An Interview With: Henry Palling

Who are you and what do you do?

My Name is Henry Palling and I am studying Art History at Manchester Uni. I am originally from London and had lived there most of my life. I started taking photography as a serious medium of art when I went travelling by my self around the world for 9 months around 3 years ago. I bought a £100 camera and fell in love with it completely.

Where/Who do you take inspiration from? 

Sounds cliché but travelling is my biggest inspiration. I try and do around 6 trips a year. Through photography it has made me want to see more of what’s out there and explore constantly. I get a lot of my inspiration from Photojournalists like Don McCullin and Steve McCurry, both of them have changed my whole perception on Photography and it still amazes me looking at their photos just as much as the first time I saw there works. They really inspired me to explore and capture everything around me.

Why Photography? 

There's something really special about photography and it goes without saying. To be able to see what went on in the past or what is going on right now is so interesting to be able to seek into that moment of time. I feel its so important that everything gets documented if its negative or positive and photography is the best medium to grasp what’s going on around us and help us with our judgment on the matter. 

Your photographs are mainly composed centrally framing the subject. What are your reasons for this?

Well when I am doing street photography I am only really interested in people and when I see a person or a group of people who look interesting I find it hard not to centre them in the frame. Most of the time it ends up my eyes following the figures and waiting for them to be in right place compositionally and this normally tends for them to be composed in the middle, kind of like a portrait. 

How does black and white vs. colour, play into your work?

It really just boils down to if it looks more aesthetically pleasing in colour or black and white. I really don't know which one I prefer shooting in. It would probably better if I stuck to one or the other like what most photographers do, but for me some photos look better in colour and others don't. It’s a seasonal thing also; I tend to have my photos in colour when theirs better light. 

What do you think your viewer takes away from your work? 

I don't know really. It's a very obvious point of mine, but the amazing thing about photography or any form of art is that it's all subjective. People are affected by things for different reasons and that’s what's so interesting to hear what people think of your work. For me its the most rewarding thing when someone likes a photos for a pacific reason and ask questions about how the photo came about like If I new the person or did you speak to them afterwards etc. Its so interesting to know what it was about that photo that caught their eye. 

What is your preferred equipment? 

I only have my camera and a lens. For me I think its good to start on one lens and start playing around with others later. My camera is a Sony A7r and I use a Carl Zeiss 35mm lens, because having a fixed lens is a must in my opinion. A good composition comes a lot more naturally that way. 

What are your goals after university? 

My goals are really to keep on doing different things with photography creatively. I don't think I could ever be one type of photographer (if I ever will be a professional that is!). I'm right now working on a project that could go on for ten years until I show the photos of the series, I have a lot of fun working on this project and not really interested in showing the works until I feel the projects is finished. I am also setting up a Photography Festival next year In Manchester. I have already got the location sorted, but have a lot of work to do to get it up and running. It is very exciting and something that would be great for Manchester as it’s going through a bit of a renaissance culturally with so much money being put into the art by the cities council. If it works, I hope to do it for a long time as a side project from my photography. 

What advice do you have for The Pupil Sphere community?

Just to keep exploring and finding things that interest you. There's nothing better than a hobby that makes you happy and to look forward to doing it. That's what its all about! 


All images copyright of Henry Palling


Daniel Ainsworth