Photographer of the Week (POTW) is a new series on Small Camera Big Picture where we talk candidly to mirrorless photographers around the world about their body of work, how they create and where they see photography headed.
For the first Photographer of the Week (POTW) on Small Camera Big Picture we interview Newcastle, UK based photographer Adam Thirtle. Adam is a youth lifestyle photographer with a strong focus on skate culture.
Giulio Sciorio: So what made you start shooting M43?
Adam Thirtle: Well, I was first shooting with an old SLR I got cheap from a friend. I was mainly shooting and posting stuff on my skateboarding blog, and I ended up looking around for something small that could give me good images and was quite flexible. It was then I came across the PEN range and saved up for an E-PL1
Giulio Sciorio: So was that SLR film or digital?
Adam Thirtle: It was digital, but at the time I was also shooting film with my Dad’s old Olympus Trip 35, which is what I sort of dreamt of having a digital version of.
Adam Thirtle: I feel M43 gave me that. A camera that is small and fun to use and just makes you want to shoot as much as possible.
Giulio Sciorio: Right on. So do you miss film? I really like how you treat color in your images which have a very organic feel to them. What inspires your color?
Adam Thirtle: I do miss film to some extent, but I feel like I can get the results I want from digital now. My colors are definitely inspired by shooting film, I just really like quite soft and natural tones, although my post processing now is a lot different from say a year or 2 ago, it’s just progression and discovering what you like.
Giulio Sciorio: This image of yours on your site is bad to the bone which I already reblogged on my Tumblr. Is Liam a friend of yours? Looks spontaneous and natural. Do you prefer to work with your subjects or do you take more of a hands off approach with directing the subjet?
Adam Thirtle: Liam is a friend of mine yeah. It was shot while I was taking photos of clothing at work. Liam wasn’t even the model, he just popped by and I had to get a shot of him against the white backdrop. I do prefer more of a hands off approach, letting people get on with what they do, but some occasions a bit of direction can really help get the image you want.
Giulio Sciorio: It’s a beautiful shot Adam. I love how its a no-bullshit honest portrait. Big ups on the processing too. Is that an art filter or did you crush the black/blow out the highlights and add grain in post?
Adam Thirtle: Thanks! It was shot with the grainy black and white filter on the Pen, by far my favourite filter. I think I might of tweaked the colour slightly after that too.
Giulio Sciorio: NICE thats a killer filter. Do you shoot more jpeg then raw?
Adam Thirtle: Yeah I shoot JPG pretty much all of the time, which some photographers might not like to hear ha. I just really like the output I get already from Olympus’ JPG engine, I don’t need RAW that often.
I just really like the output I get already from Olympus’ JPG engine, I don’t need RAW that often.
Giulio Sciorio: You’re right though the Olympus jpeg engine is fantastic. I hear that more and more and I got to say I was a bit of a raw snob until I started messing with the art filters and shooting for social media. Any tips on shooting with the Art Filters?
Adam Thirtle: Yeah, I would probably keep RAW files too for paid work rather than personal shots. My best tip with the Art Filters would be to just go and experiment! It’s all personal preference, so just see which filters you enjoy the most, and discover the kind of situations they can be useful in, or even enhance.
Giulio Sciorio: Is skate lifestyle your predominate subject or do you want to get into any other genre of photography?
Adam Thirtle: I think I’ll always be shooting skateboard lifestyle as long as I am part of it, I really love it, there is so much character and diversity within it, which makes for great images. Saying that, I also love finding more to shoot. I suppose people and portraits interest me the most, I have never been one for landscapes, or wildlife photography for example, I can understand why people shoot it, but for me personally, it just doesn’t speak to me.
Giulio Sciorio: What are you doing for post? Are you working in Lightroom or another processor?
Adam Thirtle: CS5.1 and a I really like the Nik Color Efex add ons. Although lately I have started using an Eye-Fi card, sending images straight to my phone and have started to edit things a lot less.
Giulio Sciorio: Right on. I hear a lot of good things about Nik but currently I only use Snapseed on iOS which I love hard. Have you tried that yet? I think its free this week.
Adam Thirtle: Yeah snapseed is great! I purchased it a little while back. I linked a few of my friends to it when I spotted it was free too.
Adam Thirtle: I think it’s going to grow, I expect many more devices released being readily wifi enabled too. I think it is a really useful tool for sharing images, and for bloggers. I know a couple of people who have purchased Eye-Fi cards after me showing them how it works. In fact, you were the one who influenced me to use an Eye-Fi card!
Giulio Sciorio: Thats pretty cool! Glad to have inspired you.
Giulio Sciorio: You’re pretty active on Tumblr which looks to power your main site www.adamthirtle.com what is it about Tumblr that you enjoy so much?
Adam Thirtle: It’s the ease of use and great community mainly. I like that I can have a site, with portfolios of images and such, that is also directly connected to a great blogging format and community. I can also post straight there from my phone!
It’s all about connecting to people…
Giulio Sciorio: Have any Tumblr tips for those wanting to start on the site?
Adam Thirtle: It’s all about connecting to people, so my main tips would be to follow as many rad people as possible and connect it up to whichever other social networking sites you can. A nice layout always helps too.
Adam Thirtle: Oh and don’t get too annoyed when you find someone else has posted one of your photos and it has been reblogged over 2000 times. That sucks.
Giulio Sciorio: Did someone download then post one of your images on their account that in turn got reposted a bunch?
Adam Thirtle: Yeah, it’s happened a few times actually! It’s usually skateboarding ones, it’s kind of cool to see that people have shown an interest in your work, but at the same time, those people won’t know where it came from.
Giulio Sciorio: Right and its important for people to know where the work originated from. I like to think “all roads lead to Rome” sometimes they lead to other peoples accounts. How do you handle such situations?
Adam Thirtle: There isn’t a lot you can do really. You can attempt to message people, but I have started to just ignore it when it happens. The most recent image I found it had happened to, I was more annoyed that it was cropped really badly
The Future of Photography
Giulio Sciorio: You shoot for passion which I think is fantastic. From your perspective where do you want to see photography tech going?
Adam Thirtle: That is a tough one! I quite like the direction it seems to be going in already. I think mirrorless cameras are the future of photography, and I just want to see the development of that.
Cameras and lenses don’t need to be huge anymore to shoot great images and it’s great.
Adam Thirtle: Cameras and lenses don’t need to be huge anymore to shoot great images and it’s great.
Giulio Sciorio: Do you have any wisdom you want to share before we close up the interview?
Adam Thirtle: Hmmm, look out for inspiration, whether it is images online, or the things going on around you and shoot as much as possible and enjoy it while you do it or it isn’t worth doing. Also, if anyone out there wants to offer me some wisdom, they are more than welcome, I am still just a young chap finding my feet in the photography world.
Giulio Sciorio: Right on Adam. Thanks for chatting.
Adam Thirtle: Thank you Giulio! It’s been fun.
Adams work can be found on the following networks -
www.adamthirtle.com via Tumblr