Posted on December 17, 2013
Posted on December 3, 2013
I’ve photographed a lot of people over the last few years, hundreds of people, possibly thousands. Of all these people, there is a handful that I keep going back to make portraits of time and time again, Bonzo Slater (above) is one of those people. I must have photographed Bonzo at least 15 times, in various locations around the Isle of Man, most of the locations being within spitting distance of a pub…
A new subject for me is Graham Brunström. Graham is currently waiting for a kidney transplant and is pictured here connected to his dialysis machine in his bedroom. Graham was actually due to have a transplant early next year, but there’s been a set-back with the donor, so this probably won’t go ahead. Graham pointed-out that there is only a limited time that he can receive dialysis and that “the clock is ticking”. Despite all of this, Graham remains very positive.
Above is musician, Chris Gray, another repeat and habitual subject. I took Chris out into the hills and photographed him using just the headlights from my van. I wanted a kind of grungy, snapshot look to the image. It appears to have worked.
Posted on November 16, 2013
This week I photographed JC Callister for my upcoming project that will document estranged fathers. I used JC as a bit of an experiment to decide what camera format I’d be shooting the series on, these are the results. I’m very single-minded when it comes to shooting a project, once I’ve started I have to stick to the same camera, the same lens, and where possible, the same film.
The shots here were made using (top to bottom) Fuji X-Pro1/35mm, Pentax 67/90mm/Kodak Portra 400 film and Canon G15 digital compact. I converted the digital images to mono using VSCO software. I like all three formats, but at the moment I’m leaning more toward the last shoot, which I think best conveys the mood of this project…but I love shooting on film too.
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Posted on October 23, 2013
This week there’s been a slight change of plan – I’m not driving to Moscow anymore, I don’t fancy the idea of traversing Belarus, I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the country. Also, visas are needed for Belarus and Russia, which would add nearly £1000 to the cost of a trip that I’m already planning on a very tight budget. So, I’m driving to Crimea in Ukraine instead, it’s about the same distance and I’ll get to go through Romania on the way back, a country I’ve always wanted to visit.
Joining me on this epic road-trip will be writer and very good friend, Trevor Gibbs. Trevor has been my ‘partner in crime’ for a few projects, the last one being our joint essay on Yellowknife and the surrounding area in North West Canada. Trevor has travelled extensively all over the world, knows his stuff and is generally good to have around, he also loves a good road-trip…
Road-trip images – Mamiya 7II and Kodak Portra 400 film
Portraits – Fuji X-Pro1, edited using VSCO Film
Posted on October 15, 2013
This week I’ve started planning my next big adventure, a road-trip of epic proportions – The Isle of Man to Moscow and back – a 4000 mile round trip. I’ve been all over the world, but never this part of the world, and what better way to see it?
This probably isn’t a lot of people’s idea of fun, but I can’t think of anything better; load a vehicle with supplies and just drive, stopping off whenever and wherever you like. Another thing that really appeals to be is the minuscule amount of planning that’s needed – no flights to book, no connections to miss and no accommodation to pay for (I’ll be sleeping in my vehicle…) As I said, I have no plans as to who or what I’ll be photographing, it’ll just be anybody or anything that I like the look of.
Posted on September 14, 2013
This weekend sees the second annual film festival here on the Isle of Man. I’ll be writing more about it on Monday, after the event has finished and when I’ve recovered from a rather ‘fun filled’ day-trip to Liverpool yesterday…
These are portraits I made of two lead actors from films being shown at the festival, Jessica Francis (Being Nice) and Raymond Barry (Barry Brown). I love working with actors, because they know exactly how to look, it makes things very easy!
Thank you, Noa Bakehouse and The Bath and Bottle for allowing me to use their premises as ‘Pop-up’ studios!
Posted on August 14, 2013
‘A portrait is a representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer’
This is Wikipedia’s rather old-fashioned definition as to what defines a portrait, but I do agree that for a photograph to be classed as a portrait, the subject needs to at least be aware that they are being photographed. However, for me, the most important aspect of a portrait photograph is that no part of the image is altered in any way. I don’t mean that a photograph can’t be cropped slightly, although I rarely do, or that basic alterations such as contrast, levels and tone can’t be made.
No part of the subject should ever be added or taken away; I firmly believe that the moment you remove a spot or shave a couple of inches off a waist in Photo Shop you have distorted that photograph and turned it into a caricature, a cartoon, almost. I am a photographer, not a cartoonist…
Some people are happy with themselves, some aren’t. We are what we are.
Posted on June 17, 2013
I don’t know why, and I certainly don’t know what it says about me as a person, but I can not leave film in a camera; when I load a roll, whether it be 36 images on 35mm or 10 on 6x7cm, as soon as I start shooting I have to finish it. I don’t load film into a camera until I see something I want to shoot, so I can be driving along a road, see something that catches my eye and that’s it, the shooting frenzy begins. What normally happens is that I’ll shoot six or seven frames on medium format, but then I run-out of steam, but I simply can’t put that camera back in my bag until it’s empty, so I invariably end-out just taking pictures of the most inane objects – sheds, lamp posts, road signs…sometimes even my own feet.
All the colour shots here were made during my last trip to Yellowknife. They are all the last frame off each roll of film.
The strange obsession doesn’t end there, it can actually manifest itself on an even grander scale – at the end of shooting a project in another location, whether it be close by or in another country, I CAN NOT take any unused film home with me…I know, I have some kind of compulsive disorder.
The shots below were made at about 1am in Yellowknife, five hours before I was due at the airport to fly home. I shot about 15 rolls of film in less than 20 minutes…
I think I need to stay away from casinos and horse racing tracks.
Posted on March 24, 2013
This time next week I’m heading back to the Northwest Territories of Canada to continue shooting a long-term project I’m working on in the area. I’ll be spending most of my time based in Yellowknife, but I’ll also be visiting Hay River, a 40 minute flight South from YK in a DC3 aeroplane that’s older than my dad. I’ll also be heading north, hopefully on a more modern plane, to the town of Inuvik, which is situated on the frozen Arctic Sea coast.
For this second trip I’ll be travelling alone. Last autumn I worked with writer, Trevor Gibbs, but he has very selfishly organised to do some charity work in Nepal, so can’t come…but seriously, it would have been great to have Trevor with me, apart from being a very good friend, he can also organise the unorganisable. Trevor is also very good with money, he had the project budget planned down to the last cent on the last day. I’m not good with money and will probably end-up having to sell a kidney to fund my return flights home.
I’m still not quite sure where my Yellowknife project is going, or what it actually is? I returned last September, after a three-week visit, with 120 rolls of film, that’s about 1200 separate images, but they are separate images, there’s absolutely no narrative to them, I can’t find 20 individual shots that I could put together to make a remotely interesting story! This is not to say that the images are unusable, far from it, a lot of them are selling very well, individually, and neither am I suggesting that Yellowknife is uninteresting. Far from it. However, last September I did what I said I wasn’t going to do, I fell into the trap of photographing the obvious, the cliché. I stayed well within my comfort zone. So, I’m going back to get uncomfortable.
Something I learned from my last trip is that less is indeed more – I took too much camera equipment, too many different formats and too many different film types. During any one day I was shooting on 6x7cm, 6×4.5, 35mm and instant film, on 5 different cameras using two types of colour film and three types of black & white…I’m crap at maths, but that’s a lot of possible combinations!
So, is this my second trip to Yellowknife, or my last? Let’s find out over the next few weeks…
Posted on December 23, 2012