Devon through the lens: Alex Graeme

Devon’s beauty, wildlife and culture has inspired many to create stunning photographic images. To launch our series of interviews with local photographers to find out why Devon is so great from behind the lens, we spoke to Alex Graeme of Unique Devon Tours, who is both a keen semi-professional photographer and board member of Visit Devon.

When did you take your first photo – and what inspired you to be a photographer?

IMG_1938aI can’t remember the very first photograph that I took, but I did used to take photos when on holiday as a child, normally when we went to Scotland for our annual family summer holiday.

I’ve been inspired to take photography increasingly seriously by the landscapes, nature and other subject matters all around me, and the discovery that I’ve got quite a good eye for taking a reasonable photo.  I’ve also been inspired by fellow photographers (I’m a member of Newton Abbot Photographic Club), from whom I’m always looking to learn.

Huccaby Bridge
Huccaby Bridge
Mouth of the River Dart
Mouth of the River Dart

What do you love about Devon, and where in Devon did you take your best photo?

There’s so much to love about Devon that it’s difficult to single one thing out.  It’s a naturally very beautiful county, with a great deal of variety of things to see and do.  I also like the fact that it’s a relatively safe place to bring my family up, and great for an outdoors lifestyle.  It’s the perfect place for me to run my tour guiding business in too, as there’s so much to see and do here.

I have a few favourite photos rather than one particular one, but last year I did take a photo as I was leaving my home village of Denbury, and it has to be one of my favourites.  The early morning sun rays coming through the trees gave a quite spectacular light, and created the most beautiful scene, one that I consider to be typically ‘Devon’.

Leaving Denbury
Leaving Denbury

What’s the funniest photo you’ve taken in Devon?

I was out on tour with some guests on Dartmoor in September.  It was a fairly miserable day, and it so happened that one of the big cycling events was taking place.  We pulled over as my guests wanted to watch some of the cyclists come past, and a man on a motorbike came past at the same time as one of the cyclists.  It was only when I looked at the image later that I noticed a passenger on the motorbike, but not one that I would have expected!  A dog, no less!

4 - Dog on a Bike

Why do you think we have so many photographers and creatives in Devon?

Places of great beauty and open space attract creative people.  They seek inspiration from the environment around them, and the variety of the county, from the rugged coastlines and golden beaches of North and South, and East Devon, to the barren beauty of Dartmoor and the rolling green farmland that is so prevalent throughout Devon.  There really are endless different types of subject matter, with nature in abundance.

Dartmoor View
Dartmoor View
Boat at Branscombe
Boat at Branscombe
Devon Robin
Devon Robin

What do you use your photography for?

I take most of my photographs during the course of my job.  I’m a tour guide with my own company, Unique Devon Tours.  I’ve worked very hard to create a product that provides my guests with something special and a bit different, and judging by feedback from my guests, it is very unusual for a tour guide to offer a free and good quality photography service during the tour, where I take the photos of and for the guests.  It adds a lot of administration to my day with all the processing of the photos, but I love taking them, and my guests appreciate it hugely.  My company is now three years old and thriving, with a host of awards won and a faultless rating on Tripadvisor with over 100 perfect reviews.

Devon really is the perfect place, not only from the point of view of a photographer and a tour guide, but for visitors too.  Hopefully my recently launched gallery, that you can visit here, demonstrates this to some extent.

Grimspound Group
Grimspound Group
Slapton Sands
Slapton Sands
Dartmouth Group
Dartmouth Group

 

If there was one Devon event or place you would recommend budding photographers capture what would it be?

This year I photographed a couple of festivals, including the wonderful Glas-Denbury Music Festival.  Devon’s festivals really are great events to be at for a photographer, partly due to the colour of the occasion, and partly because you are able to take photos of some of the amazing characters that attend these festivals.  It’s worth asking organisers of festivals for a mutual exchange, where you offer to take photos of the event for the organisers, in exchange for a complimentary ticket to the event.  It’s a ‘win win’ situation!

Festival Fun
Festival Fun
Glas-Denbury
Glas-Denbury
Yours in Harmony
Yours in Harmony
Juggler
Juggler