A view from behind the lens

Collaborating with like-minded people is something that’s been part of our DNA since we launched in January 2019. We only work with people who share our passion for design and our commitment to creating products that improve the workplace and promote wellbeing. From the instant we saw Richard Osbourne’s breathtaking landscape images we knew we had found a kindred spirit and we set about trying to find a way to fuse our acoustic panels with his super high-resolution landscape images.

The result is Muffle Mural, a selection of printed acoustic panels allowing designers and interior designers to introduce biophilic design elements to their workplace designs, connecting to nature, promoting wellbeing and managing acoustics creatively.

We recently caught up with Richard for a very insightful Q&A session…..

Q: Richard, When did you first become interested in photography?
A: My interest in photography started at a very young age when I was given a tiny cartridge film camera. I started photography seriously at art college in 1987, mainly working with 35mm black and white film and printing my own images but also some studio and location shooting during a product design degree course.

Q: When did you decide that photography was the career for you?
A: I started shooting semi-professionally in 1999 whilst working as a graphic designer from where an interest exploded into a total obsession: I turned full-time professional in 2003. My photographic artworks are in private and corporate collections and about 8 million people see my work on the walls of public and private buildings in Britain every year.

Q: How has photography changed since the analogue days?
A: It’s very much easier and much more widely available to all. The quality of many smartphones is higher than many film cameras, even medium format. It’s an astonishing change and it has been amazing to witness this democratisation of creativity. So many more people get joy from creating beautiful images through their cameras - it’s good for humanity and the world I think.

Q: How has this impacted your approach to photography?
A: The sheer quantity of images out there now is overwhelming, and the quality is overall a lot higher, but there are still niches - such as super-high-resolution images - that professionals can and need to inhabit. My images have become higher and higher resolution, wider and wider in panoramic format and increasingly suitable for very large print sizes. There are virtually no other photographers doing this, especially for the interiors industry.

Q: What do you think of the current appetite for biophilic design elements, especially in corporate buildings?
A: It’s potentially very good. It needs to become a full-blown movement to optimise the wellbeing of workers in what are, let’s face it, unnatural environments. We evolved in nature and, whether we know it or not, we are all made calm and eased by natural elements. Research studies show that just having images of nature can improve wellbeing and co-worker relationships and can reduce stress and staff turnover.

Q: What attracted you to collaborate with AllSfär?
A: The combination of my nature images with a quieter environment is irresistible to me - a double de-stress! As far as I’m concerned, most environments are too loud and I think many people - and companies - will benefit from the calmness created by Allsfär’s products. The fact that they are being produced by thoroughly nice people helps a lot too!

Q: What inspires you?
A: Nature! The peace, beauty and aliveness of natural places, particularly the few ancient woodlands we still have left are transformative to my wellbeing and I hope to pass along as much of that as possible to anyone viewing my work.

Q: Can you explain a little more about your approach to creating these extraordinary images?
A: I intend all my images to be seen at large sizes on walls - they are artworks and, for the most part, the bigger they are printed, the better. I want people to be overwhelmed by my images, just as I'm often overwhelmed when I take them. The images of nature have been very carefully shot to exclude the human intrusions which often appear in typical stock and tourist photography and which can date an image very quickly.

"My images are not designed to provoke controversy, but to provide harmony in the environments in which they appear. They transmit a powerful, radiant quality and work in homes, healthcare, commercial and leisure environments, relaxing and uplifting people."

The most important qualities of any image appearing in one of my collections are BEAUTY, HAPPINESS and REALITY. Not the beauty or happiness in consumer culture and not the day-to-day reality of Western civilisation but a bright, radiant, peaceful and Happy condition, a condition that can easily be found in the natural world but which seems more and more absent from the human world.