In the eighteenth of our special features celebrating our favourite Instagram photographers with links with our city, we feature Dave Fletcher (@_mr_dave_).
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I’m Dave Fletcher and I’ve lived in Portsmouth for all of my forty….something years. I’ve spent most of my adult life working within the NHS, originally at St Mary’s and now at Queen Alexandra hospital. I like long walks and sunsets.
Can you tell me more about your photographic experience? Is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby that you’ve developed?
My Uncle owned a photo processing company on Hayling Island, serving the local holiday camps amongst other places. Perhaps the seed may have been sown then? I actually studied photography way back when I was a pupil at Mayfield. I think it was the part of the school week I enjoyed the most. I remember taking a black and white photo of someone’s feet in Victoria Park and thinking it was the pinnacle of fine art.
When I left school other pursuits took over and all was forgotten. Then around 5 or 6 years ago a good friend of mine (photographer/artist Cris Rose) reignited my interest and a passion for randomly snapping away at things and boring people with the results grew from there.
I’ve just bought a Vest Pocket Kodak, marketed as ‘the soldiers camera’ during the first world war. There’s a fascinating history behind the camera and I’m somewhat excited about trying it out for the first time.
Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?
All of my photos are taken on a Sony A7RII, it really is a wonderful tool. I’m not great with the technical side of things which makes my thoughts about trying out some film photography again seem somewhat ill conceived. I’ve actually just bought a Vest Pocket Kodak, marketed as ‘the soldiers camera’ during the first world war there’s a fascinating history behind the camera and I’m somewhat excited about trying it out for the first time…although I can see quite a bit of film being wasted and probably a bit more of my dwindling hair being pulled out.
Exploring the theme of local, the south coast has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph?
I like to get away from the hustle and bustle (I’m the world’s worst street photographer) and have a keen interest in nature so I’m drawn the wilder parts of our area. Milton Locks and Common has always been close to my heart. My Grandad and my Mum used to take me there as a small child, telling me about the birds and the wildlife, that said I’d always look forward to chucking stones off of the lock bridge when the tide was out and waiting for that satisfying muddy splat the most. There’s been quite a bit of environmental work done in the area recently which is nice to see, hopefully it will remain undeveloped for future generations to enjoy that ‘splat’.
I like to get away from the hustle and bustle and have a keen interest in nature so I’m drawn the wilder parts of our area.
Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?
Oh, myself without a doubt. I’m still surprised when anyone else shows the slightest bit of interest. I don’t have the greatest confidence in my work but I have an incredibly supportive girlfriend and it is always nice to get positive feedback from people.
Are there any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?
So many…I love the high contrast black and white style of Hengki Koentjoro and the dream like collodion prints of Alex Timmermans, also the incredible environmental wildlife studies of Nick Brandt as well as the painterly images of Valda Bailey, I could go on….Locally Five Architects do wonderful things, photographically as well their custom framing. Really enjoyed seeing Howard Hurd‘s beer can solargraphs on Instagram recently too.