March 26, 2021



Photography by Neville Newman
Interview by Melanie Meggs

Canadian photographer Neville Newman does not classify himself as one type of photographer and according to him, he doesn't like to take himself too seriously. He simply wants to share his experiences in different settings and locations. Neville is ex-British military, serving in two separate branches, one which was the third submarine squadron.

We talk to Neville about how he got started in photography and what has inspired him on his journey since.

"I just want to keep improving and making mistakes because that is the best way to learn. I try not to think of the future. As they say, tomorrow's a mystery."

TPL: Neville please tell us about yourself. How did you become interested in photography?

NN: I lived in London, England until I was thirteen. My family moved to the country and when I was fifteen I joined the Navy. I spent most of my time in the submarine service and after I paid off I spent three years in an army regiment. I have lived in Canada for the past 42 years. I bought my first camera in Aden when I was in the military. Subsequently in Sri Lanka I shot a roll of film at Kandy's Temple of the Tooth only to discover I had the lens cap on the whole time. From then on I tried to get better.

TPL: Where do you find inspiration?

NN: My digital photos are almost entirely of footy now. I need no more inspiration than to be at a game. For my black and white film work, there are some photographers that inspire me.

TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance?

NN: Yes I do. Michael Willson and Quinn Rooney for AFL. Michael Kenna for black and white minimalism. Elliott Erwitt for his sheer wit and Martin Parr for his ability to capture quirkiness. Don McCullin for reasons too numerous to mention.

And Trent Parke, an Australian treasure.

TPL: What do you want to express through your photography? What are some of the elements you always try to include in your photographs?

NN: With footy I try to capture the intensity of the contest. This is best expressed by facial expressions. If I am shooting landscapes or water, I just try to show stillness in whatever form or method I can. And for the Mennonites, I try to convey their sense of faith and peace.

TPL: Where is your most favourite place to go photograph?

NN: Given my devotion to footy, I have to say any oval is my favourite. Other than that, I have a favourite spot on the shore of Lake Ontario that I like a lot, and the Mennonite/Amish community in Ontario constantly draws me.

TPL: What happens when you go out with your camera? What is your process? Do people respond positively to you, or do you sometimes get negative reactions? If yes, how do you handle it?

NN: When I am shooting a game I just try to be as inconspicuous as possible. There are times when the team wins that I know they will be receptive to a group shot, and others not so much. When I get to the ground, I take some time to set up. Make sure all my settings are right. Take a few test shots and make any minor adjustments. The Mennonites will rarely, if ever, knowingly pose for an image. I have to respect that and try to photograph them without seeming sneaky.

TPL: Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? What camera do you use? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?

NN: I shoot digital with a Canon 7D Mkii on a monopod and a 300mm f2.8 lens. I also use a handheld 7D body with a 70-200mm F2.8 lens. This combination allows me to get what I am after for sports.

For black and white film I use a variety of cameras, mostly Medium Format, but sometimes 35mm. Of late I have favoured my Mamiya 6 Medium format with 50 and 75mm lenses together with ten stop ND and red filters. I find this is strong for getting the long exposure and dramatic skies that I like.

TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist or photographer? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?

NN: I just want to keep improving and making mistakes because that is the best way to learn. I try not to think of the future. As they say, tomorrow's a mystery. Let's just see what happens. If, in five years I am still breathing and photographing...I'll be satisfied.

TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?

NN: There is a Mennonite community about an hour and a half from where I live. Periodically I go there and photograph them. It is not straightforward because they are opposed to posing for photographs and so the shots I take, of necessity, have to be candid. Spending time in that area is therapeutic because it really is like going back in time.

TPL: “When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…

NN: Work outside following my wife's orders. Walking our little dog. Reading."