Philip Berryman


Uppingham School

As I look through these party images I am reminded of a wonderful quote by the hugely talented and successful fashion photographer Nick knight. It goes as follows:

I don’t have an enormous interest in photography. I’ve never seen what I do as being driven by the medium. I love fashion photography and I love prints, I love printing, typography and the prints together, I do love all that. But in terms of what I look for inspiration, what I look for excitement, for a challenge, that doesn’t come from photography. I don’t have the heart felt desire to wallow around in photography. It’s just a medium. So I don’t particularly want to be its defender or detractor. It’s been useful to me to express my point of view and incidentally there are things about it, which I enjoy. But as a public statement I don’t really have a ‘love’ relationship with photography. It was there as a means to an endNick Knight

Social or event photography has been pretty much been the bread and butter of my work. Besides the obvious necessity to earn a living I often wonder what is it that I am drawn to and excited about when I shoot such events. Considering Nick Knight’s quote I certainly feel I connect with the notion that its not the desire to be too deeply involved in cameras, lenses and the headache of post production, computers and all things digital that can be troublesome at times. Whether it’s my portrait work, my travel work or my fashion it is not necessarily driven by the medium as Nick Knight says. I do, as Nick Knight eludes, love much of the nuts and bolts of photography and the craft of this medium. But I agree that it is the challenge and inspiration. In terms of social photography it is very much the desire to be connected to life changing moments and happenings. To be a privileged witness to people living their lives through such occasions. The excitement and challenge to record accurately and creatively something so special and to give that person something physical that they may treasure as a lasting memory (even if it sadly may only exist on a computer hard drive). Try as much as I sometimes do, I cannot help but talk to people, ask them about themselves and their lives and take a keen interest in the people I’m photographing. I am forever curious about people and their lives and I hope most of the time the connection made on a personal level, despite it being perhaps fleeting in that moment, all contributes to the energy given back by the subject and that ultimately enhances the image. I could make a connection with my dancing in the sense that it is a performance and you’re taken along by the adrenalin and desire to create something magical. If someone asks me how the job went I would rather tell them about an interesting person I met and a new friendship or connection than anything remotely connected to cameras and all things digital.  In that case I wonder if I could ditch the camera and get paid to just wander around and be chatty and sociable. But I do crave the outcome, the product and the power of the print. The incredible satisfaction of seeing an image that encapsulates the energy of the moment, and image that takes you back and conjures up the very same emotions one felt and experienced on the night. I am addicted to pictures and all things visual and so I figure in the long run I still need a camera round my neck.  But I do feel that this element of my photography career is driven by people, life experiences, the challenge, the adrenalin rush of the performance, the desire to create lasting images that people cherish. I could happily talk about people, pictures, life moments, art and history rather than pixels, lenses, F stops and PhotoShop and photography gives me that license to investigate lives and experience life moments as witness and creator. I suppose it may explain why my blog posts are more about reflecting on life, my career, the industry and the fascinating world of art and photography rather than discussing the technical aspect of my work. Cue camera buffs and tech geeks to frown, zip tightly their anoraks and switch over to different blogs.

So tonight’s adrenalin rush, challenge and opportunity to talk to lots of lovely people and create a lasting legacy was provided by Uppingham School’s annual reunion. This evening’s reunion was held at the magnificent Mansion House. I have photographed for Uppingham School in the past and in a previous blog I have described how everybody is a dream to photograph. It often appears that everyone in the room is always laughing their heads off and always enjoying themselves. Guests are simply always having fun and its quite infectious. The more happy energy I see, the more I’m carried along on a wave of laughter and positive human emotion. It certainly is a challenge with hundreds of people to photography in a short time space but it’s exciting and I love it.