Featured Artist Valda Bailey from England
Every month we display the photographic work of an exceptional artist, display their exquisite images and ask a handful of questions about the photographer and their work. You can see the full article with all the images in hi-definition inside issue 56 of the magazine.
Canon 5D Mk III
Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS
Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8
Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS
Lomography Petzval lens
When did you start photography?
Originally back in the late 70s when I was a teenager. It is only in the last 6 or 7 years that it has become such a consuming passion though.
How important is photography for you?
The answer above probably sums it up – there is little else I want to do with my time. I absorb myself in it one way or another pretty much continuously. There are so many different avenues I would like to pursue and it frustrates me that there is not more time to do so.
Describe your favourite and most inspiring location and why it is your favourite.
I grew up on Jersey and of course didn't really appreciate its coastal beauty when I was young. The light there is very special and it is a place I still visit often as my mother lives on the island. I have yet to produce work from there that I am happy with, possibly because I know it so well. So, I could say that it inspires and frustrates me in equal measure.
I went up to the Hebrides for the first time earlier this year – again I was captivated by the wonderful light and beautiful beaches, so I have a bit of an obsession with getting back there at the moment.
Who is your favourite past or present photographer?
This really is impossible to answer. It’s a list that runs well into double figures and that’s before factoring in all the painters whose work I look at for inspiration.
My work has been greatly influenced by that of Chris Friel. If I hadn't come across his work in a magazine one day, I would still be taking macro images of flowers and struggling along with street photography (both perfectly worthy endeavours, I hasten to add). His diversity and creativity continue to motivate me to improve.
If I had to pick one then I think the work of Sarah Moon is quite wonderful – I just love her beautiful distorted figures, her images of flowers and muted colour palette. She is featured in one of the Masters of Photography short movies on You Tube and she talks so lyrically about what she does, I challenge anybody to listen to it and not be captivated by what she says.
What are your future photographic plans?
I think you have mistaken me for somebody who has it all figured out. I shall just continue along this path, asking questions, trying to hone skills and hopefully find answers.
What advice would you give to a younger you about photography?
Spend less time – or even no time at all – fretting about the microscopic differences between one system or another, one lens or another. The hours wasted reading lengthy reviews, cross-referencing those reviews, lurking around on product rumour websites – all time that would have been far better spent looking at art, reading books, poetry. Or, here is a novel idea, even taking photographs.
I still get suckered in from time to time but these days it’s usually as a sort displacement activity when I am trying to get to grips with something else that I’m finding particularly difficult.