A Chat with Simon Bray
The Edges of These Isles Co-Creator | Simon Bray
1. What's your best travel or outdoor memory from growing up?
As a family, we used to visit the Lake District each summer, so most of my travel memories are from climbing mountains as a kid and just feeling completely free in that breathtaking scenery. One year we did venture to Chamonix in the south of France. The whole town is geared around the ski season, but we went in the summer, so it was quiet. The mountains were bigger than in the UK, the light was warmer and the glaciers and peaks were so impressive, I think that was the first time I really felt the urge to photograph the landscape around me.
2. Do you have any big trips lined up, If so whereabouts and what's the plan?
I’ve actually just got back from 3 weeks in India. I was travelling around Rajasthan, up to Delhi and then out to the Andaman Islands, so a real mix of historical locations, vibrant cities and tropical islands. I’d spoken with friends who’d been there before, but nothing could really prepare me for the culture shock, it’s just such a hectic and crazy place. Everyone seemed to want something from us the whole time and it was very difficult to take things at our own pace, it was very challenging, but I was able to capture lots of amazing moments with my camera. It was amazing to be stretched in that way, just diving head first into a completely different culture really extended my worldview and made me reassess so many things that I take for granted each day.
3. What are your favourite bits of kit that are always in your camping bag at the moment?
I’ll always have a camera with me, usually my Fujifilm X100S, which is so simple and portable. I’m a big fan of print and magazines, so I’ll always have some reading material on me, Boat, Mondial, Avaunt and Delayed Gratification are particular favourites. I’m also a big coffee drinker, so I’ll have my aeropress with me and a stove to make sure I’m not missing out on my brew! I’ve also got a small weatherman knife which is in my pocket at all times, it always surprises me how often I need it!
4. What's the best meal you have ever eaten in the great outdoors? Or any favourite snacks for carrying on adventures?
The best apple I’ve ever eaten was at the top of Snowdon. I was with three other guys, attempting the three peaks challenge for the first time. We’d managed to leave ourselves 2 hours to get up and down the mountain, so we ran the whole way, but had 2 minutes to catch our breath at the top and grab a snack, it was exactly what I needed and we got back with seconds to spare! My favourite thing to eat on adventures though is Tom’s homemade flapjack. He’s a road cyclist, so he makes it for rides to keep himself going, but it’s the perfect snack when out working on location to give you a sustained energy boost.
5. What is your favourite Instagram account that you're following at the moment?
There are a few people which are really inspiring at the moment, photographer, Delany Allen (@delaney_allen) has an almost magical way of working with light in landscape, a guy called Cody Cobb (@codycobb), who’s book I just bought from @Anotherplacepress, again, beautiful landscape work, and there’s a British photographer called Sian Davey (@siandavey1), who takes these heartfelt portraits.
6. Which blog do you read most for inspiration?
It’s hard to pick one! I love receiving mailouts from the Do Lectures, just because I know there’ll always been something inspiring and thought provoking in there, plus all the talks from their summer event, you can pick any one of them and be filled with excitement about something new!
I also really like the http://www.instituteartist.com/ site, because it’s filled with exciting photography work.
7. What would be your wilderness/desert island book of choice?
I’m not a huge reader of fiction, although when I do, I get stuck into a gruesome crime novel, but that’s not really the sort of thing you want to be reading on a desert island, it would just make you scared of everything. One of my favourite writers is Geoff Dyer, he has a great perspective on the world and you always come away feeling educated and informed, it gets the cogs turning, so probably something by him, John Berger or Malcom Gladwell, something that would help me see things in a new way and cultivate thoughts that I might not have space to think when I’m busy working at home!
8. Finally tell us a bit about The Edges of these Isles, what was the inspiration behind the project?
The Edges Of These Isles is a collaboration between myself, a photographer, and artist Tom Musgrove. Originally, we just wanted to give ourselves the excuse to explore the British landscape and capture it through our own means, but as the project began the notion of our collaboration became really significant to what we were producing. The way in which we were each approaching the landscape, processing what was in front of us, and letting our senses be moved by each place began to influence what we were creating, but it was the conversations about the place, sharing the experience and allowing ourselves to be influenced by each others' practice that really united the collaboration and allowed it to grow into what it is now, a film, a book, an exhibition and something we will continue as we explore new places.
Here is the film project for The Edges of These Isles:
The project site is: www.theedgesoftheseisles.com - which is also where you can purchase the book.
and the instagram is @theedgesoftheseisles