An interview with Peter Dench

May 20, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

 

Interview with Peter Dench 

 

 


copyright Peter Dench


 

  • Made in England 1972 
  • Photographer; Videographer; Presenter; Writer; Author & Curator. 
  • Over 20 years experience in the advertising, editorial, corporate, portraiture and video fields of image making.  
  • Achievements include: World Press Photo award in the People in the News Stories category and participation in the World Press Joop Masterclass. Football's Hidden Story, a FIFA sponsored reportage comprising 26 stories across 20 different countries, received six global accolades. 
  • Solo books published include: THE DENCH DOZEN: Great Britons of Photography Vol 1; Dench Does Dallas; The British Abroad; A&E: Alcohol & England & England Uncensored. 
  • Written contributions have been commissioned for the New Yorker, Telegraph magazine and the film making and photography journal, Hungry Eye.  
  • TV presenting credits include Channel 4 News: What is it to be English? 
  • Dench is a Visionary for Olympus cameras. 

 

 

 

 copyright Peter Dench- England Uncensored

 

Interview

 

 

Planning

 

RH: What attracted and inspired you to your current documentary project England Uncensored?

 

PD: As a photojournalist I’ve had the privilege to work on assignment in over 60 countries across the globe, but it’s towards England I consistently point my lens, it’s my home, my passion and it’s people are the ones I want to understand most.

 

RH: Can you talk us through the planning stage for your project?

 

PD: If you say you’re going to document a community, a town or a country, it’s a daunting task. I try to break it down into manageable themes: alcohol, love, food, the weather, ethnicity, fashion etc and manageable geographical locations: the north, south, east and west. Then you just have to get out there and start making pictures.

 

RH: Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

 

PD: Not really. it was my first significant reportage and book and I learnt a lot from the process.

 

copryright Peter Dench- England uncensored

 

Implementation and Completion

 

RH:  How have you dealt with any challenges and difficulties within your project?

 

PD: Funding the work and producing the book is always a challenge. Leaving loved ones behind to travel long distances to photograph for no tangible reward is a challenge. Maintaining belief in what you want to achieve matters is a challenge!

 

RH:  How long do your projects tend to take from start to finish?   

 

PD: The first few took around 8-10 years but I’m 47 now. If each reportage took that long to finish, I’d only have a few left. I now try and do one a year. Get it done and get it out there.

copyright Peter Dench - England Uncensored 

 

Editing and Sequencing

 

RH: Do have several images to edit of one fleeting moment or do you have one well-constructed precise image that you have captured?

 

The intention, although not always possible, is to take one image that delivers a precise message. I think I got close to that with the image of a couple kissing while a man is sick nearby which you can read about here.

 

RH: Within the editing stages, have you felt the project has taken on a different narrative than first envisaged?

 

Some photojournalists think you have to have a clear idea of what you want to say then go out and get the pictures that say it. I tend to shoot the pictures then decide on what I want to say and the narrative in the editing process.

 

copyright Peter Dench - England Uncensored 

 

Tips and hints

 

RH: What would you recommend for people starting their own photographic project?

 

Trust your instinct. If you have an idea that won’t go away, shoot it. If your excited about it, there’s probably an audience for it.

 

RH: Does the camera really matter? 

 

Yes and no. Cameras are of course necessary (unless you’re a more conceptual artist and just appropriate ‘found images’). I need a camera that captures what I see quickly and without fuss. My system of choice is the aesthetically pleasing, lightweight, weatherproof and mobile Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark IImicro four thirds mirrorless system.

 

RH: Any books you would recommend reading to get the creativity started?

 

As a younger man, Jack Kerouac’s, On The Road, got me fired up. I get a lot of inspiration from columnists like Jon Ronson and Danny Wallace (not the footballer). My go-to photo books are Bill Eggleston and the phenomenal iWitness by Tom Stoddart.

 

RH: Would you recommend attending photography workshops?

 

Only mine :-)

You can find more of Peter's work here http://www.peterdench.com
 

copyright Peter Dench - England Uncensored 

copyright Peter Dench - England Uncensored 

copyright Peter Dench - England Uncensored 
 

 

 


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