Interview With Dougie Cunningham

Dougie Cunningham is a young Scottish landscape, commercial, sports and wedding photographer who is rapidly making a name for himself. He won the Classic View section of the 2016 Landscape Photographer of the Year awards, was featured on the BBC’s One Show and Scotland Outdoors. His first book, Photographing Scotland, had to be reprinted due to high demand and will soon be reviewed in LPM. Mike Bell caught up with him in his native city of Glasgow

When did your photography begin?
I got my first camera when I was 10, a little Canon point-and-shoot, but I really made a conscious effort to start taking good photographs when I started climbing and kayaking while I was studying Chemistry at University. I’d take an old film SLR, break it down and stick it in a Peli case between my legs in a kayak. My mates and I would be doing these rapids and taking photographs of each other to encourage ourselves to go for it!

How did you become a professional?
I spent a few years living and working in the Lake District, England as site chemist on a huge construction site. In my spare time I would learn as much as I could about photography and that was where I started going out to photograph landscapes. The people I met while I was out in the Lake District started asking me to do little jobs for them. It happened almost by accident. I took some promo shots of headtorches for Petzl, a couple of friends asked me to shoot events for them, the occasional friend’s wedding, that sort of thing. After a couple of years my chemist contract ended and I went travelling in Patagonia. Upon my return I was fortunate enough to be asked to do an exhibition of my Patagonia images at the Keswick Mountain Festival. This led to other contacts and commissions for the hillwalking magazine, The Great Outdoors. That in turn led to publishers FotoVUE asking me to undertake the ‘Photographing Scotland’ book.

So, you have been a professional now for eight years. How did you feel about this transfer from amateur to professional?
The word amateur comes with so many connotations. It is absolutely no reflection on a person’s skill. There are pros and cons of both situations. One of the hardest things about being a professional is...

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About Author

Mike Bell

Mike is a landscape photographer based in Perthshire, Scotland where his photographs have been used by Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, Visit Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland and local tourist associations.

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