Walking the streets of various cities and countryside there are times when you come across something you didn’t expect to see, something that sticks in your mind and you’re never quite sure why but you don’t mind it being there. As well as fashion and family photography, Gary Copland, a Bristol based photographer, captures these little moments and turns them into art. I had the opportunity to catch up with the founder of Copland Photography and ask him a few questions, finding out that just because you choose one path, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to it.
Photography had always been a hobby, growing up in Poole and Bournemouth gave him easy access to the Jurassic Coastline for inspirational landscapes and weekends spent with a compact camera and a bedroom wall filling up with snaps turned this hobby into a passion.
“I was actually a builder before I started my career in Photography. I remember working outside in rain and thinking to myself ‘Why am I doing this?’ A week later I had moved to London and started assisting a Fashion Photographer called Bee Keskin. She taught me a lot and gave a good insight into the industry, that’s when I realised this is what I wanted to do. It was a fantastic experience and I really have her to thank for where I am today.”
Gary explained that when working with Bee, he found that Fashion and Beauty was what he wanted to do, so he started to create a portfolio with friends and local models. From this point on his work moved him from London to Bristol, which also changed his photography’s artistic direction.
“Bristol is a very alternative city. I soon started working with alternative models and found them to be really interesting to work with. I love working with people, everyone is different and you get to meet some great people all the time.”
Knowing the difficulty in getting employed as a full-time photographer, he decided to give freelance a go and started up Copland Photography, now, a successful business with many different styles of photography.
Photograph by Gary Copland
“I do enjoy doing a wide range of work, I guess it stops me getting bored of just doing the same thing all the time. Like I said I started out doing landscapes and I still really enjoy doing them when I have the time.”
Gary told me that being self-taught, he had to learn the harder, and probably longer way. Going out and taking loads of photos only to go home and be disappointed with the results. Working on them using Photoshop until they looked how he wanted, and eventually finding out that this wasn’t how others did it. So he began to spend his time studying other people’s work and trying to understand why he liked them, what caught his eye, and then trying to figure out how they took it. From there it turned into pushing himself to experiment and try new things all the time.
“I have a lot photographers that I follow online, John Barone’s work has always inspired me. His work’s always spot on. But as I didn’t study Photography, I never got to learn about all the famous Photographers of the world. I work with some very talented people and it’s their work that inspires me and keeps me motivated.”
Photograph by Gary Copland
On the topic of learning curves he went on to explain that the main thing he has learned is that being an art, photography is extremely subjective, and not everyone is going to like the work you do, so the best thing you can do is not worry about what others think, everyone has their own taste and opinions and it shouldn’t be something that gets in your way, all you can do is continue experimenting and trying to better yourself working with styles that you enjoy.
“The saying ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is so true. Art is so subjective everyone is going to see it differently and find their own message within it.”
If you like what you read in this article and you would like to know more. You can see more of Gary’s work on his website by clicking here