The Emotional Landscape
Huw Alban, 3rd October 2022

Huw arrived in Dorset about twelve years ago having previously lived in Northamptonshire and would say that he is ‘an artist using photography’, but more than that, he specialises in creating images that for him, capture the true nature of his subject matter.
He is never happier than when he is outside in the Dorset countryside or walking the peaks of the Lake District.

This about turn in his photographic journey started some years previously, whilst waiting in a hospital corridor, he was aware of a display of images; he took a wander to look at them and whilst acknowledging they were good photographs, he came away feeling that none had ‘stirred any emotion’ within him. This in turn made him reflect on his own photography and the realisation that mood and communication are also an important part of the process in creating an image.

As a result, Huw started to look more closely not only at what he does behind the camera, but also to immerse himself in the landscape he had chosen to visit and in so doing, to hopefully achieve a feeling of whatever emotion was generated from around him. This was exampled by several wonderful images depicting bluebell studded woodland evoking a feeling of peace and serenity and in contrast, the subtle hues of a beach providing a similar mood. Other images of the raging seas of a storm produced the feeling of fear, but also the strength of the water in such conditions. Likewise, by using ICM this created calm from what was a busy image which jarred his emotion.

Huw explained some of the technical methods he employs when considering an image. How the photograph is taken – be it in landscape or portrait form – again could show the dominant feature of that scene. The composition, be it leading lines or the core of ‘swirling’ rushing water. How he uses adjustments in shutter speed, particularly with water where the emotion in his ‘mind’s eye’ travels from a calming flow, to the roaring torrent. Similarly, by using the format of Black and White in some of his images, this portrayed two emotions, one of a sombre mood but equally, simplifying the image by removing the distraction of colour and giving a different interpretation within the photograph.

As to the camera brand he uses, as always this is a matter of personal choice, but primarily it is what feels comfortable in his hands and the features that suit his style of photography. So it is to Olympus that he has turned, together with a selection of lenses, all alongside Lee filters.

Throughout Huw’s presentation, we were given the opportunity to explore how he negotiates his emotions with the subject he is photographing and how that is portrayed within his final images and ultimately, to his audience.

As the audience, hopefully we came away with the thought that it is not only the opportunity to capture that moment in front of us, but to also take the time to ponder why and what it is we are conveying in our image.

- Janine Scola