By Karis Benn and Roisin Chambers
Phil Cooling suggests that there are three types of photographer, the ones who know exactly what they want to photograph and limit themselves to that subject, the ones who photograph anything and everything and become diverse in skills and taste and the ones who become more idiosyncratic – Phil Cooling believes he is in the third category because he has “a kind of obsessive personality”.
I think quite a few photographers start off as Phil Cooling and feel that every photograph has to use every available sophistication, filters, stoppers, polarisers and Photoshop, etc. so that the end result is more of a “kaleidoscope of chaos”. What Phil Cooling discovered was that “less is more” and over time he developed a much more restrained and refined style of photography. Some of these images were exceptionally lovely using two contrasting colours lifted the image to a different level, for example “Poor Cow” which featured a chestnut cow standing in a field of frosted grass and trees.
He also makes the obvious point that we don’t have to travel far afield to get a really stunning photograph for example the one he took in his front garden of poppies.
Phil Coolings creative composites moved his photography into the “weird” category and generated the discussion about “were some of the composites more art than photography?” For example “Angel In Venice” and “This is a dream and your not in it”.
“You go on a journey with photography, some people stay near the beginning and some people just keep on going”.
Phil Cooling’s presentation gave us all food for thought with some wonderful and weird images.