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Home by Paul Sanders

Home is where the heart is? I’m often asked where my favourite place to photograph is, and my answer is always home - which is a good job as for the last nine or ten months we have been unable to travel as much as we would probably wish for. Home is somewhere to be grateful for, although due to domestic circumstances some see home as a prison, for most home is a place of safety, a place to learn, grow and experiment.
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Jan 21


So often though that is not the case, we are home, home is where we leave from and arrive back at after going on inspiring photographic adventures.

Basically we complain, and we chose the place we live - and the golden rule of house buying is location, location location! Pretty similar to that of the landscape photographer, although you could add in light and timing too!

Many of the images I create now are within ten minutes of my home, unless I am working somewhere, I refuse to travel huge distances to find moments to photograph.

My eyes have truly been opened to the beauty on my doorstep, so many of us take the area around our homes or offices for granted but just by opening your heart, mind and eyes you can discover a wealth of subjects all crying out for your attention.

Mindset is the barrier that most of us meet, there are a myriad of chores that need doing to distract us from appreciating how lucky we truly are.

The key is to not judge the area near with the attitude of “It’s not good enough” that instantly switches off your openness to be receptive to something. My approach is always the same; if something catches my eye then there must be a photograph in there somewhere, my job is to decipher the scene and make sense of the chaos. That may involve coming back in a different season, or with other weather but every trip out around you home is worthwhile.

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Regardless of whether you live in the countryside, suburbs or city centre, there is always something to catch your eye and be aware of.

I’m fortunate that I live in the countryside and have a garden too, daily I am inspired by the world around me. I haven’t always been a country bumpkin, I’ve lived in towns and cities up and down the country and have always photographed the area where I live.

To become familiar with your home turf is important for photographers and artists, it is grounding, it makes you work and think, to get the best out of your local environment is a challenge and not for the faint hearted but the rewards are high.

Shooting near home is your chance to get under the skin of the a place you probably drive past everyday without paying attention to its beauty because you are heading to the supermarket, leaving for holiday, going to work.

If you look at the categories in LOPTY they all cry out for unique and new views, images that challenge the judges and cause us to look again without the sigh of “oh it’s XX location shot in the mist again”

Believe me with a beautiful set of images from your daily walk in the countryside or a series of the urban response to Covid19 you could sweep the board in at least a couple of categories.

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To be honest I feel there should be a landscape story category, to allow photographers to fully explore a subject too.

Really understanding where you live, the varying moods, light and effects of the weather can be exciting and will do a bit to saving the planet too, no long drives only to be disappointed on arrival.

I love waking up before dawn, looking out of the window and gasping at what possibilities there are, yes some days it is easy to roll over and go back to bed but by exploring first thing you can use it as that precious bit of ‘me’ time we crave for.

Because I know my area so intimately, and that area is literally not even ten minutes from my door I am totally tuned in to the seasons and what the wind and weather are doing and how they may effect a certain place. It is rewarding on another level to find a location near you, that no one knows about, photograph it, perhaps share it and see someone come to photograph your trees in a lake! You have suddenly become a leader not a follower, a creator of something new and inspiring for others.

Written by Paul Sanders

Photographs by Paul Sanders

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