What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
These days I primarily describe myself as an author and Photoshop/Lightroom expert. I still take photographs, but do so more for pleasure these days rather than for commissions. I have recently been shooting a number of interesting self-commissioned assignments as part of the equipment review work I have been shooting for photographic magazines. Later today I am heading off to meet with the Wizard of Milton Keynes to discuss a Wikka ceremony shoot for nest weekend.
What inspired you most to become a Photographer and Photoshop & Lightroom Educator? Why did you pursue this as a career?
I started out as a professional photographer in the early eighties when everything was all analogue of course. My first encounter with digital imaging was seeing the Quantel Paintbox in action. This was around 1986. I had one of my photographs retouched on this system and it was a complete eye-opener. When I first heard about Photoshop I desperately wanted to get setup with my own digital system. It took a while for me to be able to afford to do so, but once I did it was a career changing move. Back then I was most inspired by Deke McClelland’s Photoshop Bible, plus Russell Brown’s and Julieanne Kost’s movie tutorials. I have also learned a lot from Photoshop experts such as Bruce Fraser, Katrin Eismann, Rod Wynne-Powell and Jeff Schewe
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
The popularity of photography and digital imaging is a good thing of course, but the democratisation of photography has also had a deep effect on the professional market. I’m not saying if this is a good or bad thing. It is a fact of life that any would be professionals have to take into account. Therefore, if you want to succeed these days you have to specialise in an area of photography that is unique and requires specialist skills, such as working with CGI, or high-end portraiture. In other words, go beyond the ordinary, or shoot/create stuff most people don’t have access to.
With all the new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
Undoubtedly the work done on Adobe Camera Raw, which was initiated by Photoshop creator, Thomas Knoll, who got Adobe to support developing it and still works on the Camera Raw team till this day. This has had brought the biggest benefits to image processing in Photoshop and Lightroom. The most recent Photoshop feature to have got me excited is the Adaptive Wide Angle filter. I use this all the time on architectural, landscape and Photomerge images and love the control it gives the user.
What Photographers & Photoshop artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
I like anything that is original and exciting to look at. There are so many talented people out there and all are worthy of acknowledgement. Some of the photographers I admire most are fashion photographer Nick Knight, who is currently doing really interesting moving image work on his showstudio website and collaborating and supporting others to do the same. Tim Walker’s work is amazing and portrays a quintessentially, quirky British look. Similar in style is Julia Fullerton-Batten. If I was to nominate a Photoshop artist I would say Swedish photographer, Erik Johansson, who combines great Photoshop artistry with wit and style.
It so happens I have also been working on a new book, this time it’s going to be about professional photography and titled ‘Photographers at Work’. Basically it is about the core things you need to do when setting up in business as a photographer and mainly consists of interviews with working photographers, done as both text and video interviews. It is has been a great experience to concentrate on the work of other professionals, whose work I admire.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photography the best?
I have various social media accounts, such as Flickr, Twitter, LinedIn, Google+, but I am not particularly active on any of them apart from my ‘MartinEveningPhotoshopAndPhotography’ business Facebook page. These days there is so little time to get work done that social media is a low priority, especially when there is so much work that needs to be taken care of first. I am also cautious about terms of service, which is why I would never use Instagram and for sites like Facebook always embed a watermark. I urge others to do the same and clearly assert their copyright.
What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
I may not have the time to get involved much myself, but I acknowledge it is important if you career is primarily involved with producing creative work and making a living from that. It is the new way to promote yourself, to build an online community and drive people to your website. At the same time, as I just mentioned, photographers and artists have to educate themselves about the importance of copyright, which is the lifeblood of any creative career. It’s all very well blithely sharing what you do, but do keep a tabs on how changing terms of service may affect your creative assets.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
Photoshop has pretty much got to the stage where most of the big development has been done and it is more a case of fine-tuning as new features evolve. The same is kind of true for Lightroom, though I feel there are a lot more things we will want to see added to this program. I also think creative users of these programs will use these tools in a more matter of fact way, where we will see a resurgence of more classic styles of image making and the Photoshop/Lightroom element is more incidental, rather than a notable feature. Take for example the backlash against the obvious HDR image processing look. A few years from now I reckon we’ll see a more subdued approach to HDR photography.