Q. Hi Harry, tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Harry Renton and I’m a photographer from the Peak District. I enjoy the simplicities of documenting life with a camera as it passes by often unseen. When I’m not photographing I’ll be walking, running, skateboarding, climbing...or reading a book inside with a brew.
Q:In this day and age, why film?
Like many others film slows me down. As I use digital a lot for work and personal
projects, I turn to film when I want to relieve some of the pressure that photography
can leave upon my shoulders.
Q:When and how was your first experience with analogue?
My first experience is quite odd. My parents both had their old film cameras from
when they were young hidden in the house and I used to like to play with them when
I was a kid. I found them interesting. I never put any film in them until I was in
college, almost 8 years later. I shot all of that film with no inclination of how to use
the camera. That film still sits in a box in my flat waiting to be developed.
Q:In light of what the world is going through right now and with England being in
lockdown, how are you finding it, not only as a creative but as a human being?
It’s been strange to say the least but I’ve lucky that I got to move home to the Peak
District before the lockdown. I live in Edinburgh with my girlfriend for university, but
we wanted to get out of the city so that we could get some fresh air and find some
peace. Because I’ve been here in the Peak District, I’ve managed to stay creative
and productive. I finished my last year of university which meant I had much more
time to shoot photos for myself and work on new projects.
Q:When shooting for a client on film are you apprehensive at all as to how the
images will turn out?
I’ve never shot a project for a client on film due to not feeling confident enough, but I
also don’t think I ever will. I also don’t want to mix work with pleasure, so to speak,
as film feels like my escape from feeling the pressure of having to create perfect
images every time.
Q:Do you plan your photography at all or is it very spontaneous?
I prefer to shoot to majority of my work spontaneously. When I first got into
photography, I was always doing it on the fly; I had my camera with me at all times
and shot everything that intrigued me and that’s how it still works today. Everything is
always changing, moving and growing so I think that photography should reflect that
and allow the images to compose themselves as naturally as possible.
How do you attain creative self-confidence and stop questioning your abilities
as a photographer? As human beings, we're prone to the comparison of our
outcomes and results, and with social media that is near-impossible.
Q:Have you ever doubted yourself and how did you get over that self-doubt?
I don’t think we ever get over that doubt. It lingers but I believe it’s there for you to
learn. There’s no shame in questioning your abilities because how else do you learn
to better yourself? I go through a rut most months or at least struggle to find
inspiration. Because of social media I think we all have a tendency to compare
ourselves to others and want our images to look like theirs because that’s who we
aspire to be. Self-doubt is good in small doses as long as you understand how to
learn from it.
Q:How did you find your photography style?
It’s always changing and adapting to the way I feel. I would say I have my hand in a
lot of baskets because I shoot a good variety of subjects from landscapes, street and
portraits. I started with landscapes because that’s what I was around and that’s what
inspired me, especially as a lover of the outdoors. As I got older, I started finding
people interesting to photograph so spent a lot of time photographing my friends at
college. When I moved to the city for university, I had to adapt so I started shooting
in the streets. Now I think I’m just about settling into a comfortable combination off
everything but I’m sure it will be an ever-changing thing.
Q:You have a mix of urban and rural landscapes, which is your favourite, and
I think I will always prefer landscapes because that’s what got me to pick up a
camera in the first place. I much prefer the fresh open air and the silence that comes
with the outdoors. But having said that I love exploring the urban environments in
cities or little villages. I find them intriguing and make it my job to find a quiet spot to
Q:Your captions are beautiful and add so much to your images and even make
people see the image in a different light. Is it just the image that inspires the
caption or is it a variety of things?
The captions are often snippets of larger pieces of writing that I have scattered
around the place. I used to write a lot of songs and poems when I was younger. I still
do but focus much more on writing a journal that documents my life and the way I
feel. I often feel a need to write if I need to clear my head or feel a certain way.
Landscapes and cities often inspire a more descriptive style of writing, one that lends
itself to telling stories about the place.
Q:What are your plans regarding photography for the future?
I’ve just finished my final year of university and with that a yearlong project called
“Hiccup.” You can see this on my website. I’m planning on shooting a second part to
that project but unsure when as it’s very dependent on the subject matter. Outside of
that I really want to focus on working with outdoor brands with a close link to
sustainability. I also want to focus on my writing, hopefully working with magazines,
specifically travel and lifestyle magazines. I’m planning a little road trip through
France next year with my girlfriend and would love to turn that trip into a
Q:If you could lose yourself in a country with your camera, which country would
I think I’d have to choose France...or maybe Norway...or maybe Switzerland...oh wait
and don’t forget Finland. As you can see that’s a pretty hard question. I love alpine,
Nordic environments. There’s something very mystical yet quiet about them which
pulls me in.
Q:Finally, who or what inspires you?
First and foremost, it’s the place. Put me in a new landscape and I’ll lose myself for
hours. My girlfriend Poppy (@poppy.illo) inspires me every day. She’s got an
unbelievable work ethic and usually puts so much pressure on herself to be the best
that her work is outstanding every time. My brother who has moved to the other side
of the world and back a few times. He’s the reason I enjoy the outdoors so much and
got into climbing.
Photographers I’ll list below so you can go check all their work out:
Ryan Sheppeck -@ryansheppeck
Liam Rimmington - @liam.rimmington
Joe Greer - @ioegreer
Zach Leon - @zachtheleon
Felix Russell-Saw - @felixrussellsaw
Nicole Mason - @neekmason
Ray Barbee - @r.barbee
Benjamin Hardman – @benjaminhardman
Virginie Chabrol - @virginechl
For more of Harry's incredible photography, you can find it over on instagram.