Rod gives us his thoughts on his photography, his influences and where his photography started.
When did you start in photography
Marcia my wife was the photographer in the family, until we went to Jersey in 1983 and I decided to buy a camera, a Minolta X300. I took to photography like a duck to water and the rest is history. We joined our local Camera Club in Caldicot, after our holiday. It was the nearest club to Tintern where we were living at the time. It was a small critic club, it did not hold any competitions but there were plenty of practical events, peer-to-peer reviews and it held an annual photographic exhibition at Caldicot Castle.
What type of photography do you enjoy or specialise in
Like many club photographers initially I was drawn towards pictorial work, mainly landscapes. However my interest waned after a few years and I was drawn towards a more personal approach to my image making. I switched to black and white using only a 50mm lens and occasionally a 28mm wide angle. It was around this time that I joined the Contemporary Group.
Today my work is spilt between project based work and a more intuitive approach responding to people and things seen on my travels around the country, which are recorded in annual journals.
What is your involvement with the Royal Photographic Society
I joined the Society in 1991 and gained my Licentiate in 1992, and I did my Associateship in Contemporary Photography in 2005. I have done two stints as the SW Regional Organiser, as well as being Vice Chair of the Contemporary Group. I was also Chairman of the Special Interest Groups and Chairman of the Representatives Committee before ill health forced me to resign from all volunteering activities for the Society this time last year.
What is your photographic involvement outside the Royal Photographic Society
Apart from the Caldicot Camera Club I have been a member of Paignton Photographic Club for 32 years.
Who is you favourite photographer or one who has influenced your work
This is so difficult to pin down to one person but I would answer there are three in the running Roger Mayne, Daniel Meadows and Raymond Moore. If you are not familiar with their work they are worth researching.
What is your favourite or most useful piece of equipment
For me a camera is merely a tool, so I am not equipment orientated. I do own two small discrete digital compact cameras, which suit my style. However I do have an extensive photographic library built up over 37 years
Any tips you may have for other Regional members
Find your own voice photographically speaking try not to follow the herd. Learn how to really look at things. Develop quick reactions as a scene unfolds in front of you. Know how your camera works, so making adjustments becomes second nature.
What is your approach to your photography
As I explained earlier my photographic practice is divided into two distinct strands and it is the Photographic Journals I would like to illustrate. I suppose this all stems from the first Photographic Book I bought by Dmitri Kasterine titled “England and the English”. In this book he travelled round the country making candid and permissive photographs of the people and places he visited. He worked in an instinctive way photographing what he wanted, in a way he wanted and I suppose that has become my mantra for my image making around the country.
Some of the photographs are permissive and others are candid. I work quickly making one or two images I always let my subjects strike a pose they are happy with and if people do not want to be photographed I thank them anyway and move on, in all the years I have been doing this only two people declined.
Van Gogh identified himself with the art of illustration of the ordinary, I can relate to this sentiment, he was intrigued by the British habit of assembling photographs in a scrapbook. I like to continue this tradition with my photographic journals.
I must admit the older I get, I feel home sick for the country shown to me in photographs.