Meet our Introduction to Photography teacher Jane Cox. We sat down with the one of the best-known local photographers to discuss her craft, travel, and top advice for photography beginners.
How long have you been a photographer?
I have been wedded to my camera from the age of 12 but set up my own business about 10 years ago.
Where is the best location you have ever taken photos?
I’ve just got back from an amazing trip to California, which was a photographer’s dream. I think Yosemite National Park had to be my absolute favourite. But I’m pretty good at finding beauty in the most ordinary places too, it just depends on the way you see things.
Who inspires you as a photographer?
I learnt a lot about Ansel Adams at Yosemite (you will no doubt have seen his very famous black and white landscape prints in a calendar somewhere…!). I was struck by his sense of mission to record the landscape in order to preserve it. And also his very thoughtful approach to his pictures – he ‘saw’ them in his head before he clicked the shutter. But then he was taking them on glass plates instead of film, so I guess he had to!
What is the best advice you would give to a budding photographer?
Don’t get hung up on the equipment you have, just take lots and lots of pictures, which is easy to do with digital cameras, and experiment. Change the angle, get in close, set yourselves little projects and enjoy! Then take some time to look at them afterwards and see what you like about them and what you’d change. It’s a wonderful way to spend your day.
What’s the one common mistake you see with beginners taking photos?
Am I allowed to say ‘too many selfies!? But seriously, take a moment to think about the picture before you take it. What would happen if you took 2 steps to the left, or zoomed in a bit more? It could make the difference between a shot that just records a moment or one you’d like to have framed on your wall.
Jane runs Introduction to Photography courses for Barnes Class. Visit our Facebook page to sign up for her next course!