Layers of Looking – Ian Fennelly

Ian Fennelly Layers of Looking

During the break between Christmas and New Year I took a deep dive into the world of urban sketching. It’s always fun to look at the world through other view points and how other visual artists approach their work can inform how I make photographs.

Drawing, and particularly the ink and watercolor approach is something that I’ve been interested in for years. Not being able to draw always held me back from pursuing this kind of work but it is often on my radar. I particularly appreciate the looseness that is found in the work of many ‘urban sketchers’. As I have thought about this I recognize that for me the starting photograph is just that, a start, a point of departure, and how I interpret the scene could then go in many ways.

One of the artists I’ve been learning from has been Ian Fennelly. Ian is an exceptionally talented and patient teacher. You can get a sense of his approach in the video below.

His new book ‘Layers of Looking’ provides the thinking behind the work rather that being a step by step how to. I enjoyed each of the chapters, taking away something that is relevant to my work from most of them. I liked the section below from the section on the factors important to choosing a subject:

…finding something visually interesting, something that grabs me and makes me feel I can tell the story of that place.

… it needs to have a rich variety of content; interesting perspective and shapes, patterns and storytelling potential.

Have a quick look at more of the book in the video below.