1) Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Annette Forsyth and I am a landscape and macro photographer.
2) What is your process?
My process for macro and landscape photography can be quite different. A fair bit of my macro photography happens in my garden and I keep a close eye on the particular species I am after, watch the light and pounce when I feel the conditions are right. Same applies when I am doing macro photography in the field. I tend to visit familiar places to check how far the flowers are and keep an eye on the best time to go and photograph them. Flowers don’t hang around for a long time, if you miss them you have to wait for another year.
My landscape photography is a mixture of planned and opportunistic. If I am planning to visit a location for a sunrise for example I will have checked it out at least once before and use tools like the weather forecast, a tide times app and the photographer’s ephemeris to determine where the sun is going to rise etc. Usually I arrive with a picture in mind. But I also equally love being flexible and if the weather presents a different shot I will go for that.
Back home the work continues in Camera Raw and Photoshop. All my images are shot in raw format and need to be developed. Sometimes that is just a few tweaks in Camera Raw and sometimes a lengthy process in Photoshop. My aim is usually to produce an image that reflects my emotional and visual experience in the field. Photoshop is often frowned upon by non-photographers, but is an integral part of the image making process in digital photography.
3) If you walked into a shop/gallery and saw your work for the first time as a customer, how would you describe it?
Beautiful and exuding a sense of calm and timelessness. Some people have told me they find my images painterly, that is not something I strive for necessarily, but I do try to capture moods and something of the essence of the places I visit. I try to create images that are a bit more than a mere record of a place and hope that people can connect to them on an emotional level as well.
4) Did you have a ‘non-creative’ life/career before doing what you do now and how did it compare?
In my “former” life I was a Biology, Geography and English (TEFL) teacher. But that is 20 years ago now, although my teaching experience comes in handy on my photography tours and workshops. Since then I have been self-employed and work in our walking tour business apart from being a photographer. I also run a self-catering flat at our house. In many ways it is great to have such a varied work life, however at times you can also feel pulled in many different directions.
5) Apart from your hands, what is you favourite tool or material to work with?
That would be my camera of course. Depending on the subject I use different lenses, my macro lens is probably my favourite one. Apart from that I also enjoy the crafty side of producing my mounted prints and cards from cutting mounts to sticking and glueing my hand-made cards. One of my least favourite tasks is making sure the glass is spotless and getting rid of dust caught inside when framing up images. Any tips gratefully received 😉
6) Is there a different medium/method of art/craft that you’d like to give a go?
I have dabbled with a number of crafts over the years – calligraphy in my teens and twenties – drawing & painting (though enjoyed the process more than the results) – even upholstery and for a couple of years I was quite into mosaics as well.
At the moment I really enjoy what I do and don’t feel the need or desire to try something else, but that may well come.
7) What visually inspires you?
Nature! Not a surprising or original answer, but it is as simple as that.
I love being out in low light and in moody conditions. Generally I am very drawn to water as it is always changing and provides movement, play of light and reflections. I am also drawn to forests and trees. I grew up with a forest across the road and perhaps that is where my affinity with trees comes from. Forests are quite a challenging environment to photograph in and it is not easy to find clean compositions in what is essentially a pretty chaotic and busy environment.
For my macro photography it is very much flowers that inspire me in all their magnificent shapes, colours and forms.
8) What’s your favourite joke or limerick? Feel free to make up your own!
I can never remember jokes or limericks, but my brain is hard-wired to pun and do spoonerisms. I have however learned to keep the spoonerisms to myself (mostly) and won’t bore you here. You should thank me for that!