User Spotlight: Hayley Marlow

We’re always scanning the Internet for people who take interesting photos with our apps, and from time to time we like to dig in and learn a bit more about them. Today, we’re lassoing Hayley Marlow, one of the members of our Pixlr on Flickr group. Since she joined the group about a year ago, we’ve noticed her style has changed again and again. We wanted to know just what all the experiments were about and what her background was with photography. Turns out, she’s still developing her style.
Where do you live in this wide world?
I live in Leicestershire, England. I move around a bit but always return to Leicestershire.
Your Flickr profile says you’re relatively new to photography, but it looks like you know what you’re doing. When did you pick up a camera (or camera phone)?
Thanks *blushes*. I got my first compact camera last year as a birthday gift and haven’t been able to put it down since. I recently invested in a dSLR camera — three weeks ago — because I realised this is something I love to do. I am still trying to work out how it all works, but I am enjoying having a go.
From looking at your photos, you seem to be pretty good at street photography. Our last Follow Worthy interviewee (Maria Georgiadou) says she’s sometimes shy and has to rely on a zoom lens to capture intimate photos of people in the streets. Are you good at approaching people or making them comfortable about being photographed?
I can completely relate to that. It does get easier though. The more I do it, the easier it becomes. I carry a few cards with me (it could just be a homemade one) with my email address and Flickr account written on it. I find that people are a lot happier to let me take their picture if they will have an opportunity to view it afterwards. Sometimes giving someone a card is inappropriate such as if I take a picture of a homeless person. I tend to get on the floor with them and share a tea and a chat. I enjoy listening to peoples’ stories. Most importantly, I feel like you are not doing anything wrong, and the worst thing that can happen is someone will say no. Respect their request, say thanks, and find someone else.
By crazy coincidence, we noticed you photographed the same street ad as one of our previous user spotlights (Jeff.C42) who also happens to live in your area. He’s into street photography, too. Is Leicester just a stellar spot for street photography?
Awesome! Leicester is a cool place to take street photography pictures. I have only had positive experiences with the people there. It’s my home city. It’s a totally different experience taking my camera with me now. I see the city in a different way. It’s like rediscovering the city I love.
Some of your photos are heavily textured and look like HDR photos. Do you prefer to experiment with lots of effects?
I do. I think in part it’s because I am new to photography. I want to try everything! I sometimes have reign myself in.
Not all of your photos are of street scenes. In fact, from looking at the lot of them it seems like you are trying out all kinds of styles. Do you feel like you’ve found a style yet or do you expect to keep experimenting?
I really like experimenting, again I think it’s because I am new and want to try it all. I had a conversation with my 13 year old son about finding my style, my niche, and he said something that has stuck with me. He is autistic and sees things in a very logical way. I said I am not sure what I am into yet — street, macro, nature etc. And he said, “Mum, you are into photography; don’t choose.” So I plan to keep experimenting.
Smart kid. No need to choose when you have all these roads to try out. Thank you, Hayley, for taking time out of your day to tell us more about you! We’ll be following along to see what you make next. You can also follow Hayley on Flickr or Instagram.