This In Focus interview is with Ceri Vale and was conducted by Mark Margetts.

1:Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed.
What made you want to be a photographer? Was there a particular moment in your life that started it all?

Not really. Like many people, I’ve always had a camera but my output was confined to holiday snaps, badly composed and shot landscapes and the occasional wildlife shot. Then, after taking a bridge camera on safari I realised I wanted more than basic snaps.

2:What cameras have you had and what is your current camera?
Where do you find your inspiration from?
Which photographers do you look up to?

When I realised the bridge camera wouldn’t cut it any more I started looking for an slr. I researched, visited camera shops etc but could never find something that both shot well and felt right in my hand. Then I happened to pick up an Olympus E510 and that was it. I’ve used Olympus for over ten years. My current machine is an EM1 Mkii with, arguably, the best lenses available to the semi pro market

I’m not inspired by anything specific, my work being often based on my mood at the time. Sometimes I’m influenced by the person I’m photographing, other times by the environment they’re in. Similarly I’m not overtly influenced by any photographer, though I do greatly appreciate the work of Helmut Newton. In the end I simply photograph what feels right at that moment

3:What are your thoughts on the photography industry in general? Are the ever increasing number of smartphone “photographers” making it more difficult for you to make a living? Are you a full time photographer or part time/hobby photographer?

The industry itself seems quite robust, though my own niche (model photography) has its own, unique difficulties that have less to do with photography than the questionable moral standards of a minority of individuals. As a hobbyist I’ve always believed that the best camera you can have is the one on your person at that “moment”. A decent photographer isn’t ruined when s/he uses a smartphone any more than a hopeless photographer is improved by a full frame DSLR – what does need to be challenged is the public perception that equipment maketh the creative.

4:And one final question for you. Where do you see yourself and your photography in 10 years time?

Health permitting, I see myself with a camera in my hand. No more than that. There is so much to learn and to try, I can’t begin to imagine the turns my photography could take in ten years.