Hugh Sitton has been a professional travel photographer for over 20 years. He first got the travel bug while travelling through the Middle East after he finished school. We had a great chance to meet and take an interview with Hugh Sitton. It was a pleasure for us to talk to Hugh and know more about his art. Enjoy reading this interesting story and share it with your friends!
AP: Hugh, tell us about your first photos. What did they look like?
HS: My first photos go back some 30+ years. My Father let me use his 35mm Paxett camera and I started photographing wildlife as I lived in the countryside. Although my interest in wildlife photography wasn’t to last, it taught me how to prepare, working out in my mind how I would go about the shoots. Preparation and planning has been a big part of my photography.
AP: Do you have any formal education in photography or were you self-taught?
HS: I went to photography school and studied for three years in Plymouth, England. After leaving college, I worked in advertising photography, using 5×4 cameras. It therefore seemed natural to use a 5×4 camera on my stock assignments.
For 5 years l travelled the world using only a 5×4 camera. I’d limit myself to 100 sheets of film for each trip, which usually lasted a month. This seems crazy now – the logistics alone were a challenge, not to mention that my true interest is photographing people. It wasn’t easy trying to get someone to hold a pose while l fiddled about setting the lens and loading the slide.
But those early experiences were vital in terms of shaping who l am as a photographer today. Having such a small amount of film at my disposal during each shoot certainly taught me not to be wasteful with the film, and helped me develop the ability to visualise very clearly what I wanted to say with the image. In other words, l was less likely to press the shutter until l was absolutely certain that everything was right, as there was no PhotoShop in those days!
AP: What genre are your works?
HS: Most of my work is travel or travel-related. Because my images are largely inspired by ideas and concepts from the countries I visit, I often find that the plans I have before I work with a subject have to change when I’m actually shooting. Maybe the weather is not as planned, or the environment is different. It’s important for me to be open-minded in my expectations.
HS: I remember as a child having a wonderful 3D viewer; the images took me to a world far removed from my own. Perhaps that is what I’m trying to do now with my own photography, maybe partly educate and partly enthral the viewer.
AP: Why do you feel an interest to the African culture?
HS: This is a difficult question, because I don’t want to answer in the typical clichés about Africa. Yes, it’s a very beautiful continent with such diversity. But there are problems there too and that can be overwhelming. Perhaps it’s the exuberance of the people I love.
AP: What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to create your pictures?
HS: I now work completely in digital, but I try not to use much PhotoShop in post-production. I try to keep the images as true as I can to the capture.
HS: I’m certainly not an expert in photography, but it’s surprising how much I’ve learnt over the years.
AP: What is the formula for success in your activity?
HS: To be open minded and tenacious, and to show an integrity in my work. Preparation is key as well.
AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
HS: What’s really important to me is the relationship I have with my wife. I believe that I need to cherish that and put my family in front of my work. When all is said and done, and my pictures are put away, it’ll be my family that will be of real value to me in my life.
AP: Would you like to wish something to your readers and AstrumPeople?
HS: Thank you, AstrumPeople, for showing an interest in my photography, and thank you to the reader for taking the trouble to read my interview.
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