Aly Wight is a photographer, who was born in Scotland and grew up in Edinburgh, Brussels and London. With a keen interest in art he studied sculpture at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen. After graduating from his first degree Aly went on to pursue his long held interest in photography. After having studied in Glasgow, Aly Wight began assisting in London where he freelance assisted for two years with some of the world’s leading photographers. Now based in Scotland Aly is beginning the next stage of his career, developing his own creative and commercial work. It was a great pleasure for us to take an interview with Aly Wight and we wish you a pleasant reading and viewing of Aly Wight photography.
AP: Hi Aly, thank you for finding the time to give us an interview. We hope you’ll enjoy answering our questions we’ve prepared for you today. Could you please tell me what got you started?
Aly: My initial interest in photography came from spending time with my grandparents as a child, they were hoarders and had stacks of magazines in their house, in one room was a pile of National Geographic as tall as I was and in another room a pile of Vogue magazines that threatened to crush anyone who walked by them. I would pour over them for hours became totally seduced by the glamour and adventure the photography could transmit. Cameras were always around in the house and it wasn’t long before I was hooked.
It wasn’t until my fine art degree that photography began to take on a more serious role in my ideas. In 2002 I was a creating a competition entry for the Royal Scottish Academy, the work was about the burgeoning influence of the internet on individual privacy. As my entry I researched the judges of the competition online and cross referenced information like a detective. I staked out each of their lives for a day, like a paparazzi. The submission ended up as two posters, one showing all the written information I could access in the public domain and the other photos I had taken during the stakeouts.
AP: You did a great job! That’s a very nice beginning. Do you have any formal education in photography or were you self-taught?
Aly: I studied photography for a year after my fine art degree but my learning was accelerated when I began to assist photographers in London. I was lucky enough to work on some high profile shoots for leading fashion and advertising photographers, they taught me a lot and I gained a lot of experience in a very short space of time.
AP: That’s great when you can learn something new from professionals. What genre are your photos?
Aly: In my commercial work I love shooting environmental portraits and in my personal work I love shooting landscapes. Recently I got the chance to travel for four months across Europe in a camper-van. I shot everything from Gay Pride in Sitges (Spain) to Alpine landscapes at four in the morning after a death defying hike to the location. It was amazing!
AP: Yeah, Europe is very beautiful! Aly, how would you describe your works?
Aly: My portraits are done in a very simple style; I shoot a lot of people in everyday situations just being themselves. I like when people feel comfortable and at ease with what I’m doing so it’s more important for me to engage with them than to fuss with lighting or gear and risk losing that connection. That said I do love what good lighting can do to add power to a portrait so subtlety and preparation is key to the way I shoot. The more automatic and discreet kit becomes the better in my book. I suppose this way of working creates a certain style but I wouldn’t know where to start describing it.
When I’m shooting landscapes I can really get lost in the moment, I like seeing the subtle changes that can take place in a landscape scene. One minute it can look flat and bleak, then something tiny happens and the whole thing comes together in a beautiful unity, those are the pictures I enjoy taking the most.
AP: Thanks for describing your approach in detail. What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to take your pictures?
Aly: I have a Canon EOS 5D Mark II which is a fantastic camera. I try to use no more than two lights on a shoot, none if possible. I use Speedlights if I can get away with them… if not then I use Elinchrom lights; they’re affordable, lightweight and reliable. I picked up retouching skills thanks to photographers I assisted and I’m always developing my digital skills.
AP: Aly, could you please share your formula for success in your activity?
Aly: Perseverance + Canon 5D MKII x 10 Years = Nice pictures!
AP: This is a brilliant formula! Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
Aly: I get a lot of creative support from friends mostly. I know a lot of diverse people and it’s great to get feedback and bounce ideas around with them.
AP: Who is one person you would like to see interviewed on AstrumPeople?
Aly: Laurence Winram, fantastic photographer that I used to assist.
AP: Tell us three lessons you believe are really important for every photographer?
Aly: Three things a photographer needs to learn are perseverance, seeing the world through alien eyes and to live in the moment.
Thank you very much for sharing such interesting story on photography and some of your biography facts. We wish you brilliant success, great ideas and of course to be inspired whenever you go! To learn more about Aly Wight photography, please visit his personal website.