Edd Cope is a freelance photographer from the city of Bristol, UK.
Taking his first photos, Edd remembers being blown away that he could freeze precious moments in time. This feeling still happens every time he presses the shutter button, he says. He continues noting that photography has taught him to truly appreciate the world.
Edd started out his professional career in the fast paced world of motorsport photography and has since developed his skills to suit a variety of situations and subjects.
We spoke to Edd and asked him more about his journey and where he loves to take photos now.
When did you first pick up a camera and start taking photographs?
My journey into photography began when was around 18. I was spending most weekends at motorsport events; hiking, camping and exploring forests to watch rally cars with my Dad, brother and best friends. They were great times. Since a young age my brother had always had a camera in his hand, and eventually his passion eventually rubbed off on me. I remember the excitement of buying my first secondhand camera and the magic of being able to capture precious moments completely captivated me. I still get this feeling every time I press the shutter button, photography has taught me to truly appreciate the world around me. From the early days of taking motorsport photography I’ve now developed a deep passion for landscape and lifestyle photography, capturing that beautiful soft sunrise light is my favourite.
How much planning beforehand goes into your photography?
For me this is constantly varying depending on the situation. I’m based in Bristol and over the last few years I’ve learnt to understand the local locations that I like to capture and which will be best depending on weather conditions, time of day and the seasons. The planning involved for these spots involves a check of weather apps and visually checking the sky just before I go. With a bit of experience, trial and error anyone can learn to understand how locations will work based on your preferences. Saying this even with the best intentions you can get somewhere and the conditions will change or not be as expected, this is all part of the enjoyment though. On the other extreme when I visit a new location or travel abroad I will research and plan my chosen spots more carefully. Google maps, Instagram and advice from others all help with the planning and it’s something I enjoy doing. However often I find the best photos can happen when you least expect it and there is no planning involved, these will often be my favourite photos. Therefore I like to strike that balance between being flexible and not overly planning, but being prepared.
What is your camera setup? Can you explain why you use the kit you do?
The relationship you have with your camera gear is hugely important in my eyes. If you feel comfortable and inspired by the camera you are using then it will only make you want to shoot more. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate lighter camera gear which helps me to be more free and therefore more creative while I’m out shooting. I use Canon gear for motorsport photography still as it’s tough and rugged, which is perfect for that job. However, a few years ago I felt like I needed a change and something a bit lighter. I can’t remember exactly how, but I came across the little Fuji X70 online. Instantly the look of it had me mesmerised. Manual dials, aperture control on the lens and retro looks. I treated myself to one just before we embarked on a trip around the world and I’ve got to say it was the best things I did. Lightweight, small and unobtrusive, it was perfect for my needs and allowed my creativity to soar. Once back from travelling I reassessed my gear setup and the inspiration I gained from using the X70 really made me want to explore the Fuji range further. I decided at the start of 2019 to buy a Fuji XT2, and I’ve loved this camera every bit as much as my first Fuji. I look at the XT2, sat on my shelf, and immediately I want to head out on an adventure to use it. To me it’s a work of art and the connection I have with it really inspires my to take photos. I have a selection of lenses, which are mainly prime lenses – I love working with these and the fixed zoom really makes you think about your compositions.
Where is your favourite place to photograph?
This is a really great question and a tricky one to answer. I’m most drawn to natural surroundings and I love the feeling of visiting somewhere new for the first time, whether that is a woodland or a dramatic mountain. However, I find the coast is often my favourite place to capture. I think it’s the rawness of nature and the power of the sea that inspires me. There is a great challenge here as a photographer, the conditions are constantly changing through the stages of the tide and the presence of water and light can result in beautiful images.
Bristol features in many of your photographs, which location is your favourite to visit and photograph?
I’m lucky to live in Bristol and it’s an amazing city with nature close at hand. Locally the Clifton Suspension Bridge is my favourite. I love capturing scenes here, and it’s one place I always find myself coming back to. As a photographer it’s a privilege to visit, the huge gorge and the scale of the surroundings never fail to take my breath away. Due to the height and location weather conditions can have a dramatic affect on photographs taken here. Before moving to Bristol I’d been inspired by images of the bridge with a river of mist flowing underneath and it took me several years and many failed attempts to finally witness these conditions. It was a cold January morning and it was truly magical to see it happening with the scene fully transformed.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to capture photographs, where would that be?
There are many locations and countries I’d love to travel with my camera. As a photographer it is so inspiring to see scenes caught by others and how a single image can captivate you to visit a location. Certainly high on my list are the Dolomites, Iceland and Canada. The natural and mountainous conditions are something I’ve been very drawn to since travelling to New Zealand. However I’d certainly put tropical coastal regions high on the list too, you can’t beat sunshine and a palm tree. It’s certainly a privilege to be able to travel and not something I take for granted, being able to capture magical moments locally and in foreign lands has taught me the importance of being present. Taking time to slow down and appreciate the valuable moments in my life.