Artist Interview: Alistair Horne

Artist Interview: Alistair Horne

Greenland-Kayak-Iceberg-Water-Blue

Get to Know Artist Alistair Horne!

Alistair Horne (@Ali.Horne) is a Scottish based freelance photographer. He has predominantly based his work in his home country of Scotland but has also travelled further afield to Scandinavia and North America for work, with a focus on landscapes and wildlife photography being his two main passions.

His signature work focuses on showing off the colours of the landscape through the seasons and emphasizing the mood and unpredictable weather in Scotland. Along with following him on his Instagram, you can check out his work at www.alihorne.com.


Tell us a little bit about how you got into photography. How long have you been shooting?

I have been passionate about taking pictures from the age of 11 or 12, as my Mum is also a keen photography and she bought me my first camera at that age. Since then I used to be the kid at school taking pictures at events and nights out and have always been passionate about capturing moments that you can look back on later in life. I have been a freelancer for about three years, since I left university here in Scotland. The boom of social media and Instagram played a big role in my development and exposure to opportunities as a photographer both here in Scotland and abroad.

What are some of your favorite collaborations/commissions to date, and/or who would you love to collaborate/work with?

I love working abroad on commissions and have been fortunate enough to work with tourism boards around the world recently. Two of my favourite commissions so far have been with Visit Greenland and Visit Norway. Greenland was an eye opener to me: a completely different way of living, totally isolated and the locals were so appreciative of the little things in life: where I was in southern Greenland some people had only just got electricity and power in the last decade. It was incredible to kayak around the huge icebergs and glaciers in the region and to meet the local Innuit people and hear details about how they survive the harsh winters.

I also did some work for Visit Norway a few years ago in the magical landscapes of Lofoten, promoting a social media campaign for the tourism board with some fellow photographers. It was a brilliant trip as the stunning peaks of the mountains and midnight sun in the summer made for the perfect place to work and enjoy the outdoors at the same time.

Norway-Mountains-Sunset-Lofoten-Peaks

What message or advice do you have for young creatives just starting out?

Try and find a niche style of photography that you enjoy and one you believe you are good at. If you don’t feel comfortable with one variation, like landscapes, maybe try taking some urban shots or portraits of friends and see if that makes you feel more relaxed and happy with your shots.

Keep shooting daily if possible: no matter what you shoot, this is a great way to understand photography and improve on composition, lighting and really master how to use your camera and adapt it to the situation around you. No one situation or scene will be the same twice and you will have to learn and improve as you go, so knowing how to use your camera gives you a great starting point to create your best work possible.

What kind of tools do you use for post processing?

I mainly use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos in post: once understood it’s a very easy tool to edit a photo to your preference and style easily and quickly. I also make small tweaks with my pictures if I am uploading on mobile with apps like Snapseed and VSCO if necessary. I try and not over-edit photo and really bring it back to how I remember seeing the frame in my own eye.

What’s your favorite lens? Why?

I predominantly shoot with my 24-70mm lens for landscapes, as I am not a huge fan of wide angle lenses just purely out of preference. However, I really enjoy the challenge and crispness of my 50mm portrait lens, even for landscape work. It makes me think about how I really want to frame the image and pushes me to improve and see a different view than normal. I also love using this lens for portraits or even any close wildlife!

Do you find yourself always looking at the world wondering how it would look as a photograph?

It’s strange how my view of the world has changed since becoming more focused on my photography. Before the likes of Instagram— taking pictures existed for myself. I’m sure I saw it the same as most people, just enjoying a nice view or sunset. Now I really do see a view and think of how it would look for a photo, for a project or even just for posting on social as a square, it’s crazy how my mind has changed due to my career.

Scotland-Cliffs-Rocks-Sunset-Lake

Do you prefer shooting alone or with a group of people?

I am actually a fan of both: for certain projects I like to be on my own, focusing on what I need to do with no other distractions to get the work done. Some projects are great to do in a group and make the whole experience much more exciting and worthwhile as you enjoy those moments with good friends or new friends. Quite a lot of my work comes through Instagram and the majority of the campaigns are group based, so I am comfortable working with photographers and also without.

Who inspires you to create; where do you draw your inspiration from?

I get inspiration from a variety of people: family, friends, other photographers and brands alike. Seeing close photography friends create incredible content and do meaningful work for great causes is really inspiring. My good friend George Turner is a British wildlife photographer who does a lot of work with animal welfare projects all around the world in Africa and North America, always pushing to speak about climate change and the impact on our natural world. Another close friend I have met through Instagram is Konsta Punkka, another fantastic wildlife photographer from Finland. Konsta also travels throughout the word, spreading the message about nature and the conservation efforts to protect them.

A few other photographers that are very inspirational in both their shooting techniques and editing and Alex Strohl and Finn Beales, whom I have followed for a good few years and really enjoy their work and style.

Why did you choose to pursue a career as a photographer?

I actually did not intend to pursue a career in photography, it was completely unintentional! I had been uploading my photography on social media and after a year or so of meeting people and creating work I got my first commission, abroad in San Francisco for Airbnb. I then realised that maybe if I worked hard and focused on my photography, I could make a living from doing something I love doing and thankfully it has paid off so far.

Scotland-Hills-Lake-Loch-Fjord-Autumn

What has been your proudest moment in your career as a photographer?

For me, it’s probably just my progression from my first commission to where I am now and how I have evolved and changed as a photographer, both my work and me personally. From working with tourism boards like Visit Scotland to brands like Mercedes and Adobe, I’ve been able to work on some incredible projects and I hope that continues going forward, exploring more of the world and expanding my own horizons and progressing my photography on the journey.


Focal Collective: Artist Interview Series

Focal Collective would like to thank our contributing artists! This recurring propensity to create and growing community continues to inspire us. Are you interested in sharing your story? Feel free to apply to our Artist Interview Series with your portfolio, IG, and a brief introduction via our contact page. We'll look out for your message!

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