Helen Bartlett - Speakers Corner - part 1 of 1 2 3

by Helen Bartlett Published 16/11/2017


Tell us a little about your background, your first camera and photographic experience and your subsequent emergence as a pro.

Like many photographers I started as a child – I was given a Zorki Rangefinder when I was nine and introduced to the darkroom at the same time. Father Christmas would bring 24 rolls of black and white film and two boxes of printing paper (along with the inevitable Satsuma and socks). My dad taught me to print my pictures and I loved the magic of the darkroom right from the beginning. My mother ran a nursery school and as a teenager I photographed the children in my summer holidays and sold prints to the parents, I continued with this throughout my time at university and, after my masters degree, turned my summer job into a full time career.

Why photography?
I’ve always loved photography and always been fascinated by photographing families, watching children grow up and documenting the family dynamic. I truly think it’s the most incredible subject to photograph.

Film or digital? Is there still a place for silver halide?
I shoot entirely digitally but I have fond memories of the darkroom. There’s definitely space for both in the professional world – I believe each photographer needs to find the medium that is right for them, there’s no right or wrong.


Which camera?
Canon 1DX mark 2 (two of them)

Bit of detail about your own studio set-up/staffing. Why (as a customer) would I choose you?
Clients come to me for my distinctive black and white style and my creative compositions. Many of my clients return year on year and together we create images that document their children’s lives.

What’s the worst commercial error you have made to date?
Like many photographers out there, I’ve spent a lot of money on advertising that hasn’t worked.

Is it getting harder or easier to make a decent living?
It feels like it’s getting harder to make a decent living but it seems that is the case for the economy as a whole, not just our industry.

How do you stay ahead of the game?
The industry is constantly evolving. It’s important to work hard and to always strive to take the very best pictures possible, to analyze and learn from your mistakes. It takes time and effort to continually improve your photography, but the challenge is what makes it fun!

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1st Published 16/11/2017
last update 09/12/2022 14:54:57

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