The Crestock Interview: Kiwi Photographer Les Cunliffe
Posted Wednesday, 30 May 2007 by Tormod G. Rossavik in Interviews
New Zealand based Les Cunliffe talks to us about artistic persistence and the legendary photographer Ansel Adams.
- Not sure how it all started. I started by shooting "arty" black & white images. I really enjoyed getting into the outdoors. Eventually that led to colour slides, which then led into my outdoor scenics being printed in calendars and magazines. Still life was one of my many "experiments" with various photographic processes, but I found it very natural for me. I hardly shoot outdoors anymore.What got you into microstock photography?
- I was aware of microstock for some time but only started uploading March this year. A lot of people were saying negative things about it, but when I looked at what was being said I realised they were the same comments as when Royalty-free first surfaced. I didn't want to miss being in on the ground floor, so to speak. Plus, I figured don't knock it until you've tried it.Your use of colours is very striking. I wonder how you usually go by getting this particular look?
- I use lots of lights covered with brightly coloured gels. Then I process every image in Photoshop, it's such an amazing tool, not sure how I ever did without it. My pre-Photoshop pictures certainly don't have the same 'punch' as these new ones.What inspires you? Do you have a mentor or any other photographer that you look to for inspiration?
- Ansel Adams was my hero when I shot outdoors. These days there is nobody in particular, but I'm always amazed by the talent surrounding me – both amateur and pro. I guess that's one of the best things about sites like Crestock, they showcase all the talent out there in cyberspace.What is your equipment?
- Canon EOS5D, Canon 300D & Manfrotto tripod.Any secret tips for the beginner?
- Don't give up! My first stock agent told me "everyone has to start somewhere". 10 pix becomes 100 then 1000...
Also, find your specialty. I discovered still life by accident and find it very easy and natural. Find what you're good at by shooting different subjects – do what you enjoy. I think it's more important to please yourself than say an editor. That's what keeps you motivated to shoot day after day, year after year.What is your idea of a perfect image?
- One that creates a powerful emotional response, that WOW factor. It really shows when somebody has learnt their craft.
For myself, I now mainly use colour to create impact but sometimes use contrast too (light/dark, in focus/OOF, big/small, etc).If you could access a time machine, and travel to anywhere in time, where or when would you go to and what would you have taken pictures of?
- It would have been great to assist Ansel Adams on his travels. To be there when he shot some of his iconic images like 'Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico
' or the powerful images he created in Yosemite National Park.
Have a browse in Les' amazing portfolio here