Showcasing University of Cumbria Photographer Gareth Cottom

This morning’s showcase features University of Cumbria photographer and up-and-coming creative Gareth Cottom. Located in one of the UK’s natural wonders, Gareth is ideally situated to concentrate on wonderful landscape shots as well as other skills and techniques from the field of photography. Here’s more from the man himself:

I am just coming to the end of my final year of study at The University of Cumbria where I have been studying Photography. I wasn’t really into photography until I chose to study it at college. I had only decided to pick it because I needed another subject to choose and photography seemed fun and in my mind seemed the easiest which turned out to be untrue! It did however turn out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. After picking up a camera and starting to create my own images in a style I wanted to, I couldn’t put the camera down and wanted to use it all day everyday. That’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do and that I wanted to continue my studies as a photographer.

In the first few years of study I wasn’t sure what kind of photographer I wanted to be, I love sports and had planned on becoming a sports photographer until I started looking at the work of Jem Southam. Southam is one of the most respected British Photographers but his images are not of beauty like an Ansel Adams but of places that have a story behind them, in most cases which humans have created.

I have taken inspiration from Southam’s work and in my final year I have started to find places that humans have changed in some way, this work is of wooded places/parks around the north of England and Scottish borders. At first glance these places might not seem all that interesting until you know the story behind them, like for instance these images you see here are of a wooded area close to Dumfries House just over the Scottish border. This area used to be maintained every day by rangers who were employed by the people who own Dumfries House. However, since the recession has hit these rangers have had to be let go and so the wooded areas are left to overgrow. I still however find these unmanned areas of woodland really beautiful, this work is not finished and will carry on with me travelling around the North of England to find areas of woodland that have once inhibited human life ,whether that is through rangers maintaining the land or if people have found shelter there. Like Southam’s work, which lasts over seasons and even years, I would like to come back to these places maybe 6 months or a year later to see how they have changed.

After university I plan to carry on with my Photography work as a freelance photographer trying to show my work to as many different people as possible. However, one of my main dreams since I have started to take Photography seriously is to travel, I have saved up money since I have been at University and plan to travel across Asia next summer capturing and taking in as many different cultures as possible along the way. For now I have also just landed a volunteering position for the North West Inspire Programme for the 2012 Olympic Games, which will involve me trying to create a legacy through photographs from the 2012 games for the North West of England.
Thanks for reading! You can see more of my photos on Flickr and follow me on Twitter @GazCottom.

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