Matthew Driscoll, associate at planning consultancy JTS Partnership, talks about his love of photography.
When did you take up photography as a hobby?
I have been into photography since I was a child, however it was always with point and shoot cameras. I took it up as a more serious hobby around six years ago when a friend of mine purchased a DSLR camera and I was fascinated with the ability to change lenses depending on the subject matter and the fact that they allow the photographer to control their own settings.
What is your favourite type of photo to take?
I don’t specialise in a particular subject matter and I enjoy trying most sorts of photography, however landscape photography is probably my favourite. The problem with landscape photographs is that, for a decent image, you need to catch that ‘golden hour’, about one hour after sunrise or just before sunset, which in the summer can lead to very early starts in the morning.
Do you admire any particular photographer’s work?
I’m a big fan of Scott Kelby and Joe McNally. Scott Kelby has published several books on photography and the way he writes them is as if he is with you when you are taking the photograph. I have learnt a lot from those books. Joe McNally is a portrait photographer and his images are incredible. He has an ability to capture everything you need to know about a person in just a single frame.
What sort of equipment do you use?
I use a DSLR and a tend to edit all my photographs digitally. Part of the problem with that is that they never come off your screen, so I try to have a photo book printed once a year with my favourite photographs from the previous year. I have also purchased a few rangefinder film cameras to experiment with that type of photography.
What was the last thing you took a picture of?
Slightly unusual, but it was of a Lego man, diving into a glass of water. My sister was entering an image competition for the International Sports Engineering Association, with the Lego man illustrating a small scale simulation of research undertaken to measure the size of the splash during a competitive dive. It was something a bit different to what I normally take photographs of.
Are there any similarities between the discipline of photography and your day job as a planner?
The need to be prepared. Just in the same way that I will not go to a meeting with a client without having undertaken research on a site or topic beforehand, I cannot go to a location without having checked all my equipment the night before, researched the location and expect everything to just work on the day.