- Issue led photojournalism and reportage photography
- Humanitarian investigative photojournalism
- Humanitarian photographer for NGO's and Charities
- Hazardous Environments Photographer
- Environmental Photographer
- Reportage for social media campaigns
- Street Photography
- Educational workshop leader
To see the full range of services I offer go to the Hire Me page!
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Gary Austin- Photographer
Gary Austin is an award-winning street photographer & photojournalist based in a small village in Derbyshire UK. With a varied career over 30 years working as a freelance photographer which has ranged from photojournalism to commissioned work and personal fine art projects.
With a professional background in photojournalism and a degree in art photography, his photographic voice has evolved as a blend of traditional documentary and aesthetic snapshot, an approach which allows for the subjective interpretation of the story as an artist. He has a unique personal style that produces photographs full of drama, spontaneity, and natural raw energy and emotion.
Gary is currently working on "Father Sky's Embrace of Mother Earth" a collection of stories about wild places, skies, weather, man, earth, wildlife, rocks, environment, pollution and climate change; focusing on the native way of being, which we as a species have opted out of in our contemporary societies.
Awards & Exhibitions
Foundry Gallery, London 2007 Group Exhibition on Protest that toured the UK
2010 University of Derby - Degree in Fine Art Photography BA
Anxiety of influence, Derby UK 2010 (Received the Format Award 2011)
Magnum Street Photography Workshop Projection and print exhibition during the Format Festival 2011 (led by Bruce Gilden and Magnum)
Lighting from a small flash is a technique that I sometimes use in my documentary photography, as a way of highlighting the importance of the subject and separating them from distracting or less important details while giving depth to the image or showing texture and detail. The renaissance masters lit their portraits with artificial light and painted in the effect of Chiaroscuro, (which means light-dark) a technique referring to the exaggeration of light and dark contrast.
Joseph Wright of Derby was such a painter using this effect while depicting the age of enlightenment and an international artist whose work I admire. He was the first professional painter to record and express the industrial revolution and the people behind them, paintings that are not just art, but show the important history of that time. Joseph Wright also painted a scene called the “Blacksmiths Yard” set in a ruined church which is alleged to have been in the village I live in, this was one reason that prompted me to start my documentary project in the village, that, and my family history connected to it.
I work independently, finding my own visual topics, producing a long form visual story with photographs or mixed media, on topics that are of socially or politically important. I also accept commissions and work with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) Charities and publications when there is a shared interest in a project, region or issue needing reportage.
I work ethically and remain aware of the conundrum of showing the truth and that of authorship to events which I document. The photographs I make are often my first experiential impressions and I edit as close as possible to the experience and original scene as the recall of my mental memory of the image allows.
The result of my work is a candid intimacy, full of drama, spontaneity, and natural raw emotion which is authentic and shows the importance to the reader.
Unlike a lot of street photographers I use flash on the subjects I am photographing, I am often very close (4 feet or under) to the subject and use a wide angle lens, neither do I ask permission, as this would change the response from the subject, and result in socially contrived stances and poses! This may seem very invasive on a personal level, but at least, they know they have been photographed, which I think is ethically better than making candid photographs of the subject of which they know nothing about and have no choice in the making.
Often they ask why, and conversation starts, I get to meet people, we chat, they have a laugh and go about their day with a smile on their face and they feel a bit more special! I am not into the funny photo “one liners” or “gag’s” there are plenty of humour websites out there that degrade people and I have more respect for my subjects (and myself) To me street photography is a serious undertaking and needs to reflect the mood on the streets.
The light from the flash is also me adding to the scene or subject as a means of creating, not just recording what is in front of my lens. I angle the light to try and suit the subject and allow for the light to drop away from the background, leaving just the subject in the spotlight as it were. With this in mind, I have to spot my subject further up the street, I covet the camera and my intentions by walking behind other people so I am not seen. I slow or speed up my pace to get them in front of a suitable background. I have to think where the flash needs to be in relation to the subject (I aim for Rembrandt lighting).
Sometimes they may be looking the wrong way at the moment our paths intersect and I have to make a noise or say hello to get them to look in my direction. Simply put it’s hunting for the picture I want, yet it is done with the greatest respect to who they are! I photograph with the attitude of “all photographs are self-portraits,” meaning that the people I select resonate with me on a personal level, from a person I know, an emotion or a situation I have been in; they are like me in some way! I don’t go gunning for everyone on the street like some street photographers do.
I don’t photograph people to make them look bad or to make fun of them, I won’t photograph people who are obviously worse for wear over a drink or those that are homeless, I am not after victimising – victims of our don’t care-less society!