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.
Follow me on FACEBOOK for regular project updates.
Posted on July 10, 2013
If you could go back in time, just for a few days, and photograph something, when and where would it be? Mine would be a pretty cheap ride in the time machine, because I’d like a long weekend in 1970′s West Coast United States of America. I could have done it the first time round, technically, being born in 1969, but I don’t think I had the skills when I was five…
I love the whole 70′s California look, the music…and the women! But I live 5000 miles away and 40 years too late to capture it. A caravan just north of Ramsey had to do.
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 May 30, 2013
“An artist’s career can be segmented by moments when there is the realization of a need for change or the necessity to shake off the rust and webs that develop after reaching that unchallenged place of comfort” - Domenico Foschi, photographer.
I discovered this quote a few days ago, as soon as I read it I realised that I’m in that place, that unchallenged place of comfort. But it was a revelation, bordering on an epiphany, I’d go as far as to say. This was a bugle call to start afresh.
Over the past few months I’ve fallen into the trap of making ‘safe’ photographs, I’ve stopped photographing for my own pleasure, and isn’t that what it’s all about? I like taking photos of my feet! And I enjoy creating the more alternative type of portrait. So that’s what I’m going to do!
Posted on March 16, 2013
I’ve never been particularly musical, I wish I was, but I just don’t get it. Some people don’t understand apertures and ISO’s, I don’t understand cords and notes. Many people have tried to teach me, all have failed.
I do like the music scene though, but how can you get involved if you’re tone-deaf? Take photos! I’ve been involved in music photography for a few years now, I’ve photographed the odd famous musician and a lot of not so famous musicians, but every single one of them has been a pleasure to be involved in.
I know that I’m a bit of a film fascist, but I must admit that the majority of the images here were made using digital equipment, Canon EOS 5D mk2 mostly. A lot of promotional shots (such as the clown, which was going to be used as an album cover, but the musician in question wants something ‘more controversial’…) do have quite a bit work done in Photo Shop, so it makes more sense to work with digital media from the outset. If I’m shooting straight portraits, like the one of Tim Burgess, I’ll use film, normally medium format. For live music I always shoot digital…although, having said that, I did shoot a Strypes gig a few weeks ago using a 35mm Nikon SLR.
Posted on December 23, 2012
Posted on September 27, 2012
I didn’t go to Canada to shoot landscapes, my project is documentary based, but when in Rome…
I took a Canon EOS 5D mkII to The North West Territories of Canada with me. I shot the entire project on film, but I took the Canon, filled with good intentions of getting loads of video footage. That never happened, I was just to busy. I did manage to get a few shots of the Aurora Borealis though, 8 shots to be exact.
These shots are straight out of the camera. I think it would be possible to enhance them, but it doesn’t seem right. This is how they look to me. I did get an even better display than these a couple of nights before, but I’m ashamed to say I didn’t have a suitable camera with me…
I shot 116 rolls of film, mostly Fuji Pro 400H, over a period of 3 weeks. The film is now somewhere between London Victoria, where I posted it yesterday, and Sheffield, where it’s being processed by Peak Imaging.
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 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 February 27, 2012
I’ve had the pleasure of being asked to be Director of Photography by writer and director, Richard Plumley, on his short film URMA (working title). This is a grab portrait of lead actor, Matt Corcoran. The film also stars local lady, Janine Lashmar. My youngest son, Ric, who joined us as a runner, was promoted to sound recordist within five minutes of arriving on set.
Filmmaking is a bit of a first for me, I’ve done a small amount of camera work for other producers, but I’ve never had the responsibility of DoP. We’re mid-way through filming at the moment, we’re having a great laugh and already plotting ideas for future productions. I can’t say much about the film, other than it has a less than cheerful start. Filmmaking is also a much longer process than I’d imagined!I took this portrait of Matt a few moments before we started filming act 1/scene 1 (Canon 5D mk2, 24-105L, 1 Bowens Streamlite on half power)