3 Creative Questions to Keith Ellul
Keith Ellul is a fine art photographer based in Malta, Europe. He photographs mostly land- and seascapes, but his artwork is about more than meets the eye in the beautiful yet obvious way: the additional layers can be found in both his process and the way he depicts his subjects.
Keith had his first solo exhibition in 2016 and obtained his Associate degree in 2017 and his Fellowship FMIPP in 2018, both with the Malta Institute of Professional Photography in Malta. He is also a member of the Society of International Nature and Wildlife Photography in the UK and has been awarded a Fellowship with this society in 2018.
Living on an island, you are close to the sea and inspired by nature
and the coast. How do you add emotion to photos of such natural beauty?
I used to think that the coast was the main source of my inspiration, but after spending almost 4 years shooting the land/sea-scape, I discovered that I was attracted to the silence and the solitude of the moment itself.
I am fascinated by time, and while other genres of photography aim at capturing a decisive moment, I try to record a sequence of time in a single frame, and give a personal interpretation of the view I have in front of me, almost as if I’m creating a parallel universe, where I can briefly escape in meditation.
Living on an island has made this easily accessible, in Malta we are lucky to be surrounded by sea and our beautiful coasts offer an escape to whoever wants to find some space in silence, especially in winter. Before every shoot, I already have a vision of what I want to achieve with my final image, but this is often subject to the natural elements, so every shoot I must plan it and then hope for the right parameters to get what I want to transmit with my final image. Another aspect of my work is the visual absence of the human figure, but sometimes when you look closely, the human element is present as remains left behind by men. I use those elements to my favour to create that new form of beauty by blending the human presence and his influence over the landscape, where the landscape becomes a hybrid. It seems that anything man-made that endures in time, acquires the beauty of the natural and then nature balances what humans alter.
Do you think photographing nature is a lonely form of creating art? How do you stay connected with fellow artists, critics and the public?
I think that social media plays a key factor to keep connected with the public which turns out to be your worst critic. I also think that visiting exhibitions helps to connect with other artists. I am a member of the Malta Institute of Professional photography, and we meet every now and then, either for a talk at a social event or sometimes for workshops, I think it’s a healthy way to stay connected and share our passion which unites us.
What is your best tip for emerging artists?
My tip to emerging artists is to work hard and to do what makes us happy, never listen to negative thoughts if your aim is to reach your goal. I once came across a story about a frog who decided to reach the top of a tree; all the other frogs were shouting “it’s impossible, it’s impossible”. In spite of their shouting, the frog reached the top of the tree. As it turned out, that frog was deaf, and he thought that everyone was encouraging him to reach the top!
Another tip is to keep evolving and never get stuck with one style.
You can find more of Keith’s work at his website www.keithellul.com