North Yorkshire photographer Lucinda Grange has scaled some of the world's iconic structures in the name of art. Here, she talks about her international career as an "adventure photographer" and why she has swapped life in New York for York

HOW does a girl from Harrogate end up sitting on one of the 'eagles' of New York's iconic Chrysler building - all in the name of art?

Lucinda Grange has certainly taken some journey since her childhood in the north of England.

The self-styled "adventure photographer" is known for scaling some of the world's most well-known structures and taking the most extraordinary landscape and portrait photographs.

Her portfolio includes shots of her on the Great Pyramid in Egypt, on the Forth Rail Bridge in Edinburgh, and at Notre Dame in Paris.

Lucinda, 33, who moved to York with her husband Chris during the Covid pandemic, after living in both New York and Switzerland, has built a reputation as a daring commercial photographer who thrives on creating a different perspective.

She said: "I want art to be accessible to people - and it is important that they feel something when they see art."

She was a student at Cleveland College of Art and Design, where she specialised in photography.

York Press: Early work on the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough. Photo by Lucinda GrangeEarly work on the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough. Photo by Lucinda Grange

It could have been so different. Lucinda was a maths and science student at school on a trajectory towards become an engineer when she inherited a digital SLR camera from her granddad. She joined a camera club - and caught the bug.

She said the best advice came early in her career. "My university lecturer said start doing now what you want to be paid for when you are a professional photographer so people know what you are capable of."

Lucinda took those words to heart. Some of her first set of "adventure" images came from a night of daring in the North East where she scaled both the Newport Bridge and Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough in the same evening.

Her portfolio is not only a result of her photographic skills but physical prowess (she is a competent climber), but also depends on an ability to access the usually inaccessible, without being detected.

Legally, she says, trespass is a civil matter in the UK. In America, it is a criminal offence. However, she has yet to be "caught" in the act, let alone prosecuted for any of her "adventures".

Needless to say, she has gone to some lengths to gain entry to some of these famous locations, including booking an appointment with a dentist at the Chrysler building on the day she wanted to do her shoot.

York Press: Forth Rail Bridge, Edinburgh. By Lucinda GrangeForth Rail Bridge, Edinburgh. By Lucinda Grange

"Generally, people don't look up. People don't pay attention," she says with a gentle smile.

"We own these structures. We pay for them. We walk over bridges. We walk over manhole covers, but do we think - what is underneath? There is a different world underneath. I want people to see these places."

But recognising the risks, she says the best way to see these places is through her images. "I don't encourage people to do as I do, but rather to experience these locations through my work, there are dangers involved."

Such methods are a means to an end - and not something she wants people to copy. No, her mission is to surprise people by taking something well known and showing it in a different light.

"I want to share my work and tell stories - I don't want to encourage people to do it themselves. They can experience it vicariously through this.

"They can see my photographs and take them home - in postcards or posters from a gallery.

"Of course, if it is not for you, you can just walk away."

In her pursuit of showing people different worlds Lucinda also likes to photograph inside tunnels. Her current project involves "dissecting" one specific fixed spot, taking photos from above as well from beneath. She tells me she has been in tunnels so narrow she has had to "wriggle like a snake" to get through.

Career success has followed her ever since leaving college. She began showing her work in galleries from the off and has won high-profile clients over the years too.

She said: "My personal work attracts people and brings commissions. I get a lot of sports-based commissions because they know I am not going to come at it like a sports photographer.

"They see how I work and what I am capable of and want me to adapt that to a project of campaign."

Recently, she has been working with England Netball on their new campaign.

She said: "A lot of what I do is bring people into an environment to contrast the person with their surroundings."

For this campaign, Lucinda has conducted several shoots, including one inside Birmingham Symphony Hall and another in a tunnel deep under Clapham in London.

York Press: Campaign photo for women's netball in England. Photo by Lucinda GrangeCampaign photo for women's netball in England. Photo by Lucinda Grange

She says taking subjects into these "hidden worlds" creates an excitement that comes across in the final image.

"The space can really inspire them." As for the viewer, she says she is giving them a new look at something familiar; a different perspective on the every day.

One bonus, is that she doesn't have to travel to exotic places for her shoots. "You don't need a crazy budget to have a new perspective - you just have to look at our environment in a new way - it makes it exciting and different."

So how does she find living in York? Has she scaled our tallest building - the Minster.

She nods - and tells how she went on an officially guided scaffolding tour. "We had a tour of the stone yard first then took the builder's lift up and walked down the scaffolding where they showed us the old and the new stonework together.

"It's fascinating to get to see the top of the Minster and the work being done close-up. The detail that goes into the stone masonry is amazing, and the views over the city are spectacular."

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