Photography : "Live and Uncut" - Episode 45 with Trevor Cole

An Educator - in more ways than one!

My guest this week was Trevor Cole. I came across Trevor from my previous guest Chris Marquardt. Chris spoke so highly of Trevor's work, that I just had to check out his work and what amazing work it is. It's my intention to diversify the program a little by having more landscape photographers on the show, and what a guest to get this initiative started.

Trevor Cole lives in Dunfanaghy, on the north coast of Donegal, Ireland. Born in Derry he qualified as a geography teacher but decided to travel with his vision of teaching and photographing the geography that he is so passionate about, for 24 years! His travels covered many many countries such as Singapore, West Africa, Italy, Ethiopia and Brazil. His first recollection of a camera though was using a Kodak Instamatic 110 - Isn't it amazing how many photographers I have spoken to have said that this was their first camera! At an early age he was able to travel with his parents and he persuaded them to buy him his first real camera - A Rollieflex SLR. Everything was manual but as Trevor said what a way to learn photography. His film choice was Fuji Velvia transparency film. A firm favourite with the landscape colour photographers. From the Rollieflex Trevor switched to a Minolta 7000 which he used until switching to Nikon in 1990 when he bought the Nikon F90x.

Photography really started for him when he got the Rolliflex SLR, which became a passion for him when travelling the world. Although geography has always been his main passion his travel triggered the use of the camera. He is not a mainstream 'landscape' photographer he says, there's nothing more than he enjoys most by walking the streets taking portrait shots of the local people or capturing a street scene.

He switched to digital when he moved to Ethiopia in 2006 and bought into the Nikon system with a Nikon D200 with 70-300, 18-200 (his favourite lens at the time), a 20 and 50mm lenses. Since then his equipment has expanded considerably, using now on a regular basis the Nikon D800 and D750 full frame cameras.

Studying his work on 500px through his site (link below) you can see the excellence of his work. He is not just a landscape photographer you will see on this site many street portraits where Trevor has stopped and spoken to local people, where he has captured the soul of the individual. Focus of his portraits is on the eyes and shown with such clarity they are glass like - almost marblesque like. A number of portraits have been taken in countries where you might think it difficult to do, given religious beliefs and barriers. One thing you will notice about his work is how he works with the light. Using it to produce stunning street portraits. His photographs cover a multitude of countries, such as Ethiopia, Somalia and Iceland all finalised with very little editing in Lightroom. Although the majority of his work is in colour there are a number of classic mono images.  Living in these countries for a period of time, of course helped with any potential language barriers. Generally he got by with the local language!

Trevor has never been tempted away from his Nikon cameras to any other manufacturer, but he did say that the mirror-less cameras might tempt him in the future as he recognises the exponential growth of the mirror-less camera range. Of course not withstanding the small lens stable that the new manufacturers have in the market, they don't have anything close, at this time anything, to what the Nikon and Canon ranges do. His go to camera would be the Nikon D750 but if it was just to a party of friends or dinner or for a bit of fun he'd take his iPhone!

His future plans? He would love to develop his workshop to reflect the quality of the landscape and scenery that he has on his doorstep in County Donegal, the local scenery is exceptional - sounds like a place I've got to visit! He'd love to take his workshops to well known destinations that he knows well. Places like Ethiopia, Namibia, Iceland, Madagascar and Costa Rica. His final wish, would be to do a humanitarian photography. One such as a project of a refugee camp and to get his work published. This is not for the faint hearted but with Trevors' experience of living and travelling through countries, such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kazakstan and the Himalayas, he says he has seen 'a lot', which does take some getting used to, and I can say that from personal experience myself. 

His favourite photographer and inspiration for his photography would be Sebastiao Salgado. Trevor enthuses over this photographer's work, which when you listen or watch the video you will understand his thoughts and comments. Other photographers that come to mind when we talked were Steve McCurry, Mary Ellen Mark, Henri Cartier Bresson and Don McCullin. They all bring their photography projects to us with dedication and skill.

This episode was truly, for me, an eye opener. Not only the skill that Trevor possesses with his image making but also his comments and views on photographers and the many countries that he has lived and worked in, not to mention those that he has travelled through.

Thanks Trevor for a wonderful show.

And Finally "leave your camera bag at home"


The all important links:

Photography "Live and Uncut" - Episode no 45 with Trevor Cole.

Trevor Cole - Alternative Visions

Trevor's website

Trevor on 500px

Trevor on Facebook

Trevor on Twitter

Trevor on Wordpress his Blog

Trevor on Pinterest

Trevor on Google+