Posted on March 4, 2014
So, I have an exhibition opening in just over two weeks, twenty-two images that until March 20th will have only been seen by me. In my head, six months ago, everything was going to be finished by now – shot, printed and framed. But as usual, it hasn’t quite worked-out like that. The deadline for finishing the shots came and went last Friday…I still have another six people to photograph, the last one isn’t until Friday 14th…less then a week before the opening night, and it’s not even like I’m photographing someone just down the road, I’m flying to Liverpool for the day from the Isle of Man, but the lady in Liverpool was kind of the spark for the whole project, so she has to be included.
The images here are people who I’ve shot over the course of the project, but not photographs which are to be included in the exhibition, which has frustrated me because I feel I’ve been publishing ‘second best’…but they aren’t, of course, they’re just different. To be honest, if I hadn’t been publishing these ‘outtakes’ over the last few weeks, I wouldn’t have posted anything, because I haven’t shot anything else!
The images here were made using – top – Sigma DP1 Merrill, middle – Sigma DP2 Merrill, bottom – Nikon D800E/35mm 1.4G AF-S
Posted on February 22, 2014
Go back back in time about 14 years, back to when cameras were first added to mobile phones – they were as much use as a chocolate barbecue. Now go even further back, say 20 years, to when nobody really used mobile phones – if you whipped an iPhone or a Nokia 1020 out of your pocket in public you’d be burned at the stake. The idea of these communication devices that included high quality cameras, something called ‘The Internet’ and ‘Apps’, video games, cinema, tv, radio…it was all science fiction. Witchcraft!
Now here we are in 2014, driving around in nuclear powered hover cars and living in cities under the sea…oh, hold-on, that hasn’t happen yet…but we do have a mobile phone that produces 41 mp/50 mb images – that’ll do me for now.
Posted on February 6, 2014
A while ago I read an article about how talent alone wasn’t enough to guarantee success in the music industry. To make it big, an artist also needs a whole bag of tricks which include charisma, drive, stage presence and the ability to be in the right place at the right time. Well, singer/songwriter, Matt Creer, has all of the above. I don’t do music reviews, I don’t know enough to sound even remotely knowledgeable, but I’ve heard Matt, seen him live, and he’s good, very good. What I do know is that he looks good and he looks comfortable on stage, like he was born to be there. He also looks fantastic in front of the camera.
I did these promo’ shots with Matt this week, it was an uncomplicated and enjoyable shoot, we got everything we wanted in less than an hour…which is good, because the temperature was down to about 3 degrees! Matt turned-up wearing a down jacket and a wooly hat, but as soon as they came off he looked as though we could be in California – total professional!
Former student of the Royal College of Music, London, Matt Creer has established himself as an exciting voice on the UK music scene. The Manx singer songwriter is steadily gaining supporters all over the world and recently attracted the attention of the American TV and film industry. His finger style guitar and rich vocal harmonies are reminiscent of artists such as Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and The Civil Wars. His first album “Lanterns” (2011) was a self-produced, self released record. The title track has become a firm favourite with all who hear Matt’s music and enjoys frequent radio play. Matt’s EP “Islands” (2013) has been received with even greater enthusiasm. In November 2013 his song “Don’t Let Me Go” which was co-written and performed with singer Katherine Crowe, reached number 5 in the UK iTunes Singer Songwriter Chart. Matt’s eagerly anticipated second full length album will be available later this year.
A regular performer in the UK and further afield, Matt has performed with respected artists such as Paul Carrack (Mike and the Mechanics), Beverly Craven, Chris T-T, Garrison Starr (LA), Bess Rogers (NYC), Alex Berger (NYC) Richard Walters, O’Hooley and Tidow and Jess Morgan (UK). He has also completed two solo headline tours of the UK and is one of a growing number of independent artists pioneering the UK house concert movement.
Posted on February 2, 2014
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 19, 2014
I’ve been working on some promotional shots with singer/song writer, Mae Challis, for the past few weeks, both in the studio and on location. I don’t enjoy shooting in the studio, to be honest, which is why I rarely do it, my default is always to shoot outside whenever possible. We had to cancel a couple of planned location shoots due to heavy rain, but we finally got a break in the weather, literally a 4 hour gap between showers, and got these shots, which I really love.
Make-up by the very talented, Kimberley Berridge.
‘Despite her tender years, Mae Challis is destined to become one of the leading lights of the vast array of exceptional and diverse musical talents currently being unearthed and nurtured here on our own Island’s doorstep. Along with her powerful vocal prowess Mae can also include a remarkable instrumental ability, charismatic stage presence and a song-writing gift that is just waiting to be released to the unsuspecting World!
Born in Sittingbourne, Kent on 6th May 1998, Mae moved to the Isle of Man at the age of 7, already a precocious singer and guitar player. She later added keyboards and drums to her musical capabilities and hasn’t called time on discovering possibly more latent talent. Listening to and drawing influence from an eclectic mix of artists, such as Queen, Oasis, KT Tunstall and Joni Mitchell to more contemporary performers like Hurts, Coldplay, Train, James Morrison, Skrillex, Bruno Mars and Emeli Sande’
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 January 6, 2014
I’ve been shooting on a Sigma DP1 Merrill for the past week. It has a 42 megapixel sensor (actually 3 layers of 14mp) packed into a body the size of a choc-ice.
The camera really has a lot going against it – it’s extremely slow, it takes at least 10 seconds to write the huge 45mb files, focusing is basic and the battery life it appalling – I’m getting less than 50 frames before the battery dies (probably why Sigma supply two batteries). Also, the RAW files aren’t supported by Adobe Lightroom, which is a massive hassle.
…But the picture quality is absolutely stunning, as good as, if not better, than some digital medium format cameras I’ve used. You probably can’t see on these images, but the detail is unbelievable…and very film like.
It’s a keeper.
***Update to answer a few questions I’ve been asked***
Yes, it’s a very simple camera to use, the menus are very intuitive and easy to use. The lack of RAW support is my only real issue with this camera, I’m doing a basic adjust in Sigma Photo Pro and then editing full size TIFFS in Lightroom, which isn’t ideal. I am told that Adobe are working on it though. The day that happens I will do a merry dance, most vigorously!
The other complaint that people have about the DP1M is the battery life, but I don’t see it as being too much of an issue, I get about 50 frames from a charge, but I take 4 spares out with me (after-market batteries cost about £10). Knowing you have limited power really makes you think about whether you want to really take that photo, which is a good thing!
A vast improvement, after using the camera for a week, is the addition of the optical viewfinder and lens hood. The hood works well, and makes the camera look a bit more serious! The optical finder is very bright and accurate, it also reduces the need to turn the camera on to look at shots, thus wasting the battery.
This isn’t a camera for the snapshot enthusiast, sports shooter or any situation where you need to work fast. For landscapes and the kind of portraits I do, it’s perfect.
Posted on December 17, 2013