Short exposure...Shaun Walby
The first in a new series where we interview landscape, wildlife, adventure and nature photographers active in the outdoor online community, we chat to Shaun Walby – a Yorkshire based photographer and mountaineer who won the At the Water's Edge category in the 2014 Outdoor Photographer of the Year.
Outdoor Photography: Hello! First of all please introduce yourself: tell us the type of pictures you like to take and how you first got into photography.
Shaun Walby: I consider myself a photographer. Landscapes were my first love (monochrome mountains remain a firm favourite) but I don’t restrict myself to this genre. I started my journey in photography 20 years ago while mountaineering in the Alps – it was there where I first saw how powerful dawn light can be. For me, photography has to be emotive; this is the key to all great images regardless of genre and subject matter.
Image above: Ullswater Winter Dawn © Shaun Walby
OP: How often are you able to get out there and photograph, and is there a particular location you normally go to?
SW: I shoot regularly, usually for two long weekends per month and I take one-to-one workshops as requested. I’m a mountaineer, climber, sailor and a keen hiker so I spend a lot of my free time in the outdoors – the camera is always with me.
OP: What are you working on at the moment?
SW: Autumn is here so there’s lots of low light, rich colours, fog, mist and dew-drenched cobwebs to photograph. I’ve yet to meet an outdoor photographer who dislikes autumn…
OP: Where do you find your inspiration?
SW: For me, inspiration is complex and ever changing; I don’t have one genre, subject or type of imagery as a continuous resource as I'd find that too restrictive. Life always effects your work and the more I shoot the more I realise I mirror my thoughts, attitudes and opinions in my work. With this in mind photography, for me, is without a doubt a journey.
Image above: Dawn Mist Lindisfarne © Shaun Walby
OP: What’s your dream photography project?
SW: Last summer I combined photography with technical alpine climbing. It didn’t really work out but lessons were learned, so the next trip should be more productive. There are many areas I’d love to visit: the Lofoton Islands in northern Norway have been on my radar for many years and the Arctic has always appealed.
OP: Is there one thing in particular you think would help you improve your photography?
SW: Yes: maintaining the ability to draw inspiration from all areas of life and remembering photography is always underpinned by your individual artistic energy and integrity.
OP: What do you think is hot right now in the photography world?
SW: I’m currently really enjoying abstracts, intentional camera movement and multiple exposure techniques. I love what I call ‘classic capture’ photography (which is quite the opposite to the above) but as the years go by I feel there has to be something more, not necessarily to replace ‘classic capture’ but to enhance my work and enable me to tap into emotive content. I’m also starting to look into the 20th century art movement Pictorialism.
OP: Where do you see your photography in five years time?
SW: I’ve no set agenda for my photography journey but what I can definitely say is that I will be shooting what I want in a style I want. I’ll probably still take a mixture of colour and monochrome pictures (as I do now) and landscapes will probably be my mainstay – I will certainly keep an open mind though in terms of subject matter. If something appeals I’ll explore it, there’ll be no restrictions in my photography.
To see more of Shaun's work click here