There are photographers all over the internet, we see them all the time, and many of them are not on WordPress, and today I would like to introduce you to one that introduced himself to me on Facebook and then I saw his work. I was blown away and I am sure you will be too. I think the reason I showed the flowers that I processed yesterday was so you would like mine first, then fall in love with Paul’s. I got so much inspiration from his work and as soon as I saw it I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Shall I just get on with it and show you some of his work?
I see so much photography, but it isn’t very often that work stops me in my tracks, gets my mind going and then there is a need to find out how it was done. I have to work out how I can use that for myself and how can I adapt it to my work. It is just stunning. Macro wonders really.
My first question, as always was to ask Paul where in the world he was.
I live in Michigan USA, although I am a born and bred Brit and moved here just over 10 years ago.
There is a softness about his work. Something about the delicacy of the small things that we don’t give enough attention too. His colours are muted and help with that soft feel. I like the dark backgrounds as well.
I asked Paul how long he had been taking photos for and why.
I remember as a young boy spending hours looking through the hundreds of photos that my Dad took while he was in the armed services and playing with the camera he used to take them. The whole concept that you could capture a moment of time, any where in the world, onto a piece of paper and then see it like you were there, in that place and at the time fascinated me. As a young boy, my parents bought me a Hanimex 110 compact camera which I thought was the coolest thing ever! I started taking snaps of everything and anything and eagerly awaited for each roll of film to come back from the developers. From seeing my first shot that I took as a print I was hooked. I continued to take snapshots throughout my life. As terrible as they were on a technical level, I loved them and that was enough for me to keep taking them.
My love for macro and florals began when I got a Canon A720IS compact digital camera. I found myself starting to really look at things and not just see them. I love how macro can make you look at the world around you in a different way, seeing things that others may pass by, finding beauty in what others may think is ordinary. I have a few shots from A720 that I still love. Around 2013 I decided I wanted to get more serious about my photography and got my first dSLR, a Canon T3i. I spent some time dabbling in different genres, trying to find what it was that I really loved and wanted to do. I then decided to get the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro and go back to what I found I really enjoyed with the A720. I spent the next year or so learning and experimenting with camera, lighting, Lightroom and trying to find ‘my thing’. I wanted to try and be a little different.
The reason I like taking the shots that I do is that there is so much structure, detail, emotion and beauty in a flower if you take the time to really look at it. I enjoy trying to bring that out and give a flower a personality, an emotion, a mood, creating something a little more that just a great shot of a flower.
The first time I looked at Paul’s work I only saw flowers, but as I was searching for images for this post I discovered a couple of shots that were a little different. This one looks like it is still a macro, but look at the eyes of the cat, such intensity. The lighting and composition are so strong with these. I would love to do this with Tiddles, my cat, but being a chocolate Burmese, I don’t think it would have the same effect. The big pupils, to me this says this cat is about to pounce.
I got so much inspiration from looking at Paul’s work, so I asked him where he got his inspiration from.
There are many great photographers and artists that I admire. I take inspiration from a lot of people and a lot of works in many different ways. Sometimes the inspiration can be to get out and shoot when I am in a slump, or break the rules more. Inspiration can come in many forms.
As far as my work is concerned, I would say I have 3 main influences. It was seeing some of the darker, soft, almost dream like florals of Rachel Bellinsky that inspired me to try something different with my florals. Gregory Crewdson inspired me on a number of levels. His meticulous attention to detail, planning, lighting, execution and the sheer amount of time and work that went into a single shot amazed me. Joseph Wright of Derby, an 18th century painter from my home town back in England, is my main inspiration as far as lighting. I first saw some of his original paintings in the local museum as a boy and they captivated me. He is well know for his use of the Chiaroscuro effect and his paintings have so much detail and depth that they come to life in front of you.
I believe it’s important to find yourself as an artist. Take inspiration from those you admire and then do your own thing, be yourself.
I have to admit I only found one or two landscapes, which was surprising. When I look at Paul’s work there is a body of it, not something that you find when you look at mine. He is very dedicated to his macro work. I like too many different types of photography, so my work seems all over place in comparison.
I asked Paul if there was anything special about the way he worked.
I wouldn’t say that there is necessarily anything special about my work other than it’s what I love to do. I find, shoot, hand edit and put a lot of time into each piece and enjoy every minute of it. I try to bring out an emotion or mood, give the flower a life or character of it’s own, My hope and goal for each piece is that it conveys an emotion or mood along with the visual side. I also try to title each piece with a title that sums up that mood or feeling for me. I am totally selfish in my work. I produce pieces that I like and please me. I am incredibly fortunate and extremely grateful that there are other people who also like it. It’s been described as hypnotic, poetic, mesmerizing, dreamy, mysterious and unique. However, I am more than happy to let each person draw their own conclusions.
I’m sure you can see where I got my inspiration from when I did the those photos that I posted yesterday. Interesting to read somewhere, so Paul, I don’t know where I read it, that the images are all done in Lightroom, which is fantastic for many of you, I believe. It is like the flowers are coming out from the shadows.
I asked Paul what gear he used, he has pretty much already told us, but here it is again.
My kit list is very modest and small.
I still use my trusty old Canon T3i. It gives me all I need and has never let me down once, I love it.
This is paired with the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, which is permanently attached to the T3i.
I also carry a Manfrotto Pixi (which is quite capable of supporting the T3i with the 100mm attached), a travel size spray bottle of water (for instant dew drops and mist) and, after being attacked and bitten by a dog on a shoot, pepper spray!
I hope you will all join me in thanking Paul for giving me permission to feature him and his work here on my blog. As I said in the beginning Paul doesn’t have a WordPress blog, but there are still many places you can go and visit him. His website – Paul Barson Photography, his Facebook page, Paul Barson Photography and his 500px page, Paul Barson. I am going to leave you with a gallery of many more of his amazing images, I know you will enjoy them.