What are the rules of your photographic work?

There are no rules really, but its a good question – as time has moved on, I’ve become more specific about what i shoot – the thing i think about the most when taking an image is making sure i can translate what my eye sees to how the photograph will look – so taking into account, width of my shot, composition and of course the metering.

Is there a particular combination of techniques and tools that you think makes the difference?

That different is relative to the photographer, so what works for me might not work for others. What i have noticed is that i now prefer more contrast in my images rather than the flat look.

You don’t  have to live by or adhere to the rules but it’s important to understand how everything works. Japanese artisanal methods can teach us a lot – they go one step further to become the best at something, taking the time to understand the minute behind all their processes. We as photographers can take the time to learn our film stocks and how they behave under certain light, underexposure, over exposure, summer sun vs winter sun, artificial light, filters etc. So when the time comes we have all the tools needed to get closer to the look we want.

Tell us about an experience that definitely changed the way you work and made you grow.

Buying photo books for sure! Learning how other photographers work, and how they combine a good story with good image making. William Eggleston’s Guide was the first book that made me understand that photography isn’t about sunsets and portraits but about emotion. How you reach it doesn’t matter.

Was there ever a difficult situation? How did you react? Tell us.

Nothing major, occasionally people ask what you’re doing – if i’m in a public place and their question is genuine interest – i tell them. If i think they are being aggressive, i tell them the bare minimum. It depends, but generally you have to weigh up and consider what you’re doing and where you are before you judge if someone is being unfair.

How do you relate to the environment and the subjects you portray?

I think the subjects are as important about the environment they are in. There’s a book by Harry Gruyaert called “Its not about the cars” and it’s a nice summary about how i feel – it’s never just about the subject. There are many times where i sees great subject, but the environment is not to my tastes, so i skip it. Both have to be in harmony with each other.

I also ask you to share a bonus trick among your secret techniques.

They wouldn’t be secret now would they? haha! Erm, there’s probably a few i could mention, but my top one would be to stop buying as many cameras, and unless you’re printing in the darkroom, a good scanner will do more for your work than buying endless cameras. Unless of course you enjoy giving $15 per roll to your local lab.

Tell us about your equipment, what kind of cameras do you shoot with?

I shoot on a few cameras – i only own film cameras but i do shoot digitally on occasion. I own a Nikon FM3a for 35mm and Mamiya 7 II, Plaubel Makina 67 and a Hasselblad H1 for Medium Format. Size and weight are big considerations for me – i prefer SLR cameras but rangefinders can be made lighter in medium format so i use them for that reason. It also helps that the lenses are also among the best there is.

Are there any books you would recommend?

Yes, well, among some faves are Alec Soth – Sleeping by the Mississippi, Larry Sultan – Pictures From Home and Roaslind Fox Solomon – Liberty Theatre. For me they are books whose images execute the storylines perfectly well – almost as if the images are precisely what the author intended. Photography for me isn’t meant to be beautiful necessarily, it’s meant to execute an idea that leads to a feeling.

What stimulates your creativity, what inspires you?

I’m quite a simple person really i like to shoot as much as i can, i just need nice light and good color and i’m hooked.

Films are a big inspiration – especially older film, which relied on an economy of dialogue- also using subtle looks and movements to generate mood.

Ian Howorth

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