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 Manchester based photographer Rob Walker.
Hi Rob. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. How was it you came to be in the photography world?
'It is quite a simple story really, I used to take a lot of photos on my phone as we all do these days, however when I started to upload them to various social media sites a few of my friends mainly a photographer from New York said that I certainly had an eye for a good photo and that I should look into buying a DSLR to give it a try. Once I had put together enough money I too that plunge and have not looked back since!'
I'm a bit of a gear junkie (just without the gear or funds for the gear) so I have to ask, your profile over on PurplePort states you've upgraded from a Nikon D90 to a Nikon D810, how did you find the change?
'I spent a lot of time researching which camera to buy for my first camera, the D90 stood out to me as I really wanted to get into Live Music photography and that model had great low light capabilities at a lower price, it was only when I moved into fashion and portraits that I decided I needed a full frame camera to really bring out the details in my work.
I can honestly say as much as the D90 really shaped my work to what it is today I am 100 times happier with the D810 and have since purchased a second body which is the Fujifilm X-T2, I wanted a powerful camera in a smaller body and boy does that deliver!'
Do you still get to shoot any gig photography?
'I do yes, however I only shoot the people I think would suit my style well or only shoot musicians that email me to come along.'
You've worked for various brands. Of them all, who so far was your favourite to work with?
'I think so far in terms of the shoot, the theme and the outcome it has to be Aireyys. Aireyys is a gentleman's lifestyle brand run by athlete Mike Edwards the images from our first shoot were feature in GQ magazine and we are still working on our second shoot for publication as these things take time. The second shoot for Aireyys was to advertise the launch of a Cigar line so we ventured to London in some amazing locations and just had fun doing it.'
When you retire, assuming I'm still working, I'm inviting you back to tell me which was a downright nightmare to work with. Until then, which brand has produced the most difficult shoot? Be it difficulties with logistics, stuff just not going right on the day...
'Being honest I have not yet had a really difficult brand to shoot for or company, the only thing I could say is that I have currently been organising a shoot with Channel 4 for a show due to air later this year and organising the production team, the presenter and a cameraman for the image to be in the same place at the same time has been a challenge.
The shoot has been moved 6 times but should all be going ahead in the next few days.'
Speaking of working with brands. When people take up photography, sometimes the hope is working with brands and magazines. The trouble is, they often don't know how this happens. With your work, do you approach brands? Do they approach you? Is it a mixture of the two?
'At the beginning it was me pushing my services onto brands, models, magazines etc. but now the work mainly comes to me, I don’t currently do a lot of magazine features unless it is for a brand or the shoot has a high editorial concept.'
When you approached brands in the beginning, how did you find yourself received? Plus, if it was needed, how did you persuade them to use your services?
'Luckily I already had a portfolio of portraits so they approached me as they liked my work and wanted me to be a part of their look book.'
While prepping for this interview I spent a lot of time on your site, especially on your analogue section. I happened to grow up with analogue cameras so have always had a love of them. The few times I've been asked why I love them, I generally can't give a quick answer that doesn't cause people eyes to glaze...so no pressure on you... Why do you enjoy using analogue cameras?
'I have been using cameras for around 7 years and only in the past 4 years have I ventured into analogue, originally it was more of a challenge that I set myself to see if the knowledge I had gained through digital could be passed onto film, after I had my first roll developed I just fell in love.
The fact that no editing is needed and everything you see is what was taken on the camera/film just made me want to do it more and more, since that first roll of film I now own 6 35mm cameras and one medium format film camera!'
Do you get to use your analogue cameras for your paid work or is it purely for your shots for pleasure?
'This is purely for me, although the images do end up getting used I just love the look and the process of analogue so that is why I do it.'
Speaking of your site, you have a few bath shots on there. One question that comes up a fair bit in photography forums concerns colouring the water for bath shots. What do you use to colour yours?
'The common use of colour for bath shoots is food colouring, however I wanted to take a different approach and have texture to so I used Lush Bath Bombs as they contain glitter, petals oils and much more.
I recently did another bath shoot which I have yet to upload on my site but for that one I also used Powdered Milk to give it that creamy milkshake look to the water and it worked really well.'
The Lush bath bombs is a good idea. When you first started with the bath photography did you have any issues trying to get the colours how you wanted, or any issue such as staining with the food colouring?
'No food colouring is used just Lush bath bombs and milk powder to achieve the creamy effect, the lush bath bombs luckily to date have not stained any item of clothing the model has worn.'
I nearly forgot my patented off topic question! As you may have noticed from my previous off topic questions, they're generally dictated by what I am doing at the time. As I am watching Lego Batman whilst I write this, what's your favourite film?
'As you can imagine it is a difficult question as so many films stand out to me, but as I write this I have to go with Dumb and Dumber as it just reminds me of my youth.'
Where should people look to peruse more of your work and contact you?
'I have a few ways to contact me but most of my up to date work is on my instagram which is then later added to my site. My digital account is @robwalkerphotography and my analogue account is @analogueshooter my site is also a point of contact which is http://robwalkerphotography.com alternatively my email is easiest firstname.lastname@example.org'
Lastly, what's your favourite joke?
'I am a huge fan of either world play jokes or food related jokes! my current favourite has to be: What happened when Mr Cheese painted his wife? He Double Gloucester!'
I'd like to thank Rob again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all the links above for more of his work, as well as the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved in creating them.