Posted by: inshin | August 9, 2010

Shane Murphy

An avid photographer that never spends enough time behind the lens. I love taking photos of people,places & things. I really enjoy the organised photowalks all around Ireland. I’m a member of the top photographic club in the country, the Drogheda Photographic Club. I won the 2009 Guinness Storehouse photograph of the year.

The Person

When or at what age did you first pick up a camera take a photograph and think, this is good?

I’ve always had an interest in taking photographs, from the earlier cheap 35mm cameras, to my 1st SLR. Was thrilled when spending some of my early wages on film processing & getting 2 or 3 ‘keepers’ per roll. My interest in taking photos increased dramatically when it became digital.

Was there any tradition or influences within your family towards photography?

None of my immediate family had an interest in photography. However several uncles were keen at shooting video or ‘cine camera’ as I think it was called in the late 60’s or early 70’s.

When you’re out and about do you have a camera with you normally, and are there cerain types of places or areas you feel drawn to for taking photographs?

I try to have my camera with me most times. I tend not to bring the DSLRs with me, but have a lovely Canon G9, which fits neatly into the car. Have got some lovely shots from this camera.  As for the type of photo or location, I don’t tie myself to any area too much. I love portrait, landscape, night time, natural light & flash photography and try to do a bit of them all. For my photoblog, I tend to publish mainly landscapes, seascapes, IR [infra red] or macro shots as I generally don’t post shots of people on the web, unless I ask permission beforehand.

How would you feel if someone told you that you need never photograph again for the rest of your life and all your material needs would be covered?

To be honest, I don’t take photographs for a living as I have a ‘real job’ that pays mortgage etc. I love taking photos that make me happy & others smile when they see them. To loose that joy would make me very sad.

The Craft

When, how or what gives you inspiration to take a picture?

I get inspiration from many areas.  It could be a flower lit by the setting sunlight, the smile of a beautiful woman, the reflection of a face in a mirror. I could be browsing the web or reading a magazine & get a great idea for a portrait setup. Sometimes, while at the local camera club, I get ideas from images shown by people who are visiting the club.

When you take a picture, do you feel drawn to any particular types of images?

Not really. As mentioned before, I love many types of photography. Probably, my favourite would be portrait photography. I’m loving taking shot of a person & lighting them the way I want with the few speedlights I own. You can get great effects by changing the light settings on your lights or camera. I also am loving taking landscapes & seascapes recently. I’ve been using different lenses to get different effects & love experimenting by combining lenses with different techniques to see the different results.

How often do you feel you should take photographs, everyday or just when you feel that desire?

I’d love to take photos every day. I can go a whole week taking shots every day. Then I could leave it for up to a week without pressing the shutter release. It’s like playing any sport, the more you practice, the better you will get at the game.

How do you approach your own photographs when it comes to reviewing it?

I think like most photographers, we are our own worst critics. I tend to take many shots & delete a few in the camera that are definite no-nos. I then upload to my Mac & select the keepers. Because hard drives are so inexpensive, I tend to store most shots, just in case I feel the need to go back to them some day.

The Audience

Who do you take photographs for?

If I got my way, I’d take photographs just for me. Saying that I do like making people smile after seeing one of my shots. I take quite a few shots of the kids, though they tend to avoid me with the camera at this stage.

Do you try to connect with your audience and if so how?

I suppose I connect with my ‘so called’ audience by having my website, my photoblog & my pix.ie web pages. For me, I try to put 2-3 new images up on my photoblog every week and put a few up on pix.ie every now & again. I love getting comments on the photoblog & on pix.ie. It spurs me on to take more shots to put up onlne.

Is it important to you how people react to your photographs?

I’d like to think people react positively to my photographs. You can never please all of the people all of the time. Generally comments are only given if they are positive. It’s rare that someone posts negative comments. I like positive comments, but constructive criticism can be a great help. It can point me in a direction I might not have seen.

Have you received negative criticism and if so how have you managed that?

As I said before, you can’t please everyone all of the time. I have had one or two negative comments on flickr, but that was a long time ago & there are some really rude people on that site.

The Business

Do you see this as a business?

I would love to see this as a business. At the moment it’s more of a hobby. It’s also nice to know I have something to fall back on should anything ever happen with my ‘real job’.

The ability to take quality photographs and certainly produce them used to be very much a specialised activity. With the advent of Digital equipment and production methods, has that impacted possitively or negatively, or both?

For me, I really bit the photography bug when the move was towards digital. Most of what I know as regards to production methods was discovered in the digital age. The likes of Photoshop, Lightroom & Photomatix Pro [for HDR photography only] are purely for the digital side of photography. There are a few purists out there who still swear by fixing chemicals, enlargers & Ilford film, but I’m not one of them. Yes it does make producing an image a bit easier than the film days, but I think it’s a positive step.

Do you feel that there are support mechanisms in place for a person interested in working more in the area of photography?

There are several support mechanisms out there for people interested in photography. My 1st recommendation would be to join your nearest camera / photographic club. The Drogheda club has been of great help to me over the years. There are many online forums that you can join to get useful tips & hints. I’d recommend places such as the photography forum on boards.ie, the Irish photo sharing website http://pix.ie, the brilliant meeting point for people who like taking photos, http://photowalk.ie and all the lovely guys & gals that are as much into photography on twitter. I really can’t recommend the connections & friends you can make on twitter highly enough.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted on the world of photography?

Simple answer here, 100% yes. Need I say anymore. Just have a look at all the sites & forums I mentioned in the last question. Without the net, there’d be no photoblogs, no photo sharing websites like pix.ie or flickr. Photography would be a totally different pastime in my opinion. It’s because of the net that we are able to share our latest shots to our family, friends & peers.

——–  End  ——–

Thanks to Shane for agreeing to take the interview, remember to check out his site. Other sites you can find Shane on – Flash Murphy and pix.ie You can also follow Shane on Twitter

Some of Shane’s work:

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Excluding introduction and images, ©Denis Vaughan.

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