Actor turned photographer: how Gareth’s passion for the arts led him from a life on the stage to behind the lens.
With a landscape artist father and photographer sister – art is clearly in the blood for our photography tutor Gareth Kirkland.
“Dad was always taking photos and painting them so I got my hands on a camera when I was very young,’’ Gareth said.
But Gareth’s curiosity for the arts wasn’t limited to photography, he was also passionate about acting and after completing drama school, Gareth went on to act in theatre productions and eventually in film and TV until he was in his mid 20s.
While working in various productions, Gareth kept up his interest in photography and started doing portraits and jobs for friends and families.
“Before I knew it I was doing photography at weddings, family portraits, events and for bands. I kept taking landscape photos for myself as well,’’ Gareth said.
Eventually Gareth left acting behind for good and turned his full focus to photography.
Then around 12 years ago Gareth and his wife Lila decided to move to France, where Lila originates from.
“For us Dordogne in the South West was an obvious choice. It’s so beautiful and you just want to capture it – it’s incredibly picturesque.
“We bought a property that has an 18th century stone farmhouse on it and a cottage that was a total ruin. We put so much time into fixing it up and adding a swimming pool and turning the cottage into a studio to make it what it is today. It’s amazing now, the property has become a big part of the experience here,” Gareth said.
Gareth started off teaching photography in the local school before setting up workshops in their studio – which quickly took off.
Now he runs a photography weekend focussed on learning the fundamentals of digital photography as well as developing your creative side.
“We get up early and finish late to get the best light for shooting. The guests learn so much and we have a good balance of concentrating and having time off to relax,” Gareth said.
The course attracts people from all over the world; from novice photographers to semi-professionals.
“Meeting the people is really great, we get such a mix and we enjoy wine and dinner together that Lila cooks in the evenings which are always Dordogne specialities using home-grown and local farm produce,” Gareth said.
“One of the best things is seeing how how blown away people are by their own photos by the end of the weekend.”
Gareth and Lila are dedicated to making you feel at home in their lovely renovated stone house and will help you rapidly improve your photography skills while enjoying a weekend in this stunning location.