A round of applause please
Our congratulations go to Neringa Barmute who won our August 2016 bike-themed photo contest, with her fantastic close-up shot of a bike saddle, as announced in our previous post.
Since our August walk was the first EVER Oxford Photo Walk, neither I nor anyone else in the group know very much about our winner. It was therefore my particular pleasure to interview Neringa, and I’m delighted to share with you her photography story, some of her gorgeous photos, and a few of her photography tips.
Where are you from?
Originally I’m from Lithuania, and I moved to Oxford almost a year ago. I’m amazed at how much this small city has to offer for your creative activities!
What’s your story? How did you get into photography?
I have been interested in the visual arts ever since childhood, as probably most of us have. I took my first photos with my dad’s old Zenit film camera. I still have the Helios lens and use it with my DSLR time after time in fact! Then there were different point-and-shoot cameras, and finally I decided to move to a DSLR and chose the Pentax K-50.
For many years photography for me was just a way of capturing memories, taking photos on my travels. Then I decided to learn watercolour painting, and for some projects we used photos as a reference point. This encouraged me take shots that would be suitable for that. Painting opened my eyes to the variety of colours and forms we have around us; by studying it I learned about visual composition. Sometimes I still use my photos as a reference for paintings and drawings – you can see it in my colouring book that will be published this autumn. But photography is an art in itself and I constantly keep learning more about it.
I think all of us have a creative streak in us, it’s just important not to lose it.
What is your favourite subject to photograph?
While still experimenting on the subjects, I’ve noticed that it’s important to look for different angles, or different aspects in common objects. I can’t say I’m only into wildlife or street photography – everything can be interesting if you put thought and effort into it. Even your own kitchen!
What do you think is key to taking a good photo?
Strong composition is very important. Also knowing what you want to say with the image, or what message you are trying to deliver.
A simple piece of advice – don’t be afraid to move around your subject, lie on the ground or look down, or try different crop sizes to make a more powerful composition.
Where do you find your photography inspiration? What motivates you?
I like finding unusual aspects in everyday subjects, and also taking close-ups of nature (a macro lens is a good friend for that!). It may sound trivial but nature is a never-ending source of inspiration. And so are people – it’s interesting to capture their interaction with the camera. Art is also a strong source of learning and inspiration – you can learn a lot about composition by studying old paintings! Going out to take photos is also a good way to forget about work and your worries. Especially macro photography – you get immersed in the world of bugs and bees; it’s like transferring yourself to another planet for an hour or so.
Where in the world would you most like to photograph and why?
The Galápagos Islands – because I read about it as a kid, and there are so many interesting creatures.
What is your experience of Oxford Photo Walk?
It was nice to have a topic; looking for bikes where everyone usually takes photos of ancient buildings. I hope this photo walk group will continue!
I would like to thank Neringa for taking the time to share her thoughts and photos with me. I hope you enjoyed finding out more about her and her work as much as I did? I’m particularly excited to see Neringa’s colouring book when it publishes very soon!
Like what you see? Then do take a look at more of Neringa’s work here:
If you have any questions or comments for Neringa, please feel free to leave a comment below, or send us an email.
I wonder who the winner of our September photo contest will be? Stay tuned folks!