Jun 3 2011 by Gregor White, Stirling Observer Friday
WHEN Gill Hunt’s boss sent her out with a film camera the dressing down he gave her on viewing the resultant footage nearly put her off photography for good.
“I worked in television in London as an editor’s assistant, working with a lot of directors and producers, and I asked a lot of questions and started to develop an eye for a picture,” she said.
“This was back in the late seventies and one day I was given a camera by my boss and told to go out and take some pictures.
“I had chosen my theme, with this beautiful park surrounded by these unsightly buildings so you had a really interesting contrast, but I didn’t really understand the camera at all.
“When I got back and showed him what I had he really told me off - he tore me off a strip that put me off photography completely for years.”
It wasn’t until 2006 in fact that Gill was persuaded to put her eye to the lens again by husband Dave.
“He bought me a camera and since then, really, I’ve never looked back.
“It took me a year of footering about, but 2007 was when I started to take ‘real’ pictures.”
Relocating to Killin from the south of England 12 years ago Dave - who also worked in television - and Gill both now make their living from photography, though in contrasting ways.
Gill’s speciality is macro images of Scottish flora, images that are not “record shots” of plant life but more abstract - “more like painting”.
Dave works across landscape, portraits and fine art nudes, with latest exhibition, Dancers in the Dark, now on show at Clive Ramsay’s Restaurant at The Peak in Stirling.
The two year project, subtitled ‘A photographic study of movement and light’, has seen him working with models with a dance background and he admits he was initially a bit dubious about the show space.
“At first I couldn’t see it - the public space, a food area and potentially a lot of kids about, the fact that a lot of the images are nudes made me wonder if it was really suitable,” he said.
“But in the end we chose some of the more ‘discreet’ pictures and I think it actually works quite well.”
While all Gill’s work is about doing what pleases her and then trying to sell it on Dave is aiming for a 50/50 split between commissions and pursuing his own interests.
Their whole approach to the camera itself is also markedly different.
While Gill’s approach has generally been along the lines of “I know what I want a picture to look like and that’s when I figure out how to get it” Dave is “more of the technician”.
Alongside his own photography he leads workshops from his and Gill’s Wester Lix home where he says the most important thing he can impart is confidence.
“It’s possible to teach all the technical skills - how all the buttons and switches work - but I don’t think you can teach how to spot a good picture,” he said.
“If you have an eye, though, knowing your way round the camera is the best way to then get the pictures you can usually already see.”
Dave and Gill will be showing a range of their works for Forth Valley Open Studios (June 11-19) at their home, just off the A85, before the turn off to Killin.
Visitors making the trip can also pop in to see their neighbours and painters/ printmakers, Heather Walker & Bernard Mallet-Griffiths, who are also taking part.
Full Open Studios listings are available at www.forthvalleyopenstudios.com.