Meon Valley Photographer Simon John is one of the UK’s leading wedding & portrait specialists
Working from his garden office Meon Valley Photographer Simon John FBIPP has never felt more inspired. “I love the freedom & creativity working from home this past two years has given me” Says Simon. “After moving to Corhampton just over a year ago I decided commercial studios were a thing of my past.” “I have had three studios to date, employing up to four photographers but I just became a manager”. “I have lived in the Meon Valley for over twenty years and adore it.” “The landscape, and the old villages inspire me visually; It now feel this place is in my blood”.
I asked Simon how his business has changed, and how he see’s the next ten years?. ” That’s a great question” he smiles making us both coffees in his small but cozy office surroundings. “This is my 34th year as a professional now, I have seen the industry change enormously”. “I trained in the darkroom and was used to working with film for many years”. “I have been fully digital for over twelve years and don’t long to be smelling of chemicals again!” “Primarily I am a Hampshire wedding photographer who loves to make portraits as well”. “I could not imagine doing one without the other.”
Are you doing more or less photography?
“I have decided to take just 20 weddings a year now concentrating more & more on fine quality & service”. “My weddings take me all over the UK and sometimes overseas”. So Does the Meon Valley photographer like to travel for shoots? “I do, but holidays with my family preferably”. I am a regular and photograph at such fantastic venues as Tithe Barn, Upwaltham Barns, Bury Court Barn, Lainstone House, Hill Place, Rhinefield House, New Place, Farbridge, The Long Barn …. “The list goes on and I have built strong relationships with the owners & wedding coordinators over the years”. “That said a wedding in London still excites me”.
Environmental over studio portraiture
What about your portraiture I inquired? “I love to work in the landscape and in my clients homes”. ” I find these days my lighting is not heavy as it used to be in the studio” I like to use natural light where I can & enjoy the challenge different locations bring with them”. How do you balance the work/ home relationship? ” I decided perhaps ten years ago working from home was something I would do one day”. ” Photography is my passion, my art”. “I found when I worked in my studios I was spending too much time away from home”. “Bringing my work into my personal life feels totally natural; I do not distinguish between photography & home life. Being a dad to a two year old while gardening & cooking; everything integrates rather well”.
You certainly have your hands full! But what about time for you?
“Going for walks with my partner Yvon & my son Miles , usually with a good Hampshire pub on the end is a lot of fun”. I like to run & workout”. “Weddings can be fifteen hours long sometimes therefore I need to stay fit for that”. I am a keen gardener & love music, we enjoy having friends over and love good food & wine; all the nice things really”. Photography and art in general is never far away though, hence I just need to do it!”. Over the years you have won some serious accolades in the photographic industry. What does this mean to you? .. “First of all its really special to be recognized by your peers. So entering competitions fueled my enthusiasm all the more.
Best of the bunch!
You were awarded your Fellowship of the British Institute of Professional photography when you were still in your 20’s, and I see you were named their “Photographer Of The Year” Last year. A most noteworthy achievement! . “Yes thank you”. “In addition I had been judging for the past twelve years since winning UK wedding Photographer of the year in 2004” “I thought it seemed like it was time to test myself again, I was amazed and humbled with the title”. “Also I strongly believe though that my photography is only as good as my last commission”.
“I am naturally fully committed to striving and making photographs that transcends what I have done before”. “Consequently I like to make people happy I suppose”. “Therefore, in conclusion Its a privilege to be at a couples wedding or watch how families grow. “As a result many have become friends over the years, very special really”. Finally as for the next ten years I suppose keep developing my style, enjoy each experience & create lasting images for people to treasure”. I asked Simon to select a few images from his portfolio to support the post. It was a fun insightful morning into the life and work of a Meon Valley Photographer. Thank you Simon, coffee & cake was great too!
Interview by Alan Brandt