Featured Photographer – Brian Flynn (2015)
ACC: How long have you been into photography?
BF: I began photography about a half century ago (yikes!) with a course in high school. I learned basic camera operations, wet darkroom development, and printing processes. I went on to be a photographer for the school newspaper. I maintained a passing interest in photography until digital came along and then got back in more deeply.
ACC: What equipment do you shoot with?
BF: I’m basically a Canon shooter. My main camera currently is a 5D Mark III. I have a wide variety of Canon L lenses. My main lenses are the 24-70L f2.8 and the 70-200L f2.8. I am still trying to do justice to the amazing 85mm L 1.2. That one has a steep learning curve.
BF: In addition, I use Gitzo tripods and RRS ball heads. I have three Yongnuo speedlites what are great (and cheap). I get enormous use out of two foldable Lasolite Trigrips (one a diffuser and one a reflector). They give great control of light in the field.
ACC: What are your favorite subjects?
BF: You have identified one of my problems. I like to shoot too many types of images. However, as my photography develops, I find myself increasingly drawn to people in natural settings, abstracts, and street photography. As time goes by, I am less interested in landscapes, flowers, and birds. I have little interest in shooting even wonderful things that have been shot many times by many people, unless I can somehow do it differently. Basically, I would say that I love to shoot whatever is a bit different from the ordinary, tells a story, or evokes emotion.
BF: As club members have seen, much of my photography comes from travel to faraway places and photos from Campobello Island, in Canada’s Bay of Fundy, where we spend our summers.
ACC: What are your favorite techniques?
BF: I love using natural and subtle light. I tend to get close to what I am shooting. For whatever reason, I find myself getting low and shooting up. Maybe that comes from a lifetime of being short….I’ll have to ponder that more.
BF: I recently bought a Big Stopper filter for very long exposures and I am having fun getting to learn how to use that. I am also finding myself increasingly drawn to monochrome (with the help of Silver Efex Pro 2). I’m not a fan of HDR but can’t resist a very subtle application of it from time to time.
ACC: How long have you been in the Arundel Camera Club?
BF: Encouraged by Ernie Swanson, I began attending in 2010 but I was too intimidated to enter competitions until 2011. My wife Donna has been in the club for two years and it is great fun to participate together…at least until she recently joined me in the unlimited category for color prints. Hopefully that will not destroy the marriage. She is far more competitive than I and has a better eye.
ACC: What photographers have inspired you?
BF: I can’t say that there is a particular individual. However, at last year’s holiday party I was fortunate enough to snag Gregory Heisler’s 50 Portraits and I can’t stop reading and looking at it. Now that is inspiring work.
ACC: How would you describe yourself? Your photography?
BF: I think a core of my photography is to use it as a vehicle to provoke thought, reflection, or emotion. I am fascinated by the ability of images to do that. As a psychologist mostly focusing on disasters and trauma, I have been interested in how we communicate with one another. Our default setting is the written and spoken word and that falls short very quickly, especially in high stress situations. I have become increasingly focused on how, by combining both images and words, we can have more impact than either individually. I even see that in the titling of images in club competition.
BF: This is the construct behind my two books (and a third in development) published by Sea-Hill Press (The Wisdom of Stones and The Voices of Stones: On Loss and Hope). They combine photographs and text in an attempt to communicate messages that are made more powerful by pairing text and photographs than if presented in only one form or the other.
ACC: Noteworthy accomplishments?
BF: I can think of two. Frankly, one is the dramatically increased quality of my work since joining ACC. When I look back at my initial submissions in 2011, I’m embarrassed. But, that’s good. I can see my progress. Probably the largest single factor in the improvement of my work is what I have learned through ACC presentations, competitions, and advice from others. I am very grateful. As I age, it is wonderful to see something improve!