Andy Pilsbury

Andy Pilsbury is a photographer and film maker based in Birmingham, UK. Andy currently creates both independent and commissioned pieces of work, whilst studying for his MA in Visual Communication. He recently won the ‘Best in Book’ award for Creative Reviews Photography Annual and the ‘Judges Choice’ award from CreativePool Annual for the work Tabula Rasa.

1. How would you describe your photography?

I would describe my photography as an ever evolving practice which takes influence from all sorts of things. I’m certainly interested in people and portraiture, but a subject or body of work can take on and be inclusive of many different genres, landscape, still life etc. I also have interest in moving image and cinema which informs my photography from time to time. I’m certainly not a niche photographer and do like crossing the so called boundaries between genres and seeing what works for me and what doesn’t.

2. When did you first realise that you wanted to be a photographer?

It would have been at college when I chose to study photography on a whim. My original intention was to be an illustrator, however the course offered wasn’t for me, so I took a punt with photography and it worked out pretty well. I took to it quickly and enjoyed working with the medium. I remember printing my first image in the darkroom as the college did not have digital cameras. It was an incredible experience to see the image appear in the chemistry.

3. What has been the most valuable lesson, training or mentoring that you’ve received?

Your own research is invaluable, and being open and aware of your surroundings. Both can help when you need it the most and even get you out of compromising situations.

4. Who has inspired you most in photography?

Of recent years, Alec Soth

5. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a couple of things. I have been following Elvis Tribute Acts around as they perform in various venues across the country which is fairly light hearted. I’m interested in the individual and venue relationship and less about their performance. Although since starting the project I have gained a great appreciation for the Kings music. I have also started a long term project around nuclear communities, its early doors with this one, so watch this space.

6 What do you have in your camera bag?

Varies from job to job, but could just be my Mamiya 7 all the way up to a Sony F55

7. What has been – or is - the biggest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome in your photography?

Making sense of the medium on various levels has been a problem, and sometimes still is. Also securing links and contacts for my work is an ongoing issue. People have to trust and believe in what you set out to do, so its finding the sweet spot and maintaining it whilst seeing a project through.

8. Which photograph do you wish you'd taken?

Tomoko in her bath by Eugene Smith….Its one which has resonated with me for so long. Its so poignant and full of humanity. I would have wanted to take this because of its power to evoke questions and emotion within the viewer.

9. Can you recommend a photographer’s work you think our readers should check out?

Pieter Hugo’s ‘The Hyena and Other men'

10. If you could save one photography book from a fire which one would it be? Alec Soth - Niagara

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