In the hot seat - LPOTY judge Damien Demolder

Landscape Photographer of the Year judge Damien Demolder reveals what makes him tick as a photographer.
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Jan 20

Is there a photographer whose work you’ve come across recently that has really inspired or impressed you?

“Judging competitions and managing an on-line gallery are two fabulous parts of my job as they constantly bring me into contact with the work of other photographers, both professional and enthusiast. People striving to be their best inspires me and I love looking at what they produce - so I am always finding new discoveries that impress and excite me. Instagram is also full of people who's work fires me up.

If you want a name though I'll point you in the direction of Alys Tomlinson. Some of her work conjures a modern-day Julia Margaret Cameron - except Alys likes to focus the camera before she shoots! I love how sensitive her pictures are, and the careful craft that must go into them to make them look so effortless."

What food do you take on a shoot?

“I like to travel light and don't have room under my hat for marmalade sandwiches or flasks of tea. Most photographers head to the back of beyond to find their serene locations, while I head for 'civilisation' and lands of cafes and bars, so I don't need to carry my supplies. I have been known to eat three 'square' meals in Greggs three days in a row when conditions require it. I'm not dead yet.

My dietary requirements are that it should be quick and not too hot, as I don't want to be sitting there wasting time. I'd rather be out shooting - unless the cafe's clientele is interesting of course.”

If you could have any photographer(s) (dead or alive) over for drinks who would they be... and why?

“I'm not especially fussy about who I talk photography with, so I would be happy with anyone who has a different viewpoint to my own, but I would be extra-specially thrilled to share wine and chat with Julia Margaret Cameron. Her views on photography conflicted with almost everyone's in her day and it would be fun to hear what she thinks of the way we work today. The way she thought about her work and the thinking that went into the methods she used still have massive value today. I'd love some of that to rub off on me. And I expect she'd be quite a hoot."

Who has been a photographic influence on you?

“Believe it or not, I take my inspiration from Julia Margaret Cameron. That influence may not be very evident in all my work, but I try to follow her sensitivity for the subject and the story around it, and a feeling of passion and visual romance. I think I share her disregard for what authority deems 'good' and prefer to follow my own path and values. Sometimes they nicely coincide with what authority approves of, but other times they don't. Cameron is my photo-hero."

What's your favourite place on Earth to take photographs?

“My favourite place to take pictures is in a city with narrow streets and in which it is always one of those days where the sun is low in the sky. The buildings are tall and impressive, but on the corners there are little shops with windows that allow you to see right through from one street to the other. It is always busy, and is one of those patches of the city that used to be run down but is becoming a cultural hub filled with artists, people that like to express themselves and a population that loves to live out on the street. Within a short walk you can see ancient and modern architecture, glass, brick, ridged concrete pillars and hard sharp corners among gentle curves and long winding patterns. The low angle of the sunlight shows the multitude of textures and shapes in exaggerated 3D, while reflections in the windows high up on the sides of the buildings create gentle spotlights on the pavement below to give the friendly face in the crowd their 1/15th second of fame."

That place could be London, or New York, Berlin, Madrid, Warsaw or any major city - or town for that matter”.

How do you relax after a long day shooting?

“I'd like to say that I run a hot bath and listen to classical music while I soak my aches away, but the honest truth is that I shoot some more, especially if I'm somewhere interesting. I hate to think that I might be missing something or that there are amazing places to shoot that I haven't discovered. I may need hypnosis."

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