Interview With Iansky (Ian Lloyd-Graham)

Discussion in 'Member Interviews' started by Streetshooter, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    The following is a question and answer type interview. I asked Ian if he would participate and he graciously accepted.
    Please read the questions, comments and answers and then at the end, you will be able to ask questions yourself.
    Remember, this is not a live show, so please allow for response time.

    Question 1.

    What inspired you to become a photographer?
     
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  2. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Question 1

    Hi Don,

    Question 1

    It was during my time at school when in the evenings and weekends I wanted to have a sly cigarette - solution, join the "Photography Club" and take advantage of the proverbial red light and stay out sign!

    As time passed I started to become more aware of the magic of seeing the image appear on what started as a blank piece of paper immersed in a tray of liquid........as the intrigue with the image on paper took hold it was natural to want to go full circle and learn how to create the image in camera in the first place.

    And so it started, the basics of lighting and how it works in conjunction with aperture/shutter speed combinations, depth of field, rule of thirds, optics etc

    This understanding and learning process seemed to get bigger and better and more exciting as my knowledge and skills improved and I realised that this was something I could enjoy for life as there was no finite end to the learning process - so began the journey!
     
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  3. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Question 2

    Now that I no longer use photography to earn a living I am able to use it as a relaxation therapy to help relieve the stresses of work and the ever faster pace of this world we live in.

    There is something eminently calming about walking through the countryside on a warm sunny day looking, listening, visualising an image from what nature presents us then challenging oneself to put a different slant on it or, the challenge of capturing the elegance of period architectural features and finally, the challenge of street photography - capturing the images of people on the street in an inconspicuous manner.

    Shooter Ian, in viewing your images, it appears to me that you have a very keen sense of design. You are very connected to your subject matter in a very Romantic sort of way.
    This is not easy to do but you do it very well.
     
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  4. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Question 3

    Back then it was the challenge of something new coupled with the mixture sounds (the ticking timers), smells (acetic acid), groping in the dark until your eyes are accustomed to the dim red lighting and the ever present stained fingers.

    Add to this the excitement of seeing the negatives for the first time as they come out of the developing tank - a mixture of fear and expectation coupled with intense relief when you see they are correctly exposed, focussed and framed.

    Next, that thrill of printing the image, the choice of paper type, exposure time, dodging/burning using tools you have made or bizzare contortions of hands and that final step of seeing the image appear on the paper.

    The ultimate stage, seeing that finished image in the light of day for the first time and being critical of your own work to the point that you challenge yourself to do better.

    The combination of all those sights, sounds, smells and stains only added to the overall experience of photography and its magical hold on you.
     
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  5. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Question 4

    Photography has evolved and grown to where it is today, no longer the privelege of the few but available to all through the innovations of electronics, chips,and digital imaging.

    Gone are the days in the dark, the smells, sounds and that dim red light!

    We are now able to use "auto everything" cameras that think for you and only require the user to place the subject of choice in the frame and let the camera do the rest - it is now harder to get a bad image than a good one!

    The darkroom has been replaced by the computer that allows those willing, to transfer images from camera to computer, edit and print the finished result all in a matter of minutes and for those less inclined, a trip to the local camera shop where the memory card can be loaded to a machine, viewed selected and printed for a pittance in a short space of time........maximum reward for minimum effort appears to be the ethos of the day.

    I must add that there are still the afficionados of the art that still use the wet and dark processes to make their experience complete.
     
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  6. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Question 5

    I don't as such have any recurring themes in my photography, I do subconsciously tend to produce more images that have a "Romantic" lean than others but that could be left over from a phase I went hrough of producing diffused romantic style images.

    I do like to try many different sorts of subject matter rather than specialise in one, a legacy from my PJ days I suspect.

    I like to view the surroundings, lighting, structures and interaction of the people and whichever has the greatest appeal will be my first choice to photograph.

    I enjoy visiting new areas to roam and find suitable subjects and try to put a different slant on the standard image, I will often walk around a potential subject to look for a different angle and try and capture it's strong points.

    Shooter Yes, yes. The romantic thing takes hold of you and it seems that you surrender to it. This shows in your images and lends way to the viewer to feel the romance. It's LIFE and your images enjoy living.
     
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  7. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Question 6

    The images I now take are dependant on the environment I am in and the time I have available.

    I try now wherever possible to look, listen, visualise and think how I can capture the scene presented to me in a way that is different from the norm and that can vary from romantic to dramatic depending on lighting available at the time and the scene.

    The joy of photography is that there are no fixed rules that must be obeyed, there are the inevitable guidelines we are taught when learning, rule of thirds for composition, shutter speed aperture combinations to control depth of field and sharpness/movement, focal length of lenses to expand/compress a scene and the most important of all - lighting.

    I feel just as enthusiastic now when confronted by a new and exciting scene as I did when I first started in photography, the challenge of trying to make what is presented to me different, better and interesting is fun.

    Shooter This is interesting also. It's really nice that you are having fun. Many shooters do well and work well but as time goes on, they loose the fun aspects. Maybe that's part of the reason your images are so intoxicating.
     
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  8. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Question 7

    I am quite comfortable at any distance, I like portraits where you can get in fairly close to your subject, build up a rapport through chatting so they are relaxed then try to capture their true personality.

    I have not done any studio portrait work for a long time as I no longer have access to a studio but did enjoy that interaction with the subject, it would be even more enjoyable now as they can see the results immediately and can be involved more in the poses, expressions, lighting and closeness to subject - what joy.
     
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  9. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Question 8

    Aaaargh - I am I suspect like many photographers, I have an abject fear of being photographed and become very self conscious especially if the person taking the picture has no communication skills.

    I do not mind being photographed with my wife or daughter who are both beautiful women and apart from them, the only other woman I have had my photo taken with was Allegra Curtis (daughter of Tony and half sister to Jamie Lee), she was in Berlin making a film and we had a mutual friend who asked me to take some photos, I did and they were pleased but insisted I put my "tux" on and have my photo taken with Allegra - well no sane man would have said no and I was pleased with the picture and so was she.
     
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  10. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Question 9

    In this day and age I do admit to being totally digital, my last analogue camera and I parted company last year as I finally became convinced that the lattitude and image quality of todays digital cameras exceeds that of analogue.

    I do however have my totally retro Leica digital rangefinder that I love, it keeps me grounded and inspires me at the same time - I spent all of my PJ time in the company of Leica rangefinders and used them when the SLR's were too big, obvious and noisy and I have always maintained that love affair with them - yes, they are old fashioned, costly and different to use but to me they are solid, reliable tools with an impeccable pedigree and some of the best lenses ever made - they still inspire and excite me to this day.

    I also have a nostalgic lust from time to time for the "Good old days" of darkrooms and chemicals but then remember the bruises, stained fingers and sore throats!

    We are totally spoilt today, with Auto everything cameras that produce an image you can see in seconds and the only requirement being you get the right image in the frame, we have opened up the joy of photography to everyone and that can only be a good thing, demand breeds competition between the manufacturers and that in turn produces better cameras at cheaper prices - how can we complain.

    We can only expect better and more capable cameras at cheaper prices with innovative new features so 5yrs from now what will we be using?
     
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  11. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Question 10

    In the Actors studio I would reply "Bollocks" or if in refined/mixed company "Erkin Fell".

    My favourite lens would still be a prime somewhere between a standard and a short telephoto, my current favourites being the 50mm on my Leica which with the 1.3 crop factor equates to a 65mm - I love it as my standard lens and for portraits at f4 - f5.6 it is a dream with total control of sharpness and a beautiful bokeh.

    On my GF1 my favourite and most used lens is the 20mm pancake, being equivalent to a 40mm standard on a camera that reminds me of the Leica CL it is a dream; small, fast , sharp with a great bokeh and I have captured 95% of my GF1 images on this lens and supect I will continue to do so.

    Zoom lenses are "practical" and that is their greatest asset but alas they still struggle and very few can match the quality let alone speed of a prime.

    We continue to see many improvements in lenses with more computer aided design, aspherical, ED, FD elements and advances in size and coating but there is still nothing more satisfying for me in what is now my hobby than using a solid, reliable, super sharp prime lens to capture an image with real bite and contrast.
     
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  12. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus Subscribing Member Charter Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    So we kept this kinda short and sweet. There are other questions I could ask but maybe another time. Now it's time for the readers to jump in.

    Please feel free to ask questions, make comments and the like.
     
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  13. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator Moderator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Thank you both so much for doing this interview and sharing it here. I really enjoyed reading it and hope that it will be the first of many interviews helping us to get to know and learn from our members :2thumbs:.
     
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  14. Bullfrog

    Bullfrog Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    Absolutely. This is great stuff. Thanks to you both!
     
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  15. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus Charter Member

    An extremely interesting interview. I feel it was much more Charlie Rose than the Actors Studio, which is meant as a compliment. What a wonderful idea to do this interview. I found it thoughtful, thought provoking and inspiring. At times very I felt very nostalgic, but thanks to Ian's philosophical outlook on life and photography there was never any doubt that he is glad to be where he is with photography today. Very heartening, especially knowing something of his pretty exciting background.

    Thanks so much to Don for asking those questions that drew so much from Ian. Between Ian's generous and real answers and your observations, this was a very satisfying and substantial interview. Of course I want more.

    Before I come up with some questions, I'm afraid I need at least another cup of coffee but in the mean time I thank you both so much for taking the time to do this...and I thank MU-43.com for being such a gracious host.
     
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  16. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Thanks to one and all

    This has been a very humbling and soul searching experience for me and I have enjoyed every second.

    I want to thank Amin, Brian and in particular Don for making me stop and think about my photography over the years and what it has and still does mean to me.

    Don has been great at asking the right questions in the right sequence that even gives me an insight back into my photographic journey to today, the questions and my answers in turn brought back memories of good and bad days, excitement and intense boredom; all part of the photographic world I have been fortunate to experience to date.

    I hope that all who read this see something of themselves in some of the answers and realise that what we have as photographers is an opportunity to freeze a period in time with increasingly efficient equipment and then be able to share that with the world in minutes.

    I welcome any questions that members may wish to put forward but ask for your patience in my replying as I must still work to earn a crust so only access the site evenings and weekends.

    Thank you all,
    Ian
     
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  17. flyby

    flyby Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    123
    Jan 14, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thank you

    This is a very nice benefit to being a member..learning from the experts..not only seeing what they produce but hearing what inspires and compels them to keep on shooting, to keep learning and to inspire others.

    As a beginner many of the things Iansky talks about are what I struggle with everyday from composition to the "holy" 3 of photography ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. I love my GF1 and I want to take good pictures and not the kind of good taken on IA!

    Thank you Iansky for sharing your perspective and your experience. But mostly, I thank you for your pictures. They are wonderful full of life and living..pictures like yours and others here make me want to be better..they inspire and wow you..blow you away with the possibilities of a camera, a lens and an eye for composition and nuance.

    Thank you! :2thumbs:
     
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  18. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Thanks Flyby for those kind words.

    I do not consider myself an expert by any sense of the imagination especially as photography is an open ended book that continuously evolves and grows.

    I am however lucky, I have been fortunate to have associated with knowledgeable and sharing people throughout my photography experiences to date right from my initiation in the darkroom, through my degree studies to my working life.

    The difference is not the knowing, but the sharing willingly of these skills, and I have over the years learned more about photography from like minded people than ever I did studying, theory is one thing but practice is the proof.

    There are many aspects of a persons work that is personal to them, by that I mean it is something in their style that is unique and cannot be taught, be it use of composition, lighting, subject matter, shape, mood, all things that I now do in a subconscious state (no not drunk or on drugs).

    I would encourage all new to photography to first and foremost master the basics then look at differing styles and try a few until they find one that pleases them as a base, then add to it and make it their own.

    I am sorry, just a little carried away - even talking photography gets the juices flowing.

    I am more than happy to answer questions where I can but the answers will be based on my experiences and my views and not on what some consider to be the common denominator of photography.
     
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  19. deckitout

    deckitout Mu-43 Veteran Charter Member

    236
    Jan 28, 2010
    Essex UK
    Ian

    Many thanks for an insight into your world of Photography. I have been checking your blog (not finished yet) and particulary enjoyed your Brighton images, my wife and I are regular visitors there and very familiar with many of the places that you took Photographs, it is a wonderful place with so much to see.

    I would be interested to know who your favourite Photographer are, who have inspired you over the years.

    Many Thanks
     
  20. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Hi Phil,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I guess one the photographers that had the most impact on me and influenced my choice of Photojournalism was Henri Cartier Bresson, I can still spend hours looking at his images and see elements missed before - his style always makes me wonder why he took that image (many are obvious but in the surrounding activity may not have been so at the time).

    For Landscape work to me it has always been Ansel Adams and during my studies we used the "Zone system" in our work for both small format and up to 10x8" images, his images are just evocative and inspiring but more importantly a true example of what can be achieved if one has the patience to wait and watch.

    When I lived and worked in Berlin, I had the great honour of meeting a fantastic German photographer called Jim Rakete - I and a colleague went to his studio to watch him shoot a fashion advert and later saw the finished prints, I was totally in awe both of the man who is incredibly unassuming and friendly, and his work that was staggering in quality.

    I guess in short I have tried to pull a bit from all three gents, the speed and observational powers of Cartier Bresson, the patience and appreciation of light from Adams and finally, the romanticism and professionalism of Jim Rakete.

    Finally, my wife and I both love Brighton - her for the shopping and me for the photography!
     
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