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 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 10, 2013
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 October 11, 2013
I didn’t take a lot of photographs during my last trip to France, that’s not why I went. I went to Bergerac to research and plan a series of workshops I’m planning for next year, that took about four days. I spent the remainder of the two weeks writing and drinking wine, mostly.
I don’t speak a huge amount of French, I’m certainly not up to conversational standards, so approaching strangers and asking them if they’d like to have their portrait taken can be difficult, to say the least. The French have very specific laws about photographing people without their permission – you just don’t do it. Having said that, once you’ve engaged someone, they generally oblige. I found that carrying business cards helps, if all else failed I’d just hand them a card, point to my web address and smile…”regarder vers le bas de la lentille ..ne souriez pas!”
Posted on October 8, 2013
I used to shoot a lot of slide film, I have boxes of plastic trays filled with mounted 35mm slides, hundreds of trays, thousands of slides. But nobody really shoots it anymore, most photographers don’t see the point…I don’t see the point, to be honest. 10 years ago you could buy dozens of different slide emulations, in 35mm, 120 and large format, but most manufacturers have cut production back to only a handful of films, or like Kodak, stopped production all together.
Slide film, or colour reversal film, is even more of a niche product than standard colour negative film these days — its primary uses are in projectors and professional print work, though more recently it’s been popular with lo-fi photographers who use it for cross-processing. I don’t know many photographers that shoot slide film.
Anyway, I decided to have one last play with slide film, and before departing to France a couple of weeks ago I ordered a roll of slightly out of date Fuji Provia 400X off Amazon. Yes, A roll, as in one, singular – at £11 I wasn’t going to invest in more than one roll on something that was little more than a romantic glimpse into the past.
I shot the roll using an Olympus OM1 (which I accidentally discovered was capable of multiple exposures) and mailed the film to Peak Imaging. The developed film and a disc of high res’ scans was waiting for me on my return. These are some of the results.