London Art Spot: Heather Conway

When she’s not tending to her two young sons or attending photography classes, Heather Conway can be found aiming her camera at some of London’s much-beloved, world-renowned landmarks – the likes of Big Ben, the London Eye and Tower Bridge. Next week, though, Heather is leaving us to emigrate to the United States, so her London shots will surely stick with her as a little reminder of home. I managed to get a few words out of her while she was probably sitting on a floor in her packed up house, laptop perched on boxes (or so says my creative imagination…). 

Read on to find out how Heather’s favourite shot was taken this year, her thoughts on what she will miss when she leaves the UK and that one London legend she’d love to get in front of her camera for a portrait session.

LLO: Where in London do you most love to take your camera and why? 
HC: Westminster. There are so many wonderful landmarks there to capture the beauty of London.

LLO: Do you remember when you first fell in love with photography and how has your style evolved since then?
HC: Absolutely, it was around 17 years ago. I’m not sure my style has changed so much as my ability in the digital world. Photographic computer programs can enhance any image in a number of ways; you can have one piece and create several different images out of it.

LLO: Favourite London shot you took this year? Tell us the story behind how you created it. (photo below)
HC: I was with my college class in Westminster when I was taking some shots of the Houses of Parliament at night with the tripod. It was very cold, wet and windy. There were many people walking over the bridge. I was stood on Westminster bridge with my tripod and there was a couple in front of me talking to each other. I was hoping I’d get them in the shot, as with a long shutter speed you tend to get ghostly images of people moving around, if at all, and thankfully they were still long enough for me to get them into the shot.

LLO: What is your favourite London discovery?
HC: Just the average every day houses you see on the way into Liverpool Street station from Hertfordshire. They’re so urban and interesting, I wish I had taken the time to photograph more of that, but it’s quite difficult to fit some things in with two small boys at home.

LLO: You’re in the process of emigrating from the UK to the US. Which aspects of London/British life do you think you will miss the most and what will you be happiest to leave behind?
HC: There’s so much I’ll miss. The architecture is very different, churches for example. I’ll miss seeing a row of old English terraced houses, cobblestone streets, etc. The ability to travel anywhere by public transport; I don’t drive, but that’s never been a problem living so close to London. I’ll be happy to leave my small home behind, I look forward to more space!

LLO: Do you think your move will change the way you approach your photography at all? 
HC: I really don’t know. It might do, the scenery will be very different, I look forward to seeing what’s out there during all four seasons.

LLO: What sort of equipment do you use?
HC: I use a very basic Canon SLR, a 1000D. I use the standard kit lens, a 75-300mm zoom and a 90mm macro F2.8.

LLO: You do a lot of portrait photography. What makes a successful portrait session? What elements have to be in place? How much direction do you need to give?
HC: I came first in my college class for portraiture, which surprised me somewhat as it’s not really my favourite type of photography. I think to ensure the session goes well, you have to build a level of trust with the model; they need to feel comfortable with your presence, direction and being photographed by you. As long as you can make them feel happy and at ease, then it should be a good photo shoot.

LLO: If you could do a portrait session with a well-known Londoner, who would you choose and why?
HC: Oh that’s easy; it’d have to be David Jason. He’s a London legend! I would love to get him in front of my camera. His facial expressions are fantastic!

LLO: Which other London-based artists do you most admire at the moment?
HC: Louise Riley is an incredible London-based artist. Her work continues to amaze me!

Thanks Heather!

See more of Heather’s work in her Etsy shop.

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