on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Neil Burnell

Featured Photographer

Neil Burnell

Neil Burnell is a multi-award winning photographer from Devon in the South-West of England. He originally studied Art and Photography at college in the early 90s and went into graphic design, but recently has discovered a love for landscape & seascape photography. This year Neil is looking to exhibit his ‘Mystical’ series of ancient Wistman’s Wood images while also planning other photography projects.


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.


Our next two featured photographers are notable for their determination to improve their landscape photography, and their drive in doing so, although they have chosen different routes and, for now, outcomes (for one photography remains a hobby to fit around the day job, for the other photography is their livelihood). Both are active on social media, notably Twitter, which has witnessed and encouraged them both along the way.

In this issue, we catch up with Neil Burnell. If you still mostly associate Neil with long-exposure photography, you’ll learn how extended application in the form of year-long competitions has benefitted his skill set and broadened his interests and portfolio.

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 grew up in Brixham, Devon, and I’m still here today! It’s a lovely town on the coast of South Devon and I’ve never felt the need or wanted to move away.

Growing up, my interests were always sports, mainly football, but any competitive ball sports really. I also had a keen interest in sea fishing which would eventually lead me to a love for photography later in my life. At school, there were very few lessons I enjoyed in all honesty, but I did love Art & Design and decided to pursue a career as a designer at South Devon College by undertaking a Design & Photography National Diploma course. I did really enjoy the Photography part of the course especially the darkroom development side of it, but at this stage, I didn’t consider it as a career. Looking back now I kind of wish I had, although things could have turned out so differently and who’s to say I’d be enjoying photography now if I’d taken that career path.

I’m now working as a designer within the food industry, employed by Caterfood, a foodservice distribution company.

How did you first become interested in photography and what kind of images did you initially set out to make?

I’ve always owned a camera but I really lacked direction with my photography. It wasn’t until I started taking the camera fishing that I thought about shooting seascapes and landscapes. Initially, I shot images of friends holding fish they had caught, this then led to people fishing within the landscape and eventually I was looking for compositions purely of seascapes and it was at this stage I decided to put more time into photography rather than fishing. Before I knew it I had purchased a tripod and was experimenting with filters.

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