Posted on July 7, 2013
The humble, and often under-utilised, standard lens – the 50mm (or 35mm, 80mm or 150mm, depending on what format you’re shooting…). Every camera used to come with one, normally a 50mm 1.8, it was the first thing eager snappers wanted to replace, for some reason?
A lot of people are very surprised to learn that 90% of my images are made using the standard lens. I love them. I used to shoot a lot of stuff on a 17-40mm, but I look at those images now and they look horribly distorted. I’m not interested in that look now, I want my photos to look like they do with my eyes, and the closest lens to achieve that is the standard. If I want to get more into a shot, I walk back a bit, if I need to get closer, I’ll just get closer. You can pick-up a good standard lens, in any format, for a lot less than the price of a short zoom. Just spend a bit of what you’ve got left over on a good pair of shoes.
Posted on December 23, 2012
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 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 January 29, 2012
I’m going to be working with two very talented young musicians, Adam Jones and Geoff Tinkler, over the next couple of weeks. I had a brace of location shots planned for our first session, but biblical rain put pay to those plans. I think I actually saw Noahs Arc going past the studio at one point. We ended-up just doing some informal, naturally lit portrait shots. I think these chaps will go far on looks alone…you heard it here first.
Shot on a Canon EOS 5D MK2 with 50mm 1.4 @f2, ISO 400. Converted to mono using Nik Software Silver Efex Pro. Click on the image to enlarge.