The law and photography

•February 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment


There’s not much similarity, you might think, between the law and the art of photography. One primarily involves the written word, the other is clearly a visual medium (I’m sure I don’t need to say which is which!). I am a lawyer who photographs and I would suggest that there are elements in each discipline that, once conscious of, could be used so as to benefit the other.

Lawyers need to have an “eye for detail”, as well as an ability to see “the bigger picture”. No client wants advice which simply regurgitates the law with no consideration of how it might operate in practice. There is a certain skill in being able to “frame” a question to enable you to better focus in on an issue, dissect it and then provide a creative solution which could be made up of seemingly unrelated, but in fact inextricably linked, elements so as to form a coherent whole. Put like this, perhaps the similarities with photography become much clearer.


With a camera, you aim to see everything that is in front of you – the twisted branch of a tree edging its way into the frame (the distracting drafting in a piece of legislation), the traces left in the earth by a horseshoe or the anguish behind the smile (the just-discernible reasoning in a judgment) or the tonal change as a wheat field gives way to grass (the recognition that the problem before you involves a blend of two distinct areas of law).  You also need to understand how to balance the various parts giving each the appropriate weight in the final composition (ensuring the advice concentrates on the legal issues in a practical context).


Of course, these skills are not limited to lawyers. Each job or profession has its own set of necessary skills. Have you thought about how yours might be relevant to your photography? How does the work you do influence how you photograph? Could being aware of any such links help you in your work or your photography?

What does this exercise teach you? Seeing what you do as separate from who you are and overly compartmentalising your life is ultimately unproductive. Everything is in a dance together. When you look closely, you see connections everywhere. Learning to take the time to see them takes effort but should result in a sense of wholeness. Perhaps even meaning.


Still life

•February 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Still lifeBird and sand. Death. Permanent. Soon to be washed away by the sea. The universal ending.

Rock, sand, patterns

•February 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Rock sand patterns

A simple image. A rock and some patterns in the sand. Impermanent. Soon to be washed away by the sea. To start afresh.

The Sitter

•April 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment
The SitterThe Sitter, originally uploaded by Paul Sidle.

Cromer pier on a bleak March afternoon, with the wind freezing my bones – this lone man sits watching the sea being whipped to a frenzy.

London 2012

•August 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I was lucky enough, thanks to a friend, to attend the final Athletics session of the wonderful London 2012 Olympics. If you didn’t get the chance to visit the venues, the Olympic Park or stand in the crowds thronging the streets cheering on the competitors, the atmosphere was magical and I can’t recall anything like it. I’m not one prone to feelings of national pride, but I felt proud to be British this summer. Those who competed, those who volunteered and those who watched all came together to produce, biased though of course I am, the best Olympics in my memory. I won’t forget the noise and the roar of the crowd in the stadium that night as Mo Farah ran home to gold in the 5000m. At its best, sport can unite and that evening, we were one. These are my Olympic images.

Helmet on a branch

•March 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Helmet on a branch, originally uploaded by Paul Sidle.

I spotted this riding helmet while out for a walk with my son, hanging loosely on a branch next to a riding school. One of those images I just knew would work in black and white – the sunlight on the branches and the tonal shades on the helmet called out for a monotone image. I love colour photographs; but recently I’ve been seeing much more in b&w – it has a power to reveal hidden beauty by cutting out what we ordinarily see.

On a hill

•February 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

On a hill, originally uploaded by Paul Sidle.

It’s been a while…but colour has once more made its way onto my screen (even though this is an image taken last summer)! If you look carefully at the line of trees on the horizon, you’ll see a rather enigmatic fork shaped tree. At the time, I wished I had a zoom – instead, I tried going for a run the next day to try and find the tree, got horribly lost and ran at least three times as far as was good for me. The icing on the cake was my final “shortcut” taking me up possibly the steepest hill I’ve ever had the pleasure of struggling up. Not the hill in this image however – I spent a pleasant evening here watching the sun go down. Two hills, two very different experiences.