INTRO - The first in a series of Lens Master profiles saluting the raw talent that we discover through our Readers' Gallery submissions in the mag. Andrew John first got into photography on a safari in Kenya 20 years ago. Since then he has relished taking kiting shots of his friends throwing down. Andrew's first shot was published in Kiteworld Magazine 3 years ago and he's still producing some great images from his travelling trips, including the winning shot in issue #42. Move over Bilderback, the ams are taking over!
Where did you grow up?
Nigeria, West Africa
Where do you live?
Epping, Essex, UK
How old are you?
What's your full-time job?
Director of Mergers & Acquisitions at General Electric (370,000 employees)
What was your first camera?
Kodak 110 format - with film that looked like a snail at each end!
What is your current camera set-up?
Canon 7D, favourite lens Canon 100-400EF
How did you get into photography?
Safari - Kenya about 20 years ago - shot 24 rolls of 35mm - got some stunning shots of elephants ripping up trees in front of snow capped Kilimanjaro.
When did you get into shooting kiting and how did it come about?
Wife always took useless pictures of me and I know how much people love good pictures of themselves kiting and I think only a kiter can take good photos - I always had good cameras but when I forked out ?1,200 for a whopper lens the transformation was amazing and so rewarding to photograph kiters - great holiday locations always help - Maldives, W. Oz, Zanzibar, British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Mauritius, etc
Can you remember the first shot you got published?
Kiteworld Magazine about three years ago - there are not too many places you can get your kite pictures published.
Who is your favourite rider to shoot with and why?
Marco Koeppel - a hidden gem of a rider - super smooth and stylish rider, good looking and knows how to work a camera. His snow kiting is in a world class league - check out the 150ft kite loops in the Swiss Alps at Bigdayz.com. He has lots of kite videos on Youtube - many of which I took.
What rider / riders would you like to shoot if you could and why?
Colin McCulloch, Lost Cause - because he was a true legend in the kite world and would give anyone the time of day - he was a great guy and many people miss him - God rest is soul.
Where is your favourite place to shoot and why?
Abu Soma Egypt - great light, can get really close to the riders, butter flat water, sand banks etc, so you can get tricks your rarely see e.g. "handstands on boards" - On Snow kiting - Swiss Alps - the back drop is awesome if you get crisp blue skies.
What's the best tip anyone's ever given you or that you could give any other budding photographers?
Get close, even in the water, have sun behind you, try and get a nice back drop, vary your position/location - use Picasa to edit your pictures very quickly - do not let your wife take pictures!
Do you have any exciting shoots planned for the future?
A trip to the Swiss Alps with Marco Koeppel this winter- he will teach me to snow kite at his school if I take more kite pictures of him - great deal!!!