Photography : "Live and Uncut" - Episode 61 with Bruce Percy

It's quality I want!

It was amazing that we started off the show with a clear link and didn't suffer, as I have recently, from the "Google Gremilins' - Well that was the case until we, experienced an internet 'outage' in Edinburgh and we lost contact with Bruce. All was not looking good as Bruce and I made arrangements to make the show another time, only for the internet to come back to life and we were back online! As Bruce continued to talk, I was frantically trying to get the viewers back online to watch the show as we were now on a different link. Oh, the problems us broadcasters have!

Since he can remember Bruce had an interest in music up to the age of about 33. It's amazing how many photographers I have spoken to on this show, that have or have had an interest in music and and turned to photography. Bruce moved into photography after his trip to Australia when he had decided to move out of the music industry. After his travels around this vast continent he was bitten by the bug of photography. Not that this was new as he had many images on the walls of his music studio that had been praised by his friends for the quality of them. Bruce honestly didn't realise how good he was and didn't realise that there was an opportunity to make a living professionally. He is very careful how he progresses with his career now, as he doesn't want to burn-out as he had done with his music.

His first camera was  Canon Eos 650 but after a while and many other cameras the Mamiya 7, a medium format camera, became his chosen tool. It fitted his style. The format and aspect ratio of the image created on the film (ie 4x5in). This format works for Bruce. It's one that he has used since 2004 and having gone through at least 5, he knows how the camera works. This is one thing that a lot of photographers don't do enough by getting to know their camera and instead changing every so often to get the latest and best version available thinking that that will improve their photography.

Bruce throughout the shows makes some very good points for us mere amateurs to consider....

We will always miss shots! It wont matter what lens you have on the camera at any given time!

Learn all you can about your camera!

Stick to just, at the most 3 lenses and keep to primes!

All these points will make you a better photographer, rather than chasing the latest camera version and building enormous lens stables in your bag, for every given opportunity.

Bruce uses the Fujifilm Velvia transparency, ( a firm favourite of landscape photographers) which is processed in a lab. From there the transparencies are scanned in his studio then loaded into the computer for viewing. And its this process that I found the most interesting. Bruce really takes his time to check the work over, edit and finally send to print. This is not just done in an evening session. Some images maybe worked on over a period of time of anything up to a month. Constantly checking and rechecking the work he has done. Some images take even longer. That's the care that Bruce takes to create his images.

Bruce also makes some inspiring You Tube videos that relive the whole experience of a given trip. They are not a 'Techy' style, as he says 'you can find that information anywhere'! From the release of his videos, the workshops started to develop and is the mainstay of his photographic business. It was David Du Chemin who pointed Bruce to be focused on what he was doing and could do in the future; Videos, Books, stores and prints.

Looking at his work on the screen share and hearing Bruce commented on the image to me was a highlight of the show. Bruce talks in great detail about the image, the place, the choice of composition and the process that produced the final image, after all, even in the darkroom days we were all manipulating an image. It was great to have a question to ask Bruce from a viewer and I think he gave a very detailed answer to it. I wont go through the whole text of the discussion but his suggestions of how to learn about light to initiate the thought and process of simplifying an image, was in my opinion just brilliant. 

As I mentioned at the start of the show; if you're interested to join Bruce on one of his workshops then I suggest you get your name down quick! As his events are booked up for the next 18 months. In this day and age that is amazing. There are not many photographers that can say that and it might be mentioned here that a number of the members joining the workshops are returning customers. That in itself is a testament to the quality of his workshops.

His favourite photographer goes without saying is Michael Kenna, who Bruce has been fortunate enough to spend some time with; and those that have have inspired him the most? That would be the two music teachers that allowed Bruce to use the music studio at school, although he had no interest in learning how to read music!

It's suffice for me to say that this showing has so much value for you to watch and listen. So much information, on photography, on editing and on equipment even if you are as we say a 'gear head'! It was a great pleasure to talk to Bruce and I'm so pleased that he took the time to make contact with me to get the show going after initially being too busy. 

Thank you so much Bruce.

"Until next time - "Leave your camera bag at home"

The all important links.

Photography "Live and uncut" no 61, with Bruce Percy - Part 1

Photography "Live and uncut" no 61, with Bruce Percy - Part 2

The Bruce Percy website.

The Bruce Percy blog.

Bruce on Facebook.

Bruce on Google+

Bruce on Twitter

Bruce on You Tube.