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ePHOTOzine Chats To South Georgia Artist In Residence Jamie Grant

Photographer Jamie Grant has been chosen to be South Georgia's artist in residence. We spoke to him about his photography and upcoming trip.

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Photographer Jamie Grant has been chosen as South Georgia's artist in residence, and later this year will be making the trip of a lifetime to the sub-Antarctic island. He's the first photographer to be chosen as artist in residence by South Georgia Heritage Trust. We spoke to Jamie about himself and his upcoming trip. 


Can you tell us a bit about how you got into photography and why it appeals to you?

I first got into photography when I was eight years old and lived in Glenelg on the West Coast of Scotland. I remember my father, a geologist, mountaineer and keen amateur photographer taking me for long walks along the coast with an old Practica and a few rolls of black and white film. I have loved walking in wild places ever since, and photography is the perfect way of exploring with a clear purpose.


ePHOTOzine Chats To South Georgia Artist In Residence Jamie Grant: Jamie Grant

Cape Verde, © Jamie Grant

Do you have a favourite genre of photography and why does it appeal to you?

I am very flexible in my approach to photography and have tried working with most genres, but I do keep coming back to landscape work. I think it appeals to me because it makes me slow down and be more conscious of each moment, however fleeting.

ePHOTOzine Chats To South Georgia Artist In Residence Jamie Grant: Jamie Grant

Glen Lyon, Scotland © Jamie Grant

Congratulations on being appointed the artist in residence for South Georgia Heritage Trust! What do you think makes the island of South Georgia special?

South Georgia has a particular draw for me that is hard to pin down. I love the idea of its remoteness and inaccessibility, but there are still lots of places like that left in the world. For me it is the mix of the island’s rugged landscapes, wildlife and rich human history that gets me excited. Being artist in residence for the South Georgia Heritage Trust will be an opportunity to document the journey out there, the people at work on the island, the crumbling architecture of the old whaling stations, the island’s stunning landscapes and Antarctic wildlife. All as a single subject!

ePHOTOzine Chats To South Georgia Artist In Residence Jamie Grant: Jamie Grant

Skye, Scotland © Jamie Grant

Is there any particular feature of the island that you are looking forward to photographing the most?

I really don’t know what to expect but of course, the elephant seals, huge colonies of breeding penguins and wandering albatrosses capture my imagination. The haunting architecture of the old whaling stations and long abandoned boats will also be fascinating to document.

Tell us a bit about the cameras you'll be taking and why you chose them.

I will be taking a Leica M9 and a Nikon D800 on this trip. They are very different cameras that I am hoping will compliment each other to capture a wide range of images.

I will use my Leica for reportage, travel and portraiture. This is a small and light camera with manual functions that I hope will help me capture looser, more intimate pictures with lots of atmosphere.

I’ll be using the D800 for the big landscape work, wildlife and Macro. This is the closest I can get to a digital medium format camera without breaking the bank. I am hoping it will help produce lovely double page spreads in the book that I am publishing on South Georgia, without any loss of image quality.

I’ll also be taking a pinhole film camera to experiment with as I’ll have lots of time out there and I’d like to somehow honour the spirit of early expedition photography in the Antarctic region.

ePHOTOzine Chats To South Georgia Artist In Residence Jamie Grant: Jamie Grant

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia © Jamie Grant

Apart from your camera, what would you say are the most important pieces of kit you'll be taking with you?

That is a bit like the last desert island question on Radio 4! I think my guitar if I can get it out there as I’m hoping music will get me through any moments of solitude when I’m not taking photos or in the museum on the island.

What do you hope to achieve during your stay?

I hope to capture as truly as possible the landscapes, wildlife, visitors and spirit of South Georgia.

ePHOTOzine Chats To South Georgia Artist In Residence Jamie Grant: Jamie Grant

Alta Verapaz, Guatemala © Jamie Grant

If you could give 3 top tips to a budding landscape or travel photographer, what would they be?

Those are two very different genres, but general advice would be:

  • You don’t have to formally study photography. Just look at and take lots of pictures and learn from experience.
  • Get the photo you want in the field rather than over-produce it in Photoshop.
  • Believe in your own unique view of the world and never give up.
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