'Take a view', the brainchild of renowned landscape photographer Charlie Waite, is one of the nation’s most exciting photographic competitions – and the search for the 2013 Landscape Photographer of the Year is now on.
Rewards caught up with Charlie for a quick chat about his work. Here, he shares his top tips on getting ahead in photography – and how to impress the 'Take a view' judges.
Charlie: This competition came about through a desire to promote landscape photography as an art form – but it’s got an important, secondary function, too.
We want to encourage people to go out into the UK’s beautiful countryside – it’s there to be found, and explored – and capture the experience for themselves.
What we’ve discovered is that the competition really encourages people to learn about their own country, and discover places that they’ve never been to before.
Charlie: The accessibility of the subject matter – and the complete freedom it gives you.
You’re completely alone – it’s a private, personal experience – when you can stand back from the hectic pace of life, and simply wonder at the extraordinary nature of existence.
It continually challenges your perceptions – there’s just so much to think about when trying to make a good photograph – each and every time.
Charlie: Good question! My work's taken me around the world – but, when everything’s said and done, it’s got to be the UK.
It doesn’t get much better than the Lake District – it’s wild, beautiful, and remote – yet only a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
It’s got a wonderful literary heritage, too.
Charlie: I find that it’s not easy to be spontaneous – often, the moment is too fleeting.
And some landscapes are so fluid and changeable, that you just can’t capture their essence at all.
You have to be tenacious – work at it until the image is perfect for you. And always pay attention to the edges of the frame!
I’m always striving to do better. There’s always some small element of the image that doesn’t go to plan – and, although the final result is a perfectly good photograph, you know in your heart that it’s not quite right – and that it didn’t meet your expectations.
Charlie: For me, first and foremost – a striking image has to have emotional impact. A photograph can be technically perfect – and yet have no heart.
You have to feel it, and engage with it – the viewer has to feel that you’re standing there with the photographer, sharing the moment.
It’s hard to define – we have a range of creative people on the panel, all of whom bring different sets of criteria to the judging process – and a truly great image succeeds on lots of different levels.
Charlie: You don’t need top-of-the-range equipment – I always say that the only equipment you need is your eye, and your heart.
What’s most important is having that sense of recognition – that this moment is going to make an image – and being able to convey that experience to yourself, and to other people, through the photograph.
Charlie: There are always fads and trends, as in any creative medium – from the heavy filters and golden sunsets of the 1980s, to Instagram today.
The rise of digital cameras, mobile devices, and social media has certainly made photography more immediate and accessible.
There seems to be a real impulse to share images and experiences, indicating that people want to be artistic – and that’s what we’re tapping into with 'Take a view'.