Posted on February 12, 2014
I’d say I’m about halfway through shooting the portraits for my exhibition at the end of March…writing that has made me reach for my organiser, only to realise that’s less than five weeks away. Perhaps I will have some wine tonight after all.
The weather has been a massive problem over the last few weeks, or actually since I started the project, and that is something I hadn’t really factored in. I’m trying to shoot everything using natural light, not just outdoors, but indoors too, using windows as light sources and walls as reflectors. But natural light is something that’s been lacking here on the Isle of Man for quite some time, there are younger children that run back into their houses, terrified, when the sun comes out…
This week I had my good friend, Ben, in my ‘daylight studio’ (or ‘back lane’ if you want to be more accurate). Ben will do anything, and I do mean anything, I ask him to for a photo, he’d even strip naked in public…in fact he has stripped naked in public for me to photograph him. For the image above we used flour, but I’d experimented with it beforehand and it didn’t stick to the skin the way I wanted, so we coated him in baby oil first. This is one of the shots, my second favourite, I’m saving number one for the show.
Also this week, I swapped my iPhone 4s for a Nokia Lumia 1020, a move that has caused some negative disturbance amongst some of my Apple friends. This is the camera phone I’ve been waiting for, and I think the results speak for themselves..
Posted on January 29, 2014
First of all, I’ve had a few comments about the new format and layout of this blog, it seems that people miss the old Gridspace theme because “It looked less like a blog and more like a website”…but that’s what this is – a blog, a dumping-ground for my photographic meanderings and thoughts. I do have a dedicated portfolio website in the pipeline, so if you just want to look at photographs without my ramblings, it’ll be up and running in the next couple of months, I promise. You can also follow me on Facebook
I’m not really publishing much in the way of ‘serious’ portraiture at the moment because I’m saving it all for my exhibition at the end of March this year. It’s a dangerous game though, I have portraits sat in a Lightroom folder, titled EXHIBITION, and I keep looking at them, editing them, tinkering with them…I need to just leave them alone, because I know exactly what’s going to happen – come March 20th I’ll be sick of the sight of those photos. Every last one of them. Another issue I have is that I’m quite single-minded, if I’m not shooting portraits for my show, ‘serious portraits’, then I’m not really shooting anything else, unless it’s completely different. This alternative creative outlet comes in the form of instant film. I love instant film like the french love cheese.
Say what you like, try to convince me with £500 software or 79p iPhone apps – you can not fake the look of instant film. All images here were made using a Fuji Instax 200 wide camera. I’ll shoot some more Impossible Project 600 just as soon as I’ve sold my kidney to pay for the film…
Posted on January 14, 2014
My experiments with the Sigma DP1 Merrill continue, it’s been a steep learning curve, but I love this camera. I’m basically using it in the same way I’d use a medium format film camera – everything shot on a tripod, all manual control, and most importantly, thinking about every shot very carefully.
Something Sigma really might want to look at and fix in a firmware update for this camera is the white-balance – it’s terrible. The auto WB settings are next to useless and the manual WB gives a very warm cast which can be adjusted in post, but I like to get everything right in camera.
All images were edited using the amazing VSCO Film presets in Lightroom 5 – a perfect camera/software combination.
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 22, 2013
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Posted on November 20, 2013
Winter has well and truly arrived here on the Isle of Man, the season of postponed location shoots and four hours a day of usable light. Lucky for me my first job of the week was to photograph ceramics artist, Kathryn Mitchell, in her warm studio at Bishops Court on the west coast of the island.
Kathryn is a young emerging ceramic artist, raised on the Isle of Man and trained in Australia. She works with stoneware and porcelain clays, in both wheel throwing and slip casting techniques. Her delicate hand-painted table wear is both beautiful and functional – kathrynmitchellceramics.com - take a look for yourself.
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 November 12, 2013
Every few weeks I run workshops for beginners, an introduction to digital photography for those new to the medium. One of the first things I tell people, way before I start to explain apertures and shutter speeds, is to set their cameras to shooting on RAW, which isn’t an acronym, it means just that – raw. Raw is essentially the unprocessed information straight off the sensor -no processing for sharpness, white balance,color or contrast – all adjustments are done afterwards. Without getting any more technical, raw is the digital version of a film negative and you can do a lot more with it. Always shoot raw.
The second thing I tell people is to stop obsessing about megapixels. Most cameras now, even half decent compacts, have more megapixels than the top-end professional cameras had five years ago. When all of your work is going to be displayed on the side of a house, then you can start worrying about sensor size and the amount of MP’s you have.
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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.