If you've ever wanted to know about the people behind the pictures, this is the series for you. We'll be talking to some of our independent photographers from all over the world about their images, their work and what inspires them.
Next up is Ian Lloyd, an award-winning professional travel photographer based in Sydney, Australia. You'll see his images featured throughout the interview below, but we've also hand-selected some our favorite images to give you a glimpse of the places he's been.
See more images from Ian Lloyd.
How did you get started in photography?
At 14, I was given a book on developing and printing photos and set up a darkroom in our basement beside the furnace. I then begged to work for nothing at a local camera shop. After high school, I studied photography in Rochester, New York and Santa Barbara, California.
What was your first camera?
My first camera was a Brownie Box that came free at gas stations and was given to me for walking a neighbor’s dog. My next camera was a Leica M3 I got from a trade-in whilst working in high school at a local photography shop. It helped that I grew up in Midland, Ontario, Canada, the only place outside of Wetzlar, Germany to make Leica cameras and lenses. Leica employees loved trading in their gear for Japanese SLRs.
What was your first job in photography?
I was a darkroom assistant in a photography studio at 15. I think I got about $1.50 an hour and was thrilled.
If you didn’t become a photographer, what would you be doing now?
I would probably be a journalist, as I loved writing and storytelling. Happily, photography diverted me from my original career path.
Who or what inspires your work?
Initially I was inspired by Henri Cartier Bresson and the Magnum photographers, especially Ernst Haas who pioneered work in color. Currently, I love the photographs of Sebastião Salgado — especially his recent Genesis project.
What's your favorite subject matter?
Travel photography is what inspires me these days. It's unplanned and spontaneous but it requires a high degree of specialisation in everything from aerials and architecture to portraits and landscapes.
Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?
For me an image has to have a wow factor. This is usually a combination of a striking composition in unusual light with a storytelling element to engage the viewer.
Do you have a favorite season to shoot in?
Any season but deepest coldest winter works for me. Having been born and raised on the Great Lakes in Canada, I’m over deep snow.
Where is your favorite place to shoot?
Any place that is new to me is always a thrill. Getting lost, discovering new locations and working out the best way to capture them is great. I also love to revisit past destinations and challenge myself to come up with new interpretations of familiar sights.
Do you work alone or with a team?
I used to have a team of assistants for my commercial work. With my travel photography, I prefer to work alone, operate under the radar and not look like a professional photographer. It's difficult to disappear with a DSLR, but everyone takes camera phone photos these days so it's a lot easier to just blend in.
When you're travelling, what gear do you take?
I use two Canon 5D3 bodies with three lenses: a 70-200mm, a 24-105mm and a 16-35mm. That’s my basic travel kit, which I do most of my photography with. I also take a laptop and some small external hard drives. I’ve recently ditched filters, flashes and even my tripod. When travelling, less is more.
What is your favorite or “must have” piece of equipment when you travel?
My 24-105mm lens is essential. I can go all day with this lens on one body and practically cover everything. I recently had this lens stolen in Russia and I had it replaced within 24 hours.
What is the longest time you have waited for the “perfect shot”.
30 years. A civil war got in the way and I had to wait for new technology to be invented but I finally got the shot. You can read about it on my blog.
What do you like to do when you're not working?
I love reading, listening to music, playing the piano, cycling, walking, visiting art galleries and discovering new areas of my adopted hometown of Sydney, Australia.
What personal projects are you working on?
My next project is an extended trip to England, Ireland and Scotland to live there and photograph as much as I can. Magazine assignments in the past were always short, so I'm trying to spend longer in places to really get to know the locals. I've recently lived in New York for a month, Paris for two months and Florence for three months and I hope to continue doing that.
Do you still use a film camera?
I don’t use film cameras any more and I’m so pleased I have digital to extend the range of what I can photograph. For more, take a look at Digital - 10 Years After: A look back on ten years of digital photography [Video].
What is the craziest thing you have done to get a photograph?
Take your pick:
- Being charged by a wild elephant in Sumatra.
- Falling from a hot air balloon into a lake in Thailand.
- Driving a train in Java.
- Contour flying in a helicopter beside a bicyclist in northern Australia.
- Getting stuck up to my waist in mud on the banks of the Irrawaddy River in Burma.
- Putting a shaman into a trance after touching a scared sword in Bali.
- Drinking duck blood soup with hill tribes in Vietnam.
The list goes on and on. I’ve been fortunate to survive them all.
Do you have a website/blog?
The New York Times
Favourite fine artist?
What book are you currently reading?
The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje