The photographer’s art, with Louisa Stobbs

“You don’t take a photograph. You make it.” Ansel Adams

Art has always intimidated me. The creative vision required, the technical skill, the interpretation of works….to be honest, it’s always felt foreign. Music, languages, literature [ok, FOOD!] ….that’s my comfort zone but art? Just a whole different set of skills and experiences.

So meeting Louisa Stobbs, one of our talented Bucks artists, was such a genuine pleasure. Bucks Open Studios arranged for me to spend a morning with Louisa, to understand more about the photographic process, the Open Studios events coming up from June 10–25th 2017, and to take some shots of my own (below!).

Louisa is an Ivinghoe local and she and I met at College Lake, near Tring, where she shared how she found herself in photography. Louisa is smiley, engaging, energetic and full of passion for her work. With a marketing background, Louisa has a strong natural feel for design and imagery but always felt there was more, an artist within.

Louisa explained that many of her closest friends are professional artists and they encouraged her to continue trying to find her medium, which led her on a journey through all types of artistic endeavour including pottery and drawing. Then Louisa was given her first digital camera, and she was addicted.

Louisa’s passion is the outdoors and whether her location is the Chilterns, the Peloponnese in Greece or the place which has truly stolen her heart, Argyll in Scotland, as she loves the light produced after rain, she loves being outside and spending time looking for and capturing beauty. So much so that her partner starts to get edgy and she sends him off to stride around and enjoy a hearty walk whilst she takes her time. She is quick to add that she doesn’t like to photograph anything that moves….far too unreliable!!! And after a morning with her, I agree!

Louisa is fascinated by how art can engage different parts of the brain but is quick to add that she is not a scientist, she won’t set up a shot and wait all day, she is taken by the moment, sees something and snaps. She is also somewhat of a purist in the way she presents her work. Whilst she is unfussy in the techniques she will use to capture a shot…digital camera, digital SLR with specialist lenses or even her iPhone, she doesn’t like spend too much time in post-production. In Louisa’s view, a piece either stands alone as it was taken, or is theatrically worked-up and presented as such, but excessive filtering and colour tweaking have little place in her work.

Innovative media form part of her portfolio and Louisa has produced works on metal, acrylic-glass and waterproof canvases, her flexible approach possibly driven by her own penchant for filling the interior walls to bursting and needing to think laterally to find space!

Louisa and I spent an enlightening morning, traipsing around the wonderful bird sanctuary that is College Lake, looking for inspiration and quickly interchanging between the wide angle, telephoto and macro lenses as the need arose. We found our natural tripods on fences and logs and I quickly found myself drawn to the detail and textures afforded by the macro lens.

Whilst my shots are amateurish and for the most part pretty average, one of the delightful realisations of the day was the completeness and meditation of actively seeking beauty. Looking for wonder in the world around us and seeking to capture and share it must surely be a pastime and indeed an art worthy of pursuit.

Louisa has been a member of the College Lake Artists group for 3 years, who exhibit four times a year at College Lake, just outside Tring. She so generously gave of her time to show me her skill and is a font of knowledge about local artists and makers. Louisa’s work will be exhibited at College Lake throughout the Open Studios event.

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The Bucks Open Studios is the largest visual arts event in Buckinghamshire and amongst the largest of any county. With hundreds of talented local artists and makers opening their studios to the public for a dazzling line up ofr free demonstrations, workshops and exhibitions, the 2017 event will be the biggest yet!

533 local artists will be taking part across 200 venues across a huge range of disciplines including glass workers, potters, jewellery makers, photographers, painters, wood turners, textile artists, mosaic artists, furniture makers, sculptors and print makers.

To find out what’s happening near you, visit the Bucks Open Studios website or pick up a directory from local libraries, art centres and galleries. You’ll start to notice the yellow signs around Bucks directing you to the Bucks Open Studios venues in June.

Bucks Open Studios are also active on social media, including:

Instagram

Facebook

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