Coordinator : Sebastian Vaidasebastianvaida@cameraobscura.ro
: Marius Ioa
Junior Editor : Alin Barbiralinbarbir@cameraobscura.ro
Cover by Chip Phillips
Adrian Petrior Landscape photography
Simon Reay Interview
Mihai Moiceanu Portfolio
Michael Kenna PortfolioVoicu Bojan: Michael Kenna,
the landscape tamer
88Septimiu Bizo & erban Schiau
Chip Phillips Interview
Landscape Photography is about some of the most amazing images in the world. Portraying the world, with its sunset and sunrises, with its majestic mountains and peaks, roaring rivers and veiled waterfalls, they never seize to inspire and awe. Whether we look back at the black and white contrasts in the images of Ansel Adams or the incredible colors of Galen Rowell, landscape is one of the most approached topics in photography, probably second only to man. So theres no wonder why we chose this topic for our December edition. We are just as amazed as you are by the beauty of our world and we want to share with you a small glimpse of all these marvels. So we thank the photographers who made all this possible by bringing these images to life and sharing them with us. And we invite you to sit back and relax, as we unfold, page by page, the uniqueness of Earths landscapes.
Camera Obscura Team
www.simonreay.com Simon Reay
Simon Reay Interview
Some of you may know him as Discovery Channels Director of Photography on Born Survivor/Man Vs Wild. Simon Reays work is broader though including documentary, commercials and drama - and in all this work he endeavors to offer the audience a first person perspective as they view. This year he received an Emmy nomination for Cinematography on Man Vs Wild and for this Landscape edition he agreed to be interviewed by Camera Obscura. Although he is a motion picture cameraman he loves stills (as he puts it) photography as well. We believe that his experience and thoughts are extremely valuable for any photographer or cameraman be it professional or amateur.
Simon Reay Inside Air Vent Poland 2009
CO For our readers, could you define your position as a director of photography?... What does a director of photography do, in general lines?
SR A director of photography is a cameraman. My role on Man Vs Wild is to blend the photography with the content and not make it appear too dominant. On a show like this its important that the camera doesnt lead. Bear is the driving force in the programme and dictates the story, so visually the camera should never jump ahead of him and preempt what he is about to do or see. This way of shooting often means sacrificing some potentially great shots for the integrity of the show - but I like that.
CO How did it all start for you? When did you start in this area?
SR I started doing this genre of filming about 6-7 years ago. As for my entire career I started operating in 1994 so there was a good 10 years before I started getting into this kind of work. It certainly wasnt something I have deliberately pursued, I like being active, I like getting dirty and muddy so I suppose the transition into this kind of filming felt very natural. But its something I like doing because I have a camera with me. I would never (or at least at this moment in time) go out and do anything I do in my work as a social activity, whether its climbing, caving, diving or anything like that I love it because there is a camera with me and a story to tell.
CO So you always see things through the lens?...
SR Yes, I do. I guess there is a slight comfort in that I can forget what is happening around me and concentrate on the scene. What I bring to the projects I shoot is the ability to work in a variety of environments however hard and concentrate on listening and watching what is happening around me and delivering the pictures.
CO Have you had this ability from the beginning? Or you developed it?
SR Oh, no. I developed it and Im still developing it. The environment, regardless of whether youve been there before or not, is always changing. The temperatures vary and the conditions vary, so youre always developing your skills. You also have to develop the camera skills
as well, making sure the kit is correctly specified for the situation. This is something you slowly develop over time but you can never fully know it all. I have never completed a job thinking yes, I am completely happy with that, because there are always bits that Id change for next time.
CO In terms of equipment, do you happen to break a lot of cameras during shootings?
SR No not at all. Actually, Ive broken very little considering that weve been making this show for 5 years. The thing that gets punished most is the filters Ive gone through plenty of them. One time our underwater housing leaked and saltwater soaked the camera. We had no choice but to try and fix it so stayed up all night on a boat with my camera assistant Dan Etheridge painstakingly removing and cleaning every circuit board and then trying to remember how it all went back together. To our amazement it worked! CO Is it difficult to refrain yourself from giving directions while shooting? Do you tend to guide the person youre shooting?
SR Bear and I have worked together for so long that he knows where Im going to be and vice versa. We have wonderful shorthand now where communication requires no words. He can turn to deliver a line of dialogue and hell instinctively know where Im likely to be. Maybe in the early years I might have said to him something like move to the left a bit but not now, the great thing about this show is the ability to be spontaneous and not too perfect.
CO What is great about the show with Bear is that it feels very natural. You actually feel youre there and you dont see the directing part. Surely there is a script, but as a viewer, I dont see it.
SR Thats very kind of you, the photography is designed so that the viewers feel they are next to Bear. I think audiences are very aware that there is a cameraman with Bear but not so much that it feels like the camera is a character in the show. Hell never refer to me by name. You
may see a hand or a foot occasionally but youll never see me - that is very deliberate and important. Its about the audiences relationship with Bear not mine. So I generally shoot with a very subjective feel, there are objective views as well when we back off and observe him from a distance to provide a sense of scale but 90% of the show is spent by his side. This really sums up what my job is all about, attempting to transfer that emotion, that feeling to the audience. I dont always manage to do it every time but its partly what brings me back time and again.
CO Any moments when you thought that you cant do a certain thing, or that you wont do it?
SR There was a moment in Guatemala when I had to jump from a cliff into the bottom of a waterfall. Bear went first to test it and as soon as he landed I suddenly realized how far it was. In that moment I had a mental block, I didnt want to jump. It was a very human moment. Even though Ive done jumps like this numerous times before I just couldnt shake the doubt. I did it in the end. CO What about the equipment youre shooting with? Is it very important, or its just something to get the job done?
SR When I first started out I loved the tactile nature of the equipment, now its much more about staying up to date with technology and using the right piece of kit for a specific job. I guess Ive just grown up. I dont own any of the equipment I use for Man Vs Wild; Instead Ive opted to build a good relationship with Axis Films/On Sight a hire company based near London. They are truly dedicated to making sure we have the correct items for each environment and have come to expect a well used kit when it returns. The kit were now using has been continuously perfected and adapted to exactly what we need. The Varicam 2700 and HVX171 make up the predominant camera package which are both part of the extremely robust Panasonic P2 family.
CO What would you say its your biggest reward in this job? Any pros or cons?
SR Easy, for the viewer to watch the show and be unaware of what Ive done. I like the idea of the photography just happening in the background and not trying too hard to be noticed.
CO Did you have any special training for the kind of shooting you do?
SR Just as a boy climbing trees and getting muddy.
CO You received an Emmy nomination this year. What was it for?
SR It was an Emmy nomination for cinematography in a reality show.
CO How did you feel about it?
SR It felt amazing. I am always ultra critical of what I do, so it was a huge compliment that someone thought it was worthy of an award. After all, its an Emmy! And the magnitude of that really hit me when I went to the ceremony and saw the scale of the event itself.
CO Do you also like photography?
SR Yes I love it, but I still mainly shoot on film with an Olympus OM4. My father is a very keen photographer and hes using a Nikon D3. He gave me his old D100 recently which I really like but I still find digital to be disappointing as far as latitude goes, compared to negatives or transparencies. I adore 35mm transparencies but its ge