After becoming frustrated with spending too much time indoors in photo studios, professional photographer Steve Brown self-funded a trip to photograph ice fishermen in Finland, starting a chain of events that found him shooting a vicar on a snowmobile in Longyearbyen, the most northerly town in the world; reality TV stars and Olympic athletes in the Austrian Alps in temperatures of -20 degrees; Sherpas in the Khumbu Icefall at Everest Base Camp and former child slaves in Kathmandu. Now he is distilling the lessons he learned from these trips into a workshop on shooting people abroad and outdoors.
How did the idea for this workshop come about?
Well, my last trip was to Nepal shooting for the charity Child Rescue Nepal, who rescue children in Nepal from child slavery, and seeing all the great stuff they do out there I wanted to try and raise some money for them. Doing a workshop about the things I’ve learned from shooting these kinds of jobs abroad seemed like a great way to raise some money for the charity.
And what are some of the topics you’ll be covering in the workshop?
I can only draw from my own experience, so I’ll be talking about all the things I wish I’d known before I did my various trips, and things I learned along the way. These include:
What do you hope people will take away from this workshop?
Hopefully people will go home feeling that organising a shoot abroad is less scary and more achievable than they thought, and that if you want to head out to some far-flung part of the world and photograph the people that live there, that is a totally achievable goal.
Briefly, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced photographing people abroad?
I guess there are two types of challenge, environmental and cultural. Environmental challenges included the sheer physical effort it took to do anything at 5,380m altitude at Everest Base Camp, trying to keep batteries from freezing while shooting in temperatures of -20 degrees in Austria, and having to employ a local with a gun to accompany us in the arctic circle to protect us from marauding polar bears.
Cultural challenges have included communicating with local people and explaining why I wanted to photograph them, and also being sensitive to when and where it was appropriate to take photographs at all. I never want to feel like I’m exploiting people, and sometimes the right thing is to put the camera away and just spend time with people.
Finally, what’s the most amazing place you have visited?
I think it would have to be the Khumbu Icefall, the glacier that tumbles down the side of Mount Everest and through which climbers have to pass on their way to the summit. I spent a week at Everest Base Camp with a group of climbers preparing to climb the mountain, and we traveled into the icefall to practice using ropes, crampons, and ice axes to traverse the icy slopes. The landscape was just so alien, the icefall forming amazing organic shapes as a result of the ice constantly melting and refreezing. And the scale of it was just incredible, you’d look at it and think ‘wow that’s huge’ and then see some tiny ant-like dots which turned out to be climbers, which would recalibrate your sense of scale and make you realise that what you were looking at was far more immense than you thought.
Steve will talk in depth about his experiences shooting in very different situations and the various challenges involved, illustrated with behind the scenes photos and videos, the final images themselves, and practical demonstrations of equipment and techniques. There will also be plenty of opportunity for questions and answers throughout.
All profits from the workshop will go to Child Rescue Nepal, helping their work freeing children from slavery.
Time – 2-5pm, July 21st
Location – St Clements, nr Monument station, London, UK
Cost – £10
You can see more images from his various trips here:
Steve is based in London but is available for assignments worldwide.
Contact him direct:
t: +44 (0) 7974 453 884
e: [email protected]