Interview with Peter Dench – My Case Study

Wednesday 26th February 2014

To start I’d like to introduce my case study, Peter Dench. He was born in Weymouth, Dorset in 1972 he is a Photojournalist and in 2012 he joined Reportage by Getty Images as one of their represented photographers. He began taking photographs at the age of 14, it was 1992 when he enrolled in a degree course in Photographic Studies at Derby University. Peter has worked in 55 different countries, but from looking at his work it is clear his prime focus is on England. His ‘DrinkUK..LoveUK..RainUk’ projects are absolutely brilliant, Peter’s way of representing England in the images is so clever, he has a unique and quirky style which I love. Here’s a bit of what he does:



If you want to look further at his work (which I suggest you do) take a look at these websites:


So I stepped on the 10:58am train from Farnham to London Waterloo, the good thing about the journey being an hour long meant I could prepare my notes and think of more questions to ask my case study. I was on my way to meet photojournalist Peter Dench, after emailing him to answer some questions of mine he kindly suggested we meet to talk instead – I was really surprised when he’d suggested this but I was really grateful he’d make the time to meet me. After 2 and a half hours on travelling on trains, tubes and walking around trying to find my bearings I had arrived at Crouch End, the area was amazing it took me by surprise completely it was bustling with people but it didn’t feel uncomfortable like how the streets of Oxford Circus sometimes do. There was plenty of bakeries, café’s, vintage shops, pubs and restaurants – I was excited to say the least!

After wandering about for a bit to kill some time being early, I arrived at The Villiers Terrace Pub to meet Peter, it was a beautiful pub not at all like I’d expected. There was an open fire and the interior decoration was classy and had this warmth about it. I’d found a quiet area of the pub to take a seat, not that it was busy anyway but I didn’t want too much disruption when recording our conversation.

Soon after Peter arrived and greeted me with a big smile and enthusiasm in his voice – if I’m honest I didn’t know what to expect, I hadn’t ever interviewed anyone before and I didn’t know what it would be like meeting with someone with such great experience and how much of him time was he going to give me? If I’m honest Peter was really down to earth and open to answering my questions, all my nerves that I had went away within a few minutes of meeting him, he was a really comfortable and cheery person to be sitting with.

I asked Peter a lot of questions and he answered them all amazingly, he even asked me questions about myself and my own interests which was really nice, for me this completely challenges the statement being passed around that most photographers are expected to be ‘self centred’ and ‘selfish’. In all, two and a half hours passed full of interesting conversation, I’d definitely learned a lot from what Peter had to say and the advice he’d given me.  I’m really grateful for the time Peter had spent with me to be so precise and helpful with everything, I’d hope to meet with him again some day. I think if there’s ever anyone you admire or want to know more about, definitely send them an email, and they might just be so kind as to reply like Peter did. I’m not going to post the whole of our conversation on this blog as I’m going to save it for my main presentation on the 17th March but I will share what I believe to be some really interesting and key extracts.

Is there any advice you’d give to a photography graduate? 

I think definitely trust your instincts, get a group of people around you who’s opinion you value/trust they don’t have to be photographers, I show my work to family, friends, and professionals all the time. Have a body of work that people will remember you for when you leave university, this way you can wow people and they’ll think back to you. Try not to idolize other photographers work, have dignity in yourself and what you do. 

Are there any attributes/importance that you think needs to be thought about when taking photos?

To be honest that’s not an easy question to answer. Just go out and just take photos. As photojournalist we have to have something to say for the bodies of work we’re producing and are encouraged to find a subject that would have importance. I’d rather go out and photograph something I find interesting and then find meaning through the edit. I think you’ve just got to trust what you’re doing and why you’re driven to do it.

What is it like being involved with agencies? Reportage by Getty Images?

There are so many agencies to make your name in.. VII, Magnum, Panos, Getty.. But you can’t expect to fit in all of them, they might already have someone like you or similar to what you do. If I’m honest I still hope to be with Getty for the rest of my career, I’m part of a set of 15 photographers who are represented globally and its quite small and intimate. Say I have an idea for a documentary, Getty can refer me to a specific department that may be able to help me, so Getty being such a big agency is really handy.

Here’s a few photos from my visit to Crouch End..



Mr Dench himself, and some notes of preparation…


Crouch End bakeries were just too much for me to handle. Yum.


Inside The Villiers Terrace, if you’re ever about Crouch End I suggest you give this enchanting pub a visit.



Lastly.. It had to be a selfie with Mr Dench himself. 



Finn Taylor Lecture

We was lucky enough to have a lecture with photographer Finn Taylor, he showed us lots of his images, told us about his life and how he’d been able to develop into a successful stable career after much hard work.

I found his work really interesting, he has documented many things from British youths in chicken shops to East London Team GB athletes leading up to the 2012 Olympics. Finn’s diverse scope of variety in his work is definitely one of the things I enjoyed seeing from his talk, along with the great amount of advice/tips he gave us.

Some of the advice Finn gave us was..

  • Have a story – its important
  • Try and get past the ‘staged’ look within your photos
  • Plan everything down to the bone, have yourself a back up plan – Be prepared
  • Be thick skinned, don’t take everything to heart
  • Practice, Practice, Develop
  • Push past boundaries and create something different
  • Don’t force anyone to do anything, let them be comfortable. create environments for them to feel at ease
  • Start building your contacts now, talk to people
  • Get advice, take it on board and take criticism too

Here’s a few images of Finns that I enjoyed the most..

Athletes_01 Athletes_09 Finn_ChickenAndChips_01


( I do not own any of the above images, they are from Finn Taylors Website )