An important part of my portfolio continues to be about the interaction between water and light in, but I’m also experimenting with movement on land and even my own progress on foot through the landscape. Facebook Flickr
Sometimes you can remember clearly the first image that you saw from someone that made you sit up and take notice; in this case, it is ‘Cloud Construction’. Periodically since David Queenan’s images of the Forth Bridges have punctuated my feed, bringing back memories of the commute that used to sandwich my working days. Rather than restrict image selection to just ‘natural’ landscapes, I wanted on this occasion to include a number of David’s photographs of buildings and structures. I like the graphic quality of these, and they are a good reminder to us all to stop and look up. It also reinforces the point that, while we (or others) may consider ourselves primarily ‘landscape photographers’, there are no boxes in life and we need not limit our curious minds.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, your education and early interests, and what that led you to do as a career?
I was born and brought up in Bo’ness, which is a small town in West Lothian about 20 miles to the west of Edinburgh. I still currently live and work there as a freelance graphic designer and photographer – it’s a very central location with good access to motorways and allows me to reach many of my favourite photographic locations within a couple of hours.
I attended the local schools and, although I wasn’t a great academic, I managed to come out with 5 O-Levels, 4 Highers and a ‘Sixth Year Study’ in Art, which was enough to gain me entry into the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee. Art was easily my strongest and favourite subject at school, and I was always drawing and painting in my spare time. I was a big fan of Yes at the time and always loved their album cover artwork by Roger Dean and decided that graphic design was what I really wanted to do – although, not realising at the time that very few designers actually get to work on album covers for famous bands.
How did you become interested in photography and what kind of images did you initially set out to make?
During my time at art college, although I was on the graphic design course, we had the chance to try out some of the other subjects on offer at the college too – such as drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, textile design and photography. Photography was not available as a standalone degree course, but I had the option to study it as a secondary subject to my main degree. The college had a great darkroom suite at that time – this was back in the 1980s – and we learned how to use the cameras and develop our own black & white film and prints. This led to me buying my first SLR film camera – an Olympus OM10 with a 50mm lens and for many years this was the only kit I ever used. I still own it to this day – although I can’t remember when I actually last used it. During this time, I developed an interest in architectural photography and one of my final year projects was creating modern abstract images of one of the art college buildings – something I still very much enjoy doing, especially when combined with long exposures. We were also lucky enough to undertake a trip to West Berlin in 1983 and I still have some of the prints I made at the time of the Berlin wall and famous Checkpoint Charlie.
Who (photographers, artists or individuals) or what has most inspired you, or driven you forward in your own development as a photographer?
The person that inspired my photography most in those early days was the head of the art college photography department, Joseph McKenzie (1929-2015), a Scottish photographer who was often referred to as the ‘father of modern Scottish photography’ and was best known for his black and white images of post-war Scottish lives amid urban decay and redevelopment.