I think I am traditional, in that I like grand views because that’s what we first see. But once you start to look for and photograph ‘intimate landscapes’ it changes your way of thinking with the camera. You are ‘sucked in’ further, becoming more open to what’s before you and immersed in your surroundings. Awareness of the landscape heightens tremendously but just as importantly; your abilities and control of the camera will improve. That must be a good thing.
Mark published an excellent article entitled 'Let's get Intimate' in 'Outdoor Photographer' in July 2023 (Issue 296)
What attracts me to Intimate landscapes?
I love photographing the bigger view.
There, I said it out loud and have no issue with admiring a fantastic location in all its glory and wanting to photograph it. People who attend my workshops know that I am first attracted to ‘that view’ of the landscape in whatever form it takes but (and it’s a big but) I have never had a closed mind.
I have always described what we see as a ‘recipe.’ All those features that are before us are like ingredients in a cake and so it is up to our skills and judgement to blend them in a way that appeals. Just like baking a fruit cake there are many ways to do that. You still get a fruit cake but they are all different. Now, if you dig deeper and look more closely, all of those ‘ingredients’ the features in your image, can stand on their own merit and validate themselves.
Sometimes ‘they’ appear to us as an incredible, natural abstract and others when they are ‘kissed by light.’ I have seen crags and plants look terribly flat and then become ‘the image’ as soon as a burst of light hits them.
Nearly every time I venture out with the camera, I experience this.
They key is to ‘open your eyes.’
In essence, I love photographing the landscape and all that contributes to its makeup!
Gallery of some Intimate Scapes by Mark (Click for full size)
Some tips from Mark ......
Intimate landscapes don’t just mean a tiny segment of what you see. It can be a larger part of the view that stands out on its own merit.
The phrase, ‘open your eyes’ is key and I find this a very important part of locating intimate landscapes
No one season dominates as there are opportunities all year round.
Looking for abstract shapes that have been naturally created makes me feel as if I have discovered something special.
Have an open mind. I never go to a location with a fixed objectives because I know how that can disappoint.
How you see what is before you, that’s the beauty of photography. There is no right or wrong, it’s just ‘what works for you.’
I have been a professional now for over 45 years and as well as taking photographs for a living, I produced and directed literally hundreds of media products for the Home Office.
BBC trained, I won awards for the TV programmes I made and enjoyed television production immensely. Alongside all of that, I also taught imaging concurrently for much of that time with film and subsequently digital. I was the Director of the national, dedicated course for Police and Home Office staff to teach video and photographic skills.
I gained the INVESTORS IN PEOPLE accreditation for that work as well as the BRITISH KITE MARK and was integral in devising new photographic and video techniques that are now standard practice within those specialist areas of work So far, I have had the honour of teaching over 3000 people both on those courses and my own landscape workshops.
All ‘that work’ both photographically and on TV, had me involved in many national and international situations. It was a unique journey!
I retired from the Home Office in 2008 and decided to write and concentrate fully on my landscape photography work.
An official Ambassador for LEE FILTERS, I am one of only a distinct few to be awarded the status of ‘LEE Master’ which I am rightly proud. An accredited, award-winning member of the British Institute of Professional Photography, I was made a Fellow by them because of my specialist and original work throughout my life and in the Lake District and Snowdonia (Eryri). A features writer for many magazines, my work regularly appears in the national walking and photography publications.
In 2016, I won the Sunday Times Landscape Photographer of the year #OMGB award with my image ‘Finding Gold,’ which was subsequently bought by the UK government to promote Britain across the world.
A recent ambassador for Fujifilm, I am also supported by Berghaus and Billingham bags in my work.
Believe it or not I also have a home life ha ha and a lovely wife Irene, having been married for 47 years and counting. She has been an integral support in my work and I could never have attained what I have without her. I am also lucky to have a wonderful assistant in Vicki Procter who is a cracking photographer in her own right.
We live near Chester between the Lakes and Snowdonia which is intentional.
I work throughout the week in all seasons and enjoy both the aforementioned National Parks in equal measure as they are both so different in what they offer. I also spend a considerable amount of my spare time photographing the quarries at Dinorwig in Snowdonia (Eryri), as they are a passion of mine. You can read about that here.
I have been a regular speaker to UK photography clubs thoughout my career as well as talking at the Photography Show.
For me, photography is an organic process between the view and the photographer whether that be the bigger picture or the more intimate views we see.
I love photography and capturing ‘that moment.’
It is that simple.
Mark Gilligan 2023
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