Glenn Guy | A Life In Photography
February 2019 marks my 40th year in the photography industry. I haven’t always worked as a photographer, but my love of photography has underpinned all the other jobs and endeavors I’ve been involved in, including teaching, within the industry.
I’ve been a wedding/portrait photography; landscape photographer; film stills and travel photographer; and a photography tutor. I’ve also worked in retail, manufacturing, customer support and product management roles, all within the photographic industry.
Self and Other
The most important thing I ever did for another was to give my father permission to die.
The most important thing I ever did for myself was to travel, which I began in 1988.
Marrying my love for photography and travel has given me purpose and motivation and a range of self-initiated projects have kept me traveling and, during what now seems like those difficult middle years of my life, prevented photography from being left behind due to the pressures of career and the like.
Nine years of tertiary education, culminating in a Masters of Photography, helped keep me focused on my art, even if it was just during lectures and on vacation when travel and photography provided such excellent adventures.
What’s in a Name
I brand myself as a Travel Photographer. It’s the perfect fit for me as travel photography includes landscape, architectural, wildlife and people-based photography.
However, so there's no confusion, photographing models by hotel swimming pools really isn't my thing.
My life in photography continues to be an amazing adventure and, regardless of the subject matter or the genre before me, the underlying themes of my work remain consistent.
This is an important learning for those of us who work intuitively. It’s one thing to make images, but our direction and purpose is made ever more clear when we spend the time editing, selecting and organizing our best work into collections, presentations or portfolios that make sense.
Want to know who you are and what you are about?
Stop talking and allow your photograph to tell you.
Life is a Journey
Along the way, depending on your interests and the opportunities you make for yourself, you may get to explore all manner of photographic subject matter.
However, it’s your underlying world view and the way you approach your photography that determines the actual nature of your work.
Documentary fine-art, photojournalist, travel, portrait, landscape and fashion photographer are all tags that help separate us from each other and also define our place in the market.
But, regardless of the genre, and whether we are commercially successful or otherwise, we are artists at heart.
What matters to me is whether our work is based upon self or other and if it relates to wider concerns beyond the genre or subject in front of our lens.
The Artists Life
To help make sense of this let’s try to move away from genres such as landscape, portrait and fashion and begin looking at our photography, and the work of others that we admire, and begin to describe images in other terms.
Light, line, shape, color and space are all example of composition that photographers employ to produce compelling images. The above image of the tea stall operator uses color to help draw the viewer in and to help tell the story.
So, while there's a basic story being told, the image is underpinned by strong composition.
The Use Of Story Or Narrative In Photography
We all make images where the subject or story in the photo is very much front and centre. A great example would be this picture of devotees around Mother Teresa’s tomb in Kolkata, India.
We also make images that are more emotively based, largely because they explore the Human Condition and our relationship with nature and the sublime.
Let’s move deeper and look at notions of beauty, relationships, duality, metamorphosis, being alone versus loneliness, interdependence, authority, war, heroism, transience, the ethereal, devotion, spirituality and identity.
By combining interesting subject matter, composition, technique and metaphor into images we’re able to make more meaningful images that carry with them the opportunity for the viewer to consider issues such as conservation, ideology, the worker, class, domesticity, fragility, joy and hope, as well as the natural world and our place within it.
The Philosophy Of Connection
Ultimately, I strive to create life affirming photos. My mission in life is to share the beauty of the world and its people with an ever wider audience.
You can find out more about me and my work in the hundreds of blog posts and the extensive About pages on this site. We’ll also be able to connect with each other through a new podcast series I’II be launching soon.
I hope to meet you one day, whether on line or at some place special out in the world. Until then may a gentle light illuminate your way and may life’s trials and tribulations bring you, though your own creative pursuits, to a place of peace and beauty.