Emerging photographer Ewan Waddell is a fan of looking a little deeper in to the seemingly mundane and showing us that there is more there than first meets the eye…
Tell us a bit about yourself; how long have you been shooting and why do you photograph?
I first got involved in photography about three years ago when I took it as a subject at school, but I would say that I’ve started to take it more seriously over the past year. I initially bought a DSLR with a prime lens because I loved the look of portrait photos with very tight depth of field and I wanted to learn to create that effect myself, however I ended up just taking photos of everything I saw. I graduated (or some would say downgraded) from digital to analogue last December-ish when I went travelling and bought a Canon AE-1 to take with me. I found it so much easier to create photos with real tone and character; to make the mundane look miraculous. It’s this ‘de-graduation’ to the analogue ways of photography which is what I would say reinvigorated my love for the art and is what’s driving me to shoot more and more nowadays.
Who or what are the biggest sources of inspiration for your photography?
I’m not sure my inspirations always aesthetically translate to the work I produce, for example someone who massively inspires my creative drive is the conceptual artist Dom Sebastian, but I don’t think anyone would think our work contains many parallels. There are a good few photographers however who I feel have directly influenced my approach to portraiture, namely people like Mikey Heath, Rosie Matheson, Alberto Figueroa, Abdul Kircher and Vicky Grout. Harry Hitchens is also an enviously cool chap.
I think the broad idea of ‘interaction’ could, however loosely, describe my style
How would you define your style?
I feel like a lot of my photos don’t come from the same vein of style and they’re not always visually consistent. However, that being said there are a few devices and subtleties which I find myself regularly gravitating towards which cause some of my images to possibly have a slight uniformity. I think the broad idea of ‘interaction’ could, however loosely, describe my style. By this I mean that I like to capture different elements of a scene interacting with each other, whether it be the way the light (or shadow) rests upon a subject or object, or the way various colours will synergistically demand attention to the focal point of the image.
What has been the most memorable moment to date with your photography?
It’s tricky to pin down my absolute favourite, but one moment which I reckon encapsulates what I love about photography is something that occurred in New Zealand at the start of the year. I’d rented an apartment for a month in a small town called Hamilton in the centre of the North Island, and every day I would walk through the car park of the apartment building, and every morning I would walk past and glance at this little old copper-coloured Mitsubishi. I must have subconsciously thought it too mundane to give it more than a one-second glance, as that’s all I allowed it until the day before I left to get a flight home. When I came home in the afternoon that day, for some reason I stopped and took out my camera. Maybe it was the slight moisture on the concrete which had created the blue hue which drew me to make an image but, whatever it was, it caused me to take a photograph of what I’d already concluded was a mundane scene. Through the camera, however, it had shown me that it wasn’t. To me this encapsulates what I personally love about photography, as it’s this crazy tool which allows you to construct these surreal little windows into the memory of a possibly mundane reality and give purpose to a distant moment just by virtue of your own idea to frame it.
Are you currently working on any projects that you can tell us about?
At the minute I’m organising to shoot some look-books for some clothing brands which will probably take place when I’m back in Leeds for Uni in January. I’m also working towards dropping a curved brim hat for a personal clothing project. Also in January, I’ll release this little zine I’ve been putting together where I interview some really talented artists. If I get time, I’ll probably do my Uni coursework too haha.
What is next for you? Where do you want your photography to take you?
I just want to keep doing what I’m doing really; more of the same. I’d like to work with more brands because I really enjoy that. I feel that the pressure to create photos for someone else really challenges me to do my best so it’s a good way for me to grow creatively. I’d like to design more clothing in the future too so that I can get the chance to do some experimental photo shoots with my own designs.
See more of Ewan’s work at:
All images copyright Ewan Waddell.