Naturalist view.

We delve into Sarah Lewis’s intricate portfolio and take a closer look at her creative view on the natural world.

Where did your love for photography come from?

I’ve always loved photography as a hobby, but I got serious about it while at college. I used to experiment with my dad’s compact camera, and one day took a picture of a toy duck that caught my eye. It was central in the frame, backlit, softly focused, nothing fantastic — but the detail of the image spoke to me, the patterns in the plastic that I’d overlooked, they became so much more dynamic in the image. I kept the camera on macro mode, learnt how to focus the image with the shutter button, and started taking pictures of everything that caught my eye. I was completely hooked.

What photographic training have you had, if any, to date?

While at college, my tutor had spotted my burgeoning fascination with photography and encouraged me to incorporate my expanding portfolio into my projects. As I studied e-media, I made online galleries for my work using Flash. I was asked to interpret written briefs into memorable images. After learning technical skills at college, I decided to study photography at university. I studied everything from abstract to still life, and graduated with a BA (hons).

How do you describe your shooting style?

I keep my work clean, simple and vibrant. I love experimenting with colour, and I like to shoot with a shallow depth of field — I find that the out-of-focus areas are beautiful and complementary. I find the textures of bokeh intriguing, and feel they can really help make the most of a frame.

What and who influences your work?

I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful town — surrounded by fields that stretch for miles and play host to a variety of animals, insects and flora. I find the changing seasons particularly invigorating: the fresh buds of spring, the vibrancy of autumn, the first snow of winter, and the most wonderful season — summer; full of life, brimming with butterflies, moths, insects and flowers.

What projects are you currently working on?

At the moment, I’m working through a list of seasonal goals, things like photograph a different butterfly or capture a particular flower in a different light. For me, improving existing shots or reinterpreting scenarios and environments I’ve visited before is an ongoing project; I think it really helps shape me as a photographer.

Recently I’ve begun to incorporate my work into a broader range of media. I have started expanding my library of prints in my Etsy store (www.etsy.com/shop/ purpleface) and working on a series of photo pendants and greeting cards. I would love to see some of my work find a place in the craft world.

What would your dream photography job be?

I’m already working my dream job, but I’d love to travel and capture a wider sense of the world. There’s so much wonder to be found in something as small as my back yard; it’d be great to get a little further afield, and explore many different gardens the world over.

What’s your five-year photographic plan?

Ideally, I’d like to become more recognised within the industry. When people talk about macro and nature photography, I’d like them to think of me. To accomplish this I’m building up a diverse portfolio, full of images that people can enjoy and discover new things within. I’ve done a couple of small gallery exhibitions in the past, and I’d really love to continue this and exhibit my upcoming work in the years to come.

What advice would you give to others who want to get into macro and nature photography?

It’s all about practice. The more you try, the more effort you put in, the better you’ll become…

The most important thing I would say is that it’s not about equipment, it’s about exploring your curiosity. I practiced visualising the image in my head before taking the shot. Use your eyes first.

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