Interview with NIck Parker
01/05/06Photographer Kirsten Cooke was born in London and attended boarding school in Somerset. She then went to Goldsmiths College in London to study Fine Art and came back down here 30 years ago.
How did you first get in to photography?
I was in my final year at Goldsmiths and I was converting photographs into fabric designs in the days when everything was manual, and I became fasinated with the possibilities of the medium within the realms of Fine Art.
Do you have any qualifications?
Yes, I have both a BA hons and an MA in Fine Art and Photography, which I got from Goldsmiths and Arts Institute Bournemounth respectively and also an ARPS (Associate of the Royal Photography Society) which I acquired at SCAT’s Dillington House.
What sort of photography do you do?
I deal in natural light photography which means I rarely use a flash or studio lighting. I tend to specialise in portraits, but also do weddings and some commercial work which includes advertising and photography for websites.
Which photographers have inspired you?
I like Don McCullin , his still life images rather than his war photos, and the high fashion photographer Mario Testino. I also admire Roger Fenton and Cecil Beaton who, like me,both came from more of an art background into their Photography.
Many artists also inspire my photography i.e. Edward Hooper, René Magritte, Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.
What cameras do you have now?
I use a Mamiya medium format camera and also Pentax, Nikon and Canon 35mm cameras.
Do you have any thoughts about digital photography?
I have some reservations about it although I use digital photography successfully in my commercial work.
Black and white photographs taken on a digital camera wouldn’t match anything that comes out of my darkroom. The darkroom is always best for black and white.
What advice would you give to beginners?
Go to art galleries. So much can be learnt from looking at the structure and composition of the exhibits there. Also try to attend a life drawing class.
If there is anything in your viewfinder that you’re not happy with, don’t take the picture thinking you can get rid of it later. Always make sure what you see is what you want in the final photograph.
Always give 100% of your attention to the client whether they’re paying you £5 or £5000. Dedicate yourself entirely to the project in hand and you’ll achieve the best results.
You can also email her on firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on 01935 415 293