Short exposure: Anna Stevenson

The Tree.jpg

Image above: A textured layer photo of a lone tree on Dartmoor © Anna Stevenson

Living close to Plymouth Anna Stevenson often goes to photograph the beautiful scenery found in Dartmoor National Park. Here she shares her love of colour, continuing to experiment in her work and the chillier climates...

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.

Anna Stevenson: Hi! I’ve been doing photography seriously for about five years. I was of the generation that always played outside as a child – we had bikes not computers. As an adult I find an inner peace when exploring wild places and I want to capture that peace in my photographs. When I’m out taking photos, an hour seems like five minutes. I love empty landscapes and I love the sea in all its forms. If I can capture a small essence of what I have seen and find beautiful, then that gives me great satisfaction.

Image above: Looking back across Dartmoor from a small lane near Princetown © Anna Stevenson

OP: How often are you able to get out there and photograph, and is there a particular location you normally go to? 

AS: I have a full time job so I’m limited to photographing at weekends and the occasional evening (I’m not a morning person). I love travelling but most of my current projects have been local to home. Bovisand is the local beach near Plymouth and I go there a lot to photograph the sea. Dartmoor is also a favourite; I haven’t explored that enough yet as I only moved to Plymouth four years ago.

OP: What are you working on at the moment? 

AS: My current project (following Masters of Vision advice!) is looking at colours and shapes in the sea. The sea is constantly changing; the light, tide and weather all affect the colour and patterns it produces. I’m exploring close-up patterns as well as the bigger views. Having lived in the Midlands nearly all my life I find photographing the sea a real challenge – but also so absorbing.

Image abve: A close up of the sky and landscape colours reflected in the waves on a beach © Anna Stevenson

OP: Where do you find your inspiration? 

AS: My inspiration comes from nature: in landscapes, seascapes and wildlife. Nature is graceful, wild, free and full of colour. If I look at my portfolio I like it to always be full of colour. I love looking at work from other photographers too. I belong to Plymouth camera club and we have some really good photographers who I also find inspirational.

OP: What’s your dream photography project? 

AS: I’ve seen the Aurora – in spectacular form – and could keep repeating that event over and over: the northern lights come back to colour and shape again but in awesome form. I don’t do well in hot, humid weather so colder climates are far better for me. I’d love to go to Alaska and see the sea otters, eagles and landscapes.

OP: Is there one thing in particular you think would help you improve your photography?

AS: It wouldn’t be the latest gadgets – that’s for sure. I’m not a ‘I gotta have the latest kit’ person. Something to help me with hyper-focal distance would be good, as long as it wasn’t too mathematical! Or a photography workshop/day out with a professional – sometimes hands on, practical teaching is the only way.

OP: What do you think is hot right now in the photography world?

AS: The world is full of black & white images of old people with wrinkly faces. It’s becoming tiresome. There’s a lot of work out there that is ‘samey’. I was using intentional camera movement techniques about ten years ago and it just seems to be catching on, I guess because some cameras do multiple exposure which can produce a similar effect. The world is so photographed it’s hard to find anything different anymore.

Image above: An in camera movement shot of maple leaves in autumn, Algonquin Provincial Park © Anna Stevenson

OP: Where do you see your photography in five years time? 

AS: I hope to have achieved my Fellowship of the RPS by then and maybe have had an exhibition or two. Where my style and projects will take me is anyone’s guess but that’s part of the fun: letting the creativity reveal itself along the way.

To see more of Anna's work click here.