British photographer and designer Jack Anstey captivates thousands of Instagram followers every day; his feed is filled with majestic vistas, sprawling landscapes and lush scenes of nature. A large portion of Jack’s work focuses on the United Kingdom’s picturesque Peak District, where he resides.
We chat to Jack about his adventures, his craft and his love of nature.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m originally from Leicester, and have always had a love for the outdoors, spending my younger years cycling and exploring the countryside. I graduated from Sheffield Hallam University last year, and after finding a job in Graphic and Web Design I moved to Bakewell, in the heart of the Peak District.
I think moving to the countryside was the natural thing for me to do, as it allows me to explore the hills and valleys at weekends, and get out for sunset mountain bike rides after work in the week. Whilst I enjoy the social aspects and exciting atmosphere of the city, I’m definitely more of a country boy.
When did you start out, and what was your inspiration?
My inspiration for the outdoors was grown from a young age on walking trips to Snowdonia and the Lake District with my Dad, and later planning and taking my own trips and becoming obsessed with the outdoors. Photography came a little later, when I began studying it at school. Whilst I always kept a camera close to hand, my photography took a back seat whilst I studied at university, only coming out on occasional summer trips to the mountains.
Moving to the countryside resparked my love for photography, I became very active on Instagram and started posting on a daily basis. I regularly venture out with other photographers, which helps to motivate me and keep me excited. The @PeaksCollective are a group of photographers who share a love of the Peak District, their monthly meet ups always provide great conversations, locations and atmosphere to help keep me inspired and developing my skills.
“…moving to the countryside was the natural thing for me to do, as it allows me to explore the hills and valleys at weekends, and get out for sunset mountain bike rides after work in the week.”
Though your portfolio covers a wide variety of subject matters, it seems to favor lush, pristine scenes of nature. What one thing draws you to the natural world the most?
Nature is something that’s all around us, that everyone has access to, but few really experience it and treasure it. I like to capture and share images of the world around us to try and inspire people to get out more, or to stop and appreciate the beauty around them. People can get very used to a 9-5 lifestyle and binge-watching on Netflix, but I like to encourage them to get out and see the world.
In three words, how would you describe your photography style?
Atmospheric, Wanderlust, Wild.
You’re quite the explorer. How many countries have you visited in all?
Nine, but I still haven’t made it out of Europe. I’d really like to get over to America, or explore Iceland and Scandinavia.
What’s your favorite place you’ve visited, and why?
A few years back I spent a week on the Isle of Rum, a small island in the Scottish Hebrides. With 40 square miles of wild land, no footpaths or roads, and only 25 inhabitants, it’s a pretty remote place. There was something refreshing and inspiring about the raw beauty of the wilderness that really stuck with me after I left. I’d love to go back there at some point in the future.
“People can get very used to a 9-5 lifestyle and binge-watching on Netflix, but I like to encourage them to get out and see the world.”
Are you big on itineraries, or are you more of a ‘play-by-ear’ kind of guy?
I prefer making my own route as I go, that way you are able to discover and stumble upon things that you otherwise might have missed. Sometimes it’s best to veer off the path, and go outside the box, which you cannot achieve by being overly prepared. To quote 180º South: “Adventure is when everything goes wrong, that’s when the adventure starts.”
Ever gotten lost?
Several years ago I was on top of Scafell Pike (tallest mountain in England) in a complete snowy white-out. With gusts up to 80mph and thick cloud and snow it was a pretty sketchy situation, we had to rely on compass bearings and our footprints to get us down off the mountain.
…and was it a problem?
I’m not a worrier at all, and keep a cool head in all situations. I find remaining calm and taking your time is often the best way to get back safely.
Where to next, Jack?
I’d really like to get up to the Isle of Skye over the summer and walk the Cuillin. It’s an area of the UK that has always amazed me, but I haven’t been to yet. I’d love to spend some time wild camping and exploring the mountains. I’m also looking to start selling prints and photographs through my website in the near future.
“Sometimes it’s best to veer off the path, and go outside the box, which you cannot achieve by being overly prepared.”
Where can folks check out your work?
Thanks for having me. I post daily to my Instagram @jack_anstey, and I keep a journal/blog of my adventures on my website – www.jackansteyphoto.co.uk