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Interview with Ali Smith


18 November 2016

Posted by Sally Hart

Hi Ali! Tell us about yourself in two sentences - who are you?

I'm a twenty-something, 3D/CGi artist from Cumbria, England. I've always liked taking photos, I remember borrowing my Dad's DSLR when I was about 7 or 8 and going around the garden taking photos of anything and everything that caught my eye.

QWhat's the weirdest situation you've found yourself in while taking a photograph?

ATrying to get a sheep to wear a watch for an Instagram advertisement campaign.

QWhat do you shoot on? What's your favourite set up?

AAt the moment I'm using a Panasonic bridge camera. Mainly because it performs well in most situations and I don't have to worry about which lens to use. A lot of my photos are taken in the spur of the moment and in most cases if I had to change the lens, then the moment would be gone.

QWhat's your number one tip for an aspiring photographer?

AComposition and light are everything. Oh... and don't be afraid to take a thousand photos, you can always delete.

"Curious Young Bull Calves" stock image

'I have a few favourites but I'm going to choose this photo of two young, curious bull calves. I just love the way that the photo shows their sense of curiosity and playfulness. To get the photo I had to lean through the bottom of a gate while the calves focused on the two dogs that were with me.'

"Sheep and Lamb" stock image

'I was walking through a field in Cumbria, Northern England and I stopped for a second and these two seemed to stop simultaneously. I hurried to get my camera out and they patiently waited for me to take the photo. Almost like it was a human mother and daughter that had paid me to take their photo.'

"Blue-Grey Cow" stock image

'This was a curious cow, as cows sometimes are, depending on what mood they're in. I remember leaning through a farm gate trying to get a shot from the ground, looking up towards its hairy face.'

"Ewe Want to Hear a Secret?" stock image

'I really like this photo. There's something about young sheep that If you just stand still and leave them to be themselves for a few minutes, they always seem to get bored of looking at me and start to investigate each other. Nibbling each others ears and and wool. I spotted these two and immediately zoomed in and started taking photos on burst mode. The morning autumnal light adds a real sense of warmth.'

"Country Fell Road" stock image

'I was driving along this rural Cumbrian road on an autumnal morning and I felt the need to pull over and take a photo. The mist was slowly moving along the valley bottom as the sun began to rise. The tarn in the bottom adds a nice focal point and the road meandering off is a real draw into the distance.'

"English Springer Spaniel" stock image

'This is actually one of my dogs, Sally. She's a busy character and it was a real struggle to get her to sit still and look at me for more than a second. But luckily she cooperated and it made a really nice photo.'

"England's Hills." stock image

'This is one of my favourite photos. I just get a real sense of atmosphere and warmth from it. It was early summer and I was stood on top of "The Calf" in the Howgills. There were a few people milling around at the top, then I noticed this chap. He had a flask of tea with him, which he drank as he sat reading his map and enjoying the view looking Westwards towards the Lakeland fells.'

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