Featured Photographer – Andrew Brooks

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Tell us about yourself. When did you first start in photography and what other things do you enjoy doing apart from photography?

I’m a UK-based photographer, working out of Manchester. My main subjects are the landscape, cityscapes, forgotten spaces and imagined views. I like to build my images out of many photographs, sometimes over 300 pictures go into one final picture. This allows me to control the shape, light and feel of the work whilst having incredibly detailed pictures.

My photography grew out of my love of the visual arts and movies and from the age of 17 (20 years ago) it’s been my full-time subject and job.

Photography can be such a great mix of experiences, you get to be out there in the world seeing things, working with people, running a business, but also have the time to focus in on your art and explore ideas. I also like that you can work alone, I’ve always enjoyed working with moving images but there seems to be compromise when you work with a team. Where as photography is much more about one persons vision or way of looking at the world.

I have a 2-year-old little boy, so my other interests mainly involve hanging out with family and showing him interesting stuff. We live in a city so we try to get out to the countryside as much as possible for the fresh air and lovely nature.

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What is your camera and brand of choice? Why do you use it and what do you most like about the product and brand?

I use Nikon cameras mostly, just upgraded to a D810. My first camera was Nikon fit, so I’ve stuck with that mostly because of the lenses I have. I’ve always found Nikons to be reliable and capture light in a lovely way.

What’s your favourite lens? 

I always have my 18-35mm on the camera, I know that if I need to shoot quickly then this lens will capture whats happening which less chance of missing the focus or motion blur.

This recent image of the Northern Lights was taken with this lens. As there was lots of movement in the lights and clouds the wide lens helped me capture a large area of the moving sky as I worked with exposures of half a minute and more.

Is there a camera bag your could recommend? What’s so good about it? Does it have any advantages or disadvantages?

I have a large rucksack Lowepro, which I use when getting places. But when I arrive somewhere have a small leather shoulder bag which holds my lenses. It’s a nice quick-to-access and small bag plus its a little less in your face.

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We’re all on social media these days, but which one do you use?

I’m a big fan of Instagram at the moment for quick spontaneous iPhone photography.

My main images with my big camera use many exposures, which I slowly build in Photoshop over many hours or days. So the speed you can shoot on an iPhone and then post to Instagram really takes me back to my early photography when all I used was a fixed lens camera with little work on the print in the darkroom.

Whose work or personality really inspires you to go out and take photos? How did you first come across their work?

I’ve always loved the work of Robert Frank. The atmosphere and feeling in all of his images has been a strong influence on my work, even though the pictures I create are a world away from his. I studied Documentary Photography where I discovered ‘The Americans’ which to my eye is as good as photography gets.

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When was your favourite moment? What happened? Did you manage to take a photo or experience something? Tell us about it.

Seeing an active volcano from a small plane over Iceland. In the hour and a half flight from Reykjavik we only saw white and blue landscapes of ice, suddenly seeing the fierce reds of the lava and the glow of the sun through the sulphur cloud was almost to much for my eyes. We only had two fly passes before we headed back, so I’m not sure I looked at it with my own eyes, I just saw it thought the frame of my camera.

We’ve all been there, but when was the last time you had a bad day? What happened?

Hard drive or memory card failure, need I say more. I’ve been very careful, but over many years of digital photography I’ve lost a few shots, some which I still think about now. But I’ve learned and have back up drives away from my studio, so fingers crossed.

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If you could go anywhere in the world to take photographs where would you go? Does this place have any significant meaning to you?

After seeing the volcano from high up I would love to get closer and see what I could capture. So more lava landscapes is number one on my list at the moment.

Last book read? Well it could be a magazine, ebook or any other written form, but what was the book about? Would you recommend it?

The Old Ways‘ by Robert Macfarlane. He writes beautifully about the landscape and being in nature, something that I really connect to as nature photography is one of the things I enjoy most. He has helped me think about ways of taking about and showing the countryside and also pointed me to many other writers who look at this subject.

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Coffee or tea of choice? Spill the beans we want to know!

Tea mostly, but coffee if I need some momentum.

Food of choice?

Thai food as it reminds me of my travels and some good times. But then roast dinners, pies and other warming British food does the job after a day out shooting when I’ve earned it.

Finally any advice to others? Everyone has a little bit of advice to give, so what is it?

Be different in your photography. Good cameras that take nice pictures are available at a pretty good price these days, so everyone can now take okay pictures. So to work in photography or be noticed you have to bring more. The might be how you shoot or the subjects you look at, just make sure you offer something new then people will come to you for your work.

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To see more of Andrew Brooks works head over to his website, Facebook, Twitter or see him on Ello.

If you’re interested in being featured on F Stop Lounge like Andrew click here.


 

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