Artist in Focus - Anthony Lamb
Born and raised in the North of England, Anthony Lamb is a fine art photographer based in London and Abu Dhabi. Anthony was always motivated to pursue a career in the arts, attending Art College and completing a BA in Furniture and Product Design at Nottingham Trent University.
His interest in photography was a combination of several influences. Since childhood, he’s been lucky enough to travel to some extraordinary locations; including the European Alps, North Africa and the Scottish Highlands. These visits ‘fuelled’ Anthony’s love of the wilderness and created an appreciation for uninhabited areas, places where solitary embodiment was possible. This fascination with the natural environment and his passion for minimalist art and design inspired Anthony to pick up a camera in 2003. His intention; to document his outdoor experiences by capturing the essence of the landscape through simplistic glimpses.
In his photographs, negative space and an ethereal aesthetic provide the viewer with a sense of serenity, calm and connection, interpreting the emotions of the moments captured. His post-production style offers pastel expressionism to soothe the soul further. Incorporating a minimalistic approach within his photography and drawn to water and open space; you will see these narratives in many of his photographs. ‘My wish is to offer different frames of reference that transport you to a place suspended between reality and your imagination.’
For someone discovering your work for the first time, can you paint them a picture of your background and your style?
I grew up with a family of creatives; my father did a lot of painting in his spare time, my mother was interested in photography, and my grandfather was an artist all his life. This certainly inspired me to pursue a career in the arts and I attended art college and studied Furniture and Product Design at University. I invested in some professional camera equipment in early 2003, seeing the creative potential of the digital age. It always made sense to me that when approaching a photographic composition, the image should be simplistic and uncluttered. Following this minimalist approach, the aim is to reduce distraction by eliminating objects that sit outside the main subject. This simplicity opens the door to self-interpretation, emotion, and mood, similar to that of abstract art. I’ve always tried to incorporate stillness, seclusion and silence in my work, and these elements reflect back at the viewer, drawing your interest deeper into the soul of the image. This methodology led me to capture less recognisable locations to add more intrigue to the composition, making the photograph more personal and intimate.
Have you always been creative? And is there a particular moment you realised you were?
At the early age of 7 or 8, I was a prolific copier of paintings and photographs. I would immerse myself in the spare room at home, with a watercolour paintbrush in hand; tirelessly working to replicate scenes of beauty, as I dreamed of being a famous painter. I wasn’t necessarily aware that I was a ‘creator’, it was an act of enjoyment, a calming influence, and something that felt natural. These personal elements have now transitioned into my photography, now each time I head into the natural landscape, I still feel like that young boy expressing his love for the arts.
What do you want people to think or feel when they see your work?
Selfishly, my work reflects a personal interpretation, the feelings experienced on location and an idyllic sanctuary I can remove myself from the chaos of modern life. However, I’m a big advocate of photography that provides a sense of self-soothing, less of a hard-hitting narrative and more of an emotional sticky plaster. The natural world is such a beautiful place, where emotional replication via the photographer's lens is very difficult. But if photographers can offer a slither of this beauty and a few minutes of contemplation through the tactile medium of a fine art print, maybe we can spread a converging influence of appreciation and respect for the natural world.
Who have been your biggest influences in your career? Artist or otherwise.
I’ve always been inspired by musicians, artists, photographers, designers and even mountaineers. So, I suppose this comes back to creativity and the outdoors, the two main drivers behind what I do and why I do it. Photographers that inspire me include Michael Kenna, Michael Levin, James Balog, Ansel Adams, Nick Brandt, Jonathan Smith and David Burdeny. These photographers each hold a distinct style that transpires into beautiful fine art photography which appeals to my personal taste. Whether it’s their technique, composition, mood, tone, subject or colour, each will inspire me in some form or another. Art has always been close to my heart – Turner, The Impressionist’s, Canaletto, Rothko, Braque, Hirst……currently my big inspiration is Zaria Foreman and Ian Davenport. Design has always been an influence with minimalist furniture by designers such as Matthew Hilton, Tom Dixon and Jasper Morrison. I’m always looking at colour trends in cinematography, as this can also influence my post-edit workflow to some extent.
What has been one of the biggest learning curves you have experienced?
Letting nature do the work. Over the last 19 years it’s become much more apparent to me that timing and luck can heavily influence my ability in capturing photographs that justify a location's beauty. However, the more I’ve put myself into the environment, the luckier you could say I’ve become. There’s only so much the photographer can control. It might require returning to a location time and time again to align all the elements, but eventually, you’ll know when conditions are perfect.