1. Boat on the beach I’m always interested in how nature and urban development co-exist. Here, in Whitstable, the houses provide a splash of colour alongside the white and purple wildflowers on the beach, and the boat sits amid this vibrant ‘sea’ in a happy union. I doubt I would feel the same way about, or be inspired to photograph, somewhere like Dubai, which exists in defiance of nature.
Alex Hare has been a commercial photographer for 10 years, providing photography work for businesses. His passion lies in discovering new landscapes and new ideas connected to the landscape, and he is currently finalising his forthcoming photo guidebook ‘Photographing Kent’. Alex also runs workshops, bookmaking courses and travel-photo tours.
“My path into professional photography has not been straightforward. I graduated from Cardiff’s Journalism School but found the gap between the skills I was taught and those required in the industry depressingly large. So I retrained in law and practised as a solicitor for eight years. When I was 30 (10 years ago!) I made the switch to full-time photography.
Since then I’ve worked as a commercial photographer, shooting assignments for tourist boards and regional businesses in Kent that need images for their websites and marketing work. Having worked as a commercial lawyer, I find it easy to relate to people in business and to meet their need for an effective, creative photography service.
However, I’ve always maintained my passion for landscape: it’s my main artistic outlet and I spend hours immersed in the Kentish scenery with my camera. It’s relatively under-photographed compared with, say, Dorset or the Peak District, so my first book, ‘Photographing Kent’, will be a handbook on places to visit for anyone interested in exploring the county with their camera.
Because Kent is my home and the main focus of my work, it’s where many of my favourite images have been taken. Taking photos of well-known places is fine, but you’re not telling a story that hasn’t already been told. Whereas, in Kent, I get a buzz of excitement from finding new and original locations to capture, and the photos I’ve selected here reflect that.
Outside Kent, I’d say my favourite images are from Greece and the Outer Hebrides, two places I feel a deep connection with. I worked in Greece as a student and also went backpacking there, so the country feels familiar, almost like a part of me belongs there. With the Outer Hebrides it’s the remoteness and the transition from the open Atlantic sea to Europe that fascinates me. With my landscape work I find that I’m constantly drawn to places where elements join together, from towns and natural spaces, to seas and shorelines, and, in Scotland, the effect of the sea and weather making landfall in such a beautiful landscape is a wonderful phenomenon to photograph.”
2. Reculver This wonderfully positioned tower, which has so much historical significance, is a location I photograph regularly. In this shot, I wanted to illustrate not just how much ‘dark sky’ we have in Kent but also to show the connection between the cosmic sense of scale and time and the ancient building. We’re so lucky to have both available to us in Kent, and I hope that, through my work, I can help persuade more people to place greater value on local experiences and to move away from more extensive, carbon-producing travel.
3. Margate Harbour Arm I find the Thanet towns a constant source of inspiration. I’m walking in Turner's shadow here, and knowing he plied his trade on this corner of Kent fills me with a sense of confidence about expressing my own vision of the location. I have a portfolio on my website that is all about reimagining the local landscapes with reference to Turner's style, and I am convinced that if he was alive today, he would be a long-exposure photographer too!
4. Canterbury at dawn The cathedral is an iconic building and, although it towers over the city, getting a sense of it when walking the streets is hard to achieve. But, seen from the surrounding hills and backlit by a rising sun with mist swirling in the valley, the conditions were just right to capture its significance.
The five smaller photos are of Greece and Scotland, two places Alex feels a deep connection with.