A look into the local photograph scene, with landscape photographer Andy Farrer.
As April snow hit Dorset yesterday, people posted pictures and videos of the unusual weather through social media. But it was not a big thing for Andy Farrer, a local landscape photographer. He has already shot a famous photo of the Jurassic Coast in the snow, which is worth £10,000. A snow flurry in April is “not dramatic enough” for him.
Weather is the most frustrating and exciting part of Andy Farrer’s career. He said, “The more unusual the weather is, the better the picture you would get.” The sunset at Durdle Door, the sunrise at Swanage pier and Old Harry Rocks in a storm have all been captured by him.
Andy said that he has shot thousands of Dorset images in different types of weather, and sold many. He is a committed worker, and after an exhausting day shooting from 3 am to 7 pm, he can still spend hours talking to journalists, updating his website and replying to emails. “You have to do your best”, he said in a tired voice, “the competition is getting stronger and stronger. Too many people take professional cameras to shoot beautiful pictures. You need to think about what people are willing to pay for when choosing your subject matter.”
Although Andy has already won the top prize in the Landscape Photographer of the Year awards and his name has been shown on a range of news media in the UK, he still has to worry about income sometimes. “The unpredictability of income isn’t everyone’s bag,” he said, “The business is an emotional deal. When it’s good, it’s good. When it stops, you don’t know when it’ll start again.”
Andy however, is not afraid of potential competition; he also makes money by hosting training workshops. The cost of a full day, one-to-one workshop is £250. He welcomes anyone to join him. Despite his successes, he thinks that being a full-time landscape photographer may not suit everybody. “Not everyone can handle it, but passion and dedication can help you get through the difficulties. We’re lucky people in that we have the benefit of not being restricted by set work hours and so we have the chance to make the most of unusual weather or colourful mornings by simply being out for more of them than people with day jobs.”
Andy acknowledged the challenges associated with picking a hobby for a career. “Like any hobby, you have to be careful. Once it’s your job, you may not enjoy it any more. Running your photography as a business can take all the fun out of it.”