Ralph the rescue dog is a constant companion at the side of photographer Matt Oliver – which means the pooch often faces a bit more than the average walk in the park.
In pursuit of the perfect landscape photograph Ralph is led up hill and down dale all over the Peaks, the Lakes and Scotland.
And it seems his presence may be paying off as Matt has had his pictures commended for the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition for the past three years. This year two of his pictures have been commended and are included in the annual glossy book of all the best entries. (read about it on page 30).
“I am especially thrilled to have achieved this because it is the 10th anniversary book and so a bit more special,” said Matt as he stroked Ralph cuddled up on the sofa next to him.
The 42-year-old photographer, who now lives in Somercotes, grew up in Swanwick and first became interested in photography at his secondary school.
“Swanwick Hall had a darkroom and I took up photography as part of my art classes. We had great fun producing black and white photographs.
“As a teenager I was always very keen on taking pictures and documented every family holiday in detail – much to the annoyance of my mum,” he joked.
After studying for a National Diploma in the subject at Sheffield he went on to achieve an HND at Dewsbury and was then employed as a commercial photographer for five years.
In 2001 he started his own business – Liquid Image Photography based at Long Eaton – where he and his two partners have built up a healthy list of prestigious clients ranging from Aga and Rangemaster to Scruffs Workwear. Their professional studios even include full kitchen facilities so they can produce images of food.
However it is landscape photography to which Matt turns in his spare time and he says that he likes to get outside several times a month.
“Living here on the edge of the Peak District means that I can be in fantastic countryside in no time at all and I particularly love the Longnor area near Parkhouse Hill and Chrome Hill, The Roaches and Stanage Edge. I also have a soft spot for Curbar – mainly because a photograph from there was the first I had success with in the Landscape Photographer of the Year competition.
“Ralph and I prefer to head off early in the morning when we go out. There is just something about the mists and the light at that time of day which you can’t beat. I have now got to know the landscape quite well so I plan a bit more carefully where I am going to go when, but there is always an element of surprise in what you see.
“You are always learning as well and I hope that I will continue to improve so that one year I may win one of the coveted prizes.”
Go to http://www.mattoliverphotography.com to see more of Matt’s images.