The eyes of the world will be focused on Japan this year as the country will be hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.
It seems fitting then to make our first featured photographer of the year someone who has a passion for Japan, considering it one the most stunning places in the world, writes artsbeat editor Amanda Penman.
From peaceful gardens to city streets, futuristic skylines to ancient temples – the island country was packed with inspiration for Jenny Neale.
“It was so beautiful and so calm. Everything about Japan seems immaculately designed. I like simple shapes and do not like clutter so it is the perfect place for me,” explained Jenny, who is a relative newcomer to photography.
She bought her first camera ten years ago but as she was working full time it really was just a hobby. However, having recently taken the plunge to give up work, Jenny is now devoting her new found spare time to the art.
With her partner Fred Gambino, the legendary sci-fi concept artist and illustrator, Jenny loves to travel and now there is nothing to stop them jetting off she plans to get away to take pictures a lot more.
They have already been to New Zealand, Iceland and Canada and when I arrived to interview her at her cottage in Lea, near Matlock, she was being tempted bythe prospect of a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia.
“I am inspired by the landscape and nature around me here in Derbyshire, but my interests have widened over the past few years to include architecture, still life and textures. I am keen to try more street photography and make more of black and white. I find the simple shapes I like are far more striking in black and white and that appeals to me,” said Jenny.
Her work definitely has a simplicity about it and it is clear she has a good eye for composition, a fact Jenny says others have commented on in the past.
“It is rewarding to hear others say it, but I am confident that I know what I like and can see what will make a great image. Sometimes you can be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time but for me it is being aware of what is going on around me.
“The Japanese bride, which is one of my favourite pictures, was taken as we unexpectedly got caught up in the ceremony. As the bride waited for it to begin I managed to capture her moment of contemplation.”
Jenny has recently joined the Matlock Camera Club and says she has found the collective knowledge of the other members has been invaluable to her.
“I’m learning all the time, but that’s what so exciting about photography. I have no barriers so I am looking forward to seeing what I can achieve this year.”
- To see more of her photography go to jennynealeimages.com.
To find out more about Matlock Camera Club go to matlockcameraclub.org.uk