Artist on File: Andrew Scoggins
Photo Art - Harpenden photographer reveals the poetic side of abandoned properties.
Here is a question for you: who would wake up at 3am in the north of Scotland to go down dirty tracks looking for abandoned houses?
Answer: Andrew Scoggins. More than just an eccentric hobby, the photographer is inspired by derelict and long forgotten places. “I find them intriguing because of the stories they tell about a different time, a different world”, reveals Scoggins.
When not looking for neglected buildings in remote parts of the country, the artist may also be found searching for deserted or enigmatic landscapes either in Scotland or, a bit further afield, in New Zealand. ”I’m also very interested in the natural world”, adds Scoggins. Permeating his photo art, is a compelling desire to portray texture, in addition to a strong sense of composition, easily visible in his photographs. “I restrain myself to what I can make with what is in front of me, in opposition to constructing images”.
Having left school with a degree in Geography, Andrew started his professional life as a land surveyor. It wasn’t long, though, when his interests would move on from real landscapes to imaginary ones. He landed a job with an animation film production company, entering then the fascinating world of computer modelling. ”Computer modelling is about converting real 3D objects into a 3D computerised version of it, when you see the dragon flying, for example, in a Harry Potter film, that image was based on a real 3D dragon which was computerised. The digitalized images are then submitted for animation”, he says.
It was the animation work that led him by chance into art photography. “As I was working from home, there weren’t many opportunities’ for socialising”, he recalls. “So in 2003 I decided to join a camera club”. Andrew was amazed about the commitment of the members of the Harpenden Photographic Society (which now has 80 members) and became an enthusiast. “That was the point of no return”, he remembers.
Film versus digital
“When the digital era started people used to think that it was an inferior way of producing photographs and basically cheating”, he recalls. It is certainly right to say that “with film each copy is unique because you can’t repeat a special effect”, he explains. However, “the advantage of digital is that once you apply an effect to an image, you can make as many copies as you want”, he argues. Another benefit of using digital cameras is certainly the cost. “Film is expensive in comparison to digital. With digital cameras you use a memory card and take as many shots as you want. Then you select the best ones without having to incur in the cost of developing sometimes hundreds of photos”.
“The danger of digital cameras, though, is the photographer becoming lazy (because of the large amount of shots you can obtain without any increased cost) and not concentrating on what he or she is doing”, warns Scoggins. “The most important thing is to have that artistic eye for the photo, especially as printers nowadays are so good that you can get the same excellent printing quality both using film and digital”, he concludes.
When not producing his photo art, Andrew runs Ravenscroft Photography, a business that offers services from print mounting to computer trouble shooting, in addition to negative and slide scanning, monitor profiling, printer profiling(standard and enhanced services) and digital photography file management consultancy. There is also sales of canvas prints, framed prints, fridge magnets, greeting cards and mounted prints.
On the training side of the business, amateurs can benefit from his Beginners Photoshop Training that includes downloading, storing, backing up and basic enhancements. The course takes on average only 5 hours for basic proficiency, doesn’t require any special equipment and can be tailor-made.
For HVA members
As initial preparations for Herts Open Studios 2011 are already taking place, Ravenscroft now offers a special support service for artists: professional photos of art work for brochures and general advertising in addition to greeting cards.
Contact: Ravenscroft Photography, www.ascoggins.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,Tel: 01582 821230
Interview by DENISE BOWSER