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  • How I Build a Photo Tour

    Article published by On Landscape The article is a look at my philosophy for building a photo tour, using the Namibia tour as an example. "I strive to take them out of their creative comfort zone to provide photographic challenges at unexpected, often anonymous, locations. I passionately believe that we only thrive and grow artistically if we’re challenged." I'd love to start a conversation so please leave a comment on the On Landscape site. There are still a couple of places left if you would like to join.

  • I'm now on Vero!

    I have now begun uploading images onto Vero, starting off with a few from recent trips to Svalbard and Senja, in arctic Norway. Like many others I have become increasingly disenchanted with Facebook, Instagram etc. Vero offers a great platform for sharing images, with the ability to show them full screen and high resolution. Best of all there's none of the FB advertising rubbish. Please do go and have a look!

  • All the News That's Fit to Print...

    My latest email newsletter has just been released into the wild... ... containing late availability and details of my 2023 photo tours and workshops programme. You can download it from the link below... but it's probably easier if you you become a subscriber! Erratum: The dates for Northumberland should be 17-24 March, not February as stated in the newsletter.

  • In My Element...

    I am very honoured to be the featured photographer in this month’s Elements Magazine (you can find a full size version of the cover photo here) The issue includes an in-depth interview with me about my outlook on photography. I'd like to give my thanks to Olaf Sztaba, co-editor, for his very insightful (and demanding) discussion. It was really nice to be challenged and even better that the questions were specifically tailored to me and my photography. Too many publications rehash the same questions again and again. If you’re not already a subscriber I really recommend it as a source of inspirational photography (not just mine) and interesting, insightful articles on many aspects of landscape photography. The magazine has generously offered a discount code for first time subscribers. Simply type DAVID10 into the appropriate box to receive 10% off the annual plan in your first year.

  • Fame on Biblioscapes...

    A hogmanay special interview by Euan Ross... Biblioscapes, for those of you who haven't come across it yet, is a blog dedicated to photo books. Conceived and written by Euan Ross, the site reviews a wide range of photographers and their approaches. It's an excellent and fascinating resource and I heartily recommend you to take a look. A few weeks ago I had the very great pleasure to chat to Euan about my previous two books, Landscape Within and Landscape Beyond, and my plans for an as yet untitled third volume. We also discussed a few of my favourite photo books, from Paul Wakefield to Geoff Dyer. Biblioscapes

  • Latest Newsletter...

    My latest newsletter is hot off the digital presses... Enjoy!

  • Namibia

    The trip of a lifetime to undiscovered country... There are no longer any barriers to running next January's Namibia photo tour, following this week's announcement by the UK Govt. that they are scrapping the Red List Covid restrictions. In thirty plus years of travelling with my camera there have been just a handful of countries that I have visited that immediately gripped my imagination and fired my creativity. Namibia probably ties for first place on that list (you'll have to wait to find out which country it ties with!). As well as visiting its most famous sights, this tour will take participants to some rarely visited parts of this starkly beautiful country, providing photographers with some exclusive and exceptional opportunities. This really is the trip of a lifetime and I can hardly wait to share my passion for these places with my fellow travellers!

  • '22 Update...

    New tours and workshops added... I am very pleased to announce that, due to high demand, I have added a new Iceland in Winter workshop, co-led by Daniel Bergmann, in early February next year. We will be visiting some well-known locations but concentrating on seeing them in a different way. Daniel also has some new surprises up his sleeve... I've just got back from a very successful Norway in autumn tour, based in Senja. We had wonderful still conditions and some sublime light. We have booked the same accommodation for next year as it is an ideal place for exploring the north coast, with some superb woodland right on the doorstep. You can find full details here. Finally, I am making final preparations for next year's Picos de Europa tour. This is one of my favourite regions of Spain with medieval villages amidst majestic mountain scenery. The tour includes a breathtaking 4x4 safari along roads closed to the public. Full details will be released soon...

  • Autumn is Coming...

    I've just returned from two weeks in Arctic Norway, visiting the islands of Kvaløya and Senja. Autumn arrives early this far north of the Arctic Circle and in my opinion the foliage colours here are amongst the finest anywhere in the world. I'm still sorting through my images but have uploaded a few, starting with a beautiful birch bark curl. Hit the cross to go back to the Latest Gallery page so you can scroll through the first eight. I hope you and my other subscriber enjoy them!

  • Acquisitions & Inquisitions

    The second part of my mini-series on different approaches to making photographs has just been published in On Landscape. Do You Work in Acquisitions?, part one of the series, is free to read but I'm afraid you will need to pay a subscription to access Nobody Expects the Inquisition. On Landscape is an amazing resource for photographers interested in landscape with some excellent writing from the likes of Guy Tal and Joe Cornish as well as some wonderful, thought provoking images. Hopefully "...Acquisitions" will persuade you that it's worth subscribing!

  • I'm on The Telly... Sort of!

    Alister Benn has just published part one of his interview with me on his Vision & Light YouTube channel. We had a really interesting chat, touching on many different aspects of the life creative. Enjoy! P.S. Part two will be published on Wednesday 8th September, 2021.

  • The 3 Ages of a Photographer

    Why entering a second childhood is good for your photography... In “As You Like It”, William Shakespeare proposed seven ages of man; from infant through schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice and “pantaloon” to second childhood, "sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything". I’d like to propose a somewhat more modest three ages of a photographer. I’m afraid that my version won’t be presented in iambic pentameter! But, you’ll no doubt be relieved to know that my version of the final state doesn’t involve the loss of either appendages or faculties. Here goes… Novice We can probably all remember the eager state we felt when we first became interested in photography; we pored over every article on technique and read every description of new gear. We wanted to accumulate every morsel of knowledge we came across and work out how to apply it in the best possible way. But this isn’t like cramming for an exam, this is play and playing is (contrary to what some people may tell you!) one of the most important and rewarding things that you can do with your life. A Zen maxim has it that we should, ‘Develop an infallible technique, then put ourselves at the mercy of inspiration.’ This early period of informal, avid study lays the foundations of craft for later creative exploration. But it’s not all positive; there will inevitably be growing pains as setbacks often accompany our advances in technique and creativity. We may also realise, as we learn more, how much there is left to learn. And this can be more than a little daunting. Journeyman This is the age of experience. You’ve served your apprenticeship; you’ve reached a certain level of technical and compositional competence (it’s been a while since you really screwed up an exposure or had serious trouble working out how you wanted to approach a subject). Some might even feel a little smug at this stage; you can do this and what’s more you’ve got the awards/recognition of your peers to prove it. Many photographers don’t age beyond this point, you might say that they stay put in cosy middle age. It’s easy to see why. All the angst that you suffered learning your craft is in the past. You’ve developed a set of strategies for making images that broadly give good results. No, you won’t always make a masterpiece. But the images are generally pretty good. All those years of study have paid off and you feel comfortable with your work. You feel that this is it; you’ve become a photographer at last. But this is the most dangerous age for a creative photographer. Standing still isn’t an option if you want to grow creatively and not growing should never be an option. Ironically, to grow I think that one needs to return to childhood. Second childhood Play is one of the greatest joys of childhood, but it needn’t stop there, and it needn’t be child’s play. When Plato said, “Life must be lived as play.” he didn’t mean that we should treat our allotted time as a bit of a lark. He meant that we should approach every activity with joy, enthusiasm and the willingness to learn and experiment with which we inevitably set about the activity of play. According to musician, author and educator Stephen Nachmanovitch, play is the root and foundation of creativity in the arts and sciences: "…all creative acts are forms of play, the starting place of creativity" Great photographers never stop playing with the medium and many have written about the advantages of adopting childlike wonder at our world. The American photographer Minor White felt that it was important “…to see as an adult sees who has gone full circle and once again sees as a child - with freshness and an even deeper sense of wonder.” Bill Brandt wrote that, “It is part of the photographer’s job to see more intensely than most people do. He must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveller who enters a strange country.” Brandt ably demonstrated this attitude in both his nudes and his landscape work. Blessed with this attitude the French photographer Jaques Henri Lartigue (who started taking photographs when he was just seven) continued making surprising and quirky images, like the one above, well into his ninth decade. My own three ages… My novice period was quite prolonged, stretching from my first camera (a Kodak Instamatic at eleven years of age) right through to five years after I graduated. This included using my dad’s fold out 6x6 camera at sixteen, making my first B/W print at eighteen, three years at college and another three years as a photographer’s assistant. All that time was spent learning enough to simply be able to realise my artistic aims. Once I began getting commissioned work, there was always the fear that the next job might not go as well as I wanted it to. I still have dreams where I’ve turned up for a job without my film, or too late, or without a camera! Such anxiety meant that it didn’t immediately dawn on me that I had entered my journeyman phase. But one day I realised that it had been a few years since I’d messed up an editorial commission. There was, naturally some relief in this. Gradually I grew in confidence and worried less. Although, the fact that I still have those dreams means that a fear of failure is still deep rooted in me, like people who have nightmares about turning up for an interview naked. Thank goodness that’s never happened to me… yet! After almost a decade as a “professional” I realised that the demands of earning a living as a photographer had mostly beaten the cra… creativity out of me. I was bored with taking pictures for commissions and eager to begin making images for me. Of course, the economic reality of trying to provide for a young family and pay a mortgage made this seem like an impossible choice. I was fortunate to be offered the chance to work as a photographic tutor in what was then the very new field of photographic tours and workshops. This alternate income gave me the opportunity to begin to play with my camera again. It’s not the fear of being unable to put bread on the table that stops the majority of photographers from being more creative. Rather, it’s peer pressure that holds them back. Camera clubs and social media tend to have a normative effect that subtly discourages experimentation. Whichever way you look at it, expectations are the biggest reason photographers don’t enter their second childhood. We either want to meet other people’s presuppositions or we’re happy with our own idea of what constitutes a good photo. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with simple contentment, there is, I think, something sad about trying to match other people’s ideas of what constitutes a good photo. Of course, it’s scary to leave the comfortable “doing alright”, “accomplished” zone because we know that when we enter uncharted territory misteps are bound to happen. But leaving my journeyman phase and marching gladly into my second childhood was the best thing that had happened to me as a photographer since I left college. I would never have made images like the one at the beginning of this article - or this one from Lindisfarne - if I had stayed in my comfort zone. As I have written elsewhere, I have made many more unsuccessful images in this phase than as a journeyman. But I don’t worry about that. Fearless experimentation is the way forward. Armed with the skills we acquired as “novices” and the experience we acquired as “journeymen”, our second childhood as photographers will be the age in which we make the most interesting images. So, go on, regress a little; become a child again!

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