Review - “Working in Projects - Creative Storytelling in Landscape Photography” with Sam Gregory, 17 May 2021

A review by Janine Scola - “Working in Projects - Creative Storytelling in Landscape Photography” with Sam Gregory, 17 May 2021
As many will know, Sam specialises in Landscape photography, be it natural or urban, but latterly has developed his work into small – or occasionally large – projects by gathering images together in a meaningful way to create a story.

Initially Sam referred to his recent book “Mesozoic” which presented us with stunning images to depict this era of many years ago. Each worked together cohesively by the rhythm, space and tones depicted in each photograph. To get to the final ‘cut’ entailed a large number of photographs being taken over a long period, until Sam achieved the ‘story’ he wished to portray – an amazing book which makes you see what is before you in a very different way.

This then followed on to Sam talking about starting our own projects and the ways to approach the landscape to tell our story and to give a different interpretation to what is normally photographed. Sam outlined his method of approach and encouraged us to have a clear idea of what our ‘story’ will be – he exampled our own garden, changes through the season or perhaps an area of the coast we favour – to be open-minded as to what is there, but primarily, to really look at what is around us and how these perceived images will form our story. Quite simply, get to know our chosen location well, so we are aware of where we want to take our photographs, take our time and look at every angle – experiment! He recommended that rather than accumulate a large number of shots and then decide what to ‘whittle out’, to review what we have at various stages, to ensure we have the images that work not only for the story we wish to tell, but that work together tonally and spatially to curate our story to the viewer. Through his own images we were able to understand and appreciate this suggested workflow.

Once we had made our final compilation we needed to decide how our images worked as a colour palette, as well as a theme and the mood we were hoping to achieve. He felt this was better realised by printing our selection, which would hopefully make those images that came together stand out. His ‘mantra’ to this element could be summarised as – “Solos, Songs and Albums”, meaning: “Solo” why we stopped to take an image at that point – the colour, the light or simply the subject matter. “Song” is the image itself and “Album” is the collection of images. Consideration of these and how the ‘set’ is going to work visually, and balance with each other.

His tip – use the same camera, lens and set focal length – limit your kit! Get used to ‘seeing’ in a consistent way.

An inspiring evening, and after the long lockdown period we have all endured, just the motivation to get us out with our cameras and back ‘into the groove’, to really look at what is around us and see things in a different perspective – our new challenge and no doubt, as Sam said, we may all gather a few ‘orphan’ images on our journey!

~ Janine Scola