Enough. I decided to send a direct message, a 'thank-you', mainly, for the regular breaths of fresh air in my feed (notwithstanding a little grit or charcoal ember). But also, hopefully, a chance to find out more and celebrate this wonderful work wider. Thankfully, Alan - Alan Thoburn, photography educator, as it turns out - agreed. Below are his generous responses.
I have always had an interest in the photographic image, even as a child. I was, and still am also very interested in all visual art, but photography seemed to have a special magic. Eventually, at the age of about 20, I began to take my photographs ‘properly’. I went on to study a HND and then a degree, with a view to becoming a professional commercial photographer. While at college, I became more interested in ‘fine art’ photography and began to mainly take that kind of approach to my work. I currently teach photography at degree level at Newcastle College, after progressing from a technician role there.
I became very engaged with the landscape where I live - classic post-industrial ‘edge lands’, sub-rural kinds of places. (Coincidentally, as many writers, artists and photographers also began to explore such places). I don’t really like to think of myself as a landscape photographer, but it is always the main presence in my pictures. Whilst doing this work, I became quite friendly with some of the people who inhabit and use these spaces - for tethering horses etc. - and began to photograph them. It’s not really ever been social documentary, but more a kind of metaphor for change. I should add, all of my work is ‘work in progress’. I don’t think I have yet produced anything final, or even successful. I’m still working on all that.
I shoot on a Nikon D700 and Fuji X100. Short fixed lenses are very important to me. I don’t do much post production, just brightness and contrast etc. I’m always looking for a straight image with accurate tones.
What are your further photography hopes/ambitions?
I would love to have a photo book published (by Steidl – please!) a book is a real lasting legacy I feel.
My influences are many I suppose. I now tend to prefer work which is nothing like mine, but it has mainly been Eggleston, Paul Graham, Robert Adams, Raymond Moore...
What advice would you offer a young student of photography?
Most of my work probably stems from my own childhood experiences - I wish I had had a camera growing up! There was always something interesting/crazy going on in the 1960s housing development where I grew up, but I missed it all! So - young people - try and record your lives and world when you are young. You will be amazed how it changes.