Ever so often on The Phoenix Remix we reach out to young professionals who are starting new business ventures. Today we speak to a very talented photographer based in London who doesn’t just work in the Fashion industry, but also is a very strong photojournalist and has photographed events such as the violent revolution in Ukraine in 2016 to the aftermath of the London Bridge terrorist attacks. I caught up with George to find out all about his new venture and all about the world of photojournalism…
Hello George – tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello. I’m a photographer and full time fashion and editorial retoucher living in London.
How did you originally get into photography?
I love history and literature, but I’m not a particularly academic person. Photography, specifically documentary photography, seemed like the next best alternative for me. My first experience was going to Kiev after the violent revolution of 2016 to take photos of the ‘Maidan Square’ – a square in the centre of the city which was the epicentre of revolution – where demonstrators had occupied since December the previous year. It was here I discovered my passion for photography.
“The key is perseverance and accepting that, like with most vocations, you will good and bad days…” – George Layne
What sort of photography do you enjoy doing the most and why?
Photojournalism, street photography, documentary photography – I love focusing on real people in their environment. I enjoy discovering new things and photography forces you to concentrate on the world around you more distinctly.
You are now teaching people about photography – how did that come about?
I was asked lots of technical questions about cameras by friends and found I relished the opportunity to impart some of my knowledge and passion onto someone else.
How can people get involved if they are interested?
They can go to my website at http://www.georgelayne.com and book a 1-2-1 session with me at a time that suits them. I will soon be introducing some group sessions as well.
What is your favourite camera to use and why?
I’ve used Canon, Nikon; SLR’s and mirrorless; film and digital. I think all have their merits, but I’m currently using a Nikon with a Carl Zeiss lens. I like the sharp images this combination gives me, plus the Nikon has a good dynamic range; which allows me a lot of freedom when I come to post-processing my shots.
With the world ever changing and more and more people using phone cameras to take photos instead of SLRs, why do you think it is still so important to use a real camera and not a phone?
I actually don’t. I feel people should be able to use whatever equipment they feel comfortable with when taking photos. The reason I still use a bulky DSLR over a mobile phone is mainly aesthetic, although image quality is also a factor when it comes to large prints.
We live in a world now where Photojournalism is a vital key to telling stories on social media – do you think this is having a positive or negative effect on photography and why?
That’s a very difficult question. Photographs can be deceptive if viewed out of context. I’m reminded of an image I saw not so long ago. It is a black and white photograph of a group men and women posing merrily for the camera, they look young and some are playing instruments and singing. When viewed out of context the only questionable part of the photo is the men’s uniforms. When you discover the people in the photograph are the staff at Auschwitz their jocular appearance makes for a very sinister image. I believe photos need to have accurate explanations and captions in order not to allow for any deception.
Which photographers do you find inspiring and why?
The first photographer I think of is Steve McCurry, the man responsible for the famous ‘Afghan Girl’ photograph. His portraits are stunning, the mixture of his choice of subjects and use of the now discontinued Kodachrome film make some of the finest portraits I’ve ever seen. The second would beJerome Sessini. He has covered everything from drug wars in Mexico, conflict in Syria and the migrant crisis in Europe. His bravery and ability to work on so many different issue is inspiring.
“…I love focusing on real people in their environment…” – George Layne
What is the best thing about being a photographer?
Believe it or not, the adrenaline rush! There is always a risk when wandering the streets photographing people. I’ve been approached by angry passers-by not happy being photographed on a few occasions, however, most people either ignore you or pose. When you finally buck up the courage to ask someone for a portrait and get the image you want there it’s a great feeling. Especially if the person likes the portrait you have taken of them.
What is the most challenging?
Some days you will go out with your camera and not take a single photograph that you’re happy with. This can be very disconcerting and make you question your talent. The key is perseverance and accepting that, like with most vocations, you will good and bad days.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work as a photographer?
Be confident and DON’T WORK FOR FREE! The willingness of lots of people to work for free devalues photographs as a commodity and brings the market down. If people aren’t willing to pay you what you’re worth, then refuse to work for them. This is difficult when first starting out, but eventually you will build a client base of people you trust and who value your work enough for you to make a decent living.
If people want to find out more about you where can they find you on social media?
They can follow my work on Instagram @photo.layne.
In three words, why should do your course?
Learning by doing.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Chicken hearts and stomach lining.
If you could trade lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?
Christopher Hitchens: I’d love to know what it’s like to be that drunk all the time and still manage to be lucid and intellectual sharper than almost anyone else.
If you could paint anything what would you paint?
You don’t need to when you have a perfectly good camera 😉
What is the most delightful word you can think of?
Pink Floyd – Time
Who is your comedy hero and why?
Ricky Gervais. Apart from being funny, he is the most fervent defender of free speech out there.
What is your favourite movie quote?
“Someone stole your pjamas!?” From The Mask
Who is your favourite cartoon character and why?
Homer Simpson, he’s hilarious.
GEORGE LAYNE PHOTOGRAPHY EXCLUSIVE OFFER TO PHOENIX REMIX READERS
We are excited to be offering the deal below to our readers! The deal will run between 6pm on the 20th February 2019 until 6pm on the 20th March 2019 GMT time.
10% off training bookings with George Layne Photography. All You need to do is quote “PHOENIX19” when you go to book a photography session with George Layne Photography.
(Limited to One per customer )