Dennis Brockhurst

Portrait of a Photographer

Since the early seventies photography has been something that has been very close to my heart.  In the early days, it was not as much a hobby; it was just something that I did, probably like most other people.  There were whole shoe boxes of negatives that I accumulated; snaps of my family growing up, outings, holidays, weddings and funerals and any other event that we went to, the prints of which were all consigned to albums for prosperity.  However, at that time, there was little more than a hunger in me to shoot which was combined with a feeling of disappointment at the outcome.

In those early years, I did not understand that photography is actually an art, I treated it more as an action to express something using a language that I did not really understand.  In the mid to late eighties, I discovered even more frustration as I turned away from colour photography to immerse myself in black and white, seeking answers to questions that I did not understand how to ask.

I know it is profanely easy to make statements like the quotation attributed to Arthur Brisbane, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  But these are not always true, especially if the picture is poor in the statement it produces from its viewers.  Just a couple of negative comments about the quality of a work of art can begin to demean the picture’s value in the eyes of the viewer.  This was the cause of the frustration I experienced in the early years.  It was not what other people were saying about my work, it was more what I was seeing for myself.

I have moved on from those early years.  Spending time in the company of very good photographers is an excellent way to cause you to become truly focused on the art involved.  It caused me to begin to understand the subtle nuances of light and to take a wholly different view of an image before taking the picture.  Today, my photography is still a way of expressing something but now using a language that I am more adept in.  

I am a committed member of the Thurrock Camera Club, which is affiliated to the East Anglian Federation of Photographic Societies and Thurrock Arts Council, and regularly present pieces of my work for entry in competitions to be judged by well respected members of the photographic community.  In the 2013/2014 syllabus so far my work has been of a consistently high standard, very often winning in my group and being selected for outside competitions.  In 2012, I had pictures displayed in an exhibition at Thurrock Library.

My photography falls into some very specific areas as follows:

Macro photography, for me, is an incredibly fascinating field that enables me to explore the wonders of nature that are so difficult to see with the natural eye.  To take hold of  an item like a simple leaf and discover the landscape of its cells, its veins, its structure and marvel at its inherent beauty in a way that can be shown to others.

Portrait photography, for me, is even more challenging; providing me with the canvas on which to express the character and the potential of a person frozen in time; to portray the life of that person etched upon their face and yet still see the beauty held in their visage.

Landscape photography, for me, is an opportunity to survey and grasp the beauty of our environment, with natural and man made structures interacting with each other; taking hold of a vista that can only be for a time and then pass on as summer turns to autumn, winter, spring and then back again, with each season repainting the canvas revealing new and unseen highlights.

Commercial photography, for me, is the opportunity to capture an accurate and faithful record of that which is today, in the complete certainty that a time will come when this will be forgotten by man.  It is the very privilege of being able to archive to show our future generations the way things have changed so they can have a true sense of the journey undertaken by their forefathers.

Photography in theory is all about a picture containing three parts, a subject, its light and its composition.  However, for me in practice, there is more than just that – there is the added quality of encapsulating, in a split second of time, one special moment with that subject and holding it secure for the future; to maintain that moment that it may bring endless pleasure for anyone who cares to dwell upon it; to appreciate its imaginative, aesthetic and intellectual content.

Videography, for me, is more than just taking good pictures and putting them to music for people to see. It is the art of creating a tangible experience of something that can be shared with someone. The true meaning of the word itself is emotive; to create an understand of what something really is such as the service offered by someone or the experience gained from something.

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