artist spotlight – jeff vyse

"self" (c) Jeff Vyse

“self” (c) Jeff Vyse

If you had to describe your overall photographic vision in 25 words or less, what words would you choose?

Creating predominantly minimal black and white images from subjects that I’m drawn to often utilizing long exposures.

"Drax" (c) Jeff Vyse

“Drax” (c) Jeff Vyse

Why are you so drawn to long exposure photography?

There is a truly magical process going on as minutes of time are recorded onto a single image. You’re creating an alternative reality. A surreal image– as by it’s very nature it’s something the naked eye cannot see. You are simplifying a scene by smoothing those elements in motion, namely clouds and water and thereby makings the images more minimal. This gives prominence to your chosen subject by losing surrounding distractions, so you can use this effect to draw the eye to the point of interest.

Why do you prefer black and white photography?

Black and white is a step away from reality which frees you to move further away. Stripping away the colour allows shapes, lines and textures to be clearly seen.  Significant tonal changes in post processing can still look convincing in black and white. Not necessarily realistic but convincing. To what degree you adjust is highly subjective and part of the enjoyment. You have these decisions to make with each image. So each image feels like a very personal creation.

Who are three of your favorite photographers, and, more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?

Bill Brandt was one of the first black and white photographers that I remember really making an impression on me. I’m going back 30 odd years to the days when I used a 35mm SLR usually with Kodachrome. I’d not really taken much notice of black and white until then. I was particularly struck by his moody images of industrial towns in northern England. Living in northern England and studying Chemical Engineering at the time gave them particular resonance for me.

I’ve great admiration for Michael Kenna‘s images. So often there’s an elegance and simplicity in his work that’s very appealing. Such a great eye for a balanced composition.

For my last pick I’m going to choose Joel Tjintjelaar. Joel, for me, epitomizes the new breed of photographers who are emerging out of the online communities. His digital skills are exceptional and he’s achieving great recognition and success. He has developed his own style and vision and has forged a path that many have followed and is a real inspiration.

What artistic influences, outside of photography, have had a significant influence on how you approach your photography (for example, painters, filmmakers, musicians, poets, etc.)?

I’m not sure if I can pinpoint any specific influences in my photography, but I do enjoy discovering new and creative work especially in photography, music and movies. I think if you have that desire to seek out creativity it manifests itself in a desire to be creative in your own work.

"Tree in Snow"" (c) Jeff Vyse

“Tree in Snow”” (c) Jeff Vyse

What are your thoughts about trying to find the best gear possible versus working on making the best possible image with the gear you already have?

I don’t look at an image and wonder about the quality of the equipment it was taken with. Why would that matter if it’s a great image? Particularly with minimal images I don’t think they live or die by differences in resolution or the difference in sharpness between lenses. It’s the creativity within the image that counts. I can understand why traditional landscape photographers who endeavor to record every tiny detail and maybe have plans to make very large prints do need those qualities. For the sort of photography I do I’m still happy with the modest equipment I have.

How would you define fine art? Is it just a label?

I don’t try to define it at all. I don’t think about it and don’t go out with the thought of trying to achieve it. I just create images of things that interest me and process them in a way that pleases me. If I’m happy with the result then I hope others like it too. Those images may or may not be art in the eye of the beholder. However, in creating them I feel that it’s an artistic pursuit I’m involved in.

If you had to come up with one very important lesson that you think every photographer needs to learn, what would it be?

Be influenced and inspired, but take your own images. Develop your own interests and be authentic. Whilst flattering to the original artist, I don’t like seeing almost exact copies and just can’t see the satisfaction in it, nor do I see where someone is coming from.

What are your thoughts about the benefits of online sharing? Are there any particular social media or image sharing sites you prefer or do not prefer?

It’s great to share and feel part of an online community. and to get feedback and to admire and comment on the work of fellow photographers. It can concentrate your mind and help raise your standard just knowing it will be viewed by your peers. The problem recently for me has been the difficulty in keeping in touch with it all. It takes so much time which you don’t always have. I restrict myself to Flickr and G+ these days and find that it is as much as I can keep up with.

What photographic cliché or common photography question, if any, irritates you the most?

Most people taking photographs are genuinely excited by the images they create –and you have to respect that, so I’m not dismissive of what might be a cliché.  I just wouldn’t take any interest in it.

If you were stranded on an island, and you could have one camera, one lens, one filter, one tripod, two books, and ten CDs, what would they be and why?

Well you know already I’m not an equipment snob, so any modern DSLR would be good for me, whatever it’s quirks I’d get used to it. If only one lens, it would have to be a zoom with a useful range starting at wide angle. A 10 stop ND filter. A lightweight but sturdy carbon fiber tripod so I can take long exposures.

"Steetly Jetty III" (c) Jeff Vyse

“Steetly Jetty III” (c) Jeff Vyse

Most of my reading these days is browsing the web; I intend to enjoy the luxury of book reading again when I have more time. Then I will read lots of music biographies.

I did a list starting with Kind Of Blue and ended up with a lot of the usual suspects: all stuff that I love but not really feeling personal. Anyhow, I ditched that list for an alternative selection of stuff I love and would be quite happy to take to an  island.

  1. Faust – IV
  2. Can – Future Days
  3. Television – Marquee Moon
  4. The Cure – Faith
  5. King Crimson – Discipline
  6. Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
  7. Tortoise – TNT
  8. Porcupine Tree – Deadwing
  9. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
  10. Wire – Red Barked Tree

Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?

I tend not to look too far ahead and will continue to pursue the themes I’ve been exploring. The sea will always be a strong pull because of growing up and living on the coast most of my life. There has been an industrial thread running through my work for a long time– and I expect that to continue.

Is there any specific place that you would like to visit to take photos?

Like most long exposure photographers there is an appeal in the images I’ve seen created in Iceland, so it would be great to visit first hand and try my own take on that landscape. I love Michael Kenna‘s images of the Rouge— and that sort of heavily industrialized area interests me. We have a vast industrial area locally at Teesside, UK, but it’s just hard to get close to these places with fences and security.

Is there anything else you wish to add?

Thanks for asking me to take part in this series, Nathan. I am truly honored as I have great admiration for the work of the artists you’ve already asked to take part.  I’d also like to express my appreciation for the work you’ve done in creating this outlet for other photographers.

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Explore more of  Jeff’s photography: website | flickr | google+

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Spotlight on Three Images

All of my images are processed in Capture NX2 and then Silver Efex Pro. I have a workflow that I’m
familiar with but don’t have the power of Photoshop and it’s selections. At some point I will invest
in and start using Photoshop and that may have an effect on the end results of my images. However I’ve
been happy working with the tools I have and knowing what you can and can’t achieve focuses the mind.

Roker Pier (c) Jeff Vyse  I'd spotted this composition shortly after getting my first ND filter and was already committed to black and white. I didn't have the camera with me so I waited for a day when conditions were right to return. So this was one of my early long exposures back in 2010 and contains the elements that still interest me. This was also my first entry into any competition and won the Landscape category of Digital Camera magazine's photographer of the year competition so it holds a special fondness for me. It gave me a belief in the direction I was pursuing.

Roker Pier (c) Jeff Vyse
I’d spotted this composition shortly after getting my first ND filter and was already committed to black and white. I didn’t have the camera with me so I waited for a day when conditions were right to return. So this was one of my early long exposures back in 2010 and contains the elements that still interest me. This was also my first entry into any competition and won the Landscape category of Digital Camera magazine’s photographer of the year competition so it holds a special fondness for me. It gave me a belief in the direction I was pursuing.

Gateway to Hell (c) Jeff Vyse This was again an early long exposure from 2010. I 've chosen this as like Roker Pier it helped set me on a path. This was from a special location to me (The Steetley magnesite works at Hartlepool, UK) because there was unrestricted access to the derelict site. I visited about half a dozen times before it was finally demolished. I felt like a kid in a candy store and knew I had found something I had a genuine interest in.

Gateway to Hell (c) Jeff Vyse
This was again an early long exposure from 2010. I ‘ve chosen this as like Roker Pier it helped set me on a path. This was from a special location to me (The Steetley magnesite works at Hartlepool, UK) because there was unrestricted access to the derelict site. I visited about half a dozen times before it was finally demolished. I felt like a kid in a candy store and knew I had found something I had a genuine interest in.

Jetty V (c) Jeff Vyse This is a more recent image. I like exploring and get out often without the camera, keeping an eye open for possibilities as I like finding compositions away from the obvious locations. A few years ago I found these jetties but they were on a river so there was a distracting far bank. I knew I needed thick fog to create the minimal images I wanted and had to wait several years before I managed to get here in the right conditions. I found the jetties lived up to the potential I had imagined and it was a great feeling. Visualising images this way and waiting patiently for the right conditions is very satisfying.

Jetty V (c) Jeff Vyse
This is a more recent image. I like exploring and getting out often without the camera, keeping an eye open for possibilities as I like finding compositions away from the obvious locations. A few years ago I found these jetties but they were on a river so there was a distracting far bank. I knew I needed thick fog to create the minimal images I wanted and had to wait several years before I managed to get here in the right conditions. I found the jetties lived up to the potential I had imagined and it was a great feeling. Visualizing images this way and waiting patiently for the right conditions is very satisfying.

A Few More Images

"Ebony and Ivory" (c) Jeff Vyse"Dominance II" (c) Jeff Vyse"Guiding Light" (c) Jeff Vyse"High Force" (c) Jeff Vyse"Jetty IV" (c) Jeff Vyse"Lynemouth III" (c) Jeff Vyse"Reduction" (c) Jeff Vyse"Roots" (c) Jeff Vyse"Saltburn Pier" (c) Jeff Vyse"Swan House I" (c) Jeff Vyse"Tree in Snow" (c) Jeff Vyse"Butterfly Effect" (c) Jeff Vyse"Steetley Jetty I" (c) Jeff Vyse"Strange Brew." (c) Jeff Vyse"The Last Tree" (c) Jeff Vyse
All images on this page– unless otherwise noted– are protected by copyright and may not be used  for any purpose without Jeff Vyse‘s permission.
The text on this page is protected by copyright and may not be used for any purpose without Jeff Vyse or Nathan Wirth‘s permission.

8 Comments

  1. dinamicas de trabajo October 5, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    Awesome work. I can’t imagine the practice and technique you have to get to do that. Congratulations.

  2. franquicias de pan October 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    Fantastics photos! I’m a lover of the photography and I enjoy very much this blog.

  3. ropa infantil hatley September 4, 2015 at 10:07 am #

    Beautiful photographies! And the interview is very interesting. Good work.

  4. comprar frigorifico July 21, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    The emptyness of some of those photos have something that makes I love them.

  5. joy kelley October 9, 2014 at 1:40 am #

    beautiful and inspiring!

  6. Jeff Vyse September 25, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    Thanks once again Nathan for being so kind as to publish this.

    Stephen thanks. You know it didn’t feel so bad waiting for these jetties to be surrounded by fog. I kind of put them out of mind till I could get there. We haven’t many wooden jetties like this on the local coast so I had to wait for these. There were as few times I missed out due to work commitments but when the opportunity did arise it was a very enjoyable few hours. The fog didn’t hang around very long. Yes I must be one of the last remaining dinosaurs not using photoshop! But I quite like going my own way.

    Thank you Sandra I’m glad you liked it.

  7. Sandra Parlow September 21, 2014 at 3:20 am #

    Very interesting to read, thank you both, Nathan and Jeff, for sharing 😉

  8. Stephen Cairns September 18, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Enjoyed reading this spotlight Jeff and Nathan. Jeff, you come across as an incredibly patient person. The idea of waiting for years for the foggy Jetty image was surprising and reminded me a bit of Josef Sudek who was known to have a list of places with ideal light given particular times of year (sun position, quality of light by season, etc).

    To hear that you process your images as you do was a bit of a surprise as well. I’d have assumed you were using Photoshop. It goes to show that gear can’t replace vision. Fine interview guys.

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