Interview with Ian Hufton

I am a photographer based in Canterbury, Kent. I have always been interested in the outdoors, surrounding landscape, and its wildlife. I first started taking photography seriously whilst climbing on the sandstone outcrops of Kent and Sussex. I would take my camera out every session  in an attempt to document the routes me and my friends were climbing to evidence our first ascents and repeats. Although now retired from competitive climbing my love of the landscape has continued and my approach to photography has become more creative. I now find myself in a never ending search for the perfect light and composition. Occasionally I like to travel but in general I prefer to photograph my own locality where I have learned its intricacies and details. Whether this be inland or on the coast I am never failed to be inspired and my skills constantly challenged.

Interview:

LEMAG: Good morning Ian, thank you for finding time to speak to us. On you website your write about yourself ‘I am landscape and wildlife photographer’. Those are tow quite different genres of photography – which one is closer to your heart?

Ian Hufton: I spend similar amount of time on both genres. Although different I think they can work together very well. I only started shooting wildlife as result of wanting to record the encounters I experienced whilst out shooting landscapes. Both are rewarding but there is something particular special about getting close to a wild animal in its natural habitat. Quite often I will pack my bag with both landscape and wildlife setups so whatever situation presents I know I will have it covered.

LEMAG: You are based in Canterbury, in the heart of Kent and your photography seems to be celebrating the beauty of the county.

Ian Hufton: Yes, absolutely. I live just outside Canterbury. I am situated rurally on the edge of the downs and am rarely more than 30 minutes drive from anywhere on the Kent coast. This makes it easy to exploit opportunities with weather conditions and be able to fit in short but productive shoots around work and other aspects of daily life.

LEMAG: On your website you also show a few images from London and Seven Sisters. Are there any other areas that you visit or would like to visit as a photographer?

Ian Hufton: Yes I like to visit other places and travel around. I take a camera but don’t really get caught upin photography. It seems a bit unfair on my partner to make photography the main focus of the trip. It would be really annoying for her to sit and wait for me constantly while I fiddle about with composition and camera kit. My next trip away is Santorini so perhaps I will get the opportunity for a few quick shots.

LEMAG: You also seem to favour colour over monochrome in your long exposure photography. Many other photographers would choose the opposite. I was wondering if this has something to do with you love for wildlife photography and if for you colour is not a distraction but an enhancement of the photographed scene.

Ian Hufton: I certainly like colour long exposures but would not say I particularly favour them over monochrome. Whilst colour can be distracting I think if done sensitively with gentle tones it can produce results which are just as effective. Quite often I will make a monochrome and then see if it is possible to find a way to make an effective colour version of the image.

LEMAG: You have also done some infrared photography, and this is distinctly monochrome. What drew you to try IR?

Ian Hufton: Yes this is certainly an area I would like to do more of. I have only tried a little with an old DSLR that I had converted. There is some fantastic IR work being done out there by some really talented photographers. However, it has to be done sympathetically. I really dislike all the crazy toned images that a lot of people associate with IR.

LEMAG: You have been involved in rock climbing, which of course is a fantastic outdoor activity requires a lot of planning, preparation and attention to detail. Did that have any impact upon you as a photographer?

Ian Hufton: I have retired from climbing now as I don’t have the time that is required for all the training to be able to do the sport at a high level. However, I still consider it to be in my blood. Being a climber takes you to so many amazing places and you really get to appreciate the landscape and also weather conditions. I also took my first serious photos whilst trying to capture some of the action. These were also the first images I managedto have published.

LEMAG: If you had to point out three photography masters you would like to sit together and chat about photography with – which would that, be?

Ian Hufton: I find much more inspiration in the latest generation of photographers as oppose to the old masters like Ansel etc. To pin down three names is tricky but I do like Scott Robertson landscapes and Jay Vultures monochrome work, also Danny Green has to be one of the most stylish wildlife photographers out there, very arty.

LEMAG: Back to your website again – you say there: ‘I find myself in a never ending search for the perfect light and composition.’ Both are foundations of a good image of course but I believe some people may ask – what about a perfect subject? So let us know please what your favourite photography subjects are.

Ian Hufton: That’s an easy one for me. I will never tire of photographing my local Peregrine falcons. As well as the obvious challenges in tracking such a fast subject they are such fierce hunters and have so much character. It really is a privilege to be around them. For the future I would like to try and include more use of the surrounding environment in the images. In terms of shooting my local landscape I love Whitstable its only twenty minutes from home, has great evening light, loads of different subject matter and I get to end with a nice pint in the Neppy at the end.

LEMAG: Thank you Ian, very kind of you to give us your time and all the best with your shutterwork.

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