The Current Issue
Nikon Owner Issue 11
Making Your Images Visible by Sue Bishop
To coincide with the publication of her new book Photographing Flowers Sue Bishop posies the question: What is it that gives us a desire to create something artistic?
Sue Bishop is a photographer whose aim is to create an image that goes beyond a mere record of its subject and becomes art. Her compositions are a celebration of colour and form, often going beyond reality so that they become impressioni-stic and even abstract.
Sue has exhibited her work many times, including taking part in exhibitions at Christie’s and the Mall Galleries in London. This year she will hold a six-week solo exhi-bition at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lindley Library in London SW1. As well as selling prints to clients in the U.K., Belgium, America and Australia, she has contributed photographs and articles to photographic maga-zines and has sold work for use in travel brochures and books. Her range of photographic greetings cards was shortlisted for the Henries Awards in 2000, and in the same year her photograph of a wildflower meadow in Andalucia was highly commended in the prestigious BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, and exhibited in the Natural History Museum in London before going on tour worldwide.
In 1994 Sue founded Light & Land, a company that runs photographic tours to destinations all over the world. This is now the most successful company of its kind in the U.K..
What is it that gives us a desire to create something artistic? Why are we not content simply to go about our daily lives, working, eating, sleeping… immersed in the “here and now” of everyday existence?
Maybe the desire to create art is one of the factors that distinguish human beings from animals. Whatever it is that causes it, many of you reading this will identify with the feeling that I am talking about – the urge to create something that will give you an emotional satisfaction each time you look at it, some kind of lasting pleasure and a sense of fulfilment.
I began taking photographs nearly twenty years ago. I was living in New York at the time, and enrolled in a series of six evening classes that taught the basics of photography. At the end of this, with an understanding of what I was looking for in a camera, I went out and bought my first SLR, a Nikon FG. This trusty friend lasted me for many years before finally being part-exchanged for an F3, which in turn gave way to my present F100.
It is interesting to look back at the evolution of one’s photography over a length of time. In my case, the first years were spent photographing all kinds of subjects, trying to master the various techniques of photography along the way. I soon found that I preferred natural, outdoor subjects, and after a while began to find that flowers drew me particularly. The potential of flowers as a subject seemed almost infinite, and I began to find at this stage that I had an urge to go beyond making a perfectly exposed, properly focused photograph and to create something more “artistic”.
What differentiates an artistic photograph from a record photograph? Perhaps a good record photograph could be defined as a technically excellent reproduction of an object via a camera and lens onto film, without a great deal of subjective input from the photographer along the way. The more a photographer defines and interprets the object of his photograph subjectively, the more it becomes an artistic rather than a record photograph. I recently found a quote from Paul Klee, which puts this rather well: “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.”