Our photography highlights of 2015 and hopes for 216
December 30, 2015
The magazine you hold in your hands is the result of a huge amount of hard work by a talented group of individuals: the AP team. They’re the orchestra – I’m merely the conductor. However, for the past three months I’ve had to put down the baton due to illness. That AP has not, during this time, missed a beat or hit a bum note is due to them. Many are unsung heroes who barely get a mention unless you scan the credits on page 20, so I’d like to shine a light on them here.
I’ll start with deputy editor Richard Sibley, who so ably stepped up to the rostrum in my absence. AP’s reputation for quality news is down to Chris Cheesman. In the technical department, Andy Westlake, Michael Topham and Callum McInerney-Riley strive to bring you authoritative tests of the latest kit before anyone else, while on the features desk Phil Hall and Oliver Atwell sniff out the most inspirational stories and techniques. Designers Mark Jacobs, Sarah Foster and Antony Green make the pages look great, while Lesley Upton and Meike Abrahams make sure everything goes to press on time with as few errors as possible. Karen Sheard runs our websites, ably assisted by Paula Benn, John Layton shoots and edits our videos, while Sam Blakey arranges our reader offers, competitions, events and free gifts. All the images we print, whether by readers, or legends past and present, are managed by Rosie Barratt on our picture desk. Andrew Sydenham shoots our product photos, as well as the lab tests for our review cameras. The glue that holds us all together is my PA, Chrissie Lay, who fields your emails and calls, pays our contributors, organises our meetings and does hundreds of other things.
Without them all, you’d be looking at a lot of blank pages every week, so a big thanks to them and to you, our readers, whose continued patronage enables us to keep doing what we do.
For me, this year has been about using a feature that is on virtually every camera released, but that previously I have barely touched. That feature is video, and for the first time since art college I have been regularly shooting video. Most of this has been testing cameras for The Video Mode (www.thevideomode.com), but I’m trying to create short films and learn more about creating a story, rather than just a nice-looking clip of a few seconds’ long.
Previously, I hadn’t given the video features of most cameras a second thought, but with the image quality of most models being more than good enough for my stills photography, I now find myself looking at the video features as more of a priority. I can’t wait to spend more time shooting video next year.
Features and technique editor
Looking back on my photographic year, there’s one thing that sticks out in my mind and that’s a week capturing a stunning array of wildlife on the beautiful Masai Mara in Kenya. Never having experienced anything like this before, with such close proximity to wildlife that made it feel like I was in the middle of a BBC nature film, it was a trip I’ll never forget.
Having never really shot wildlife like this, it was a steep learning curve at first and I was well out of my comfort zone, but with the help of expert guide Paul Goldstein I quickly gained confidence and loved every minute of it. Without a doubt it has to be my most rewarding photographic experience yet. Looking ahead, if there’s anything that comes close to rivalling this next year, then I can’t wait for 2016.
Deputy technical editor
Like any sportsman who finds it challenging returning to the sport they love after an injury or a period out of the game, it wasn’t easy getting back on the bike, as it were. A few of my early shoots weren’t successful, but then after some perseverance it all suddenly clicked and came together. I can’t deny that returning to a subject you haven’t photographed for some time isn’t daunting, but I believe that taking on a photographic challenge and pushing yourself is one of the best ways of becoming a more competent photographer.
If there’s a photograph you’ve always wanted to take or a location you’ve always wanted to visit, make 2016 the year you do it. I have never photographed the Quiraing – the northernmost summit of the Trotternish on the Isle of Skye. Research into my 666-mile journey north to the location I’ve always wanted to visit has already begun, and hopefully by this time next year I’ll have an image to prove I’ve been there.
Senior features writer
I tend to be a little childlike in my approach to the things I enjoy. Not content with being just a fan of something, I approach it with a near evangelical zeal. That’s why 2016 will be full of my endless promotion of the new work from my favourite photographers.
Yet this year, or perhaps even earlier, a funny thing happened. My infantile superfandom landed on the shoulders of a close personal friend of mine. Danish photographer Magnus Arrevad, finally put together a book and exhibition of work that was five years in the making. His extraordinary black & white images, all of which were shot on 120 film, traces the male burlesque scene across New York and Europe. The project is called ‘Boy Story’, and it’s an exquisite masterwork.
I’ve watched the growth of this project, from the time of meeting him at a mutual friend’s exhibition, through our time living together in a North London warehouse, and ending at the exhibition. My heart aches with pride to see the fruition of his labours. Quite where he’ll go next is anyone’s guess. He’s hinted, but has yet to reveal his plans. I can’t wait to see how his photography evolves.