With all the storm clouds gathered, the pouring rain and having to keep your head down against the wind, lately it feels like I’ve not seen much of Coventry! It’s only when I sat down with Will Phillips on a similarly rainy day, looking through his photographs that I got a reminder of what it truly means to appreciate the views of Coventry.
What is it that you enjoy about shooting in Coventry?
Coventry is an ever-changing city. There’s this strange disconnect between the new and the old all over the Centre and beyond. I’ve always enjoyed architecture; I work in architecture and so I always notice new buildings and details that catch my eye. Often you’ll wonder why they decided to put things where they have, this dramatic juxtaposition makes it an endlessly interesting place to explore and shoot.
What’s your favourite place to shoot?
Everywhere and everything. I’m not just into street photography but landmarks, landscapes, nature photography, I’ve even shot weddings. Recently I’ve been out in Coventry City Centre around 5am, getting some shots in before work, It’s so peaceful at these sorts of times, you really get the feel of a place. On my most recent trip out with the camera, Ghost Town by The Specials came up on my playlist, and it just perfectly summed up the city at that moment!
I bet that’s the ideal time slot for being able to take your time to get that perfect shot?
For me photography isn’t about always perfection, or even really about getting over technical. It’s about allowing the viewer to feel what was happening at that moment. As cliche as it sounds, it’s telling the story of the people, the creature, the city that you’re taking photographs of. Capturing those moments is what it’s all about.
Would you say you’re quite adventurous when it comes to getting a new shot?
Photography definitely has made me a more open and adventurous person. I find interacting with new people difficult, for example but being behind a camera it gives me a different kind of confidence. I see the way the light hits something, the way someone is posing or simple something that stands out and it gives me the ability to talk to complete strangers, people I never would normally approach.
So your photography can be quite social then, in some ways?
Sometimes and at other times I just prefer to be sat in a nature reserve like Brandon Marsh for hours on end, waiting to get a good shot of some of our local wildlife. Those times are also some of my favourites when taking photos, it gives you a time to reflect, digitally disconnect, be alone and enjoy your surroundings.
What things do you think would encourage people in Coventry to get out there behind a camera?
One thing I attended last year that really got me engaged in both street and architectural photography was Photo24 in London. You can stay up for 24 hours to take as many pictures documenting the city as you can; then you share them with the other participants entering mini challenges and competitions. This really makes many photographers climb out of their comfort zones and produce some great work, something like that hosted in Coventry would/could be excellent!
That would be a fantastic event! Any other words of encouragement for an amateur photographer?
Don’t be afraid of exploring settings. Testing and giving things a go. Don’t get caught up in a niche of photography. Try everything and don’t worry about reception on social media. Do it for the love of it and there will be many out there who will end up liking it too.
Will’s photography can be purchases via Alamy.
Written by Amy Turner. For more visit her website: WritingIntoTheEther.