“Read a lot about photography principles. Take lots of pictures, keep trying different styles until you find something you’re happy with. Keep experimenting with different ideas and subjects. Don’t be afraid of editing pictures but above all just enjoy taking pictures.”
This time, we have the honor to interview Andrew, the man behind the Instagram account @arclesscurve, whose interest in nature led us to little session of our regular Instagram Weekly Guest.
He was born in Liverpool, a city located in the Northwest of England, United Kingdom. Lived there for a short period of time before moving to the urban town of Maghull which was where he grew up. Once he had finished his education he left, and currently live in a town called Wigan, situated in Greater Manchester where he has lived there for coming up to 13 years now. Wigan, despite being an urban town, is made up of around 2/3 greenbelt land, which is where he comes in his pictures. He usually took pictures whilst out running as he confessed to us.
Let us take you to Andrew world. The world of beautiful, almost poetic world from his perspective.
What kind of photography that you do?
I’m predominately interested in nature and landscape pictures, though I have a wider appreciation for all aspects of photography, buildings, macro etc.
When did you start to derive an interest in photography?
Growing up as a child I can remember being fascinated with pictures in magazines of pretty landscapes, and I used to look through encyclopedias at different countries and I think some of the love for nature stems from that. It wasn’t until I joined Instagram around 2 years ago that I took up an active interest in the principles of photography. Whilst I’ve had numerous portable cameras, I can’t remember the first picture I ever took, I can remember my first Instagram picture, as its still on my feed, admittedly it isn’t very good, but I think I’ve learnt and evolved a lot since then.
I discovered Instagram through a friend who shared a picture they’d posted on Instagram to their Facebook account. I was curious and had a look for it in the Apple app store. I found it was highly ranked in the Apple charts, which led me to download the app and take a look at what all the hype was about. Until then I had no idea that there was a sole social media app dedicated to just pictures, though it was around a month or so after joining that I finally plucked up the courage to post my first picture.
How did you find your inspiration?
I find my inspiration from nature itself and by all the Instagram pictures I see daily. Natures pretty amazing at times, and what’s more, it doesn’t cost a single penny, it’s like the ultimate freebie. Visits to the woodland are absolutely free, sunset at the beach? Free, and sometimes the scenes you witness and capture are priceless, walking through the woods on a gloriously quiet morning, birds tweeting, calmly serene feelings, what’s not to like about that? and that’s where my inspiration comes from.
What kind of camera do you use?
I use iPhone for 99% of my pictures, I started with an iPhone 4s and I’m currently using an iPhone 5c. I also have a Canon HSX510 Powershot bridge camera, which has seen some use, but if I’m honest I’m not using it to its full potential. With most of my pictures coming from runs, it’s a lot easier to carry the iPhone around than the bridge camera!
How do you define your style of photography?
That’s an interesting question, and right now I’m not entirely convinced I have settled into an established style. I think personally I’m still developing a definitive style, in transition; I’m currently taking pictures that are colorfully soft with a moody feel.
The photo to me is a snapshot of a moment in time that’s unlikely to be repeated again, and maybe it’s my way of trying to treasure moments in life.
Give us 3 things you’ve learned since you joined Instagram?
Wow, I feel like I need to list more than 3, but 3 things I’ve learnt on Instagram…. Ok, first the talent on IG is mind blowing. There’s some seriously talented and hugely underrated IGers out there. I’m always in awe on a daily basis, which leads into the inspiration I gain. Two, writing captions can be ridiculously hard but can make a big difference to the overall presentation of your post, and three, it’s great to know there is a lot of genuinely kind-hearted and nice people in the world.
Does Instagram open you a wider opportunity to channeling your creative work?
Instagram for me has always been about showing pictures of Wigan, I’m totally grateful for all those that follow, like and leave comments, I think the only way it effects me in real life is that I tend to take more pictures whilst out running, but it’s nice to go for runs, and see what things you can find to take pictures of.
What is your secret recipe for grabbing the perfect shots?
Perfect tips for grabbing shots, hmmm, revealing all the secrets here, but there are afew simple things you can do, that can help improvetaking pictures. I’d recommendreading some online articles into the basics of photography, the rules of thirds, and leading lines for example. It makes a big difference for when you actually come totake the pictures. When taking pictures, always take more than just one picture.Thatsunset grass shot you’re shooting, take a few pictures, it might be that you capturethat one blade of grass that gets blown by the windto align with the sun directlybehind that turns it from an average picture to anepic picture. Finally if you’re editingthe picture, always check the alignment. I see so many pictures that could be made infinitely better, just by simply adjusting the horizon so that’s its straight and not sloping.
Based on your Instagram account, it seems pretty obvious that you fond of landscape photography. What is so interesting in doing this specific kind of photography?
I love landscapes and nature a lot, and I’m fortunate to have so much on my doorstep. Most of the places I go visit, are no more than 3-4 kms away, easily reachable, and I find landscape pictures incredibly appealing. I do think you make do with what’s around you though, it is what it is, whether it’s a city landscape, or woods.
Can you give us tips in taking fog photography?
Foggy picture tips…. I’ve found that fog tends to play havoc with the automatic exposure settings on the iPhone, due to the nature of fog, it’s always trying to re-focus. To overcome this I always lock the focus on the subject I’m taking a picture of and then adjust the exposure manually. You need to also keep really still whilst taking the picture, any slight movement will cause the picture to blur, due to the low level of light at play. Also move quickly between spots for taking pictures, fog and mist conditions can change almost immediately, and sometimes it’s a case of take a few pictures at a few different spots to get a good variety of pictures, making the best use of the fog.
Do you always try to maintain the tone of your photos on your feed? If yes, why is it important?
I’m a huge fan of Mextures, and pretty much use the app for all my editing. I love theway you can create certain moods and feel to pictures, by the mixing of filters and textures. I always try to give the pictures a soft subtle feel, without going to overboard on the editing side. It’s important for me to keep a consistency feel within the gallery, without lurching from one style to another.
Is it important to have technical skill in photography to be globally recognized on Instagram?
I think it certainly helps you get more recognized, if you’re more technically savvy and skilled, you’re likely to put out consistently quality pictures, but I don’t think it’s essential, and a lot depends on your intended use of Instagram.
Read up a lot about photography principles. Take lots of pictures, keep trying different styles until you find something you’re happy with. Keep experimenting with different ideas and subjects. Don’t be afraid of editing pictures but above all just enjoy taking pictures.
Any parting words?
Yes, thanks for my first ever “interview” I’m honored!