Picturing the wilderness
A specialist in classic, timeless landscapes, Yorkshire-based photographer Lizzie Shepherd spends much of her time capturing the UK’s remote and rugged scenery, as well as exploring carefully chosen destinations in Europe and beyond.
Living near the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors, the British photographer doesn’t have far to go to reach some of England’s most beautiful countryside. “I’ve been lucky enough never to live anywhere ugly,” says Lizzie, who grew up in Surrey and Bath in southern England, and studied in Edinburgh.
She started out in photography seven years ago when she packed in her ‘sensible well paid job’ in project management and began to follow a vocation that had tempted her since she was young. “I’ve always enjoyed travelling and taking photos of places, then one thing led to another and it became increasingly serious,” she recalls.“My favourite location, if I had to choose one, would probably be Scotland.”
Asked her favourite destinations she replies: “Typically I enjoy the wilder landscapes and I love the sea. I also love rock formations and lone trees. My favourite location, if I had to choose one, would probably be Scotland.” However, she also takes regular trips abroad, with her next expedition dedicated to scouting the wilder parts of Mallorca, accompanied by her husband.
One of her favourite shooting experiences was a trip to Oman in which she and her husband hired a four-wheel drive vehicle and camped out in the open. “It’s a very nice, safe country with very rugged scenery. So if you like rocks, as I do, it’s very rewarding,” she says.
Her more challenging photo trips have includes a cross-country skiing journey in Norway where, travelling in a group, she had to capture good images very quickly so as not to lose her fellow travellers. Happily, one of her images from this trip, of a lone skier in the wilderness, was nominated for Travel Photographer of the Year in 2010.
Lizzie uses a Canon 1DSIII, choosing whatever lens she considers to be right for the situation. She describes her camera as a ‘real workhorse’, although she is less enthusiastic about its heavy weight at times. She also uses a tiny Panasonic dx5, which she believes to be a great camera for taking ‘sketch photos’ and working on ideas.
Lizzie recommends that budding young photographers should take an open-minded approach, and experiment in different areas. She also suggests they never write off anything. “Sometimes you’ll see some subject matter that is not immediately appealing but in the right light or with an abstract approach you can make something out of nothing,” she says. “I believe that if you look and think about what you want to show, you can succeed in most conditions.”
“I adapt my approach according to what I’m photographing.” As for her own work, she doesn’t consider that it follows any ‘style’ in particular. “I adapt my approach according to what I’m photographing,” she says. However, what is consistent across her work is a deep respect and feeling for her subject matter. At the heart of this is her subtle and naturalistic approach to colour: “There will always be a range of interpretations, as we all see colour differently,” she says. “But I’m always trying to be faithful to what I saw and felt.”