Our “SLR Lounge Artist Feature” articles highlight the top photographers in the world. This article features award winning fine art portrait photographer Pip Bacon of Purple Raspberry Photography (Oxfordshire, UK). Pip has achieved the level of “Craftsman” with The Guild of Photographers and has, most recently, been named a “category winner” in Sue Bryce Education’s September 2018 Portrait Masters competition. Read on as Pip shares about her journey into fine art portraiture.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, Pip. We so appreciate your candor and thoughtfulness. We’d love for you to tell our readers about how you first got into photography.
I have three boys. I decided to give up full-time work to be a stay-at-home mum after our third began school. Christmas of 2014, my husband bought me my first Olympus camera, which I loved. I soon purchased Lightroom to process my photographs. Photographers like Elena Shumilova inspired me to try to create something that was more than just a ‘snap shot.’ And I actually have quite eclectic sources for my inspiration, from finding a second-hand dress or piece of furniture to an item from a client’s heritage that they would like to incorporate into their portrait. And I so appreciate the old masters like Vermeer, Anker, and Breton.
We’d also love for you to talk about how you arrived at your particular style of photography/why you got into fine art portraiture in particular.
My studio isn’t very large at all. In fact, it’s a a cabin in the garden. I started out using only window light which, as you can imagine in the UK, meant variable results based on the weather. From there, I moved on to use a builder’s light, which was left over after we had some work done on our home. The difference was amazing so I invested in a basic professional light, an Elinchrom RX One. After that, people would comment on my lighting, saying it was very ‘Vermeer-like’, soft and beautiful. … Now, having had no formal art training or photography training, I joined The Guild of Photographers, an important part of my journey. By entering their competitions and gaining qualifications to ‘Craftsman,’ I gained confidence in my work. A wonderful mentor, Julie Oswin, helped me to evolve my style with her candid, constructive criticism. I guess, fundamentally, my style has evolved to what it is today because when I edit a photograph, I look at what I do not like and change it. And I love the power of a simple, elegant portrait.
What’s a recent, favorite photograph for you? Why is it a favorite?
Recently, I had a workshop and was setting up. My middle son had just arrived home from school, with his headphones still hanging about his neck. I wanted to test the light, as I had just set up the curtain (very Vermeer-esque). Just a ‘test shot,’ but a true capture of him and his personality.
Thanks so much for allowing us a glimpse into your wondrous world of fine art portraiture, Pip! Where can photographers learn more about you and your work?
Thank you so much! I currently offer one-on-one bespoke workshops at my studio in Oxfordshire. I explain my set up, composition, color toning, etc. Then we photograph a model. Afterwards, we edit a photograph together. For those who cannot make it to me, I also offer online sessions. As well, at the end of January, I will conduct my first overseas workshop in the Netherlands. You can learn more here (one-on-one workshops) and here (touring workshops).
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the latest SLR Lounge Award winning photographers here (wedding) and here (landscape). Don’t forget to submit by the January 31 deadline to be considered for SLR Lounge’s January 2019 awards competition. And, finally, remember that anyone can sign up for an SLR Lounge account for free and submit, but Premium Members are able to submit up to three photographs each month!