Tuesday, 19 October 2010

One the greatest photographers who you should know about but in all probability don't

He doesn't blog.

He doesn't twitter.

He doesn't do workshops (though I think he should).

In fact the only tweet you will hear will be from his garden.

He is not in his first flush of youth.

He pioneered high speed nature flash photography before you could walk into a shop and buy it off the shelf (he used to make his own shutters and even his own high speed capacitors made from paper dipped in oil...)

He is one of the greatest photographers EVER (don't just take my word for it, he is one of 500 photographers featured in Phaidon's 'The Photobook' )

Stephen Dalton

Here is his photo of a drinking Swallow used on a Mike Oldfield album cover

And shot in the days before Speedlites.

On a Hasselblad.

In a single frame.

In his back garden.

Stephen spent some time working out the path the swallow would take and then set about 'steering ' the swallow gradually over many days so it had to take a route which would go between his remote triggers.

He then had to work out the lag between the time that the swallow broke the beam and the time it was in front of the lens.

Think of it, no 10 frames a second, no 10 zillion ISO, no off the shelf wonder flashes.

Stephen has published many books of his photography over the years, 15 in total, amongst them...

The CPN website interviewed him last year.

My favourites? Well there are simply too many...

I love one of his earliest works, the Barn Owl flying back to the tower and I love the shot of the Rat leaping from a litter bin if you can find them out there, the rat was part of a show at the Tate for a while.

His work for me is where art and science meet.

His passion for the environment and photography still burn brightly, though with a Canon 5d MkII in his hand these days not a Hasselblad.

A pioneer, a gentleman, a kind, generous and wonderful human being.

When I went to see him on Sunday one of his parting shots was 'the trouble with photography these days is that its too easy' well maybe back in the day it was too hard, either way I can't help but agree with him.

To be a successful photographer these days one needs to be so much more than 'just' a great photographer with all of these fancy tools at our disposal.

Which is why I'm always banging on about getting out there and doing it......myself included.


Jon Prentice said...

Thanks for this Drew, I had never heard of Stephen Dalton. His work is fantastic!

When I get frustrated and feel lost in the sea of other photographers, reading about people like Stephen remind me that differentiation is not only possible it is necessary.

Mats said...

Oh my god, this guy is amazing.
Drew, thank you so much for sharing.
That goes for both this post and the entire blog :))

Drew Gardner said...

Anamazing photographer indeed

If he ever did 'An evening with Stephen Dalton' maybe in London, I would be there in a heart beat

What do you reckon?



Mats said...

Sure would love to attend such an event, I'd need more than a hearbeats notice tho, since I'm living across the northern sea from there :)