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David Anthony Hall's panoramic photography

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Category: Professional Interviewed

David Anthony Hall's obsession with photography - David Anthony Hall's latest exhibition opens this evening and here he speaks to us about his photography.

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David Anthony Hall's Autumn Leaves
David Anthony Halls' Autumn Leaves.
David Anthony Hall has an obsession with photography; His biography reads: “The work I exhibit gives me a huge sense of accomplishment and fulfilment, put simply 'This is exactly what I should be doing.'
 
He can spend weeks, even years waiting for the right light and environment to take his photographs in. He even takes the sun's various trajectories and lunar tidal rhythms into account to produce images which are as “engaging now as it was the moment he pictured it.
 
Coming from the east coast of Dublin, he's spent plenty of time out in the countryside and that, combined with a passion that was first fuelled at school, has led him to create rich, beautiful landscapes.
 
It's something I've done for a long time, you could say I'm addicted.
Beech trees by David Anthony Hall
Beech Trees by David Anthony Hall.
 
His obsessive approach to light and the environment is partly down to his background in still life photography, a career which both taught him technique as well leading him to where he is now. Way back in 2000, David made the decision to stop accepting commissions and had somewhat of a sabbatical from photography. He gave up the studio, partly because of the lack of appreciation and partly because of the pressures to go digital and turned his back on the changing industry. David used to work 8-8, with not much daylight or access to the outside. He'd spend May to November working on catalogues and spent summers in the dark. His love had become too much like a business and his passion just wasn't there. So he started working on his own landscapes, doing the work he wanted to do rather than doing what he was told to do.
 
I've gone from still and artificial to free and pure - it's a wonderful way of working.”
 
Bluebells by David Anthony Hall
Bluebells by David Anthony Hall.
It's a far cry from the days of driving in a soft top to get some vitamin D and making fun of his friend, an architectural photographer who also had an obsession with light: “I thought he was completely mad. He would go 3-4 times to photograph a building he would only get paid once for, just waiting for the weather and sun to be right. But now I understand why he did it and I too track the sun and wait patiently for the right weather.
 
Everything he takes has to be 110% correct. Put it this way, last year he took 16,000 exposures and turned 13 into prints. In a good way, his attention to detail is bordering on obsessive which includes, among other things, returning to a location a year later from when he found it.
 
I go to locations 3 or 4 times a year until I get the picture right. If I can't get back that year I will return the year after.
 
I have a microwave, kettle and computer in the back of my Land Rover Defender, ready and waiting for when I strap my bike to the roof and set off on the hunt for locations. I plot every location I visit in my Satnav so I can visit them again, with ease.
 
I also find talking to people will give you a great insight into locations. For example, I went to Ireland recently to re-shoot a location and the locals told me about a particular beach that has a shallow shelf, which means lovely looking waves brake there, but, without the local knowledge, I wouldn't have found it.
David Anthony Halls Exmoore
Exmoore by David Anthony Hall.
For David, the industry has got a little too fast. He isn't doing press photography and has no intention to speed things up just because the industry wants him to. In the past he's shot from Spring to Autumn, visiting different locations. He takes pictures for nine months, returns home and leaves the images for a while, to give the excitement of the shoot time to pass and to put some distance between him and his work. It can take David six months to a year to finish a piece. He takes his time as he knows, if he still likes what he shot all that time later then, it's a good photograph.
 
You can take your time and produce the best work you can or you can rush and just churn out stuff. I prefer to take my time. I have a seat and I just look at the scenery before I take my photographs. You shouldn't rush photography, the key is to stopping, slowing and taking your time. There's an insecurity in the photographic industry which makes photographers believe they need big cameras to be a better photographer. But if you're not in the right place at the right time it wont work no matter what camera you have.
 
David's latest collection of prints, which are up to just under 10 feet long, will be exhibited at the Thompson's Gallery in London. Something, which if goes well, will allow his life as an obsessive photographer to become a little less solitary.
 
If the show goes well my partner, our baby and I will all be going to Canada, looking for locations as a family and taking pictures.
Gougane Barra by David Anthony Hall
 Gougane Barra by David Anthony Hall.
The centre-piece of David Anthony Hall's exhibition, a 1.5 metre by 2.7 metre long ‘artist’s proof’ mounted in acrylic block, titled ‘Autumn Light’ (2008). It is dedicated to the memory of David's natural father, Antonio Senezio, who died of cancer in 2007. The proceeds from the sale of this piece will be donated to Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and East Wing St Bart’s Cancer ward.
 
Hall has been supported in producing ‘Autumn Light’ by Canon UK, Velmex Distribution, Drytac Europe Ltd and Genesis Imaging Ltd.
 
The exhibition runs from the 1st to 14th June 2009 in London’s West End at Thompson’s Gallery.


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