Born in North Yorkshire and having spent most of his life in the area, Rod Bennington now lives near to Northallerton, a base he regards as ideal for landscape photography, being midway between the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales.
His interest and involvement in photography spans more than forty years, but it is only in the last five years that he has been able to dedicate significant time to his passion for landscape photography. Having always had a great affinity for water, woodland, plants and the special quality of light early and late in the day, photographing them is now something of an obsession for him.
Another of his passions is image quality, so, despite the vast quality improvements in digital cameras in recent years, he continues to shoot on transparency film using a 5"x4" large format camera to achieve astonishing levels of detail and tonal variation in his prints. In addition to superb quality, the format offers precise control of perspective/focal planes and a large ground-glass screen for image composition, features he considers indispensable to his contemplative style of photography.
Although preferring film for image capture, Rod does embrace digital technology in creating his prints. He adopts a hybrid workflow, firstly drum-scanning the transparencies, then optimising the digital images in Photoshop and finally producing his own prints, almost invariably on a matt pure cotton rag paper, both for a more natural appearance and archival performance.
Rod held his first major exhibition, "A Year at Thorp Perrow", at The Station, Richmond, in April/May 2015. This study depicted the changing phases at Thorp Perrrow throughout the seasons and was the culmination of more than fifty visits to photograph the arboretum. This was not simply a catalogue of all that can be seen and enjoyed at Thorp Perrow, rather, a highly intimate portrait of plants, shrubs and trees that have become his cherished favourites over many years. The exhibition reflected the diversity, splendour and, above all, tranquillity that lure him time and again to the arboretum.
A sub-group of images from this project, entitled "A Passion for Leaves", focusing exclusively on leaves, their remarkable colours, textures and diversity was also exhibited at the Joe Cornish Galleries in Northallerton, North Yorkshire during April 2015.
Rod's second major exhibition, "Floral Portraits", is being staged at the Joe Cornish Galleries, Northallerton from Saturday 28 July to Thursday 30 August 2018. It is a distillation of more than 150 visits to Thorp Perrow Arboretum and focuses exclusively on flowers, their remarkable diversity and individual characteristics. Again, it is a highly personal selection of his most-loved genera and species that he portrays in truly astonishing detail.
Rod is profoundly grateful to all of the Ropner family for their consent to hold the exhibitions and for their dedication and enthusiasm in restoring and maintaining this magical environment for visitors to enjoy.
Selected works from his earlier exhibitions are also on display in the Tea Room at Thorp Perrow Arboretum.