Interview in the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, Oct 2019

Interviewed by Kyla Ball of The Laundry Gallery in her "Kyla's Art Surgery" column in The Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, 24th October 2019.

The Hidden Kingdom

THE HIDDEN KINGDOM: Tolkien magic in Antonia's work.

Antonia turns photography passion into an art form

Kyla's Art Surgery - Kyla Ball

“For me it’s composition and atmosphere that matter most in a landscape, whether a painting or a photograph.”

Last year, Antonia Kearton was one of three photographers exhibiting in the show of that same name at The Laundry Gallery in Aviemore.

I caught up to discuss all things photographic with the talented lenswoman…

Q: When everyone has an iPhone, how do photographers ensure their work is valued?
A: We’re saturated with photos now – it’s definitely becoming harder to valued good photography. I see an analogy with writing; everyone writes, every day – from shopping lists to emails, but that doesn’t devalue good writing. Good photography, like good writing, takes practice and skill. But technical expertise is only part of the story – it shouldn’t be more important than the creative side.

Q: What got you into photography?
A: I loved art at school, painting especially. I was forever visiting art galleries – an annual favourite being the Edinburgh Festival photography exhibition. My mother and grandfather were keen photographers and I started taking photographs in my early teens. The magical world of Dare Wright’s 1960s fairytale photo book Lona fascinated me. I also grew up loving Tolkien, where the landscape is a character in itself. I started taking more after my first son arrived – it fitted around my family, doing 15 minutes here and there. Photography had just started to become heavily digitalised so it needed less physical space than before.

Q: You’re self-taught - how did you learn?
A: Three years later, I bought my first digital SLR, some photography books and joined Flickr. I saw how people were using the new digital technology, and I received a lot of helpful feedback from Flickr’s online community.

Q: How do you approach each piece?
A: To take a photo is to capture a memory, a moment. I never go out looking for one particular landscape, more for shapes and patterns in the landscape that excite me. I spend a lot of time gathering, sifting, editing – and often the photo that works is not the one I expect! For me it’s composition and atmosphere that matter most in a landscape, whether a painting or a phtograph. The camera is just my tool – just as brushes and paints are for painters.
In a painting it’s easy to see that the artist has put their own take on a scene. I want to do the same with a camera – to reproduce a landsape the way I see it, in my own style – doing something unexpected.

Antonia lives in Grantown and you can see her work at
Kyla Ball is manager of The Laundry Gallery in Aviemore.

Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, Thursday October 24, 2019, p.22