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Interview with Southend photographer IAN TREHERNE about his London exhibition

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Despite his sight condition and only using a digital camera for the last three years, a Southend photographer, Ian Treherne, is celebrating a show at The Reading Room in London.

How did you get to photography?
From a young age I always had an interest in imagery, whether it was paintings, pictures from magazines or film. But with the photography, it really started after I met a photographer at the Railway Hotel pub who took pictures of bands and was instantly inspired to learn how to use a digital camera. I bought a basic digital camera 3 and half years ago and threw myself into learning the basics skills of camera techniques.

You are also a painter; do you combine the two media?
I co-joined the two together. At first I was really rubbish! But with determination and passion, I gradually improved my skills with the camera. Over the 3 years I defined my own style which stems from the love of the 1960’s era. Black and white photography is what I get excited about most. When I used to draw with pencils I always loved tones and shadows, and it seems to have naturally transferred to my photography. Since then I have got involved with projects that have interested me as a photographer. I am always learning and experimenting, always raising the bar on my work.

What are you showing at the Reading Room Gallery?
It’s a selection of 20 pieces of Black and white photography, ranging from portraiture, visual-scapes and quirky architecture from around Southend, London and general travels. The portraits are inspired by 1960s photographers Brian Duffy, David Bailey and John French. My fascination of architecture is really about connecting with the designer’s intent, looking at buildings in a non standard perspective capture it through photography and show the public what they are missing everyday. I think this selection of photos proves my dedication, passion and enthusiasm for the photography over the last two years.

You mentioned to me you have a problem with your sight, what is it?
I have an eye condition called RP, which basically means I have less eyesight than most people. It is more known as “Tunnel Vision”, the periphery vision is what I have lost. It is like looking in a view finder of a camera. I have had this since I was 16 years of age. I have only recently started telling people about it. I have never liked whinging about a condition, it is something I have, I can’t fix it, so I just get on with life as best as I can. Being creative has been the best antidote for me.

Does it affect your work?
I get asked a lot, does my eyes affect or influence my work, the truth is, I do not know. I have never known any different, I have been like this for so long, that it is ‘normal’ to me, I have naturally adapted to suit my needs and environment. I am generally an observant person who happens to take photographs. My eyesight does not define me, my work does, and that is an important message I want to get across to people, it is about the ability, not disability.

Photo: Nicola Jane

How did the invitation to show at the Reading Room came around?
Last year I approached a big charity, Sense, based in London, who help and support people with eye and ear conditions. I was feeling ambitious one night and just emailed the PR section and said I am a photographer and would like to be involved. They were very intrigued about a guy who did photography and had limited sight and wanted to know more. Sense were very keen to set up an exhibition of my work straight away with other artist in High Barnet. With the success from the first exhibition, they asked me to exhibit again, but in a central location. The two private views were very successful and have raised the bar and my profile. It has been a dream come true to exhibit work in the busy vibrant city of London! This is just the beginning and I am looking forward to next year 2012!

This exhibition of Ian Treherne work, showing along with Lloyd McCullough runs till 20th January. Open 9am-6pm Monday to Friday.

The Reading Room / 65-66 Frith Street, London, W1D 3JR, website