Inside this issue
I’ve been interested in photography for almost as long as I can remember, I think my first camera was a Kodak Brownie 127 roll-film – not new! My enthusiasm was rekindled by moving to Nikon DSLRs a few years ago.
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
Here at On Landscape we're always keeping an eye out for interesting, personal projects, particularly ones that work outside of the usual photogenic subjects. When Andy Holliman got in touch to tell us about his small pond on Blackheath it most definitely perked our interest. We asked if Andy would let us ask him a few general questions and some specific ones about his book, Luminis, and 'the pond'. Thanks to Andy for showing us some of his great work and answering our questions.
Can you tell me a little about your education, childhood passions, early exposure to photography and how your passion for landscape developed over time?
I had a very normal suburban childhood in South London. I went to University in Bristol and stayed there for a few years until work brought me back to London. Like a lot of people, I don’t think I realised the childhood events that would shape me when they were happening but we usually had a summer holiday in Devon or Cornwall; in pre-motorway days this was a seemingly interminable journey – particular with three of us in the back seat. The North Cornish coast is still one of my favourite places in the world, somewhere I’ll always want to return to. My Dad had an Agifold 6x6 camera, he took a lot of slides with it - remarkably he got the exposures spot on most of the time without any metering, Saturday night slide shows were always a bit of a family treat. I had an old plastic Kodak brownie when I was about 5 that produced tiny black and white prints, unfortunately, I don’t have any of them anymore – I’m sure they were all masterpieces! That was replaced with an Instamatic and from then on it was always slide film for me until digital took over.
What are the most memorable moments in your photography or what events changed your approach to photography?
I did a paper round to save up for an OM-1, a camera I still use. Using that was the first time I felt the buzz of seeing an image and thinking that’s not bad! I think that thrill is one of the things that still motivates me today; with digital it’s a more immediate experience but no less exciting for that.
I’ve been lucky enough to see quite a lot of the world, but I’m always drawn back to the polar regions. I once flew back from Vancouver over the arctic, the ice was covered in vivid blue pools and seemed an endless wilderness of ice and snow. That led to a trip to Greenland to see it close up and that was it – hooked! The combination of incredible wildlife and beautiful, harsh, rugged landscapes draw me back every time.
How has lockdown been for you and photography?
We’ve tried to get out for a walk most days and although I’m based in urban South London there is quite a lot to photograph in the area; Greenwich Park isn’t far away, Brookmill Park is minutes away and Deptford Creek flows past the flat so there’s plenty to see. The change in the pace of life has made me more attuned to what’s happening around me, it’s been particularly enjoyable to see the daily changes in the plants and wildlife even in such a suburban setting. There are a surprising variety of birds on the creek, herons and egrets are regular visitors and very occasionally even a kingfisher. My macro lens has had a very busy few months, I’ve taken far more images with it this year than all the time I’ve owned put together, discovering auto focus-stacking on my camera was a great discovery. Lilies are my current favourite subject, the curves and shapes are so delicate and so beautiful, each flower seems slightly different. I’ve been working on a series of long exposure images of the shadows and patterns on the surface of the creek and a film-based project on a local street that still has some aspects of old Deptford about it. I also did a series of images of the same leaf photographed in different ways and posted an image on Facebook every day for 100 days; it sounds trivial, but it was an interesting challenge to keep coming up with new ideas.
Whilst lockdown has been a very creative period for me, I should say that I know I’ve been lucky that we’ve both remained healthy so far, but I appreciate this isn’t the case for everyone.