Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing photographer, Ewan Rollo.
Firstly, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for me. We should probably start at the beginning...When and how did you come about getting into the world of photography?
'I am a visual sort of person. Like most people I enjoy Art and Film and good photography. I have always had an special affinity with Photography. It is hard to explain why but part of it is being a geek. It's an excuse for buying toys.
I think cameras are pretty amazing machines. Maybe we don't appreciate them so much now because we have them with us everyday. Photography can be seen as something unimportant, trivial, or just a bit of fun...which is a good thing sometimes. The thing is though with a bit of thought it can be special and very valuable. Photography becomes more valuable with time. Just think of looking at old photographs of friends and family, places you have been, maybe someone that you fell in love with. Its kind of amazing. This is a big attraction for me. As a photographer you can be an important part of someones life.
Finally I see photography as a way to be free. You can do it all yourself if you want that. Or involve others if you want to collaborate. I have met a lot of really great people through photography and been to places I would never have seen without photography.'
Photography, especially online, tends to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views an image to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?
'Don't try to put a label on me man...HA. I think it really depends on what you are doing. If someone is paying you to take photographs, or you are in a collaboration with someone, then it has to fit what they want. Often you are restricted in what you can do. I try not to see this as a bad thing. It forces you to be even more creative to try and get something that everyone is happy with including yourself.
I would say my photography is closest to the fashion genre. I like to have a bit of meaning to my work and a bit of a story. With a bit of a sinister dark side. Not nasty just a bit of an edge. It can be very simple studio work but with the right person looking the right way it can still have a lot of impact.
Photography is a bit of a bitchy little world. I try to keep out of that and just do my thing and enjoy it.'
Photography can have it's share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of photography particularly challenging?
'I would definitely say I have had confidence problems in the past and still do at times. College was really difficult in this way. People don't realise how much pressure you can be under as a photographer. Sometimes you have to direct a large group of people who don't really want to have there photograph taken. This could be a wedding or a corporate shoot in a large office or factory. Or you are trying something out and it just wont work.
The hardest part for me is organisation. Even getting a few people together can be tough. Everyone is busy and its so hard to get things to work. You might spend ages finding and getting access to a great location then someone can't make it that day. Its a bit of a nightmare.'
In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?
'I try to take inspiration from everywhere. If I go anywhere I am always looking around for potential places to shoot and to get ideas from what people are wearing or doing. Working with other people like make up artists can help to make something different and its always good to have a model with ideas of there own to contribute. I think this is a sign of a serious model who has done some research.
Watching films and visiting art galleries is always a good source source of ideas. I always try to get inspiration without looking at other photographers work then just trying to copy it. If I had to pick one photographer as an influence I would say it was Tim Walker. Trying to recreate his work without a massive budget is pretty much impossible. I really like his surreal vintage style.'
Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?
'I like this question because some people are intimidated by Photographers or somehow feel insulted by someone calling themselves a photographer. Anyone can take a photograph after all. Who are we to ask to be paid for it? Or think we are better at it than they are. I think the point of this question is that anyone can take a good photograph or a valuable photograph. A picture, say of your Partner holding your first child is a very valuable and "good" Photograph whatever camera is used. Or who takes the photograph.
This is also a very difficult question. I would say my most valued photographs are very personal to me. Talking about them would mean talking about my feelings and emotions openly. Men are well known for being bad at that, and I'm not sure if anyone would want to hear anyway. "I'm a soppy romantic dreamer type" I don't think I would even want to hear myself. All I can say is my favourite pictures are of someone I Love. Not naked.
They are not always technically good photographs maybe a slightly funny face I might have caught or just messing around. Things she wouldn't want other people to see. Often they are the best photographs.
Another difficulty is there are so many to choose from. I hope its not to obvious a choice'
Photoshoots can sometimes leave you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in because of photography?
'The scariest time I had from photography was tiring to do a corporate shoot for Stewart Brewing. I totally underestimated how hard it would be to try and get a good overview of the company. You need the right people in the right place at the right time.
It is so much harder than I thought to go to a brewery and get good photographs of people at work. They are trying to work for a start and you don't want to get in the way. Its hard to get good shots in a working factory with so much going on. I had to keep going back because things didn't work out and it got more and more embarrassing to go back again and again. I did learn a lot about the importance of being prepared and planning ahead. But it was really difficult at the time.'
We've talked about your start in photography, we talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year? More of the same? Any special projects? Plus in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?
'For next year I would like to be involved in more films. I have done a few documentary type shoots to record the making of a film and also taking stills to be used as props in the films. It was really enjoyable to work as part of a large creative team and to be part of someone else's vision. I have met a lot of people involved in the film making world in the last couple of years so I will get involved in a few projects this year depending on what comes up. Also I want to develop my portraiture portfolio more even if its just working on exchange. I want to keep it quite simple technically allowing me to focus more on the subject.
My future plans are to keep on developing as a photographer and to try and get more work so I can give up the day job. I would actually really like to do more wedding photography. Some people look down on it, but I like people and being a positive part of there lives so why not. Ok and its a way of getting paid for doing something you love.'
We can't really talk photography without discussing gear, so...what is your 'go to' equipment that you find yourself gravitating towards the most on shoots?
'Ok I'm not prejudiced but I shoot canon. I do use Nikon sometimes but I prefer the way canon captures skin tones and I think the way they handle colour graduation is better. I'm mainly a portrait photographer so it works for me. The more I learn the less I care though. I don't think it matters it just depends on how much you can spend. Great photographers use all sorts of gear. Its how you use it and the work you put in that matters most. OH and again how much money you can spend whatever the brand. But buying a Nikon camera is never going to make me a better photographer.
I'm quite simple really. For most shoots I will use Cannon, 50mm 85mm or the classic 70 - 200mm lens. I have used the 38 MP Hasselblad for a few shoots. its amazing and something I would love to own, but its over the top and more than you need for most shoots. I hardly ever want to print anything larger than A3 so the old Canon is perfect most of the time.'
Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find more of you and your work?
'You can look on Purpleport and contact me through the links or find me at,
I'd like to thank Ewan again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me.