Iain Stenhouse – Photographer

I struggle with the term artist and applying it to myself, I lack confidence in my work and often feel I don’t deserve such a title. I am certainly someone who considers themselves to be a creative person and I like to produce photos that are unique to me and express what I see. I take photographs simply because I like to see how things look within a frame. I have created my work simply because I love photography and I love the process or producing a photo with a specific composition in mind. I don’t feel I target any specific audience or art style and each piece of work can be very different from the last. I have created abstract work using a dollar bill and a mirror and I have created beautiful landscapes, each has a feel of ‘me’ to them and I hope one day that could be recognised as being my work. Rather than having a style though or thinking how my work would fit in with other artists and styles, I think of my self as more of an explorer. I am constantly trying new things and I am always evolving. Photography for me is a life journey and my work will reflect me at that specific time and stage in my life. Iain Stenhouse, Photographer

How did you first get interested in art and what in spired you to start creating?

I have always been a keen photographer and have used the medium as a hobby and an escape from daily life. It was not until probably my 30’s when I watched a documentary about photography being considered an art form and what photographers were considered artists; that I started to explore my passion as a creative art form. It was at this point I started to study what was art in photography instead of just taking nice photos.

Can you describe your artistic style and how it has evolved?

It’s hard for me to pin point a specific style outside of my wedding photography as I feel I am very much still exploring all possibilities. I guess at the moment I am enjoying all styles of photography. If I had to choose just one approach it would probably be urban/street photography, with an emphasis on geometry.

What themes or subjects do you typically explore in your art work?

The most recent area I have began exploring is more abstract style photography. Manipulating shutter speeds, merging photos and trying to create something unique to me.

Do you have any specific artists or art movements that influence your work?

I read daily about famous photographers and their work, but there are a few whose work I search out more of. I love Saul Leiter, Joel Meyerwitz, William Eggleston, Ernst Haas, Lee Friedlander to name a few. I am also a fan of the artist Edward Hopper and Chin H Shin, but when you look at their work you can see it is very much is the style of the above mentioned photographers.

How do you approach the creative process? Do you have any rituals or routines?

I wake up daily at 5.45am before my family, I make myself a fresh coffee (not instant), I then sit and read 2 books: one academic photography book (to improve my skills and thinking), I then read a monograph (to help inspire me).

What challenges have you faced as an emerging artist and how have you overcome them?

I feel I am very much at the beginning of being an emerging artist, it was not until Art Box wanted to exhibit my work that I felt I might actually be good at this.
Have you taken any art classes or workshops to improve your skills, or are you self-taught? I am self taught in the sense I have never been to school or college to study photography, but the books I read are books that are included in a degree in photography. I also spend a lot of time watching online lecturers to constantly improve myself.

Can you tell us about a particular artwork that holds significant meaning to you and why?

It has to be Edward Hoppers nighthawks painting. It a very beautiful and thought provoking piece of work. It is probably his most famous painting he did. I think I love it so much because it is the sort of composition I would love to achieve in my photography. It was also painted during the 50’s so the clothing and decor is unique to that time. When I think about photos I love they are often from photographers from the same era.

How has sharing your art on social media and/or with Art Box impacted your artistic journey?

It has been a huge motivation to carry on and try to produce more work. I have had so much positive feedback that I really didn’t expect, I thought my photos were ‘ok’, so I was very surprised when I read some of the comments.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring emerging artists who are just starting out?

I think just to follow your heart, do it because you love it and it makes you happy.

Are there any specific goals or milestones you hope to achieve in your artistic career?

Not sure I could call it a goal or a milestone, maybe a dream, but I would love one day to have work exhibited in a big gallery, something like the museum of modern art in New York.

How do you balance your artistic pursuits with other commitments and responsibilities?

I believe I am just good at managing my time. I make time for my artistic pursuits and I take a camera pretty much everywhere. This is because The GodFather of Photography Henri Cartier-Bresson called a good photo the decisive moment. This means you need to be ready for that moment and click the shutter, part skill, part preparation, part knowing what you are looking at and part luck.

What role does art play in your life? How does it affect your emotions and overall well-being?

Looking at art and reading monographs is a kind of meditation for me. It helps me to stop in the moment and be mindful, no before and no after, only the moment I am in.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on my own monograph. I am combining mindfulness techniques and breathing with my photographs. The goal is to create something that can help people enjoy being mindful and pulling away from everyday life, like I enjoy doing.