The Howard Litherland Synergy Range of Fine Art Photographs
The Howard Litherland Synergy Range of Fine Art Photographs

Howard Litherland's Artist Statement

My background

Born in Cheshire in 1960, my early years were spent surrounded by Meccano, Lego, Airfix, train sets, Scalextric and model aircraft of all shapes and sizes.

So it was no surprise that my schooling tendancies, right from primary through to university, was heavily biased towards science and engineering.

Indeed, all my adult life to date has been spent working with technology, initially in aerospace where I spent the first eleven years of my working life, including a five year apprenticeship, followed by many years working in reaseach and development for an innovative mechanical engineering company.

At the age of eighteen my family moved to beautiful North Wales, where I've lived ever since (except for a stint at Loughborough University), and where I now live with Liz, my wife of many years and mother of five children.

My passion for expressive photography began in university and has continued throughout my life, with my Synergy Range of fine art photographic prints being the highest form of artistic endeavour that I have acheived to date.

Why photography?

From reading about my background, you would be forgiven for thinking that I'm a completely left brain dominated character - all maths and engineering with no artistic soul at all.

But that wouldn't be true, as creativity has always played a very significant part in my life, even if it involves being creative with Lego bricks, playing with my grandchildren!

So for me, photography is the ideal artistic medium through which to express my creative instincts, with the science and technical side of the discipline exercising my left brain characteristics, while the free-thinking right brain side of me delights in finding and revealing the beauty that I see through the viewfinder of my camera.

My motivation

At the age of eighteen I became a Christian, and my faith in God has permeated every aspect of my life, not least that side of me that loves to find and bring to light examples of God's wisdom, expressed in the beauty of His creation.

Living in such a stunning location as North Wales, I've no shortage of scenery to satisfy my craving for the loveliness of nature, taking every opportunity to get out into the countryside at all hours of the day and night and sometimes managing to capture something of the wonder I've experienced in a photograph.

But beauty isn't only to be found in the grand landscape, so I'll sometimes fix a macro lens to my camera and explore the intricacies of a flower, or a drop of water, anywhere that there's evidence of God's creative grace in fact.

And above all, it's light that I love - the pre-dawn glow in the sky to the east, the swathe of the Milky Way, draped across the inky vastness of space, the warm glow of a sunset on wet sand, the drama of a cloud-wracked sky over a turbulent sea.

Light in all its myriad forms is what drives and inspires me to photograph, striving to convey in an image something of the glory and wonder that I feel as I witness such.....oh words fail me!

And after all, God said 'Let there be light'!

The joy of digital

For me, photography as a true outlet for my creative instincts, began when I first embraced the digital medium.

I'd photographed on film for many years, eventually graduating to the 'Holy Grail' of shooting on Fujichrome Velvia, a transparency film with a frighteningly narrow dynamic range that required stringent technique to record any tonality at all.

Expensive and time consuming, nonetheless using this film really gave me a great grounding in how to take a technically good photo.

I even managed to inject some artistic content into a few of the slides I took, but the cost of buying and processing the film was prohibitive, and coupled with the delay in getting my processed trannies back from the developers meant that my learning curve for photography expressed as art was painfully slow.

Thank goodness then, for the advent of digital photography.

Not only were the exposures now essentially free, but with immediate feedback via my digital camera's monitor and histogram I could refine exposure, depth of field and composition on the fly, rather than with a two week gap between pressing the shutter and seeing the result.

But to express my artistic intent, as well as allowing me to capture a scene in the best possible way, digital has opened up a whole new world of image enhancements and manipulation that just weren't possible with film, allowing me to imbue an image with the mood and ambience I want to express by changing the tonality, colour palette and composition of the original camera capture using image editing software.

So I have to say that it has been the switch to an all digital workflow that has really enabled me to make the transition from recording a pretty scene on film to being able to express myself and my feelings much more intensely through the final image.

So where am I at now?

As I write this statement, at the start of my adventure into the world of fine art photography, I'm really excited about taking my finest, most expressive images and converting what currently only exists as binary sets of data on a hard drive into physical objects of beauty and meaning.

I consider the creation of these physical expressions of my beliefs, emotions, desires and even my very soul to be at least as much of a challenge as the original photography from which they spring.

It's a challenge I relish, and I trust that those who are able to enjoy the artwork I bring into being will be blessed as much as I have been in God's beauty that surrounds us all.

Howard Litherland, Winter 2016.