Creativity and technique Archive


The Dry Season

This year’s dry season has felt long – in more ways than one. Here in Zambia it hasn’t rained since April and in Blogland I haven’t posted anything for more than two months. The creative well has felt empty. I was talking to a friend last week, moaning about lack of inspiration.


No urinals please

Have you hit a creative block? I know the feeling. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been quiet recently. I could make excuses – we flew back to Zambia last week. But really, the excuses don’t hold any water. Inertia set in a while ago and it hasn’t been easy to shake


Taking photos in your own backyard

‘Every place is someone’s backyard.’ David Alan Harvey – photographer and mentor They say that travel broadens the mind. And by extension, it’s supposed to be good for your photography. If you don’t believe me, browse through any book of quotations (or clichés). ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ and ‘Variety is the spice of


What shall I photograph?

‘To achieve his best work, the young photographer must discover what really excites him visually. He must discover his own world.’ Bill Brandt (1904-1983) ‘What shall I photograph?’ Young male photographers aren’t the only ones asking that question. Nor should they stop, even when their hair turns grey, as mine has done.


Photography : the importance of staying open-minded

‘If at first you don’t succeed – failure may be your thing.’ Attributed to George Burns (1896-1996) As a comedian, George Burns often had his tongue firmly in his cheek – never more so than here. Fortunately, I ignored his advice when a friend challenged me to take a photograph of ‘wetness’.


Staying creative as a photographer

I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions for 2018. It feels like an overrated pastime that relies on willpower. I’m more interested in finding ways of staying creative. Paradoxically, 2017 ended on a creative high for me because I was forced to shoot close to home. Being restricted, I had a blunt


Curiosity killed the cat

‘The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.’  Ellen Parr Curiosity gets a bad press – people often confuse it with being nosy. So if someone tells you that curiosity killed the cat, they probably mean you should mind your own business. As a photographer, you’re then left


Photography : black and white or colour?

For many years a friend teased me. She would praise one of my black and white photos, then suggest that colour might have worked better. Smiling, I’d explain that I preferred black and white, before changing the subject. But when I moved to Zambia, the choice didn’t feel so clear-cut. Suddenly, faced


The KISS principle in photography

Don’t worry – I’m not preaching free love. Today I’m more interested in photo composition. KISS – an acronym for ‘Keep it simple, stupid’ – gained widespread currency in the 1960s. And more recently the phrase has inspired an entire series of books. If you want to learn fashion design in a


Photography : drawing with light

That’s what photography means – drawing with light. Whether you aim your camera at the scene of a tragedy or a sunset, you’re drawing with light. Since being named, photography has grown up a lot and been used in so many ways : to tell stories, to express wonder, to share emotions.