Salcombe lends itself to beautiful photos, but it takes a very special talent to really capture it. From projects all over the world to portraits and a photography school at her thriving studio on Island Street, Salcombe Finest caught up with Bang Wallop’s Lorna Yabsley about her passion for work and what she’s looking forward to this year…
What’s your average day like?
There is no average day in my job. If I am shooting then all I think about is the job in hand and how I can achieve the best possible shot, which can be quite an intense process. Bang Wallop is also a business now though, so looking after staff, marketing, new trends, new products, and striving to be the best we can be all take up the day.
What is your earliest memory that inspired your photography career?
I used to do a lot of ballet and was lucky enough to go to ballet school when I was younger. It sounds strange, but just being involved in the arts from an early age, including TV gave me an interest in creating a beautiful shape within that rectangular frame of the stage. Taking pictures is very similar – it’s all about lighting and beautiful lines and thinking about how something looks within those parametres, so I think my biggest influence was learning to do that with my body as a ballerina.
What was the idea behind Bang Wallop?
Before moving to Island Street we had a small and talented team working on an industrial estate in Churchstow doing lots of photo shoots, but I felt as though everything we were producing wasn’t being seen – we were hidden. I wanted to be in the Salcombe area, and at the same time I was recognising that with the development of digital photography there was a massive change in the industry and people would want to learn about photography. I had been after these premises for years and was finally able to make the move. The name comes from the Tommy Steele’s film Half a Sixpence, which includes a song with the line “flash, bang wallop what a picture…” – I worked with a great photographer once and he always sang it and it stuck with me.
What do you like most about working in Salcombe?
I have to admit that I drive into work and hit the ground running so sometimes it’s so busy that I don’t get time to appreciate Salcombe. Last year though I made a real effort to take 10 minutes and outside each day. We are lucky where we are – I can step out the back and see the fish key. I love hearing the boats and the seagulls, and the smell of it all – it’s the sound of my childhood.
What’s the best thing about your job?
In my job as a photographer it is, and has always been, the variety. You get to meet lots of different people and get access to places that you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to see. It’s quite a privileged position to have unfettered access to capture a place or a person.
What has been your best experience at work?
I really have enjoyed employing people. I am not very good at working on my own, I like working in a team. Where my skillset is lacking other people can bring something to the mix and I enjoy paying people’s wages; that makes me feel really good.
What’s been your strangest experience at work?
Photographing the King of Tory Island off the coast of Ireland. The project involved being flown to this remote island and getting pissed with him on potato wine. That was quite unique!
What are you looking forward to most in 2015?
I am very excited about two big stars coming to Bang Wallop – Charlie Waite and Bruce Munro. Charlie Wait is a hugely respected landscape photographer who is bringing his work to us, and Bruce Munro is a lighting artist who is bringing his iconic Field of Light installation to Salcombe for three months in aid of the RNLI. In conjunction with that I am working with other people in Salcombe to redevelop the Salcombe calendar, in particular an arts fair. Beyond that I am generally looking forward to doing more; I want offer families and people who are looking for something really exceptional from their photography something outstanding and different whether it’s a family portrait or a commercial project.
Who do you admire?
Richard Avedon is my favourite photographer I think, along with Tim Walker and Annie Leibovitz – obviously! As a person I couldn’t choose; there are so many brilliant people.
What’s your favourite thing to do at the weekend in Salcombe?
Walk along the beach up at The Hipple when it’s exposed. On a sunny day when nobody is around there is nowhere more magical.
What’s next for Bang Wallop?
We are constantly looking at evolving our style, perfecting what we do and offering a fantastic service to families as well as conveying how important creative, beautiful imagery is to family life and commercial projects.