Since joining Americymru Alan Evans has contributed many interesting and provocative discussions,video clips and photographs. Today we thought our members would like to learn more about him and hisphotography. We’ll have to leave his many other interests for a later discussion.Americymru: Were you always interested in photography? What other interests do you have?Alan: I was given my first camera as a Christmas present when I was about nine years of age.Photography always interested me and seemed like a glamourous occupation. I was always experimentingbut lacked the formal training. At forty I enrolled on a BA honours photography course at art college. Iwas still using film and the digital revolution was about to take off. The formal learning gave me moreconfidence and established a clearer identification of what my work was about. I have many otherinterests including sport, early childhood education and cookery.Americymru: What factors influenced you to become a photographer and chronicler of people andplaces? Have you always had an interest in photography? How did you prepare yourself to enterthe profession?Alan: I always admired the work of French photographer Robert Doiseneau and saw his work as abenchmark to aim for. People have always interested me and I have found myself chatting to people fromall walks of life. I believe that the social interaction is an important part in the process of photographingpeople. When the subject has relaxed you get a truer representation of the personality. I guess mypreparation is based in my upbringing, one of four brothers brought up on a large working class councilestate in Llanelli. There really was no place to hide and you had to deal with all sorts of life issues.Americymru: Do you have a favorite subject matter? Why do you like shooting this type ofsubject? My favourite subject mater is people.Alan: I find the human face fascinating. Everyone is equal but different. The human face can provide somuch information about life itself. I love shooting portraiture because it allows me to look very closely ata fellow human being. I feel like a scientist observing the subject matter.Americymru: What is your favorite medium, digital or film and why? Do you shoot in both?Alan: I love shooting with film because it slows the process down. You have to think a lot more about thefundamentals of photography with a film camera. There is something that challenges your confidencewhen using film. There is no second chance, delete, re shoot. Everything has to be correct so you go
through the technicalities over and over again. I still use film but the demand to provide images withinminutes to a client means that it becoming unrealistic to use film. I tend to take digital and film only usingfilm when things have settled down.Americymru: What is your opinion of photo enhancement programs as a photographer? As anartist?Alan: I am very snobby about photo enhancement. My bleief is that if you cant shoot it in camera thenyoure not up to it. I have not really got into photo enhancement programmes other than Photoshop foradjusting the curves which is similar to giving the negative more or less time at the development stage.Americymru: Your portraits are especially appealing to me, that is not to say that your othersubjects are not appealing. How do you get your subjects to reveal their inner selves, to you? Howdo you choose your subjects?Alan: It takes time and some mutual respect for the subject. I love to chat with people and this is probablea contributing factor to the final image. I will be chatting for a while and then casually raise the cameraand start taking photos. I usually keep chatting and the camera seems to become non threatening to thesubject. I keep talking whilst taking the photos. Given time the subject drops their guard and you start tosee the true personality. I guess it is the same for most people when you meet them for the first time.More often than not the people I photograph are not usually photographed.Americymru: In addition to portraits and commercial photography, you have exhibited a widevariety of landscapes and seascapes in both area and time. Do you travel to a specific area to shootlandscapes and seascapes or do you just keep your eyes open for a good shot when there? Howmuch of your time is spent on looking for “the shot”?Alan: I tend to base my landscapes and seascapes around days out with the family. We arrive at adestination and if the light is right, I disappear for most of the day and sometimes most of the evening. weare lucky to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty so wherever we travel, there is going to be someform of landscape to photograph. I would like to spend more time looking for the shot but I am lazy. Iprefer to lay on the beach all day. The window of opportunity for landscapes is early morning or dusk.Americymru: Based on your experience, what advice would you offer to a person who may beconsidering photography as a career? What do you feel separates the amateur photographer fromthe professional?
Alan: I would say that you should find an area of photography which really interests you. Improvise withthe equipment you have and fine tune your skills in your specialist area. Look at the work of the greats inyour specialist area and learn from them. Experiment to a point and accept the limitations of your camera.The amateur takes photographs everywhere the professional sees photographs everywhere but only takesthe ones which count.Americymru: The recognition that all artists seek is to share their art with others, and hope thatthey will buy your art. Do you have any planned or existing exhibitions? How do you sellphotographs which have not been commissioned? Do you have a website where our members canview or buy your work?Alan: Like all artists I am tortured and suffer for my art. I have a continual lack of confidence in thequality and value of my work. There is a great fear of rejection when exhibiting work. I tend to stay clearof the exhibition space when my work is on display. If someone buys it then this is a bonus. My websiteis probably my main exhibition space although I have not really promoted my art based photographywhich tends to be the nude form. This is because my main website is accessed by people of all ages.Ironically it is these images which sell the most. I am passionate about the people and the area in which Ilive and work. I have a few websites. The Art Based work can be viewed atwww.thebeautifulnude.co.uk My main site is www.alanevansphotography.co.uk My workdocumenting horse racing in Carmarthenshire is on www.ffoslasphotography.comAmericymru: Do you have any final comment for the readers and members of Americymru?Alan: Keep you camera handy and the sun on your back