When I first picked up a camera and put it to my eye, I never for once put any consideration towards my work both reaching and connecting with an audience. Photography for me has always been a journey. A way to escape the every day and explore what is around me. 

I have been shooting the Suffolk landscape for several years now, and it’s only within the last couple of years that I’ve displayed work either in a gallery setting or cafe, and most recently a holiday property with a focus on selling both prints and framed pieces, often with a limited numbered run of around 10 or 20. At first, this feels scary. There is a vulnerability to it I guess, not to mention a strange sense of imposter syndrome where one doesn’t feel like their work is good enough to be displayed in a public setting. When I first started getting into photography, I was very protective of the work, barely printing anything and presenting it to the world. I had a bit of a presence on social media but not much. I guess in a sense, I was always shooting for myself and despite now selling on some of the work, my process of what I shoot and so on is the same. I’ve always wanted to be true to myself and not shoot to sell, as I find the latter can take some of the shine out of what is a passion and a hobby. 

Printing your work is very rewarding. Nothing beats seeing a piece of work in print vs. on the screen. One could even argue that the photograph isn’t a finished piece until it is printed. Seeing them framed and up on the wall is even better, especially when it is someone else’s wall! There is a real sense of achievement to the whole thing, and whilst displaying them to a public audience can feel scary, there is one thing that I have taken away from this experience, and that is connection, the title of this blog.

From people that have lived here for many years, to people that are on holiday for either a long weekend, a week, or more, there has been a real sense of joy and excitement that has been drawn from the work. For some, an image has evoked a memory – either of a special trip or day out, and for others, it has evoked a feeling of joy that they had at a certain point in their life. An example of the latter is an image of Dunwich, where it evoked childhood memories with their family.

At the beginning of last year, before the pandemic, I sold several pieces in a local cafe. This was to a mixture of people that were both local and holidaying in the area. The interest was amazing and beyond anything that was expected, and as I replaced some of the gaps with more pieces, others then sold. I even had enquiries for pieces further afield. At Christmas, I had a lady reach out that wanted to buy a framed piece for her husband. They used to live in Ipswich but now live in France, and looking through my gallery, it brought back several great memories of their time here in Suffolk. I also had a lady in Spain that wanted reached out for a couple of prints.

Most recently, I had a gentleman from Arizona, US, that wanted some pieces for his new home. Whilst born in Arizona, he spent a lot of time in Suffolk with his family, and it formed a huge part of his life. The fact that my work connected in such a way that it evoked childhood memories was very touching.

The connection I feel to home through your pictures is profound. Each time I pass down the hall, or into various rooms, there’s a piece of that magical place for me to connect to, and my house truly does now feel like home.

Neil Hetzel, Arizona, US.

It’s this kind of connection, both in an online and physical sense, that brings joy to what I do. I think we are all guilty of the dopamine hit of ‘likes’ on Instagram, but real connection and dialogue over something physical like a print or a framed piece is something else entirely. 

For anyone reading this that has purchased any work from me, I say a big thank you for your support!

If you are interested in any prints or framed pieces, then please get in touch. I would love to hear from you!

Thorpeness Meare at Sunset

Image shot with a Fujifilm X-Pro1 & Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R Lens.

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