You get the impression that Finn Beales doesn’t shy away from adverse weather. In fact, he appears to revel in it. While much of his photography depicts the raw power of nature – crashing waves, black cliffs battered by violent winds, volcanoes spewing smoke and lava – he manages to instill an ethereal serenity into even the most dramatic of scenes. Delve deeper into his work and you realise that in fact, he’ll take any conditions he’s given; as long as he’s outdoors, learning, exploring, trying new things, preferably with the familiar weight of his camera to hand. Whatever the weather, the resulting images carry a unique synergy and agrestic narrative.
His deep-rooted appreciation and respect for nature stems from its unpredictability and immense energy, and the way in which it inspires stories amongst travellers. His images offer a sense of perspective, as lone figures are dwarfed by towering rock formations and waterfalls – it reflects his belief that we humans are merely fleeting visitors in these vast landscapes; that our presence pails into insignificance when placed alongside natural forces and the world’s wildest regions. Moreover, his work highlights that there is still so much untouched beauty to discover and experience.
Finn lives in a quiet valley of the Welsh Black Mountains, and his creativity is receiving the acclaim it merits. Airport stamps spill from the pages of his passport, his Instagram following is closing in on 600k, and he has worked on several global brand campaigns. We caught up with him to chat about his inspirations and the countries that have left him speechless.
How did you first get into photography?
My grandfather gave me my first lesson in composition on a family holiday when I was about 10 years old, but it wasn’t until the early digital cameras came onto the scene that I started shooting properly. I then began to use photography more within my design work when I worked as an Art Director at a design agency.
How much planning do you put in before heading to a new place?
There’s a great quote by Franklin that goes: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. I spend a good few days researching locations before I visit and recommend Pinterest as a great resource to visually search for a new location. However, one must not be blind to serendipity – often things will happen on a shoot that you can never prepare for. I’ve learned that remaining open to the world and to new experiences allows me to capitalise on such opportunities.
Often things will happen on a shoot that you can never prepare for. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your travels?
Underneath we’re all very similar, but I think we have so much to learn from each other. Fear and anxiety result from the unknown. Travel brings us closer together, and as a result, breaks down these negative thoughts. I love meeting new people, seeing new places, new ways of thinking, new technologies, etc. Some of my best friends have been made through travelling overseas and our life back in Wales has no doubt been enhanced by the relationships made and the ideas I have brought home.