David Constantine Exhibition at Room 212

CUVivaCubaLibreBicycle_HNorth Bristol Artist David Constantine is currently showing some of his wonderful travel photographs at Room 212, Gloucester Road. The exhibition is on until January 31st.Please find more about this great artist below.

“I was so keen to get a camera I sold my bicycle to buy my first SLR.”

David’s interest in photography began as a teenager. He started to take pictures everywhere he went and soon developed in to a keen amateur. The first camera he ever brought was a manual, primarily because it was the only one he could afford at the time. These early years of experimentation enabled him to establish strong foundations, which have proved invaluable in his thirty-five years as a photographer.

Following a diving accident while travelling in Australia in 1982, David was rendered quadriplegic at a level of C4/5. This in effect meant that he was paralysed from the shoulders down and left with no grip in his hands.

Unable to pick up his camera, he gave up photography for exactly a year. However during that year he realised that he was still ‘seeing’ pictures.

He made up his mind that being in a wheelchair should not prevent him from giving up on his passion in life. He began to think about how he could continue and decided that all he needed was some adaptations to his camera and wheelchair to enable him to continue taking pictures.

A year to the day of his injury he wrote to Olympus Cameras, the manufacturer of his camera at the time and asked if they could help. They replied positively and so started the process of enabling him to take pictures again.

All the disadvantages David foresaw with his photography after becoming a wheelchair user eventually turned into advantages. He thought he had lost his spontaneity, the skill to take pictures of people without being seen, speed, the ability to get to difficult locations and most importantly being able to go and photograph very early in the morning on his own. He admits that he’s slow, obvious to his subjects and needs someone to help him with his gear and chair. But instead of being hindered by this it has meant that he has had to develop different skills and enhanced others that he probably already had but never used.

“My main interest is people in their own environments. I find this a real challenge and while it would seem more obvious to do something like landscape or still life, I just don’t get the same satisfaction that I get when I see that I have captured that wonderful moment of interaction between people.”

The most important development he feels is the way he now takes the time to build relationships with his subjects. Taking photos of people is always challenging and in many countries, cameras are viewed with both fascination and suspicion. David and his camera often cause something of a stir.

David’s favourite time to work is in the morning. He loves the light at that time of day and excels at capturing those incredible scenes that always seem to unfold when wandering the streets in other countries in those early hours.

David will be giving a free talk about his experience as a wheel chair bound travel photographer next Friday 24th January 6-8pm.


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