Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A thousand words

Richard Eccles, editor of Cumbria Life, knows the county's people and landscape are core of his magazine. The drama of the Lakes and stories of its people are played out in the pages of his magazine each month.

For the redesign Richard was keen to introduce a regular photo feature telling the story of a unique Cumbrian event through the eyes of staff photographer Phil Rigby.

I've not come across many editors who are prepared to devote space to a photo essay. But the 10 or so pages Richard hands over to Phil each month is a reflection on the beauty of the county and how important it is to the magazine's identity.

Phil has been working for CN Group, the owners of Cumbria Life, since 1988 starting out in newspapers and then moving over to work in the magazine division.

I asked Phil how he approaches a photo essay

"I like to try to shoot differently to the rest of the magazine and a photo story gives me more freedom to experiment. I prefer not to have any fixed ideas but I do know what I want to avoid, which is cliched pictures that have been done before. A recent example was a photo story of a blacksmith at work in her forge - I knew I didn't want to come back with a picture of the blacksmith making sparks, which has been done many times."

"I like to let the shoot develop naturally. It's important not to rush but also not to drag the shoot out - that really puts people off and you soon lose their attention. I like to keep it fun and am always on the look out for little angles and picture ideas that occur during the shout."

"The best way to get the shots you want is to keep everything as natural and relaxed as possible. Some shots are 'catch the moment' pictures but there are also photos which occur to me which I will take time to set up. With these, I see what I want to capture in my mind's eye beforehand."

"I always hope the pictures will be interesting and stimulating. I want them to be 'take you there' photos that will give readers an insight into a place or an activity that they know nothing about"

The first set of 4 spreads capture the drama, colour and characters of Appleby Horse Fair

The next set of spreads tell the story of Lucy Sandys-Clarke, who specialises in traditional forge work from her smithy in the village of Dent 

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