Peaks Collective are fresh, vibrant and passionate group of photographers who get together for regular social photography meets in the Peak District- this hub of brilliant artists want to share the beauty of the Peak District and inspiring more people to soak up this part of the world, and so we met with Ryan Sheppeck so he could tell us more about who they are…
Tell us about Peaks Collective; what’re your goals and aspirations?
Peaks Collective is a community-based project that commends the culture and landscape of the Peak District. Formed on Instagram @peakscollective, we have brought together the likes of Daniel Casson (@dpc_photography_) and Daniel Cook (@dan_scape) alongside many others, to provide a fresh insight into Park. Through imagery and stories, utilising this modern channel of communication, we are reaching out and connecting with those who know very little about the Peak District, inspiring them to get out there and experience it.
We truly believe in the importance of the outdoors and our goals and aspirations lie in sharing this understanding with others. In particular, we want to reach out to the urban communities of Sheffield and Manchester. You can access the heart of the Peak District from both cities in very little time yet many people neglect this opportunity. We envision stirring a desire in those people through no must-see lists, or comprehensive, OS grid-referenced hiking trails, just beautiful, arousing content.
How and when did you first get together?
Our first meet was back in October 2015. Some of the community had talked online before then but few had gone out together. We headed to Chatsworth House for sunrise, took plenty of photos, talked passionately and drank coffee. I think those who were there that morning would all agree with me when I say that from that point forward, we knew collectively we would create some real magic.
The multi-talented Dave Mullen Jnr shot the short video below that morning.
Since then we’ve aimed to meet around once a month. Though, it is encouraging to see that friendships have formed and exclusively of the #peakstameets, the Collective head out almost every weekend. We’ve also seen people take trips further afield to Scotland and the Lakes, there is a real movement and it’s encouraging.
Bringing together these creators can only benefit the Peak District. Through this project there will be more art, more inspiration, more people enjoying the outdoors. Its working and will only grow as we continue to push forward with our future plans.
What do you think makes you different from other photography groups?
I’ve never participated in a photography group so this is a little difficult for me to answer but my truest response would be that we don’t classify ourselves as one, and that reflects through the atmosphere we create. We talk gear, editing, inspiration, yeah, but we don’t rule anybody out. Starting out on Instagram, naturally we attract a youthful audience and you need nothing more than a mobile phone. Actually, you don’t even need that. Anybody can join our meets, it’s all about getting outdoors with like minded people, having fun and taking a great experience home with you. If you create some beautiful imagery we can use to encourage others, than that’s great, if not, you’ll have a story to tell. That’s what Peaks Collective is all about.
Where in the Peaks would you consider your ‘muse’?
Personally, the Hope Valley area is a huge inspiration. Winnats Pass was the first area in the Peaks that really blew me away and has me coming back time and time again; it’s my go-to location in the Park. But you also have Castleton, Cave Dale, the Great Ridge and Mam Tor, all within a very close proximity. It’s a truly incredible part of the World. The notorious inversions here have the Collective heading out at every opportunity to catch them. If I had to pick just one location, it would have to be here but, a special mention goes to Chrome Hill, my favourite meet was hosted here, a glorious Winter sunrise with a great turnout. The shot below by Daniel Casson shows just how magical it really was.
Who inspires Peaks Collective?
We owe it all to the endeavors of a few key individuals, some of which I mentioned above. They have become my friends throughout this process and we would be nothing without them. By continuing to share their work with us, they have supported the growth of Peaks Collective purely for the good of others.
Also, the people I’ve met throughout my life that have motivated me to pursue my goals deserve much credit. Their words of advice and encouragement have got me through difficult times and have allowed me to continue evolving into the person I aspire to be. Peaks Collective is the result of that process.
What are the next steps for Peaks Collective?
Now is the time to begin building outside of Instagram. Our future vision is to create tangible pieces that can be used to reach out to those within the cities, alongside developing our own platform where people can come to find inspiration, build relationships and ask advice. It’s part of a process of learning how we can really connect with people, how we can deliver the imagery and stories we have to tell and resonate with urban communities. Connecting with Visit Peak District, along with other established shareholders, will allow us to continue creating work that has a lasting impact on generations to come, and we thank-you for that.
Follow the Peaks Collective journey on Instagram @peakscollective
Main header image by Harry Bowden