I admit to being a fan of Charlie Waite. This English landscape photographer has figured extensively in my photographic education. I was lucky enough to attend one of his weekend workshops while in the UK, have interviewed him for several magazines, enjoyed visiting his exhibitions both in London and Sydney and have a collection of his books which I dip into regularly when I need inspiration or reassurance.
He is called the doyen of British landscape photographers, an accolade that is not given lightly but which, in my opinion, is well deserved. And, why all this preamble? I have just been reading Charlie’s latest addition to my library, Behind the Photograph — Charlie Waite’s favourite photographs and the story behind them and this prompted me to dig out one of his DVDs. In it he had forsaken his usual state of the art cameras for a selection of compact digitals. I hasten to add that this was a temporary exercise as he showed that with thought these small cameras can produce quality results. It was a reminder that it is not the equipment that makes great photographs, it is the photographer and the way in which he or she uses the equipment they have.
I bought the DVD for a friend who had just started making pictures of the landscape but I found it most instructive listening to Charlie’s thought processes as he began making pictures. In particular, I was taken by one sequence when he was searching for images in a West Country harbour and finding no big picture that satisfied him. However, in no time he was happily shooting a number of images that many of us would have passed by. It was a vivid reminder that in the big picture there are dozens of small pictures ready for the photographer with the eyes to see them.
I don’t think the DVD is available now but Behind the Photograph is. You can find the details on Charlie’s website (https://www.charliewaite.com/) from where you can download the ebook. If you are serious about landscape photography do get hold of this book and learn how an expert’s mind works as he surveys the scene he is about to photograph.