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Colin Prior Asks, “What Can I Subtract?”

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Post by Jenny McBain, a freelance writer from Aviemore, who is providing special reports on the daily Summit content.

Next time you are overwhelmed by the beauty of your surroundings and about to click the camera shutter to try to capture the experience, perhaps you should stop for a moment and ask yourself that very question, “What can I subtract?” Leading landscape photographer Colin Prior passed this advice and on some other  insider photography tips at his session, “Selling the Dream,”  at the 2010 Adventure Travel World Summit.

On the subject of subtraction, he suggests you approach photography by zooming in on a shot that tells a story, as the still image is a uniquely powerful tool that, when used correctly, can be a “conduit for self expression with which you can create your own view on how you feel about a particular subject.” When we take a picture, we need to be like a storyteller who hones in on key points of the narrative in order to give the audience something which leaves room for interpretation, yet helps them to make sense of the world.

Although an increasing number of websites contain video, Colin maintains that there will always be a place for good still images and urges those engaged in promoting adventure travel to keep this in mind. He explained that the human brain  has trouble recalling moving picture sequences, but not so with a strong, memorable image. It seems we are hard wired to absorb the virtues of a good photograph.

Colin went on to say, “If people don’t have the expertise in-house, they should use someone that’s visually literate so they are using the most effective visual messages they can. One of my mantras is that less is more. You can say something more concisely with four words than with 12, and it’s the same with images.”

On the subject of inspiration and dreaming he quoted Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Colin appears to be living his dream, as his freelance and commission work has sent him all over the world and resulted in the Colin Prior Photography School. Although he’s worked in many countries, he continues to be inspired by the ancient and diverse nature of Scotland’s landscape and its ever changing moods, and his work captures Scotland’s incredible natural light. His new book, titled “Highlights,” is out on 25th October.

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