Fly on the Wall, a Word with Adrian

Raccoon London would like to take this opportunity to introduce our newest photographer, Adrian. Adrian is a brilliant reportage photographer who has achieved an impressive career and has an astonishing back-story, we recently interviewed Adrian to find out more. As of now Adrian is available for commissions, take a look at his portfolio here

The man himself...

The man himself...

Please, can you tell me about your background in photography, where did it all start?

As a young backpacker in Asia many moons ago I found myself in the middle of a disaster zone in Bangladesh. A cyclone had ravaged the coastline killing 136,000 people. I was mistaken as a journalist and the next thing you know I am flying around in an old Russian helicopter. With a camera in one hand and my head out of the helicopter port hole, I had an epiphany. I realised that as long as I have a camera I can go anywhere and see the world in all it's difficulties, mystery, and beauty. That was 25 years ago and I haven't looked back since!

Why are you passionate about Photojournalism?

I am fascinated by our world and how we live our lives. Photojournalism has allowed me to spend time with people, communities and aspects of society that I otherwise might not have. For example, once I graduated with a degree in photography I went and lived in a tree for 6 months with environmental road protestors. Later on, I moved to and lived in India for eight years working right across South Asia making anthropological and political photographs covering everything from Maoist guerilla soldiers hiding and fighting in the jungles of India to a series of portraits that defined Chinese youth. One theme I began early in my career and one to which this day I am still working on is documenting counter-cultural movements. Whilst exploring this subject I have photographed British environmental protesters, illegal raves in London, South Asian youth and currently I am working on a book about the underground psychedelic plant medicine movement.

What do you consider essential in having a photojournalistic eye?

Firstly you need to understand what you are photographing. What is it and what do you think defines those people involved? All photojournalism and documentary photography is subjective so it's really about how you see your subject matter. The clearer you are the more powerful, compelling and poignant your photographs will be. It is important to be able to communicate a strong narrative through your story. Much like a book or a film there is a beginning, middle and end. You want to take the viewer on a journey that will engage them emotionally. It is the photographs that provoke and demand an emotional response that we remember, learn from, cherish and love.

Your skills in being able to capture candid moments during events are brilliant. Is this a conscious effort on your part during events to take pictures in this style?

Yes! I really love photographing events. I bring twenty one years of documentary photography, photojournalism and street photography experience to an event and you know what the most amazing thing is? The process is practically the same! They are both, after all, events. The difference being you are shooting to a clients brief rather than for yourself. In both you need to be clear in what you are communicating and your eye needs to be very sharp so you can capture those snap second moments when they reveal themselves. To capture the vignettes of an event I shoot in the same unobtrusive manner as I do when shooting a journalistic story. In both I am following the same rules laid down by great photographers like Henri Cartier Bresson, Don McCullin and Martin Parr.

How do your clients respond to these candid moments?

They love them! It is in these candid moments that a photograph tells the story of the event and the characters within it. Get it right and a good candid photograph will be cherished by those in that photograph for the rest of their lives. I simply love it when I make a series of photographs of an event that I know has really caught the essence of that event and those people in it. My clients testimonies bare witness to this.

 Why do you think it is important to be observant during these natural moments?

Quite often great moments aren't always obvious. Sometimes they are very gentle and unassuming and could be easily missed unless you are there quietly observing with your finger on the shutter. I am known for being an unobtrusive photographer and when photographing an event I watch carefully the scenes that take place before me much like you would watch a play with actors. As Shakespeare said, 'All the world's a stage' and never more so than an event with its many people interacting in a myriad of ways. Over time I think some of these photographs would make a great book. A series on some of the best moments I have captured in event photography. I look forward to that!