Archives for posts with tag: Fine Art Photography

The Perimeter

Dart boughs I, Devon. Dart boughs I, Devon.

Reed Beds, River Dart, Devon. Reed Beds, River Dart, Devon.

Dart boughs II, Devon. Dart boughs II, Devon.

Dart boughs III, Devon. Dart boughs III, Devon.

River Dart with Dartmoor beyond, Devon. River Dart with Dartmoor beyond, Devon.

Dart boughs IV, Devon. Dart boughs IV, Devon.

Ashprington, Devon. Ashprington, Devon.

Dart boughs V, Devon. Dart boughs V, Devon.

Bow Creek, Devon. Bow Creek, Devon.

Engulfed fence, Bow Creek, Devon. Engulfed fence, Bow Creek, Devon.

Brambletorre Mill, Devon. Brambletorre Mill, Devon.

Lower Dittisham, Devon. Lower Dittisham, Devon.

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Tim Ashley interviewed me for his fine art photography blog. Here’s a reblog as featured on his website also interesting is his interview with Nadav Sander and post “What is Fine Art Photography” 

Quintin and I first met some years ago at the same crossroads in our photographic careers. It’s a long story but we were both thinking of taking the same big step and, as it happens, neither of us did. But we kept in contact and I became a great fan of his work.

Quintin is ‘mainly’ an architectural photographer: that is the core of his business, his primary bread and butter. But like many photographers, his career is also his passion and his Fine Art work, which often combines elements of his architectural practice with travel, documentary and landscape styles, is a very natural extension of this core practice.

The two series featured here, Chernobyl and Sweet Thames, are very different. Chernobyl is a fusion of architectural discipline, documentary bravery, intrepid travel photography and a Fine Art sensibility. Sweet Thames, one the other hand, is far less structured, more fluid (as befits its theme) and more obviously lyrical. Both avoid cod narrative in favour of a form of quietly passionate dispassion, if that makes sense.

It’s worth adding that it’s not just me that rates his work highly: Quintin has recently been awarded 1st place in the ‘Architecture – Historic’ category for the Chernobyl series in the 2012 International Photography Awards. He also received three honourable mentions in the categories for Fine Art – Landscape, Architecture – Cityscapes and Architecture – Buildings.

The rest of the words that follow are Quintin’s, and I hope you enjoy them and the images as much as I have. Because both series are quite long, I have embedded them as slideshows to expedite loading of this page.

I also recommend Quintin’s blog, where you can see some of his architectural work, as well as more of his landscape and travel photography.

Finally, don’t miss the ‘Methods and Approach’ section at the end. It is brief but highly informative!

Pripyat: 21 years after Chernobyl

A silver birch tree grows through the floor on the terrace of Hotel Polissia. The hammer and sickle is visable atop the distant appartments.

A silver birch tree grows through the floor on the terrace of Hotel Polissia. The hammer and sickle is visable atop the distant appartments.

When reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded in 1986 the result was the worst nuclear accident in history. Large areas of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were severely contaminated, requiring the evacuation and resettlement of over 336,000 people.

Pripyat, 1km from the reactor, was designed as an exemplar of Soviet planning for the 50,000 people who worked at the power plant. A funfair, with bumper cars and Ferris wheel, was due to open two days after the reactor exploded.

These photographs, inspired by Robert Polidori’s earlier images of Chernobyl, were shot in 2007 over 5 hours, apparently the safe period of exposure. Although a Geiger counter was carried in case of localised high emissions, certain areas of vegetation which attract a higher concentration of radiation were avoided.

The physical devastation stems from looting and gradual building collapse, not from the explosion. Over the last ten years people have intruded regularly into the military exclusion zone, stealing everything from irradiated toilet seats to the marble cladding from hotel walls. Photographs of the town capture a memory of three traumas: the invisible radiation, the visible looting and the gradual collapse of a ghost town.

See the full series here

Sweet Thames, Run Softly

Thames Waters IV5 Miles downstream (near Ashton Keynes)

Thames Waters IV
5 Miles downstream (near Ashton Keynes)

The idea for the project started when watching the first few minutes of Danny Boyle’s Olympic Opening ceremony. Seeing the sped up aerial journey starting at the source of the Thames and ending up in London I immediately realised I wanted to walk the length of the river and try to produce an artwork based on that experience. I’ve recently got married and live with my wife in Cheltenham near the source, my childhood was in Oxford, half way along and I lived in London for seven years as a student so the river has a very personal connection for me. Earlier in the year I’d been in hospital with meningitis and then immediately afterwards witnessed the birth of my son so I started the journey with more sensitively to the notion of the river as a metaphor of life than I might have done otherwise.

I’ve always been a keen long distance walker having backpacked Land’s End to John O’Groats and many of the long distance trails in Britain. I always travel alone and camp, as its cheaper (much cheaper in the Thames valley!) and gives me a greater connection to the landscape and allows me the concentration necessary to think about and notice interesting light for photography. It was surprisingly difficult to camp along the Thames as it relatively populated and I prefer to wild camp so I often pitched after dark and broke camp at dawn. The journey was 170 miles and it took me ten days.

Whenever I work on a photographic project I think of the images as a series, to which I endeavour to give a particular and constant feeling. I never know what this feeling will be before I start a journey which is part of the thrill. In the artic this was the play of light, In Iran it was the architectural symmetry and on the Thames I felt it was the pattern and texture of the water. I purposely cropped out the landmarks to emphasise the difference of the texture and colour of the water. Before I started the journey I would never have thought that the water at the source could look quite so different to the same water as it passed under the M25 bridge.

See the full series here

Practice Statement

I make photographs of things I’ve never seen before. The desire to understand the visual world is the inspiration for my work. Geometry and stillness are qualities of space I’m particularly fascinated by. My background in architecture means I tend to abstract the world in terms of line, surface and form.

My working method involves two parts. Firstly extensive walking and looking, photographing intuitively if a place interests me. Subsequently I’ll edit the material I have collected while thinking consciously about a theme or idea that the images suggest to me.

Methods and Approach

My background was working with a 5×4″ sinar view camera but now, the 20+ megapixel full frame 35mm sensor cameras more than meet the technical demands of the industry (architects, developers and design press). I’m not excited about the new generation of 40 megapixel full frame sensor 35mm cameras as I consider the extra detail excessive and it increases processing time. Far more important than resolution is a flair for composition and light. The cost of buying or hiring a Phase One back and associated digital lenses is not proportional to what the industry pays and this type of camera reduces the propensity to experiment and play which can reduce creativity of composition.

35mm full frame lenses with excellent corner to corner sharpness and low distortion are essential. Tilt shift movements are useful not just for correcting perspective but for shifting the compositional emphasis of a scene. I work with Canon and my preferred lenses are 17mm f4 TS-E L,  24 f4 TS-E L and 70-200 f4 L. The ubiquitous 24-105 f4 L is also fantastically versatile and most of its problems can be removed in Lightroom; the Chernobyl series was shot with this lens as I was so short of time due to fears of radiation exposure. Architectural Photography is particularly sensitive to lens/ body calibration and I send my equipment to be calibrated annually.

Useful techniques for architectural photography depending on the situation are exposure fusion which is a naturalistic version of HDR which increases the dynamic range by blending bracketed exposures. I use LR/Enfuse lightroom plugin for this. For interiors, tethered shooting can be very useful for previewing often complex Lightroom adjustments on the fly. Mirror lock up and a high end tripod and head are essential for pin sharp results. Aperture is best kept no higher than the f8-f14 range to avoid problems with diffraction softening the image. A Hoodman loupe helps focus the manual tilt shift lenses. Wearing a fluorescent worker’s jacket when using a tripod reduces people’s suspicion in urban areas and tends to make people walk quickly past the building. And I always carry a couple of door wedges for interiors photography!

More from Tim Ashley’s blog here

Coast to Coast I. Storm clouds over the Irish Sea.

Coast to Coast IV. Forestry in the Lake District.

Coast to Coast V. Low cloud in the Lake District.

Coast to Coast VI. Stone wall in the Lake District.

Coast to Coast VII. Great Gable in the Lake District.

Coast to Coast VIII. Parting clouds in the Lake District.

Coast to Coast IX. Wast Water in the Lake District.

Coast to Coast XI. Footbridge over the M6.

Coast to Coast XII. Stone Breaker at Bunton Hush, Yorkshire Dales.

Coast to Coast XVI. Footpath arrows near Richmond.

Coast to Coast XIX. Barley field in the Vale of Mowbray.

Coast to Coast XXIII. Rubbish bag near Robin Hood's Bay

Coast to Coast XXIV. Lighthouse overlooks the North Sea.

This series of twenty four photographs were made during a 20 day 340km solo backpacking trip in May 2011 from the Irish Sea at St Bees to the North Sea at Whitby. My route was based loosely on Wainwright’s classic walk joining the Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales with and the North York Moors National Park. The main additions I made to his route included walking over and camping amongst the summits in the Lakes rather than following the valleys, which added 4 days travel time to the official route, and ending the walk at Whitby, as it seemed a more satisfying end to me than Robins Hood Bay. Of the 20 days travelling I had a lot of storms as you can see in the photos. These became especially frisky during the Yorkshire Dales section – which resulted in the scarcity of photos during this section. I normally think poor weather leads to more interesting photos but here the limit was reached! I hope these photos show an intimate portrayal of the drama and allure of the English Landscape an environment that, for me at least, manages to never look familiar.

All prints 42x58cm, Giclee Print on Cotton Rag, edition of 25 +1 A/P

For queries about pricing or to purchase work please either contact me of order online at the link below.

Click Here for More from this Series >>

Photographs © Quintin Lake 2011

Travel Photographer of the Year

Arctic Horizon. Travel Photographer of the Year 2010 –  Portfolio Winner. Photo: © Quintin Lake

Midnight Mountains. Travel Photographer of the Year 2010 –  Portfolio Winner. Photo: © Quintin Lake

Light & Ice. Travel Photographer of the Year 2010 –  Portfolio Winner. Photo: © Quintin Lake

Silent Light. Light & Ice.Travel Photographer of the Year 2010 –  Portfolio Winner. Photo: © Quintin Lake

I’m delighted to announce that I have won the Amazing Places Portfolio Category of the Travel Photographer of the Year 2010. This prestigious international competition, which attracts thousands of applicants, involves submitting images online then if shortlisted sending fine art prints for final judging. The Portfolio category is based on a series of four images.


These images were taken during Anglo-Scottish East Greenland expedition in 2006 which was a month long ski journey involving pulling sleds, undertaken with three friends with the aim of climbing new peaks in an unexplored area of East Greenland. The expedition succeeded in 16 first ascents but the real discovery for me was the otherworldly light of the Arctic cased by the midnight sun and the interplay of the palette of pastel colours with the almost-not-there landscape.

Much of the month was either bright blue skies or white clouds – of little photographic interest – but the images in the portfolio were of the sudden moments of drama that punctuated these conditions. For example, the primarily grey photograph, depicting the horizon of light  was taken when we were tent bound for three days on the icecap and the light appeared momentarily just before the storm closed in again.


  • A technical account of the Expedition in the 2009 American Alpine Journal
  • The Expedition Report. Which is also available to view at: The Royal Geographical Society, The British Mountaineering council, Tangent Expeditions, The Mountaineering Council of Scotland, The Alpine Club, The Mount Everest Foundation, Arctic Club, Scottish Arctic Club, and the Danish Polar Centre


Prints are available in two sizes:

  • Signed A2 giclee print on cotton fine art paper £295.00 (edition of 25)
  • Signed 90x60cm Lightjet on Aluminium float frame £1200.00 (edition of 7) see example

To order prints either contact me direct of order online here

Concert hall, Pripyat

Concert hall, Pripyat, Chernobyl. Photo : Quintin Lake

This photograph, Concert Hall From the series “Pripyat: 21 years after Chernobyl” is one of 50 works to receive a commendation in the Artwork & Photography category of the Aesthetica Creative Works Competition 2010. The competition received over 4,000 entries from across the world.

BUY PRINT of Pripyat 21 Years after Chernobyl (The Concert Hall), Giclee Print, 50x33cm, Edition of 25 + 1 A/P

The print has previously been on shown at the Crane Kalman Gallery in Brighton, the Architectural Association in London, the Royal West of England Academy Autumn Show in Bristol  and the Host Gallery in London.

Photography © Quintin Lake, 2010

Updated: Image Archive featuring over 6,000 Architectural & Fine Art images available for immediate download, license and print purchase

I’ve just completed a major overhaul to my archive website which now contains over 6,000 of my Architectural & Fine Art photographs for sale as prints or download. The website is based on Photoshelter and is used to deliver images to my clients securely, archive my work and integrate commerce. Hope you like it!

Vist the new site here >>

Hotel Polissia Terrace, Pripyat

Pripyat: 21 Years after Chernobyl. 50×33cm, Edition of 25 + 1 A/P Quintin Lake

This photograph of Hotel Polissia in Pripyat  is one of the 50 selected images that will be traveling to the Crane Kalman Gallery in Brighton to be part of HOST @ Crane Kalman Brighton, an exhibition featuring a selection from the 3rd annual Foto8 Summer Show. This exhibition will run from the 11th to the 29th of September 2010. “Pripyat: 21 Years after Chernobyl” has been previously been exhibited at the Architectural Association, London; The Royal West of England Academy, Bristol and Host Gallery, London.

The image is for sale at £355 framed or £295 unframed in an edition of 25. To purchase a print please contact me

VIEW MORE IMAGES from Pripyat (Pripiat) 21 years after Chernobyl Series

Photography © Quintin Lake

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