Meet Ida, a local London photographer and musician who captures the magical of the everyday through her images. Below, Ida talks about one of her favourite photos of all time and how it came to be, what’s in her camera bag and some of life’s little luxuries that she’s appreciated lately.
LO: Tell us a bit about yourself.
IH: I’m from London; I grew up in Kew and now live in Battersea working as a musician and photographer. It can be challenging to balance both, especially when often music requires working late and photography getting up early! But I think it’s worth the extra effort; by combining my work with my passions I am able do the things I love every day, and keep life interesting and open for new experiences. My work is made up of: playing bass guitar live and in the studio, instrumental teaching, wedding, portrait and commercial photography and working on my own personal projects. When I’m not working, I love the simple things in life: reading, cooking, and being in the great outdoors!
LO: When did you first fall in love with photography? Are you formally trained or self taught?
IH: I studied film photography at A-Level, but I was fascinated by it long before then. As a child I absolutely loved any type of camera, especially my brother’s polaroid. It seemed magical to me to be able to freeze any moment in time, and later hold the memories in my hands. The two years that I studied at college sowed the seeds of a real passion for photography as an art form; I loved being in the dark room and I had some very inspiring teachers there. The following year I went away to university to study music, and didn’t return to photography until I got my first DSLR a few years ago. I began a 365 project in January 2013, taking at least one photo every day for a year, which pushed me to learn as much as I could in a short space of time. Since then it has become an increasingly important part of my life, both as a form of self expression and now also part of my work.
LO: Talk about your use of light, an element which is obviously important in your work. What else matters most when you’re composing a shot?
IH: I think the lighting in an image is key to the storytelling and expression of emotion, whether that may be happiness, mystery, peace, or even loneliness. I use light in my images sometimes to transform a scene or subject from mundane to otherworldly, sometimes hoping to express something of my inner world, and sometimes simply because it is a path to beauty. As you can see, I love to shoot at sunrise and sunset. With the right conditions the atmosphere is special during both of these times of day, but especially at sunrise, which has a magical, peaceful quality to it, and you can often capture mist or dew as well as beautiful low light.
There are many other things that matter to me when composing a photo, but it all depends on each subject and my thought process at the time. Sometimes I think particularly about colour, movement, depth of field, patterns or any number of the endless creative options!
LO: You have one hour and a camera. How do you spend it and why?
IH: If I had no restrictions I would spend it exploring somewhere new and exciting. It could be under the Aurora in Iceland, in the tulip fields of Holland, or in the mountains of Japan; my list of places I dream of visiting for photography is very long!
However, if I had one hour and a camera right here, right now, I would just walk until I found a subject that captured my imagination, and then try to portray whatever it was that made me want to photograph it. I love unplanned shoots because they force to you to explore and experiment. Even the planned shoots tend to have at least an element of experimentation because conditions can be so unpredictable or changeable, unless of course you are working in the studio and can control everything!
For me photography is always part real world and part imagination. That’s what keeps me dreaming and feeling rooted to the world at the same time.
LO: What’s in your camera bag? What’s on your photography-related wish list?
IH: At the moment I have a Nikon D90 DSLR and a Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 prime lens, but that’s all about to change next month when I upgrade to a full frame camera. I have wanted to switch to full frame for quite a while and have finally decided on the Nikon D810. Choosing a few lenses to go with it will be the next difficult decision! After so much time spent working with my 50 mm lens, I think both a wide angle and macro lens would be great additions. I love wildlife photography and so I would like to get a good telephoto lens too. Getting up close to animals with my 50 mm prime is not easy!
LO: What are your thoughts on post-processing through Photoshop or other image editing software?
IH: I do my post-processing in Adobe Camera RAW, Photoshop and Lightroom and I mostly prefer quite clean and simple editing. I’m generally more interested in what the camera rather than the computer is capable of; it feels more true to the moment somehow and I tend to feel happier with my work when less editing is required. I also think it’s easy to go too far with post-processing – no amount of editing can save an uninteresting or carelessly taken photo, but it is a powerful tool and it can help you achieve things that you simply can’t with just a camera, or it can help you to bring out what is already there, enhancing your intention. It really depends on the type of image you are creating.
LO: Tell us the story behind one of your favourite images.
IH: This photo is called ‘Into the Woods’. I woke up by accident at about 6:00 am one morning and looked out of the window to find this incredible fog; you could barely see a few feet in front of you! Although I was half asleep I wanted to capture it, so I grabbed my camera and went straight out. The world was shrouded in white and in mystery; everything seemed to be disappearing before my eyes and it felt like being in a strange land. In half an hour I was lost in a place I know so well and completely alone. Well, almost completely. From out of nowhere the silhouette of a man appeared and disappeared again, ghostlike through the trees.
LO: What do you most strongly hope to communicate through your work?
IH: I try to combine three things in my photography: the subject and its nature, the moment itself with all its chance variables, and a creative element. Through this I am hoping to communicate what I see but also how I feel too. I put quite a lot of emotion into my photos and I hope to communicate it to others in a way that might make them feel something too. I love to read the comments people write when I post photos online because often people see things in my images that I hadn’t even intended. It is a reminder of just how subjective art is, and how powerful as a tool for exploring our emotions when both creating and viewing it.
LO: Who are some of the other photographers you admire?
IH: There are so many, it’s difficult to name just a few! Some of the nature, wildlife and landscape photographers whose work I admire greatly are Max Rive, Vittorio Poli, Anthony Spencer, Roeselien Raimond and Marcel van Oosten. While some of my favourite portrait photographers are Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Annie Liebovitz, Erik Almas, Dmitry Ageev and Dan Winters among many others! A recent discovery is fine art photographer Oleg Oprisco; I absolutely love his concepts and use of colour in his otherworldly images.
LO: Little Observationist is all about appreciating life’s little luxuries. What are some of those moments that you’ve enjoyed recently?
IH: Exploring London’s amazing food markets with my boyfriend, hopping on a train to Brighton with my best friend for a spontaneous day by the sea and swimming in the outdoor pool in Richmond in the sunshine!
For more from Ida, check out some of her links: