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Occold’s Paul Cooklin brings photography methods in to focus with his artistic work

Blending artistry with experience has formed the cornerstone of a fledgling photography business for an analogue picture purist.

Paul Cooklin, who lives on the outskirts of Occold, began his career as a digital artist 18 years ago, creating abstract and stock images to build up his portfolio of work over a three-year period.

“I really enjoyed the freedom of creating images from scratch and letting my creativity flow. It was a very cathartic process,” he said.

Business story about photographer Paul CooklinPicture: Mecha Morton
Business story about photographer Paul CooklinPicture: Mecha Morton

“My dad gave me a Bronica ETRS medium format film camera and I soon began to experiment with different types of film emulsions. I remember my first roll of black and white film coming back from the lab – it was poorly composed and exposed, but I fell in love with the look and feel of real film.

“There was something special about the analogue process and I prefer the tonal qualities of film over digital photography. I’m a bit of a purist in that sense.

“It takes longer to develop in the darkroom but that helps me to be more discerning about what I choose to shoot.”

Having collaborated with a lot of online art publishers, Mr Cooklin now works mainly with The Saatchi Gallery, Not On The High Street and Farmboy Fine Arts.

The 52-year-old previously worked in hairdressing before becoming a self-employed photographer.

He volunteers to coach football for his son’s team in his spare time and gets away from his desk to spend an hour on his motorcycle to refresh his creativity where possible.

For Mr Cooklin, the creative elements and craftsmanship are an essential part of what he does, with digital technology having diluted some aspects of the photography world.

“The simple rules of the negative might appear restrictive compared to digital, but I actually find them liberating,” he said.

“Modern day photography has taken away some of the craftsmanship, and, of course, I have lots of rubbish negatives that will never see the light of day, but that’s as it should be.

“With digital photography, you never know how much was done with photographic skills and how much was edited later.

“I can accept that digital has its place, but I see the two mediums as very different things.”

To find out more about Paul’s work, go online to www.paulcooklin.com.

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