The photographer I am talking about is Jill Tate. She is based in North East of England but works throughout UK as a freelance architectural photographer.
Do you remember the Barley Mow office by TILT? Those images are all captured by this lovely photographer. In fact it was these images that captured my interest as she showed a straight to the point attitude and care for details. There is no wonder why she has had clients like TILT, DE Magazine and Polyfloor amongst some.
I am delighted that Jill wanted to participate in this interview not only because she has an approach that is appealing to us, but also due to her immense educational background and the care she portrays in her work.
Enough said…enjoy the photos and let’s just move down to read her wise and inspirational story and words.
In this Interview you will learn
- What Jill thinks about copyright and for bloggers to use her images
- What she thinks about the academic route in photography
- Challenges to shot interior photos versus exterior designs
Hi Jill! Thank you for taking time in your busy schedule. We are really delighted to chat with you. For those who do not know, could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Hi! Thanks for taking the time to interview me. I’m a freelance Architectural photographer from the North East of England. I specialise in photographing buildings and interiors for architects, designers and companies in the property and construction industries.
How did you get into photography?
As far back as I can remember I’ve been captivated by photographs, even as a young child I loved to look through photo albums.
I got my first camera aged 12, and I remember sending the films off to be developed and how eagerly I awaited the arrival of the prints.
My first experience of manual photography came when I was about 15 and I took some photographs for my school art project.
I continued down the Fine Art path at college and I stuck to photography as my means of expression. During this time I was introduced to and inspired by the work of photographers as diverse as Wolfgang Tillmans and Thomas Demand. Finally, on the Contemporary Photographic Practice Degree at Northumbria University, I was able to immerse myself more deeply in the subject and its history.
And what was it with interior photography that captured your interest?
Some of my earliest photographs were trying to capture the playfulness of light and shadow, simply exploring the shapes, colours and textures around me.
Photographing architecture and interiors was a natural progression, a scaled up version of my fascination with composition and representing the three dimensional world in two dimensions. This, combined with a love of design, is why I really enjoy photographing architecture and learn so much from it.
You have an extensive amount of experience and educational background in photography. Do you think going to school for photography is vital?
I wouldn’t say the academic route is vital for everyone.
I think the greatest benefit it gave me, aside from the technical skills I was taught, was learning about the theoretical side of things and how we, as viewers, read and interpret images. I feel lucky to have studied during a time of transition from film and chemical based photography to digital, experiencing both techniques has definitely broadened and helped shape my approach.
The final project for my degree was shot on large format, 5 x 4 film, which set the bar high for my work from that point on. Although I currently shoot with digital equipment, I still carry that experience and methodical approach into my work.
We recently wrote a blog post about Tilt’s office design they did for Barley Mow and Club workspace, and you were the photographer to document this space. What was your favourite part with this job?
This was a great project to photograph, with so much happening in one space. TILT are a great client to work with, as designers they have an eye for a good photograph and always come brimming with ideas about how we can best capture the space.
They also allow me the freedom to bring my own creativity to the images and show the space as I see it.
It’s also really nice to be there when the design has just come to life and people are seeing it for the first time. There’s always a lot of excitement and energy and it’s a pleasure to be part of that.
Which is your favourite room to photograph?
I honestly can’t say that I have a favourite room, because every project is different, and that in itself is one of the joys of the job.
Would you say you prefer to photograph an interior with people in or without?
It depends on the context and what the images are intended to convey. What works in one space might not look right in another.
I find that in smaller spaces, people become the dominant focus of the image – which is fine if that’s the intention, but if the room itself needs to be the main focus, this might be better achieved without people. A large space often benefits from the inclusion of people to add a bit of life and sense of scale.
As I am getting more interested in photography I am starting to see the difficulties in shooting great interior projects. What difficulties would you say there is with this type of photography?
I think good interior photography relies a lot on balance; in terms of composition, the subject of the image and lighting.
Unlike photographing exteriors, interiors are usually on a much smaller scale, leaving much less room for error. The slightest thing out of place can make or break an image and it can be quite time consuming to get right.
I am always curious to hear how photographers define their style. How would you define yours? Or what is your philosophy?
Curious is the right word to use, because I think that defines me well. I like to ask questions, and in my personal work I like to take photographs that I hope will encourage people to ask questions.
I don’t set out to achieve a certain style in my work. My aim as a photographer is simply to produce the very best work I can. Hopefully in doing so, my own uniqueness can develop organically.
I always say ‘Inspiration has no boundaries’, with that being said, do you have any go-to places or any ‘rituals’ for inspiration?
I love being in nature and I try to get outside as much as possible – failing that, I do like a good window. I also find yoga very good for strengthening my mental focus (it helps when getting into awkward positions behind the camera too!). One of my favourite places to visit is The Lake District, I like to go there to recharge. Even though it’s so beautiful, I find that I don’t always take many photographs when I’m there to relax, I sometimes prefer to just take it all in.
The reason behind this interview is to highlight great photographers like yourself. Since without your photos a blog like mine would not be able to exist. But what do you think of blogs using your images? And do you think that the discussions on copyright should be addressed more amongst the blog community?
The Internet is a fantastic tool for promotion and sharing ideas, and I think it’s great that blogs like yours exist.
It’s a shame that there is a lot of confusion surrounding copyright and I do think there should be more discussion on the subject in general.
I always ask to be credited next to my work and believe that the photographer, as the rightful owner of the image, should be referenced.
While an image can be viewed by anyone on blogs and other websites, it’s wrong for someone to take that image and start making money from it, directly or indirectly. A licence to use an image can often easily be negotiated, and therefore contacting the photographer first is always advised.
What is your dream project looking like, and what is next in line for you?
I recently photographed a new Japanese restaurant designed by Room 33, which contained elements of symmetry and clean continuous lines, elements that I find visually appealing and often appear in my work. In general, I like not knowing what’s around the corner as no two projects are the same.
Next on my agenda is photography for Xsite architecture – capturing Redcar Palace Hub. The building is on the seafront and will be a home for creative businesses in the area. I’m also hoping to work with TILT again soon and I’m keen to see their new projects.
6 Lessons Learnt
- She is a photographer that allows people to use her photos with right credits and conditions.
- Having a flair and interest for design is needed when photographing interiors.
- Going to school for photography gives one a good technical knowledge, but might not be needed.
- Good interior photography relies a lot on balance; in terms of composition, the subject of the image and lighting.
- Photographing interiors is more complex than exterior spaces.
- When it comes to interior shots. “The slightest thing out of place can make or break an image and it can be quite time consuming to get right.”
Sadly this interview has come to an end. I want to shout out another thank you to Jill for letting us get to know her, her work and the kind mention of our blog. If you wish to contact her, you can do so here: Twitter and Webpage.
Ex Design Consultant. Design Curator. Online Creative. Curios minded. Love living and sharing a creative life through -The Interiors, The People, The Art, The Architecture & The Places. Design to me is about creating a story – it is about understanding what matters and how to create something unique which speaks your personal story.