It’s been a few years (2011) since we’ve last had a chat with London based photographer Pip. I wasn’t only impressed by Pip’s fantastic portfolio, but also by the fact that this young photographer is completely self-taught. That’s right: no school, no study, not even serving as an assistant. Pip just picked up a camera and started snapping pics of his friends who were aspiring musicians or models, all in preparation for bigger and better projects (read about it in our last interview with Pip). And to bigger and better projects he went: From Shooting portraits of an impressive variety of celebrities like Birdy and Sir Ian McKellen to doing amazing personal projects with artists and craftsman. All in all it was about the perfect time to do a proper catch-up with Pip!
“..that constant progression is one of the things I love about photography.”
Hi Pip, how have you been doing?
I’m great, thanks. Incredibly busy. I’m working more than ever before and have a seemingly never-ending list of projects and ideas in the pipeline. I’m happiest when I’m busy though, so I’ve got no complaints.
Last time we spoke was early 2011, do you feel that your photography changed / progressed over time? And if so, in what way?
Absolutely. I think all photographers’ work is constantly evolving and the past two years has seen quite a dramatic change for me. My technical ability has definitely improved, so I’m able to be more ambitious, pursue increasingly creative projects and take on demanding jobs. I’ve always had a decent portfolio backing me up but it’s only in the past year or so that I feel like I’ve really found my voice as a photographer. However, I’m sure I’ll be saying the same thing in ten years. But that constant progression is one of the things I love about photography.
And did things change / progress career wise?
Yes. I think I’m competing at an entirely different level now, in terms of the type of clients I’m working with, the subjects I’m shooting and the exposure my work is getting. I never get complacent though – I’m always hungry for the next challenge that will raise my game.
From our last interview we know that you’re an autodidact, is there anything you could tell aspiring photographers who are afraid they can’t make it without a diploma?
The most important thing is to ask yourself why you’re going to university in the first place. If you’re lacking in confidence or motivation, then it can give you a bit of direction and could be a worthwhile pursuit. But, ultimately, creativity can’t be taught and there are endless free resources available to teach you how cameras and lighting work. So in most cases, I’d say it’s not worth it. An important thing to understand is that even with a first class degree from a top university, in the eyes of the client or the agent, you’re just as inexperienced as the day you enrolled. Your portfolio is your CV, so concentrate on making that look good and you’ll develop naturally. Then, if you’re good enough, you’ll get the work irrespective of how qualified you are.
Can you tell me a bit about some of the projects you’re done you’re proud of?
Last year I shot a cover story with Sir Ian McKellen – not only one of the greatest living actors but an enchanting, gentle soul – it was both a joy and a privilege to work with him. I did a personal art-driven project with a World Champion free runner (Tim Shieff) that I really love – it was slightly different take on the sport and a really enjoyable collaboration. I recently worked with Ellie Goulding on probably the most technically difficult shoot I’ve ever done – I can’t reveal too much as it hasn’t been published yet, but follow my twitter/blog to get the first look!
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m hoping to continue doing higher profile editorial work and expand my portraiture portfolio; to work with more interesting people through personal projects and push myself technically on advertising commissions. I still feel like I’m at the start of my career, so there is still everything to play for.