Ian Coulling FRPS

Ian Coulling FRPS FRPS

Welcome to my members page and may I introduce my latest website project - "Images of Venice".

At present, there are over 900 screen-filling images (dependant on format), featured in 54 themed galleries; together with 150 highly informative and illustrated blog style posts. It is regularly updated, so please check back at intervals.

Opened in late 2018, my aim was to try and develop a rather different approach from the usual plethora of "tourist-based" sites, combining images and informative posts; for lovers of Venice and fine photography. Another priority was to give the site a clean and contemporary look, that did not distract from the imagery, worked across all platforms and was mercifully free of commercial interests.

Other considerations for a single subject "image-dense" site, was the selection and arrangement of photos into themed galleries; to maintain visual variation and interest. Finally, to significantly reduce costs by using a universal publishing system with self administration capability and modified with additional "plug-in" software and living within its limitations.

It was certainly challenging. How do you say something different about the world's most photographed city and one featured in literally hundreds of other websites? When I started out, I had little idea how things would develop and conceived just an image based site. Researching and writing posts was a new experience to master.

Two years down the line, the site has exceeded all my expectations and developed into a large and unique non-commercial resource; combining my photography with the history and culture of this remarkable city! A generic search for "images of venice" on Google, finds my site on Page 1; amongst names like Getty Images, Tripadvisor, Pixabay and Pinterest. Quite a satisfying result for a totally non commercial low-cost website and my attempts to understand the mystery of search engine optimisation!

How do you start to develop a more personal vision of a place, whether it be a natural or urban landscape?

I think the key to successful photography and developing a more individual approach, is do as much research as possible before you start and try to understand what gives it “a sense of place” or “reality”.

Essentially, the more you know before you visit the more productive you will become. Before your first visit, you will then have built up a "preconception" of the place, Write a "to do" list. When you arrive, your "perception"may well differ and will probably significantly change over the course of the visit. This, together with simply changing your relationship with nature; produces a small degree of emotion or anxiety within you, so firing the imagination. You can enter a world of "enhance perception", freeing yourself of outside distractions.

In Venice, being sensitive to all the factors and relationships as mentioned below, will help you become more perceptive, open to different ideas and bring greater success.

Reality is mediated by its history and culture - religion, politics, economics, art, architecture, literature, science, philosophy, music and even its cuisine.

Its also all about relationships and balance - between man and nature, permanence and transience and the past, present and future. For its people, it is a story of triumph over adversity.

Venice is an aquatic city of "stone, water, colour and texture", all modulated by the passage of time. Street art and graffiti, again very transient in nature, reflect both international sentiments and politics and local social tensions between the state, the church and its people.

Adaptability is also key; coping with the constantly changing weather and lighting conditions and the hordes of humanity that daily descend on this wonderful city. Because of the infinite photographic possibilites in Venice, you slowly learn what works and what doesn't under varying conditions and so still keep productive.

The images were taken during short breaks over a 45 year period and so due to the transient nature of the place (changing place - changing time - changing thoughts - changing future); many are now unique. I have tried to minimise the difference between scanned film-stock and digital capture, to give visual consistency throughout the website.

Please find time to visit the website, enjoy the images and posts and feel free to comment via the contact page.
I gained my Fellowship in 1985, in the field of Pictorial Photography. Primarily a landscape photographer (both wilderness and urban), I specialised in Monochrome and Lith printing, using sepia, selenium and gold toning techniques. From 2009, I moved over to digital capture and processing, working almost exclusively in colour.

I have always tried to attain a degree of individuality in my work and have tended to favour simple and direct imagery, with close attention to the arrangement of the pictorial elements; that communicate the message well. I have found it useful when photographing to keep focused, by following various "mantras", such as "analysis - selection - execution" and the old Zen saying - "simplicity - purity - harmony - balance".

Working in a series of related images or in small projects tends to bring the most rewards.

Presented below is a selection of my images in five themed groups.
The first three series are derived from monochrome film-stock and are presented in B&W, sepia tone and the challenging and highly controlled lith printing and toning technique. The last two in colour are by digital capture and are examples of my recent work, taken from my "Images of Venice" website. "Reflections", demonstrates the modulation of light by water and "Torn and Time", the balance between transience and permanence; both characteristic of this aquatic city. On wall surfaces and service boxes, layers of posted information, advertising and graffiti, slowly degenerate and merge together; forming new images, often remeniscent of mixed media artwork.