Fine Photography – Simon Cowling

Fine Photography is a regular feature on the Shipping News.

Simon is one of those reasonably rare birds, even rarer these days after the advent of digital photography and the age where anyone capable of pointing a smartphone at something can claim to be a ‘photographer’, who secured a Cadetship as a trainee photographer, out of high school, did the hard yards as a young bloke, and thereafter did the lot as a professional photographer.

He not only remembers dark rooms, but worked in them! Although one is left with the impression he was always happier in the light!

After a career in many parts of the photographic world where many photographers earned good livings, including advertising, fashion and corporate, Simon has more recently focused on his own work. And thank goodness he has. It’s amazingly creative, and colourful! He indeed admits to to being a ‘colourist’.

When you first approach one of Simon’s works you are forced to look twice. You are not sure if what Simon has done is cleverly photograph a fine oil painting and passed it off as a unique photograph. Then you realise that Simon is in fact a guy with a wonderful eye for a picture within a picture. He hones in on something we everyday observers would totally miss if we were together looking at the same thing. But, as you will hear in the audio interview below, Simon is indeed a lover of fine art and paintings have influenced his photographic oeuvre.

He is also something of an adherent of the line of Gary Winogrand, famous New York Bronx street photographer: “I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed.” And it shows!

After you’ve looked at the selection of photographs Simon has chosen for this spread and listened to his interview with Michael Barker, our Editor, you will discover more about Simon’s work on his website Simon Cowling Photographer.

And his books, including Goong!!!!!, featuring the work of his, and his long time colleague and friend Juraj Horniak, can be found here. Or just do a search on the Blurb website for his name. (Simon’s at pains to point out that he doesn’t make any profit on his books – prices are just the Blurb printing price – and he just puts them out there for those who might be interested in his photography.) It is worth noting that Blurb have at least one discount deal per month (typically 35% – 40% off) so keep an eye out for that at the top of the Blurb site or sign up for notification emails.