Posted on May 31, 2012
I found these two shots on the end of a roll of film that I was scanning, I’d completely forgotten about them.
When I first met Scott, a couple of years ago, he asked me what I liked doing, I told him I liked taking photos. Scott replied, “That’s good, you’re a visionary…it’s good to be a visionary”.
I only spent a relatively short amount of time around Scott, but in that time I did learn a lot from him and most of what he said changed me, for the better. I last saw him properly toward the end of last year, in the back of my camper van on Ballaugh Beach car park. Five of us sat for hours, talking. I think Scott was the visionary.
Whatever it was he was looking for, he hadn’t found, or perhaps he had? At the end of April 2012, Scott took his own life.
Posted on May 25, 2012
I’m working as Director of Photography on a short film being shot on the Isle of Man at the moment called ‘You are my autumn’. The short, written and directed by Richard Plumley, is being shot on various locations across the Island and is now into its 5th month of production…I know, they shot Star Wars in less time than that, but we’re only shooting when we have free time, which in my case is hardly ever. In Richards case it’s 7 days a week.
My job as DoP on this film is to argue with the director, design and set-up the lighting, provide counselling to disillusioned actors who were promised “a one-way trip to Hollywood”, interpret the directors unique vision and crappy stick-man storyboard drawings into something easy on the eye with my camera. I also end-up buying the first round in the pub after the shoot and we only ever stay for one drink. Richard Plumley barks orders at everyone, though he does it well, and take the credit for EVERYTHING.
I took this photo on set, midway through an evening filming session. I’d set the lights up and was shooting stills to show Richard the lighting (because we can’t afford a monitor yet) and I grabbed this. Shot on a Canon 5D MK2 with 24-105L at 24mm. ISO was 640.
Lead actor and actress, Matt Corcoran and Janine Lashmar on set.
Posted on May 23, 2012
Posted on May 20, 2012
In keeping with the natural style of this event, I shot all the portraits on 6×4.5cm film (also because I hate digital at the moment) I used a Mamiya 645 Pro tl. Colour – Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Pro 400H. Black and white – Kodak Tri-X 400
Helen, my wife, was very clear, very precise with her instructions – “Drive the camper up first thing Friday, get us a good spot, save the Campbell’s a good spot and then just chill-out until I get there at five ‘o’ clock. Do not start drinking until I get there…Phil, promise me…”
I negotiated the camper through the tiny gate entrance at 9.30am, organiser and host, Quilly, was there to take my invitation and a small donation. I parked-up in exactly the same spot as we’d been in last year, unpacked a few things, crisps mainly, and then attempted a little snooze. I cracked open my first beer at 9.55am, by 10pm I’d quaffed 12 cans of Budweiser. None of the photos that I took on Friday were in focus.
Beltane is traditionally a festival that celebrates the arrival of summer, although this year I think we were celebrating a bit prematurely. I woke-up on Saturday morning hungover, with borderline hypothermia, temperatures had dropped well below freezing during the night, even sharing my bed with Leica, our pet spaniel, hadn’t stopped the violent nocturnal shivering. The hangover made things ten times worse. I should have listened to Helen.
You can’t just turn-up at Beltane, you have to be invited. Hosts, Sue and Quilly, are keen to point-out that the piece of paper you have in your hand when you arrive is an invitation, not a ticket. It’s a great idea, it’s a private party, a gathering and when you’re throwing a party you don’t want twenty Vauxhall Nova’s full of Chavs, high on plant food and cans of Monster energy drink turning-up. So, if your name’s not down, you’re not coming in.
Beltane is a great event, my favourite of the year. Sue and Quilly do such an excellent job, and despite Sue saying she won’t, a thousand times, they’ll do it all again next year…
Posted on May 17, 2012
6×4.5cm film has always had a bit of a bad reputation, too big to have the convenience of 35mm, but too small to be a ‘proper’ medium format. But this is why I like it – most 645 cameras are no bigger than a professional size 35mm slr, but they produce a negative that is three and a half times bigger.
I bought a second-hand Mamiya 645 Pro tl a couple of weeks ago, in an as new condition for £350 – an absolute bargain. I love the camera. I’ve had it in my bag with my Mamiya 7II, which I’ve hardly used, it’s so much easier to use the 645. I use the spot metering 99% of the time, which seems to be very accurate. The standard 80mm 2.8 lens is razor sharp.Here’s a few images that I’ve shot over the last couple of weeks. All images made with Kodak Portra 400. I already have quite a long queue of photographer friends who want to borrow this camera…
Posted on May 14, 2012
On the 17th of September, last year, I photographed BBC radio presenter, Andy Kershaw, outside his home in Peel, on the Isle of Man, easy enough as I live about 10 houses away from him. The shoot was pleasant enough, Andy brought out some excellent fresh coffee, chain-smoked cigarettes and showed us photos of motorbike racing that he’d shot years ago. With me on the shoot were Simon and Angela Campbell, very close friends, Simon also acts as my agent.
I was shooting with a single studio flash, on digital, trying to balance the artificial and daylight, but the sun kept going in and out. I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, so I took Andy off on his own, down into the shadows of the promenade wall. I took the Canon 5D and a single 50mm lens and grabbed a Nikon FM2 35mm film camera. I took 15 images on Kodak T-Max 400.
Now then, I can not imagine anyone being less happy with a photo of themselves as Andy Kershaw was, he went MENTAL. I posted this image on Facebook, a lot of people liked it, but it attracted a couple of negative comments about Andy’s personal life, a personal life that is well documented by the press, so I’ll not bore you with it.
The shit hit the fan – lots of shit, big fan. Simon took the first wave of vitriol in a 20 minute phone-call. Andy claimed that I’d made him took like a “down and out” and that by posting the image I’d invited people to trawl over his past. I deleted the image, but the shit-storm continued.
Three days later I came face to face with Andy outside my own house, he refused to discuss the issue and I was told to meet him at his house later that day. When I arrived I was offered a glass of ginger beer and a cigarette, I took both. Andy then launched into me. I was subjected to a 5 minute stream of temper, something I’d not witnessed since the visits to my headmaster at school, 25 years earlier. When he’d finished I apologised, said that I’d never meant to upset him and asked if he’d like me to photograph him again, to my amazement, he agreed. Andy then shook my hand and thanked me for coming to apologise ‘face to face’.
I didn’t photograph Andy again, I never quite had the stomach for it. He’s left Peel now, gone off to see the world, I think?
This image was shot on film, I can’t help the way people look. To this day I’m not sure whether it was the photo that Andy didn’t like, or the comments that went with it?
Posted on May 8, 2012
I took this shot of my good friend, Noah, three years ago. In 35 months, over 5 different sites including Flickr and Getty Images, it’s had nearly 1.2 million views, received 598 comments (good and bad) and 585 likes on Flickr. It also sells like hot cakes.
One thing is obvious – it’s not the kind of image I take now, but it’s what people want!
*** UPDATE ***
A lot of people have asked what Noah looks like without the rubber bands – well here he is!
Posted on May 1, 2012
My offspring – Matt, Ric and Jess.
We were out for a very rare family walk last week, it’s not often you see all the Kneen’s in one go! I shot two rolls of Kodak Portra on my Mamiya 7II. When we got back I noticed that I’d knocked the exposure compensation dial to -2 stops, but I wasn’t sure when it had happened? I almost dumped both rolls. I’m glad I didn’t!
I’m not doing much in the way of commercial work at the moment, I’m working on personal projects, collaborating with writers and doing what I want to do, shooting what I want to shoot. Because of this, my compositions are less ‘safe’, less crowd-pleasing. I’ve had negative feedback, some of it from close friends, but for every negative comment there’s 30 positive responses.
These are the photographs I like to take.