Inspirations (7) - Simon Painter

Meet Simon Painter, a photographer who works with "ICM", or in camera movement, to create abstract, ethereal images of the natural and urban landscape. His images provoke thought, and offer a completely different viewpoint of everyday locations.

Simon can be found on the internet in these places:




inspirations interviews, simon painter by mark cornick photography

Q) Could you explain your style of photography?

My style of photography is impressionistic and abstract. I use the camera as an instrument with which to create images with light and my surroundings rather than a tool with which to document things.

Q What do you want viewers of your images to take away from looking at your work?

There is an excitement and energy that I feel when I stop and really take in the particular environment I find myself in. It’s sometimes overwhelming and I think it reflects the wonder of just being here and being a part of something so amazingly complex and awesome. It could be the hustle and bustle of urban life or the majesty of a natural landscape but in all these moments, this feeling of something more than just what we see and hear is what I would like viewers of my images to sense. For me it’s almost as if I’m unlocking a portal to some different dimension of light and time that we can’t see with the naked eye.

inspirations interviews, simon painter by mark cornick photography

inspirations interviews, simon painter by mark cornick photography

Q What is it that interests you in this type of abstract work and playing with motion? I’m just fascinated with the shapes and textures that are created. I love that the light that is behind and between things jumps to the foreground and becomes the focus, displacing what we would normally perceive as the interesting subject of a scene. Camera movement can create amazing tonal and colour gradient maps that form beautiful rich and unique fingerprints of a scene even when, sometimes, one is not sure what the original subject was. I feel it’s still an organic thing though, so, although it’s abstract it still feels connected to the original. Having experimented with this technique for several years now, I obviously have techniques that give me the sort of results I expect but I’m also filled with a real buzz of excitement when I come across a new an unexpected result. Many of my experiments haven’t produced the results I wanted, or indeed anything worth keeping, but sometimes they reveal something wonderful and new. It’s this potential to create something that I haven’t seen before that envelopes me in a quest to try more and more.

inspirations interviews, simon painter by mark cornick photography

Q How important is colour and light in ICM photography - do you feel that black and white images can have the same impact?

Colour for me is very important. I have tried many times to process images in mono but they never quite do it for me. Maybe I haven’t found the right moves or subject. As many of my images are quite complex I feel that the dimension of colour allows the image to have more depth and helps the viewer see more deeply into them. I love conventional monochrome photographs but one can make sense of them as you can perceive the depth and perspective but with Intentional Camera Movement it just often looks like a mess!

Q What is your preferred back drop for ICM - urban or nature? I’m not sure I have a preferred backdrop for my photography. I spend more time in a natural setting so this forms the bulk of my work. I’ve loved going into the urban landscape and getting a human element into my pictures but I have to admit to an element of self-consciousness in this environment that sometimes holds me back. It is, however, amazing moving the camera through a crowd of moving people as it produces trails of the figures as they pass which I find really interesting. The wake or path we leave behind us is not something we often think about as we rush through our busy lives and these images make you aware of that journey and the space you have left behind. The stillness of a natural environment provides more time to set up the shot and refine the movement and it’s exciting to see the final image evolve after many attempts.

inspirations interviews, simon painter by mark cornick photography