In November the Big Peg will be exhibiting local photographer, Chris Fletcher’s fantastic work
In 2018, Chris started a photo project capturing the doors, windows and buildings of the Jewellery Quarter. In fact, he enjoyed exploring the area so much that he became a JQ resident himself in September – meaning that more opportunities to capture shots in this area are now – quite literally – on his doorstep
We caught up with Chris ahead of the exhibition to tell us more about his work
I bought my first DSLR camera in 2011 for a safari holiday, but it wasn’t really until around 2014 that I started to take what was just a hobby initially a little more seriously. It was during the next 12 months that I reached a level that I was pretty happy with, and I started to wonder if there was more that I could do with my photography, particularly in terms of getting it seen by a wider audience
Many people tell me that I have quite a recognisable style, particularly when it comes to my canal and woodland shots. I do try and create a soft, painterly style for these, but I’m also not afraid of trying something a little different, particularly when shooting architecture and in cities. I’m not really one for harsh contrast through, subtlety and soft edges is definitely more my preferred thing
For me, the two main elements are light and balance. If a photo is nicely balanced then it will be pleasing to the eye; the rule of thirds is an important thing in photography and it means that the eye is automatically drawn to the main subject of the photo, whilst your brain is scanning the entire image. Light is extremely important – without good light it’s impossible to get a good photo. For me, light is as much an essential tool as the camera itself, and making light as part of the overall composition is something I love to do
I want to showcase the beauty of the world, even when the beauty comes from somewhere unexpected. Beauty can come in many different forms, from small flower petals to huge buildings, and even bigger mountains and sprawling landscapes. Finding beauty is not always easy – this is where using light well comes in, as does a little bit of skilful post-processing. I’m also not afraid of different angles and different shots in order to capture a shot that others may not even consider. Not all beauty can be seen head-on!
I have a photograph which I called Left To The Elements that really kicked off my love of the canal network in and around Birmingham. It’s a shot of a canal boat taken on a beautiful autumn morning, and it was one of those rare occasions when everything came together – the light, the colour and the subject matter. It also hints at a story or a mystery – I love to be able to draw a viewer into an image and make them think.
I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram but the platform which I enjoy most at the moment is Twitter. It may seem strange for a photographer to favour a platform which is more about words than images, but for building relationships and networking it has yielded more opportunities than any other
My wife and I decided to make the move to a city centre apartment temporarily whilst we consider where we would like to live long-term – and we spent so much time in the JQ area already that it made sense to make this our base! I’m fascinated by the history and heritage of the area, and the stories that the buildings seem to tell. There is some wonderful architecture around, and the doors and windows of the JQ formed the basis of a summer project of mine. I look forward to capturing more of the area in the coming months and changing seasons.
At the moment I’m still fitting photography around full-time work – although it’s almost like a second job in itself. Often there doesn’t seem enough hours in the day to take photos, edit them, maintain my website, keep engaged on social media, network, arrange prints and frames for exhibitions… but it’s all vital in working towards what will hopefully one day become a full-time profession.
The Big Peg will be showcasing Chris’s work, which is also available for purchase, from the 1st November. For further information please contact Tara@thebigpeg.co.uk