Graham Gilmore who goes by the username Firesuite has been photographing the world around him since he was a kid. We spoke with him about capturing moments of wonder and the beauty of simply sitting in silence as a precursor to making artwork.
Be sure to check out products featuring Graham’s over at his shop.
On his creative past:
I would go out on hikes or bike rides and take photos of the great British countryside. The winter months were my favorite, I always tried to capture something atmospheric in my shots, whether it was sun beams in the fog or falling snow. I like the atmospheric or dreamy stuff and I think that continues to this day.
On reflecting with silence:
I think our history is important. Everything in the past has brought us to where we are now. Recently I've been lucky enough to live in one of the most photographic places on earth, we have so much here in California, you can be in out the desert, snow-capped mountains, a bustling city, or down on the beach all in one day. My favorite time is when I drive out somewhere far, turn off the engine, get out of my car, and set up my gear... and then silence. I love being able to hear absolutely nothing. It’s a bit of a cliché, but silence can be deafening, and with no other distraction I'm free to focus on taking photos.
On his process:
I'm a big fan of long exposure, so neutral density filters are something I carry all the time. I love freezing time and let what’s moving in the scene paint something you wouldn’t see otherwise, whether it be car light trails or moving water that looks like it's frozen in time. In Yosemite very recently I did some long exposures of the Merced river, there where these small pockets of foam that were circling around on the surface, with the shutter open for 20 seconds they painted white circles and lines on the water’s surface, you wouldn't see this normally and I think it adds something special and artistic that stands out.
There is a German word Sehnsucht that captures the feeling that we would experience in our younger years out discovering the world for ourselves, and I think we lose that as adults. Our sense of wonder diminishes as we get caught up in adult life and surviving from day to day, so when I plan out a photo trip I try and involve a sense of adventure with it, to explore and discover is a human trait I hold strongly and don't want to lose.
Igor Kostin is my favorite, he was a Romanian, and one of five photographers that documented the Chernobyl accident in 1986 in Ukraine (in the then Soviet Russia), but more importantly he very bravely took to the skies in a helicopter to take photos of the accident from the air, flying through dangerous plumes of radiation doing so. He was also extremely brave in publishing this work in a time when Soviet Russia was working hard to cover up the extent of the disaster which we now know was catastrophic. Igor's photos of the people giving their lives to save the world from this horrible event are extremely touching.