What Photography Means to Me

Loch Stack Bothy, Achfary, Cape Wrath, Scotland.

Loch Stack Bothy, Achfary, Cape Wrath, Scotland.

by David Wheater

I've been taking photographs for around twenty years, but in the last few years it's become an insane full-time passion.

I take a wide range of photos, but mainly specialise in Scotland and the wonderful cities of Edinburgh and London. I have a very simple philosophy of capturing the things I find beautiful and interesting and doing my utmost best to capture the spirit of, and the essence behind, the subjects I'm taking. 

I always stay true to myself and never worry about what people think of my photographs, although there's no greater pleasure than in others enjoying the pictures you create.

It's hard to put into words what photography means to me. I think it brings me closer to nature and the world around me, to the extent that I see things that were previously invisible. It definitely makes the world a more magical place - especially through the well-worn eyes of a grown up. I can only liken it to a kind of personal meditation.

To capture a moment in time is still an amazing privilege, even today, when everyone has a smartphone in their pocket.

Every time I set off on a project, I always feel the excitement of a great treasure hunt - always hoping that I'll stumble across a magical place, or a moment in time, that I can capture forever and share with others. Photography brings me huge joy and excitement and I simply can't imagine life without it.

In 2017, I diversified into teaching photography and leading photographic tours around Edinburgh, which is great fun. I love teaching people how to use their cameras and, seeing them come alive to the joy of photography, is hugely rewarding.

Editing photographs is a very big part of digital photography nowadays. I have nothing against Photoshop, but prefer to err on the side of reality and use very basic editing adjustments in Lightroom. However, that's not to say that I don't occasionally let loose sometimes for artistic effect! - but only when it feels instinctively right to do so. 

Photoshop looks like a lot of fun and I do love all the enormous colourful moons and sunset composites that appear in social media photos these days - but they’re not really for me. I like things to be as they were at the time, so that I can look back and enjoy a lasting emotional connection to my images and the place in time I took them.

Times and technology change rapidly and I think the line between graphic-design and straightforward photography is now very blurred. I'm just old-school and want my pictures to simply look like the scene that presented itself to me at the time. I feel you can only really look back and get real pleasure from your images if they truly match what was in your head and heart at the time. 

I guess, therefore, that photography is a deeply emotional thing for me and I'm very thankful to have it in my life.

If you’re a beginner photographer and would like to spend the day with me, or you’d like me to show you around some of Edinburgh’s most photogenic spots please get in touch.