Meet Ben Robson Hull! Discover what life is like for the photographer and what inspires his practice.
How did you become an artist?
I have always been fascinated by photography and have carried a camera with me for most of my life. However, it was only around two and a half years ago that I realised I could get so much more from my equipment and through a better understanding of art and by learning ‘how to see’. During this period I completed a Professional Diploma in Photography and consumed over 60+ books on a self teaching mission to provide myself with an education in art. I found this fascinating after a life of studying and a career in engineering and the sciences. I look back now and feel for the first 30 years of my life that I missed out on art entirely. I have certainly made up for this lost time recently! Memberships and involvement with my local Photographical Society, The Royal Photographical Society and various online groups and organisations have provided me with great opportunities to exhibit, enter competitions and receive valued feedback on developing my body of work.
Please take us through your average working day – what’s it like?
Honestly there is no average working day! Each day is quite different. My primary body of work is usually undertaken outside involving landscapes and places of beauty and interest. As such I am usually following the weather, light and the seasons. Some days I might be up at 5am and driving in time for the sunrise at my chosen location. Others might be spent following weather patterns and trying to capture that lightening storm or snow shower. This usually involves me being outside exploring remote places. I always try to find places not frequented by other people, off the beaten track. It’s amazing what you can find. Most days however usually end up with a significant amount of time editing on the computer and then proof printing to get the optimum possible print from the raw data. This can be very time consuming. I know many artists who spend a lot less time producing a detailed painting than I often do trying to perfect my print! Evenings are often spent on social media and in contacting clients to discuss requirements. I usually try to find an hour each day to research my next project. I am always looking to find something different to undertake.
How do you create your works? What’s the process and how long does it tend to take?
I usually spend a couple of hours researching a subject or location. If I aim to shoot a wildlife shot this research period can take days. I always try to find out everything I can about my subject before contemplating how I will photograph it. This really is crucial in understanding how an animal will behave and where it might be found. All of the photography books talk about pre-visualising the photograph before you set out. Whilst I do try to do this it is very rare that I end up capturing my pre-visualised image. Light, location, weather, subject all usually conspire against you meaning you have to react and respond to what you find.
A typical photography session would last half a day to a full day depending on the type of subject. I try to capture the subject from as many different angles as possible. It’s amazing how many times the shot you think is the best ends up being rejected later as there was something distracting in the background that you didn’t see at the time and how often backup shots capture something really fortuitous without you realising. I love it when these things happen. Some people call it luck and sometimes it is but I’m also a believer that all the research, planning and hard work plays a big part in it – otherwise why would it happen so often?
Can you please pick one of your works on Artfinder and tell us how you made it or what inspired it?
My personal favourite image is ‘Moonlit Copse’. The photograph was a chance find to some degree as I was driving around the Derbyshire Peak District on a day where there was low lying cloud on the hilltops. I knew the weather was perfect for a great shot but was struggling to find a good subject in the right location. In fact I was driving back home when I happened to pass this small copse of trees on the roadside shrouded in mist. At first glance it didn’t look like there was a photograph there but I was persuaded to investigate further and take a closer look. After taking quite a few average shots I found a composition that was just right. The combination of this composition, the quality of the light filtering through the trees, the layers of mist and receding trees in the background all combined to make the image. It wasn’t until after I got home, edited and printed the image that I realised what I had captured. The digital file viewed on the screen really does not do the print justice. In fact this image won the Rose Bowl Trophy at the Sheffield Photographic exhibition 2013. Again a lot of luck was involved in finding this image but you had to be there to find it!
What’s the best thing about being an artist?
Having people take an interest in something that I have produced. I love it when people contact me to discuss my work or ask my opinion. I find this incredibly rewarding.
Not being able to do this full time – yet!
If you have dinner with three artists, who would they be?
For the purposes of this interview I will stick with photographers. They would be Edward Weston, Ansel Adams (I make no apology!) and Helmut Newton. Whilst they were all primarily masters of the black and white, any image made by these artists are unmistakably recognisable. Their own individual style shines through in each and every photograph and that is the mark of a truly great photographer.Original Article