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 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 22, 2013
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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 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 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 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 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***