Al Miles: I'm a landscape photographer who lives and works in the stunning highlands of Scotland. I have been an active photographer for over 20 years and my interest in the landscape started as a roaming teenager in the Cairngorms. Making high quality artistic landscape images became a passion in 2007 with a return to living in the highlands. I have been successfully selling artwork through galleries since 2011.
l make fine art prints. These differ from a simple photograph by being the summation of an artistic process that is labour intensive and demanding of the highest quality at all stages. Unlike a painting where the artist creates whatever they imagine, fine art landscape photography starts with reality then proceeds through a reductive process; this combines imagination, physical energy, experimentation, weather, seasons and changing light. The artist revisits locations; exploring, absorbing and contemplating. Returning in different weathers and lighting until satisfied they have crafted a piece of art which represents the artist's unique view of a subject and differs from what others would see.
In order to translate this process into a high quality artwork the artist uses the best tools and materials for the job; in my case that means some of the best photographic equipment available. Currently I use a Canon EOS 5Ds R body which has 50 megapixels of exquisite detail available. In order to maximise the potential of this incredible piece of kit a variety of Carl Zeiss and Canon L-series professional lenses are required to render enough detail onto the camera sensor. Images are recorded as RAW files which contain the maximum information for processing and often look very different to what the eye sees until I process them. Most cameras record JPEG images where the camera has made a huge number of choices about how to represent the image and discarded the bulk of the image data and quality.
Each image is processed using Phase One's Capture One RAW editor then fine-tuned and prepared for printing in Adobe Photoshop CC. Printing to archival standard is ensured by using Epsom K3 pigment inks on Hahnemule Photo Rag paper, a combination that should ensure colours remain undiminished after 100 years (with appropriate environmental conditions). Hahnemule Photo Rag it is a heavyweight paper at 308g/m2 and made from 100% cotton, it allows the very detailed printing and outstanding colour rendition necessary to present the quality of the digital image he produces. Each artwork is then checked for quality and if it meets my standards, signed and numbered then carefully mounted ready for framing with the mount signed. A certificate of authenticity is enclosed with each artwork including artistic and technical information about the image and its limited edition number.
I make between 8 and 12 new images per year which I'm satisfied with and prepared to show to the public. Each new image is the result of about 100 hours of labour and dedication to my craft. Limited print runs complete this highly selective process and ensure the value of investing in his artworks as well as fostering a freshness to my work. It is a time-intensive, philosophical and highly creative approach and is the only satisfactory way of working that I have found.