on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Paul Mitchell

Featured Photographer Revisited

Paul Mitchell

Paul is a graphic designer and semi-professional photographer based in Buckinghamshire. Amongst his other varied work he finds time to design books and branding for other photographers. He lectures on a regular basis and runs his own landscape workshops. His work has featured many times in the Landscape Photographer of the Year, International Garden Photographer of the Year and Outdoor Photographer of the Year.


Michéla Griffith

In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.


As I write this, the buds are visible fattening on the trees, and the landscape in the northwest Peak District is greening up. It’s a good time of year to head for the woods, but then any time of year is a good time to do so. Even the most unpromising scrap of woodland offers an escape from everyday life and an opportunity to reconnect with the sights, scents and sounds of nature. Paul Mitchell has become well known for his complex and beautifully lit woodland scenes, though this is by no means his only strength as a look at his website will reveal. Hopefully, our Revisited feature will allow you to catch up with his work, and may even give you an insight or two if the complex patterns of branches and stems leave you lost for a place to start. Even if you venture into the woods, find a place and simply sit, it will be time well spent at any time of year. You can read the original featured photographer interview from 2011 here.

What has changed for you, photographically speaking, since Tim spoke to you way back in 2011, or given you the most enjoyment?

What I perceive to have been the biggest change for me over the last eight years is my gradual, but inevitable, slide towards digital capture. I’ve certainly not abandoned film completely as I do still enjoy venturing out with my pinhole camera on a fairly regular basis. Indeed I still have all my large and medium format cameras and intend holding on to them as long as possible. Why the change though? In a nutshell… convenience. My increasing appreciation of the countryside and woodland has made me realise that you have to react quickly to the ever changing seasons and weather conditions which is why I keep my camera bag handy next to the front door. I very often just pop out for an hour or so at dawn and can still be sitting at my desk by 9am. I can then download, review and process my images on an ad hoc basis without waiting to finish off a roll of film. It is also fair to say that digital has ‘come of age’ and has now equalled, if not surpassed, the results I was obtaining with film.

Have your tastes in photography changed at all, or what you find inspiration in? (Either in terms of your own work, or what you enjoy looking at.)

As with my taste in music I’ve always considered my interest in photography to be quite eclectic in nature. I appreciate a well-crafted Joe Cornish landscape image as much as I do an Alex Soth or Andreas Gursky. I often feel that those who confine their interest to a small number of genres are missing out somewhat in their total appreciation of photography. Indeed my own interest in woodland compositions has led me to seek out inspiration from some of our traditional landscape painters such as John Constable, Paul Sandby and John Sell Cotman. The more contemporary work of Christopher Burkett and Shinzo Maeda always continue to inspire.

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