In the fifth of our special features celebrating our favourite Instagram photographers with links with our city we are featuring Phil Tickner (@philswitch.engage).
Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and your links with Portsmouth if no longer living here?
I was born and spent the first few years of my life in Portsmouth, specifically Fratton, before moving to live in Bedhampton and Havant. I returned to the island about six years ago and now I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Most of my free time is taken up by roller derby related shenanigans (I’m one of the official photographers for the Portsmouth Roller Wenches, and also play as one of the Portsmouth Scurvy Dogs) and what time is left is shared between cycling (when the weather allows it) and getting tattooed, mostly.
Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?
I always had a massive problem with the whole idea of ‘Instagram photography’ for some reason, that was until I finally got myself a phone that could take a decent picture. It’s not always practical to lug round my usual DSLR kit so the idea of capturing a passing moment with something that fits in your pocket finally made a lot of sense. Currently using a poverty-spec iPhone 5c, but it does the job.
Can you tell us more about your photographic experience, is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby which you’ve developed?
Photography has always been a hobby, and I’ve never had much in the way of tuition aside from the odd tip I’ve picked up from photographer friends. It’s always just been a case of getting stuck in and attempting to learn from my mistakes.
Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?
I try to take photos primarily to please myself – when I tried to make a bit of money doing wedding jobs and the like, I found myself quickly losing my passion for photography as soon as I had to try and work around someone else’s idea of a good photo. I’m much happier just doing my own thing again. However, I’m not going to deny it’s a great feeling to have someone compliment my work, so I guess there’s a part of me that still tries to take some photos that I know people will enjoy looking at.
Exploring the theme of the “Local”, Portsmouth has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any local places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph for a particular reason?
Personally my biggest preference for subject matter is the local street art scene – I’ve become good friends with many local creatives through it, and thoroughly enjoy documenting the work that appears around the city, both out in public and inside galleries and exhibitions. The greatest appeal to me is the fact that it’s not permanent – so having a record of pieces that I enjoy is extremely important, before they disappear for good.
Are their any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?
I tend not to take influence from anyone else, as such, and I don’t think the work I do has a particular style itself that anyone would be able to identify – I basically just make it up as I go along most of the time. Not really a good answer but I can’t do a lot better than that.