BY CAROLINE BENZIES
As a photographer who is happy in the city or in the countryside, but who is always looking for a creative ‘different’ angle, an Olympus camera really did change the way in which I see the world. I was introduced to Olympus in 2015 after attending a workshop with Olympus Ambassador Steve Gosling: I was totally amazed at what these cameras could do and how small and light they were! I got myself a second hand OM-D-E-M5 Mark I, and I never looked back.
The small size of that camera meant that it went everywhere with me! I particularly liked being able to set the camera in a square frame format – this was a real turning point in my practice as a photographer, and now most of my images are shot square.
I’ve now got an OM-D E-M5 Mark II and use it constantly. I love taking city shots: Liverpool is my local city, and I always look out for different angles on the most well-known architecture.
‘City Reflection’ sums up my ethos perfectly. I aim to capture familiar views but present them in a different way. This was taken on a rainy morning in 2015, not long after I ‘discovered’ Olympus!
‘In Harmony’ shows another unusual angle of city landmarks. It captures Liverpool’s two cathedrals – one framed within the structure of the other.
I also love to photograph woodland and landscapes, but usually in an abstract way. I find the Olympus Art Filters and features like the Double Exposure capability can open up a whole new world of possibilities. Combining these features with techniques such as Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) can allow images to look truly unique. Although I do like to often add layers of texture and colour to an image, it is such a bonus to be able to try different Art Filters in camera and really aids the creative process.
I titled this ‘When the Magic Happens’, as it was one of those times that as soon as I pressed the shutter, I knew I’d got a great photo – the perfect combination of a misty morning and the stillness of the trees. I shot this using the Bleach Bypass Art Filter and then blended in a little colour and texture in the edit.
When looking for ideas for double exposures I tend to look for contrasts – either contrasting views of the same subject, overlaying a rough texture with something softer, combining movement with stillness, or contrasting the natural world with a man-made element.
A favourite technique of mine is to use in-camera double exposure to combine an ICM image with a ‘still’ one. It can be very hit and miss, but that’s all part of the fun!
I don’t class myself to be a ‘technical’ photographer at all (although obviously, I do know how a camera works!) – to me, what you choose to point the camera at and the photo you can see through the viewfinder is far more important than what aperture setting you have.
I sell my prints in two retail outlets in Liverpool: before the restrictions I would regularly visit these venues and would end up talking to a lot of people about photography. So many visitors said they had a camera, but never used it as they felt it was too complicated. My advice was to always just put it on auto, to not be afraid of it, and to take it out! You can see more of my work on Instagram, Facebook and on my website, where I also sell prints. I am passionate about getting the ‘word’ out there and was going to try and organise some photo walks to encourage people to give their cameras a go, before Covid hit us – it’s still a plan for when we get through all of this…