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Q&A:  Astrid McGechan shares her thoughts and insights from 2018

17th December 2018

This week photographer and Light & Land leader Astrid McGechan shares her thoughts and insights from 2018...

Which image would you highlight from 2018?

My favourite image of the year is "W1". It’s a reflection in a shop window, but because the glass was curved, the reality of the building is reflected is totally distorted. I love the illusion it created and was also immensely grateful for the sunshine, which lit the upper part of the building and created wonderful contrasts. It’s my favourite because it sits bang in the middle of what I am currently seeing and photographing. The biggest challenge was finding suitably-sized mountboard complementing the image, and fitting the framed print into a car after I was convinced to print it at 1x1 metre!”

Any words of wisdom that you came across in 2018 that you’d like to share?

“If you have expectations of a place you want to photograph – let go of them. You will be pleasantly surprised by the things you discover, which you would have overlooked otherwise. This worked really well for me in 2018”.

Is there an interesting book (or exhibition or piece of music etc) you’ve read (seen, listened to etc.) in 2018 that you’d like to share?

“The most interesting exhibition I have been to in 2018 was, without doubt, the “Shape of Light – 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art” exhibition, which has just finished at the Tate Modern. It may sound strange, but it provided an interesting perspective for me on why my photography is moving in the direction it currently does, towards searching for details and shapes created by light and shadow in my surroundings and presenting them in a more abstract way”.

Is there a photographer whose work you’ve come across in 2018 that has really inspired or impressed you?

“There are in fact several photographers whose work never meant much to me – until this year. I am now looking at their work with new eyes – Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz from the earlier days of photography, Edward Ruscha too, and some others”.

What food do you take on a shoot?

“I am not fussed about what food I take, as long as it’s enough and I don’t have to worry about finding supplies somewhere! I always have some Trek bars in my bag, an apple or another piece of fruit, and a sandwich, if needed. Plenty of water of course too”.

If you could have any photographer(s) (dead or alive)  over for Christmas drinks who would they be... and why?

“There are two photographers I’d love to spend some time with over a Christmas drink – one is Charlie Waite, who kicked me out of my comfy chair a few years ago (not literally!) and told me to go publish a book. His enthusiasm for everything photographic never fails to lift my spirits. The other one is David duChemin, a Canadian photographer, whose writings I find tremendously helpful for my photographic mindset. One of his blogs, “The Voice of Fear” has been hanging above my desk since he published it in 2012”.

Who has been a photographic influence on you?

“That’s almost impossible to answer! I believe it’s a big amalgamation of photographs, paintings, music, people, trees and flowers, birds and a lot of other things in this universe, and quite often I am not even aware of what it actually is”.

What's your favourite place on Earth to take photographs?

“don’t have one. Wherever I am at a particular moment in time!”

How do you relax after a long day shooting?

“After a long day, I’d probably stretch out on the bed, before bounding up 5 mins later to either have a nice meal or look at the images I made”.

What's the most exciting bit of photo tech news from 2018?

“Having just changed camera systems in late 2017, I didn’t pay much attention to the tech news lately. More often than not, the limits we encounter are not those of the camera, but of our vision.  As Salgado said, ‘It’s more important for a photographer to have very good shoes than to have a very good camera.”

Astrid will be tutoring on a variety of wotkshops and tours in 2019, view her tutor page here to see the latest workshop details for Astrid.

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