Guy Havell - M.Photog Gold Bar 1 | APP Master Photographer
*AIPP Australian Professional Landscape Photographer of the Year 2018 - Finalist
I'm an (AIPP) Australian Institute of Professional Photography accredited Master Photographer specialising in Fine Art Landscape, Documentary Landscape and Built Environment Photography utilising both digital and analog platforms. My philosophy is to work alone with my own ideas and thoughts to slowly produce images in the traditional method preferably with a single exposure and minimal post-production in order to maintain the reality, pay respect to, and try to accurately represent the original scene. I'm not interested in adopting social media trends, computer generating images or inserting myself into a landscape photograph in the name of artistic expression or self promotion. I’ll leave that to others. I’d describe myself as a photographer, not a digital artist or “content creator” and I'm interested in creativity in reality, not in fakery. I prefer in recent times to photograph banal and mundane subject matter preferably in unpopular, unspectacular and remote locations. I simply don't wish to do what everyone else is doing or be drawn in by modern photography's incessant social media driven, creativity killing popularity trap.
The New Topographics
I’ve developed an interest in the “New Topographics“ style of photography pioneered in the seventies by a group of 10 photographers who weren’t particularly interested in what everyone else was photographing, and took it upon themselves to actively defy the conventions of traditional romantic, sublime, pretty picture landscape photography to do their own thing with their own individual styles. Unlike modern day photographers, these artists weren’t motivated by popularity, trends or replication often going against convention photographing common and banal subjects of stark industrial landscape, suburban sprawl and urban desolation in the pursuit of a novel form of objectivity. In fact when the New Topographics exhibition first opened in 1975 it was not well received by the public who were so used to the romanticism and artistic beauty depicted in nature photography by the likes of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston that many wondered why anyone would want to photograph such “boring“ subject matter. Over time though, most of the general public warmed to this radical shift from the traditional glorified depictions of the landscape and gradually opened their minds to the fact that not all landscapes are idyllic and beautiful, and nor should they always need to be depicted as such. There was no idyllic image of nature in the New Topographics work, but simply a plain unemotional documentation of the way man has altered it.
For me personally, there’s a lot to like about the New Topographics style but I especially love how it basically gives the middle finger to popularity and mainstream photography styles and just documents straight, mostly man made built environments without, in most cases, having actual humans detracting and distracting from the main subject matter of the composition. One of the New Topographic’s photographers Frank Gohlke once said in an interview that “I'm more interested in the effect that people have on land, and how land affects our sense of our place in the world. When I do include people, they're small and they're only in the picture because they were in the right place at the right time.” It’s also interesting to note that although Gohlke respected the work of Ansel Adams he didn't feel as though his vision of nature's grandeur was something he could believe in. Wow, I wonder what he thinks of modern photography then? Gohlke’s objective was for people to get pleasure out of his images and “come away with a larger sense of what's worth paying attention to”. “I want to convey a sense of how rich the ordinary world is ”.
Social Media - My opinion, thoughts and observations
The good, the bad and the discraceful.... I'll keep it brief, honest and straight to the point. “Like” it or not, these are my words and opinions only.
Not everyone is into social media and as a private person and an introvert I find it an invasion of privacy, mentally draining and sometimes quite annoying to be honest. I do however acknowledge that sometimes it can provide useful, helpful information to others. I prefer to live my life and EVOLVE my photography in a PRIVATE manner by minding my own business which could be considered strange in today’s narcissistic, privacy invading, attention seeking world. As primarily a landscape and built environment photographer, I use social media because it's a necessary evil in order to get exposure but I will never try to mislead the viewer, stage images or make a landscape image all about me in the desperate search to be "liked". As a photographer I don't care less about popularity and I'm not motivated by it and I would certainly not allow myself to be constrained creatively by it. My photography is first and foremost about respecting and recording the environment, it’s not about enhancing my own popularity. The so called "influencers" or Instagrammers who break the law, risk their lives and vandalise sensitive areas all to show off or promote themselves or products I have no respect for. The fact that people are losing their lives trying to satisfy their insecurities in the never ending quest for popularity is a sad and pathetic.
I prefer to admire the work of genuine people and genuine creatives that produce original, meaningful, thought provoking imagery without having to rely heavily on post production and if they do, they are open and transparent to the public and their clients with their disclosure. It's called ethics. I also gain inspiration from the quiet achievers in the photography world with low followings many of whom consistantly produce outstanding photography far superior to almost anything else out there both technically and creatively but don't care to seek the limelight and just go about their craft in a quiet and respectful fashion with lots of passion. I admire the photographers that are always trying new things by taking artistic risks and not worried about protecting their social media profile. I admire the photographers that push the limits with their own ideas and not just copy others. I admire the photographers that work long and hard in the field in tough conditions to make new unseen images, and if they don't work out, they go back relentlessly until they do. I admire the photographers that aren't at all influenced by social media trends, don't sook about low engagement, respect the law and the environment and just get on with it. Because contrary to what Instagram may have you believe, the real world isn't always pretty, glorified and fake. A confident photographer doesn't relentlessly search for validation, positive re-enforcement, and fake praise. The art of photography is not a popularity contest and never will be. In the real world, "likes" mean nothing.
*ALPA 12 STC technical camera
*Phase One IQ260 medium format digital back
*Linhof Super Rollex medium format 6x9 film back
*Rodenstock/ALPA HR Alpagon f5.6/23mm LB Copal 0 lens
*Rodenstock/ALPA HR Alpagon f4.0/40mm SB17 Copal 0 lens
*Rodenstock/ALPA HR Alpagon f5.6/70mm SB17 Copal 0 lens
*Schneider/ALPA Apo-Helvetar f5.6/120mm Aspheric SB34 Copal 0 lens
*Gitzo 3532L Systematic Tripod
*Gitzo 3541 Systematic Tripod
*Arca - Swiss C1 Cube geared head + Fliplock
*ALPA / Linhof 3D Micro geared head
*Fotoman 6x17 medium format panoramic film camera + Schneider Super-Angulon f5.6/90mm lens
*Fuji X-Pro 1
*Canon 5D2 + Lenses
+accessories too numerous to list