Profile - Paul Sansome

The Photographer

Paul Sansome is a professional fine art and travel photographer based in the south of England. His artistic photography is produced to the highest standards and his work, which is released in strictly limited editions, is intended to provide that special focal point.  

Paul is also an experienced photography tutor and has been leading photography holidays for over 10 years. Destinations have included Tuscany, Venice and Abruzzo in Italy, Marrakesh, Essauoira and The High Atlas mountains of Morocco, Kerala and Rajasthan in India, Iceland, Vietnam and most recently Myanmar.

Paul started out as a Landscape photographer but says "One of the compelling facets of photography is the diverse range of genres that we are able to give our attention to. I have always enjoyed the challenge of wildlife photography, particularly attempting to photograph birds in flight. More recently, much of my photography has been Travel based and here the challenge is to portray the emotion of the subject or to tell a story. One common thread through these genres is that the timing of the shot is critical - a fleeting moment of light in the landscape, a moment of animal behaviour or the flash of emotion on a persons face". In 2017 Paul's latest major exhibition, "Photo Genres",  reflected this diversity of work.

Paul's photography has featured in many major publications, including the Sunday Times, The Telegraph, Practical Photography and Outdoor Photography. He has also been awarded in the major photography competitions - Wildlife Photographer of the Year,  several times in the Landscape Photographer of the Year and Travel Photographer of the Year. It is extremely rare to be recognised in these different genres.

Paul on digital manipulation...

I consider my work to be creative photography. I would define the key to the success of many of my personal favourite photographs as having an eye for, and an appreciation of,  minimalism and simplicity in nature. This might involve seeing the photographic opportunity as a bird approaches a clump of grasses or the ability to isolate a graphic image when confronted by a dense, complex structure of woodland. I enjoy long exposure photography, particularly the way that it allows distracting detail to be removed from water or sky, again resulting in a simpler, stronger result. However, my work is largely achieved with the camera and not with post-processing. Photography, for me, is about creating compelling images based on the reality that faced me on location. To change the scene on a computer to make it appear as you would have liked it to have been is not photography -  at best it should be considered photographic art. Therefore, my photographs do not have things removed or added - they are a personal reward for the effort and perseverance of my time in the field. 

Paul on photographing people...

Firstly, let me say that I get a huge amount of satisfaction from photographing  the people in countries like India and Vietnam. I have had hundreds of encounters with people around the world  which quite simply would not have happened without the camera. Even without a common language the act of taking someones photo can be a fun event for everyone and the showing of the photo on the back of the camera can produce joyous moments. In fact, and particularly with the kids, I will take photos with no goal other than enjoying the interaction.

However, above all else in my photography I work hardest at not causing offence to anyone by taking a picture. There is universal body language which makes it perfectly clear when someone is not happy to be photographed - always respect this. I run photography trips to India for one reason - the people. The vast majority of Indian people are most friendly towards a photographer and when I have clients new to travel photography I initially try to show them this to build their confidence in photographing people, both candidly and  through engaging the subject. In Vietnam, the people can be more shy towards a photographer and we have to be more careful not to upset anyone.

Since I have shared so many enjoyable moments photographing people I consider these a natural human engagement. I, therefore, do not like the practice of paying people to be photographed. I think that this breaks down the essence of such encounters. Certainly, people photography in somewhere like Morocco, has now become quite an uncomfortable, intimidating experience in which you are likely to be hounded for payment.  It is particularly bad to ever give a child money. There is a real risk that either the child or their parents will see what is essentially a form of begging as an alternative to time spent in the classroom.

Paul on giving back...

I experience a common thought when visiting places in which the people are clearly poorer and experience  a harder existence - how can I best help? I can't think of photography as being anything other than a taking process, so to rephrase the question - how can I give something back? This is not born from pity and I might observe that it seems that poorer communities almost always appear happier than western communities. It is simply that I have enjoyed meeting and photographing so many people whose lives can be markedly improved with comparatively little financial help.

I therefore work to raise funds for UK based charity "Wells for India" and have been fortunate to take some clients to one of their projects in Rajasthan. By developing water management schemes, in which locals have their own financial investment, the life of the villagers in this semi desert region can be greatly transformed.  Please see the work of this effective charity at Water Harvest

Some awarded photos...

"Terns in a Queue"

Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Highly Commended in the Animal Behaviour category, 2009

"Windsurfer in Force 9"

Landscape Photographer of the Year, Runner-up,  Living the View category, 2008

"Corbiere Storm"

Landscape Photographer of the Year, Classic View category, 2010

Corbierre Storm

"Misty Beeches"

Landscape Photographer of the Year, Your View category, Commended, 2011

"Heron in the Reeds"

Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Impressions Category, Finalist, 2015 

Heron in the Reeds

Wensleydale, Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, England


Landscape Photographer of the Year, Classic View category, Commended, 2017


Landscape Photography of the Year, Your View category, Commended, 2017

Sea abstract, Huisnish, Isle of Harris, Scotland

Horses on Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris, Scotland

"Horses on Beach"

Landscape Photographer of the Year, Your View Category, Commended, 2017

"People in Stone"

Travel Photographer of the Year, People and Cultures category, Winner, 2017

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