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An interview with Adrian Ashworth


Somewhere in Time is the new exhibition on at the Barnsley Civic.  It's a collection of portraits by photographer Adrian Ashworth that explore the relationships between those with dementia and their carers.  Adrain popped into ArtWorks to tell us about his latest exhibition and his love for photography. 



How did you get into photography?

I’ve always taken pictures since I was thirteen when my Mum and Dad bought me a Praktica Nova 35 ml camera.  My mother was an artist, so she had an eye for painting.  When I used to look at her landscape pictures I thought they were perfect.  They always got me thinking more about the picture and what outside of the view in the painting.  Getting a camera allowed me to do the same thing, my profession and what I’m good at, above being a photographer, is compositions.  I can see a picture wherever I am and I love doing it.  I started taking pictures of the dog and then holidays, wildlife parks.  I spent a lot of time North Wales so got affiliated with the sea.  As I got older, people always said I should do it for a living but I didn’t, instead I started a computer company.  I still continued to take photos, but began to realise I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing for a living so in 2009 so I decided to set up as a professional photographer and I haven’t looked back.   I don’t make lots of money, but I do have a better life.  For me, standing waist high in the sea or stood at the top of a mountain taking pictures is far better than anything I’ve ever done.


How did you learn photography?

It’s about having the eye, being able to compose a picture.  It comes naturally to me, which I think I got from my mother.  I do teach people who haven’t got it, y as ou can learn.  It’s not easy but once you get a basic knowledge about where people should look and not look at a camera and how a landscape scene should look you begin to build up a composition.  Compositions are far more important than the quality of the shot itself. 


What was your first photography job?

I worked for the Woodland Trust in 2009. They own lots of woodland in the UK and some of it will be lost due to the new high speed train.  I went out and photographed the woodland that was going to be affected.  These woodlands are not where people go, they’re at the side of motorways or under bridges.  I had to crawl through tunnels to get to some of the places, but they are the most beautiful woodlands.  I used to sit there in a carpet of Bluebells and take pictures, and get paid, it was great.


The first Picture you ever took?

It’s got to be a family dog, I love taking pictures of dogs, I love animals.  I now work with wolves, I’m a Wolf Watch UK photographer, it’s a fantastic job.  When you stand in a 600-acre woodland and there’s no one else around and you hear the wolves howl, it makes you cry because it’s so beautiful.  When they come close to you and howl, your ears pop.  I’ve loved wolves since I was a kid.  The second dog I had was a timber wolf crossed with a husky, a big black wolf type dog, she was fantastic. I now have four huskies, which are the nearest I’ll get to owning a wolf.


What’s been your favourite project you’ve worked on?

It’s got to be this latest project, working with people with dementia and their families.  I wanted to highlight the fact that when people look at somebody with dementia they see disabilities but I wanted to get past that.  I wanted to show people that love and care for each other, that’s the whole emphasis on this exhibition. That people care for people no matter if they’ve got dementia, who cares!


What’s the best location you’ve travelled to?

Moscow, one of the most beautiful places in Winter, I’d go back tomorrow.  I’ve stood in the Red Square at minus 35 degrees with the most beautiful snowflakes falling on my hands, just like the ones you used to make at school out of paper.  I’ve never seen anything like that before.  The people are beautiful, the architecture is fantastic, but the best thing of all was the ballet at the Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow.  Ballet does nothing for me, but being there it was amazing, once in a life time.


How many photo’s does it take to get the perfect shot?

One, it only takes the one because there will only be the ‘one shot’.  There is an old saying, you miss a 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take.  What it means is get out there with your camera and get taking pictures.  Also if you want to take interesting pictures go and stand in front of something more interesting.  Try and tell a story with your photographs.


Where can we see your new exhibition?

You can see it at the Barnsley Civic 22nd April until 3rd June.  After that it will be at the Houses of Parliament from the 3rd July onwards.  I’m not sure after that but we are hoping it will also go to Doncaster and Scunthorpe or Hull.  I’d like it to go to Hull as it’s the City of Culture but we’ll see.

I want the exhibition to effect people that have never come across dementia.  I was the same before my father had dementia or I worked on this project, I’ didn’t know anything about it.  This is why I want to make people who aren’t aware of it, aware of it as it could happen to anyone at anytime.  There’s no age limit on it, I’ve seen it happen to people as young as thirty.


We are currently learning how to use a camera, could you give us your top three tips?

There’s’ only one thing; switch it to manual mode and learn about ISO, forget all other settings, work in manual and work out what you need for each shot.  


What are you’re up and coming projects?

Hopefully working with yourselves...


You can see the exhibition at The Civic Barnsley, until the 3rd June 2017.  

http://www.adrianashworth.co.uk

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