Chris Friel (born 1959) is a British color-blind photographer noted for his abstract photographs shot with multiple long exposures or intentional camera movements. Chris worked as a painter for many years and turned to photography quite late in his career in 2006. Since then he’s shot thousands of images, sometimes shooting more than a 1000 in a day! His archive at Flickr is so big that we couldn’t decide how to select his best images for this post.
In the beginning, Chris took only B&W images due to his color-blindness but most of his recent work is in color. He does minimal post-processing in computer and mostly relies on in-camera tools. We love to look at play of movements, gradation of color, and experiments with composition in his work. Certainly not a taciturn, Chris gave very to-the-point and pithy replies to our questions that help us understand his work and learn from his inspirations:
I started photography in 2006 after being a painter for many years. I actually bought an early Canon digital SLR to photograph some painting for a catalogue, and got excited by what the camera was capable of. I haven’t painted since.
I am still trying to generate some photographic accomplishments to view.
Over the years I have used tilt shift lenses, long exposure and multiple exposure techniques- all with the same aim of interpreting rather than just representing the subject.
No, I don’t think so and I don’t make an artist statement. There aren’t any noticeable effects of photography on my personality.
I don’t draw a line between them. Art either elicits a response or it doesn’t. I’m afraid that such a critical assessment is beyond my capacity to make.
I use a Canon 5d Mk-III with a 50mm prime most of the time and use Lightroom for post-processing. I have done a lot more MLE work in the last couple of years because I can now do it all in camera.
The unpredictability of the whole process is the key to my photography, you never know what will show up. My work is just a continual attempt to produce an image that excites me the following day.
I’m still trying to get my current themes right.
Do you have a favorite photo?
My favorite photo is always the one I just took i.e. it’s usually my last photo.
So far I have visited 150 of the 195 countries in the world. If someone sponsored me I would be happy to visit the remaining 45 with a camera.
There is a list of 200 of my favorite photographers and painters with links to their work here.
Many amateur and aspiring photographers call you a great influence. Say something to them, please:
Take 1000 photos a day for 10 years and then reassess the situation. I’m off this landmark for a couple of years and still have no idea what I’m really doing.