Spotlight on Our Artist: Kevin Dutton
Posted by Charlotte Broomfield on 25th November 2013
When did you first start taking photographs?
My father was a keen amateur photographer and I remember, from an early age, watching him process and print his photographs in our blacked-out kitchen pantry at home. Under the red glow of the darkroom lamp I would watch, fascinated, as the image slowly began to take form. My first picture, taken on a box Brownie and which I still have, was printed in this way when I was seven. I studied drama at college but spent as much time taking photos and printing in the college darkrooms, so that's when I began to seriously consider art and photography as a future.
What was your first camera?
The first camera I owned was a Kodak Instamatic. My family lived in the USA for a year in 1974 and I used the camera to take photos on our 6,000 mile road trip that summer. Tragically I lost it in a disused gold mine but I was so distraught that my parents took pity and kindly replaced it.
You've worked for many different companies as a photographer, who was your favourite to work for?
Photography has the possibility of a wide variety of work so I've enjoyed lots of different working environments. When I left my job as a photographer's assistant I began my career as a portrait photographer and, as well as shooting bands for the music magazines, I worked for The Scotsman & Scotland on Sunday and took photos of musicians, artists, writers, actors, politicians etc. Being so young and having such responsibility, it was a special time for me.
How do you think photography has changed with the Internet?
We're living through a huge communications revolution so the production and consumption of images has little resemblance to how things were even 20 years ago. We view imagery on the internet so briefly. I think it's important to take time to look at a framed photograph or a photographic book, to think and contemplate. I think the photographic print as an artifact is becoming almost a rarity but, for me, that makes it even more valuable.
Do you use film or digital?
Much as I love the photographic print, I have no nostalgia for traditional processing and printing procedures. I spent too long in the dark inhaling various ghastly chemicals and fumes! I now shoot hi res images on a Hasselblad/PhaseOne combination and love the post production process on my computer, so it's all digital for me now.
What inspires you to take a photograph?
I think you need to love your subject. If you love mountains, take photos of mountains. If you love fashion, shoot fashion. I've always loved plants and, lucky for me, it's a enormous subject which provides many options for projects. I grow most of the plants used in my studio studies so there is usually a moment when I look at one and think "That's it. I've got to photograph it right now."
Do you prefer the country or the city?
To live and work: the city. To relax and think: the country.
What do you think makes a photograph successful?
To be honest? I don't really know. Some images work, some don't. Maybe it's best not to think about it too much.
If you could own just one artwork, what would it be?
I haven't really got enough wall space for The Crucifixion by Tintoretto, but I'd be quite content with Hiroshi Sugimoto's Lightning Fields Composed 004, 2008.
Whats in store for the rest of 2013?
I'll be continuing my studio studies of summer and autumn flowering plants but I'm also very excited about a exterior project using natural light and plant subjects in situ.
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