In the Alps, Pyrenees, or even bigger mountains you photograph differently from Britain. The beauty is so enormous you overlook small features which in Scotland, the Lake District, Peak District or Snowdonia might be the centre of a photograph. This rock, that river, or a single tree as foreground to British hills. This creates a tension between big and small. As you walk the Pyrenees you are saturated with impressions of drama, scale, and magnificent scenery. That’s why you’re there and that’s what you photograph. There are contrary moments however when you enjoy a micro location with no reference to surrounding grandeur. This is an example. I’d been walking thirty minutes from Wallon beginning my day. I felt the usual stress. Is this the path, is that another I can see, and if not it must be the correct route. I enjoyed the framing of this path, the flowers at the side, and the distant view. As such, a shot like this is quintessentially photographic resting on personal experience. When I did my photography MA one of the tutors made a curious remark. There’s too much photography there, he said, which I found fascinating. He suggested someone was too arty, too self conscious, too concerned with the medium as opposed to the message. It was a derogatory remark but very suggestive for photographic practice in terms of context, objectives, and why we press that button. His photography was documentary, largely about Africa, and when you analyse that approach what you find is narrative. Africa is where it’s at the moment, he said. That is, a lot of people are talking about Africa and there are many stories to tell. I prefer photographs which travel through a different weave of life, as novels do compared to news. The Cambales lakes are up there to the left. Ilheou is to the right. I waited here fifteen minutes for good light. Cloudy skies meant the scene was covered in shadow. I wanted it illuminated.


Pyrenees Mountain Photography: Wallon to Ilheou

Friday November 7, 2014