Patrick Welch is a photographer who is based in Greenville County, South Carolina. His work focusses on nature, transport and history.
I chose Patrick Welch for this particular interview because he is one of a unique kind of photographer. I find I have quite an affinity for his work because I suffer the same dilemmas too – I dont really want to work with people in photography! However I have done many fashion shoots and portraiture.
Looking back I suppose these were these were moderately successful. Clearly this depends on the subject’s charisma, including what are much needed understanding and patience, as I have found one or two subjects without these requirements and this made my work much more difficult to manage.
Patrick is probably the only photographer to have stated that he has asperger’s. I do not see any others that have made this statement (except myself which I have indicated elsewhere in my London Aspie blog) so it’s great to find someone who has to define themselves towards particular kinds of photograph work due to a medical diagnosis.
Transport: A bi-plane seen at a fundraising event in South Carolina
I would suspect that a number of transport and landscape photographers may have asperger’s, although there isn’t anything to indicate that this is so, but it would explain why they are adept and very creative in those areas of photography.
Many thanks to Patrick for giving the time to answer a few questions about his very interesting work and illustrating the many different problems that can arise and the ways in which we mitigate the potential issues of coming into contact with people.
1: Can you tell me briefly about your work?
Briefly? That is tough. My work is mostly what I want to photograph. If I see something that catches my eye and interest, I take a picture of it. The one thing I take pictures of that I really have less interest in is the motorcycles. However, the motorcyclist comprises the majority of my sales. My passion is actually travel/nature/art type work.
Patrick’s page with his motor car and motor cycle pictures.
2: How did you start photography?
I loved taking snapshots as a child. While serving in the US Navy during the 1980’s, I bought my first 35mm camera. I have taken countless pictures with that camera. I studied the articles in various periodicals as well as numerous books to improve my knowledge and skills. In 2008 my wife convinced me to try selling my work. I signed up for the professional level account at SmugMug.com and set it up. I have been trying to grow PGWelch Photography since that time. Growth is slow but steady.
3: Whom are the photographers you find most inspirational?
This is a tough question. There have been so many great photographers. Ansel Adams of course, and also Art Wolfe. I am inspired by any photographer who follows the passion to produce the best images possible regardless of what photographic discipline they have chosen to follow. With the advent of digital photography and camera phones, everyone is a photographer, but few are good.
Nature: Great Fritillary butterfly seen near a church at Pumpkintown, South Carolina
4: What are your favourite images?
Any image that tells a story. I prefer pictures that set themselves apart from the crowd. In the area of the US where I live, there are a number of scenic places that everyone feels the need to photograph. I stay away from the places that everyone else photographs unless I can get a picture that has not been seen yet.
5: The most unusual photograph you have taken?
A recent picture titled Peacock. I took the picture to enter into a flower based art show. It is difficult for me to get creative with flowers. I wanted to do something different. I had some ideas floating around in my head that I wanted to try. Try I did, and the results are fabulous. The picture is the most unique flower picture hanging in the gallery. Here is a link to the picture; http://smu.gs/MZUQeb
Patrick’s most unusual photograph – a nice flower close up shot with unusual lighting elements.
6: What kind of equipment do you use?
I still use my first 35mm film camera from the 1980’s, a Sears KSX Super with 2 Sears zoom lenses. I have an older Pentax ZX5n that I don’t use much anymore. My primary camera is a Pentax K10d DSLR with a Tamron 28-200 zoom lens. I have stayed with Pentax over the years because of lens compatibility. I can use my old Sears lenses with the K10d because they utilized the Pentax K mount.
7: Do you have any preferences as an asperger’s photographer?
I was taking pictures long before the Asperger’s diagnosis. I knew that I did not like taking pictures of people. The diagnosis explained why I feel that way. I generally tell people that I take pictures of anything except occasions that feature a woman in a flowing white gown and events that have children and clowns. People tell me that I should do weddings for the money. People do not understand Asperger’s. I cannot handle the emotions of brides. I do not do people pictures in general because I do not do good people pictures. There can be exceptions to the rule. Last year I was vacationing at the beach. There was a family next to us that had surfboards. I had never tried surfing pictures so I asked for permission to photograph the family enjoying the surf. They granted me permission and the pictures came out well.
Being diagnosed with Asperger’s has actually been a blessing in both my personal and professional lives. I know my restrictions when it comes to dealing with people. I continue to work on my social skills so that I can communicate with customers more easily. Asperger’s has also tapped into some creativity when taking pictures. Being an Aspie gives the advantage of not really caring if people like my pictures. I love photography. It is a tool for me to show others how I view the world around me. To finally answer the question, I prefer taking pictures that I want to take without someone else telling me what and how I should do it. When doing custom shoots, I need to know what the customer wants for the final product, not the customers opinion of how to arrive at that point.