artist spotlight: paul simon wheeler

“WAITING – Self Portrait” © Paul Simon Wheeler

Time and Tide

As a child, I was fascinated with the sea and the seashore, playing in the sand and rock pools until my parents dragged me kicking and screaming off the beach. As I grew older, I also started to become more inquisitive about these places and their creation, eventually studying both biology and, later, geology at University. Along with this fascination, I also found beauty, tranquility and a sense of belonging in these places.

“SADDLE ROCK” © Paul Simon Wheeler

My interest and fascination in the shape and form of the landscape led me to explore other environments such as mountains— another area of wild beauty.  Before too long, the boundary between my inquisitive interest in geology and geological processes became blurred with my desire to artistically record them, and, to this day, I am not sure whether it was my fascination with geology that led me to photography or my interest in photography that led me to the landscape. What I do know is that I love these places: mountains, beaches, forests and meadows and the way that water in the form of rivers, streams, lakes and the sea interact with them. The interaction between man and the landscape is also an interesting facet— whether it be man trying to eek out an existence or nature reclaiming back what is hers and recycling the planet’s resources.

I was introduced to photography at the age of 10 by my grandfather, who showed me the process of film and print development in the traditional darkroom. I will never forget that first moment of watching the magic of an image appear in a tray of liquid under a dim red light, that ability to control light within a scene to provide mood and feeling. I had found that I could use photography as a tool to convey emotions and expressions.

I had discovered my art form.

“Clevedon Pier” © Paul Simon Wheeler

For many years I continued with the traditional ‘wet’ processes, and that sense of ‘magic’ has stayed with me ever since my first print, and even now that I have a purely digital workflow, I still value the importance, beauty and quality of a fine photographic print— the ability to hold an image within your hands and admire the texture, richness and depth of a print giving the image an extra dimension: a life and soul. Something that even the best monitors and projection devices in the world can not truly provide. Unlike those many photographers who develop a style and concentrate on a particular subject, I am always trying new things, discovering new techniques and gaining inspiration from a wide variety of sources. Many who visit my website may feel I have a chaotic blend of styles and subjects— from dark, monochrome landscapes to soft-muted colour abstracts and vibrant, punchy still lifes. The truth is I use different styles, amounts of colour and its saturation to convey different messages and emotions, using ‘the right tool for the right job’. My paper choice is also instrumental in the final print and is often selected before the shutter is even tripped.

I now use my photography almost as an excuse to get to wild places and back to the coast, and even now when making images by the sea I still feel that child like joy. The only difference now is that it is my wife dragging me off the beach kicking and screaming rather than my parents!!! Photography has become so ingrained within my soul that I can not get away from images and the image making process.

“ONE” © Paul Simon Wheeler

Going forward, as long as I have a camera in my hand, a subject in the lens and an image in my head, I will be happy doing what I am doing.  Sure we all experience those times when we struggle to see new things, but it is these times when we need to take stock, dig deep and push our own boundaries to discover a new direction. I am loving my photography at the moment— particularly my long exposure minimalistic mono seascapes. I am a prolific worker and produce many images per month and sell prints through a select number of galleries and through my website. I am frequently invited to give photographic lectures and presentations of my images and aspects of my photography to various photographic groups and colleges across the country. I have started shooting for stock libraries, which has provided me with a new challenge that is quite different from my normal image direction. In time, I would like to hold my own private exhibition/s and work on publishing books in order to continue to share my knowledge and passion with others. I have also started running workshops and offering tuition on a one-2-one level as many of the queries raised at the clubs and colleges often require a practical and demonstration element to fully convey.

I enjoy sharing knowledge and images with others.  I proclaim to have no photographic secrets because sharing is all part of the subject, and for those who are worried about giving tips away, I say this: “You can teach technique, but you can’t teach the eye“.  Certainly, people will copy you, but then they can also do that by viewing your work anyway.  So does it really make sense to lock your images away from all to see and enjoy just in case?  We all have inspirers and we have all been inspired; it is about recognising our own talents and putting our own style and soul into a subject, location and image.

That is what makes our images different from others. We have a finite number of locations, but we all interpret those places and feel different emotions in them.

The Selection of Images

This selection of images is dedicated to geological processes on both natural and anthropogenic elements within the environment. I have tried to capture features which often go unrecorded with the usual photographic process; those of time and erosion. For it is the unrelenting and seemingly unending erosive powers of wind and water over geological timescales that have, in part, carved and shaped the landscape that we walk and live in today.


Explore more of Paul’s photography:  Website | Flickr | Google+ | 500px | Facebook


Gallery of Squares

Time and tide wait for no man

All images and text on this page are protected by copyright and may not be used  for any purpose without Paul Simon Wheeler’s permission.   


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