What kind of photography inspires you?

There are two photography exhibitions that I like to visit every year to get inspired and learn more about photography. These are the National Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the Landscape Photographer of the Year. This year I also decided to visit a portrait photography exhibition as well, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition.

My favourite from the Landscape Photographer of the Year this time was a photograph of layers of trees and fields, caught up in the early morning mist – John Hoddinott’s “Vale of mist, Clench, Vale of Pewsey, Wiltshire, England”. It conjured up wistful thoughts, and made me want to get up early to capture that sort of view myself. The greens and whites contrasted with the black skeletons of trees, making their presence known in the image. Just beautiful.

A new departure for me this year was my visit to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 at the National Portrait Gallery. I’ve been doing a short photography course and thought it would be good to see what sort of portraits people take, to expand my appreciation of photography. It was an interesting experience, but I felt that some of the images were quite desolate and sad.

All the photos had a story behind them that was told on the panel next to the image, and there was a mixture of well known and ordinary people, from all around the world. From neighbours on a garden wall in London, to a man in the mountains with a goat in his backpack, to heroin addicts. And intentional portraits of Kofi Annan (formal) and Sol Campbell (relaxed) contrasting with a strong but sad news image of Oscar Pistorius in court.

Ravens at the Grand CanyonAnd my final exhibition visit was to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, which always provides beautiful images to gaze at, often with a few penguins to make me smile – although sadly no penguins this year. The most striking images to me, as I wandered around and noted technical details to look up and learn about, were the black and white ones. Elephants, a lion, and a raven all caught my eye for different reasons.

A regal lion, the details of his furry coat and alert eyes. Two elephants reflected in a long thin image, a small yet essential part of the landscape.

And a raven at the Grand Canyon, reminding me of a trip I’d taken there in 2010. The photo shown here is my attempt to capture the ravens on camera!

So I thoroughly enjoyed my photography viewing again this year, with the added portrait exhibition. I think my particular interest in the wildlife and landscape ones reflects my preference for capturing those on film rather than people.

Do you have a preference for photographing and looking at photos of people or places?

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