A North-East photographer’s passion for photography has landed her in deep water and high and dry. Rachel Meek talks to daredevil Lucinda Grange about the extreme lengths she goes to to get her shots.

DEMURE, diminutive and daring, photographer Lucinda Grange is a woman of extremes.

One minute she might be taking pictures towering hundreds of feet above the ground, the next donning waders to grub around in the depths of a disused sewerage system.

The Northern Echo: Lucinda Grange Photography

But those who know her well are less surprised; the Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) graduate spent most of her childhood days playing with her best friend in an old disused quarry.

Now she is sharing her extreme view of the world through the lens with her first commercial exhibition.

Called Outside the Lines, it is being staged at Christ Church Gallery, in Hartlepool, until November.

Lucinda, 22, of Hartlepool, says: “I have always been fascinated by adventure and exploring, the dangers of climbing heights and being in closed spaces. When I was young and spending my free time in the quarry, there was never a day I came home clean. I was always dirty.”

Her love of photography caries on a family tradition. “My grandfather passed away and left us his camera to use. My family all signed up to do photography classes and I’ve never looked back.

“In 2009 I won the My Place Photographer of the Year accolade, which was just brilliant. I think it is so important to carry out work that I enjoy so that hopefully, in the future, this is the kind of work people will ask me to do.”

The fascination for photography has never left Lucinda and she takes her passion on her travels around remarkable places in the UK and abroad.

The Northern Echo: Lucinda Grange Photography

“One of the moments I will never forget was when I climbed the Manhattan Bridge in New York,” recalls Lucinda. “It took me three and a half hours to get to the top, but it was so worth it. The views were incredible, breathtaking. I hope people like the picture as much as I do.”

Going from heights to depths, Lucinda also often finds herself underground, capturing the unique images she desires. Recently she visited the Antwerp Ruien, in Belgium, a series of 1,000 year old ditches and canals under the streets and houses of the city, which also served as an open sewer system in years gone by.

“Sewers are incredible. The structure is so impressive. Seeing what isn’t normally seen is amazing and it’s such a big part of our lives. When I’m underground, all I can see is what I illuminate. I have total control over the light conditions to take the picture I want, in order to capture the most interesting image.”

The Northern Echo: Lucinda Grange Photography

For her degree course final project at CCAD Lucinda staged a photographic collection of People in Places and one of the “unforgettable” places she visited was the catacombs in Paris, which were used during the 18th Century to house bodies from the overcrowded city cemetery.

Lucinda descended deep into the tunnels hewn from limestone quarries which are adorned with human skulls and bones.

“When I arrived at the catacombs there was a young family coming out with their wellies on. It’s a daunting place, but educational too. I tried to capture images of people visiting the catacombs. Working with very little light was hard, but this added to the atmosphere of the place.

“Lots of people go in there and risk the possibility of getting lost as it is so big. I was interested in capturing the map readers, single people who try to find their way around.”

Lucinda says her course at CCAD encouraged her to be open to new ideas and opportunities. “All the tutors were so helpful and supportive and helped me realise what I wanted to do with my life,” she says.

Lucinda’s extreme documentation of People and Places helped her earn a first class degree in photography.

The Northern Echo: Lucinda Grange Photography

“I was really happy about that; I had always hoped for a first and believed that I should aim high as disappointment is better than not trying at all. I am over the moon that all my hard work really paid off,” she says.

Lucinda’s creativity has already been spotted by Hartlepool Council, which has asked her to photograph young athletes in the town as part of the Inspire project for the 2012 Olympics.

“It’s great to be involved in a project which is aimed at inspiring people and encouraging them to take part in sport. I have been carrying out studio work and action shots of the young athletes and it’s really exciting as they could be Olympians next year,” she says. “I’ve had a lot of fun with this and it is quite an honour to be asked.”

As Lucinda enjoys staging her first commercial exhibition, she is also getting ready to take her talents to Mali in Western Africa, where she will be volunteering her skills for three months.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was sitting on a train opposite some managers for the International Service. They were interested in my work and asked if I would be interested in helping young people overseas.

“I will be working with young children and improving their abilities through art. It will be a great chance for me to work with different cultures.

I have no idea who I may meet or some of the images I may collect, but I am really looking forward to it.

I am sure there will be highs and lows – again – but one thing is for sure, it will be an adventure.”

For information on courses at CCAD call 01642-288888.