Posted on December 17, 2013
Posted on December 5, 2013
Manx music legend, Davy Knowles, is back on the Isle of Man and I had the pleasure of spending the day with him, shooting portraits around various locations. Davy, who now lives and works out of Chicago, is back on home soil to perform a gig at The Gaiety Theatre in Douglas. (Try and get tickets, but I think they sold-out pretty fast!)
I’ve photographed Davy a few times over the last few years, the first time was at the end of his European tour when he played at The Heineken Area in Amsterdam alongside the likes of Joe Satriani and Sonny Landreth. Although I’ve taken hundreds of photos of Davy, I’ve never been 100% happy with the results, I’m not sure Davy has either, but this latest session was different, I think our biorhythms must have been in tune, because I couldn’t be happier with the results.
“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough” – Robert Capa
We’ve had some pretty spectacular winter storms here on the Isle of Man, cancelling the ferries and causing the usual chaos. I had taken a few photographs of the waves, in my home town of Peel, from the comfort of my van, but they really weren’t doing this maritime display of force any justice. So, I dashed home, put my Canon G15 into an underwater housing and walked the 100 metres from my house to the promenade. By the time I got there the police and civil defence had blocked-off both ends to stop vehicles, but they didn’t appear to be that bothered about me wandering around. I stayed on the prom’ for about 15 minutes before my hands became too cold to operate the camera, I walked back up my street, soaked to the skin and got into a hot bath.
Posted on November 22, 2013
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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 July 18, 2013
I’m not sure if it’s the unexpected hot weather on the Isle of Man, but I’ve had a lot of offers from people, male and female, to model nude. I’m not complaining.
This is artist and photographer, Hazel Walsh. I made these images over the space of a couple of hours using a mix of digital and film (Holga 6×6 and 6×12, a Leica R6 and a cheap Nikon compact 35mm).
Hazel is leaving the Isle of Man in a couple of days to start a new life in Berlin.
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 June 15, 2013
The film v digital argument is as pointless as asking, “Which is better, toast or Corn Flakes?” – they both taste great and they both have their own place at the breakfast table.
This week I’ve been eating toast and cornflakes…AND yogurt!
This week I having been shooting with a Fuji X-Pro1, a Holga GCFN and a Holga 120 Pan
Posted on May 15, 2013
***ALL COPIES OF THIS HAVE NOW BEEN PRE-ORDERED***
In the next few weeks I’m going to be publishing a selection of my Canada project photographs, mainly images shot in and around Yellowknife, but also some from much further south, in Hamilton.
I’ll be presenting the images over 16 pages in a quality tabloid newspaper format (the photograph below is a sample from the printers, the shots aren’t mine). The print run will be strictly limited to 500 copies (numbered and signed).
I will send copies to whoever wants one, on a ‘first come…’ basis. There is a small cost of £5.00 (UK) to cover postage (worldwide) and handling.
***ALL COPIES OF THIS HAVE NOW BEEN PRE-ORDERED***
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 March 9, 2013
I smashed my Holga beyond repair today, even duct tape couldn’t save it. I went to kneel down to take a photograph, as I did I dropped the camera and kneeled on it, my full seventeen and a half stone concentrated on the Holga with the road beneath. It stood no chance whatsoever, the lens pushed into the body, smashing it in to about ten pieces. I’d claim on the insurance, but hey, I can get a new one for £20…but I’m still a bit upset, I kind of liked that camera. All these images are from the last 3 rolls of film.
So, these will be the last Holga images I’ll be posting for a while, I ordered a new Holga GCFN to replace the dead one and while I was at it I bought a Holga 120 Panoramic too. They probably won’t arrive before I go to Canada, but that might be a good thing, it’ll give me chance to get some preparation done.