Being an introvert in photography – a collaboration with Sean Tucker

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I think it’s fair to say that I burden myself with what is sometimes an unhealthy amount of self-analysis but, although I’m definitely not an extrovert, I’ve never labelled myself as an introvert. I began to think about this differently when I chatted to fellow photographer and videographer, Sean Tucker, about a YouTube collaboration.

I’ve been a fan of Sean’s high quality, philosophical and thought-provoking videos for several months and so it was great to hear that he also enjoys my videos, photography and of course the relentlessly bouncy Meg. We’d been chatting online & sharing stories and when this evolved into talk of collaborating, there was no hesitation as my instinct told me we’d be a good fit.

We finally met in mid October 2017 when Sean travelled from London to stay at the same B&B that I use for my photography workshops in North Yorkshire. We chatted, shared anecdotes, laughed and sighed over an evening meal while very loosely planning the day to come. As it happens, Sean already had a very intriguing theme for a video which he was keen for me to be part of – Being an introvert in photography. It was Sean’s assumption that I too am an introvert when it comes to my photography. I think there was a slight element of surprise in my reaction to this but then it became obvious – of course I’m an introverted photographer, or at least I’m introverted and very introspective in my approach to woodland photography.

I’m a bit of a sensitive soul and I like to consider myself as being emotionally connected. That’s not very macho but I don’t profess to be. I think my emotional connection to ‘things’ has been amplified since suffering from chronic pain since March 2012, so when I’m challenged with a question that makes you consider your own personality and behaviour then I think about it a little more deeply and I give it time to brew like a proppa Yorkshire cuppa. I slowly became more consciously aware of just how introverted I am when it comes to photography. Even if I go for a shoot with another photographer (rarely) then I still have a tendency to disappear and locate my own bubble of nature in solitude.  I started to think about some of my own video content and just how introspective my approach is to photography – where I go, how I shoot, how I think and the crazy mix of feelings that sometimes go into an image. Take away all those emotional and solitary elements from my photography and I’ll likely give up and go home.

Sean wanted to ask me some questions – an interview, if you like. He didn’t tell me the questions in advance, I only knew the general theme and I liked it – it was more acutely apt than I even realised. I soon decided that it was unnecessary pressure for us both if I tried to shoot a video for my own channel on the same day, so we decided that the perfect thing to do would be for me to share with Sean the environment that I love to photograph and escape to the most – the woods!

As Sean says in his video, some of the strengths in being an introvert could be observation, self awareness and introspection. These three traits certainly resonate with me and I see them as playing a crucial role when deciding where to shoot, how I want to capture a scene and what it means to me. It’s an emotional connection to the landscape that you can’t teach, there’s no formula, guidelines or secret – it’s either there or it isn’t. Sometimes people ask me where a particular tree is that they’ve seen me capture but I’m always very secretive. That’s not through selfishness but because I personally believe the most rewarding images aren’t necessarily the ones that win a competition but the ones that capture the very essence and personal reasons behind why you love photography, the outdoors and the subjects you capture. If there is a location that means more to you than just a nice view and it’s a place where you love to be without the camera then that’s the place to be creative and share yourself through your images. Your best images are those that stir emotions in you.

In his video, Sean also talks about creating head space by listening to music that helps him to reflect and relax. I’m going to echo his thoughts on this as I find it incredibly inspiring to listen to movie scores while I take my regular walk to the supermarket. I often envisage elusive moments in the great outdoors, scenes I want to or have witnessed, drone sequences I want to capture or memories I never want to forget, but it’s a bizarre experience to feel emotional while picking up a punnet of plums.

I’ll leave it there as I’d rather just share Sean’s video. Any thoughts? I’d love to read them either in the comments below or on Sean’s YouTube Channel.

Finally, a huge thanks to Sean for kindly taking some awesome new profile photos for me.

Sean Tucker’s YouTube channel:

Simon Baxter