A LOOK AT A LOCAL INSTAGRAMMER
In the fifth of our special features celebrating our favourite Instagram photographers with links with our city we feature Paul Thurlow (@paulturbo). I hope you like the images I have chosen to accompany the interview. I have to be honest, compiling the photos to accompany the interview wasn’t easy as Paul is such a prolific photographer and works to such a consistently high level.
Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and your links with Portsmouth?
Slightly aged, life loving Yorkshire man who moved to Portsmouth after a long period working abroad. We were attracted to the open space of Southsea Common at the time and the reasonable house prices. Over 14 years we have really grown to love the area, the art scene and the people curating its direction. Strong Island were very complimentary of my documentation of the Hindhead tunnel through photographs and my respect for your work has grown year on year!
Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?
I got into Instagram during my time as a camera ambassador for Samsung and have used a variety of compact cameras with wi fi to process and post. The best camera for this is the now discontinued Galaxy NX although I tend to use what is available. A camera is just a tool so I don’t get hung up on specifications and megapixels. Twelve years ago 8MB was the level we we working on.
Over 14 years we have really grown to love the area. I love the art scene here and the people curating the direction.
I like to call it a professional hobby!
Can you tell us more about your photographic experience, is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby which you’ve developed?
I was lucky enough to have access to a darkroom from the age of 10 so I’ve had a pretty solid schooling in processing and using film. Three rolls of film was pretty much a wedding standard in those days. I have had no formal training but have trained many amateur photographers in studio technique and off camera flash ways. I like to call it a professional hobby!
Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?
Just recently I have started to take more for myself. I cut down my portrait and wedding commissions last year so that I could spend more weekends doing things I wanted to do and work on projects that interest me. I travel an awful lot and will always try to get portraits of local people. I have recently being do a few travel commissions which involve photographing locals and their neighbourhoods which I really enjoy. Taking photographs breaks down barriers and can lead to all sort of adventures.
I notice from your photos that you are no stranger to an airport and travel all over the world. Which destination have you found the most interesting to photograph and where is the world would you visit next if you were given the choice?
The places that I really unexpectedly fell for were Cape Town and Lanzarote. Both have incredible beauty as well as many things to do. I like to be active on my trips. I will work a full day and then spend most of the evening and night photographing. The place I was intending to visit next was Utah, but another Canary Island trumped it. Given the chance I would love to document Miami in the future.
Your Instagram features some great portrait photography, is there a particular character you’ve encountered who’s story stuck with you and why?
Great Question and thank you. I love portrait photography and I always try to take at least one a day . I also collect Red Wing boots. There is Red Wing a store in downtown LA that is owned by Mr Jong Kim and his lovely Wife. I always pop in and have a look around or buy something when in town. This last visit, Mr Kim was a bit subdued and I asked what was wrong. His wife said that the last LA Marathon had tired him a bit. Mr Kim is 87 and has run the LA marathon 57 times! Redwing also featured this portrait on their media feed. Every person has an incredible story. I have too many stories like this . Shooting a portrait of Michelle Stoddart of the Magic Numbers in the top room of the Square Tower was another highlight.
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?
It’s a fascinating place to photograph. I tend to shoot the coastal scenes down at the Langstone channel, especially during winter. I like that rawness and desolation. I can also combine dog walking as well as photography. I also like to photograph local art personalities as an ongoing project.
Are their any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?
In the early days of Flickr, I started to follow a photographer called Rob Sanderson because he injected some humour into his wedding photography and used off camera flash. We have become great friends over the years and have shot together a few times. He has influenced me a lot on the processing side of photography.
Gregory Crewdson for his cinematic set up and scale, Cecil Beaton for his style and simplicity. Pete D’Souza the White House photographer for his ability to document history in a unique way. Instagram follows, I enjoy Leon Windsor for his floordrobe and Sea-Tea for sunsets and sunrises.
I enjoy Leon Windsor for his floordrobe and Sea-Tea for sunsets and sunrises.