This week, I’m going to talk about Brian Ferry and his blog ‘The blue hour‘. For the very few of you who haven’t yet heard of him, Brian is an American photographer who lives in Brooklyn. For years, he has been sharing photographs, snapshots of daily life and his interests on his blog, and indeed it is this very blog which has led to his passion for photography becoming a full-time job. You can find his portfolio and enjoy his photographs here.
Where did your passion for photography begin?
I think it was a gradual awakening in me. I’ve always been drawn to the visual arts, but I never really fell in love with photography until I finished university. I began following photographic blogs and Flickr in 2003, when blogging was still in its early stages. I followed photographers who created amazing works and then shared them online, where I’d been used to seeing photography in art galleries or in books and magazines. It was this opportunity to share online that really appealed to me, I loved seeing the world through other people’s eyes (and lenses). It made photography accessible to everyone, which is very important to me. Whilst I was studying law, I decided to get involved more seriously in photography, as I needed a creative outlet, and just looking at other people’s photos was not enough. I wanted to have my own voice.
What is your favourite subject matter?
I love travel photography. I like to see and experience new things and the discovery of a new place always fills me with inspiration. Taking photos somewhere new allows me to really take in what am seeing and understand the world around me. Travel photography is a way of capturing the spirit of a location in a visual document. When I travel, I try to avoid the clichéd shots of places everyone has already seen. Instead, I try to focus my attention on the details and unexpected moments in order to create a wider image. I want my travel pictures to be personal and intimate for whoever looks at them, I don’t want to create images that look like they’ve been taken out of a glossy brochure. I want people to feel what I felt in a particular location and in a particular moment.
How useful is your blog in promoting your work?
It’s very useful. A lot of my biggest jobs have come about thanks to my blog. My first big commercial job was an advert for Starbucks, and they discovered me through my blog. My blog lets me share my work-in-progress, as well as new material, my inspirations and my personality. I think it is an wonderful platform for showing what I do, how I do it and why I do it. It gives my photos a completeness and provides a background to my work. Being able to update it both easily and frequently attracts people’s interest and makes them follow me. It is a great marketing tool. On top of that, it is also a really important personal space for me, which continues to be my creative workshop, and I love having this online space which is all mine. It’s the place where I can share all the things I love.
Now that you are a professional photographer, how has your relationship with your blog changed? Do you use it differently?
Yes, but my relationship with my blog alters together with my life and my work. A blog is personal, so it changes as you do. Becoming a professional photographer is only one of the things in my life that have altered my relationship with my blog.
When I was a lawyer, I took photos purely for myself and I often took them just to share them on my blog. So I updated it nearly every day, as it was my only creative space. Now, I no longer take photos just for me, my creations are still personal but I’m not doing it uniquely for my blog any more. Now, my main focus is my work, irrespective of where it will end up (on my blog, in a magazine, in a book), which means I update my blog less frequently. I’ve matured professionally and I no longer feel the same urgency to share that I once did. I want to take more care over my work and how I share it with the world.
Ultimately, I think that my primary objective has always been my work and not being a blogger. I want to be seen as a photographer, not a blogger.