Posted on December 17, 2013
Posted on November 22, 2013
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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 May 25, 2013
I was talking to a college student this week, I asked him why I hadn’t seen any of his work recently, his reply bemused me – “I’m getting a Canon 5D mark three in a few weeks, so I’m not shooting anything until I get that, it’s like ten times better than the camera I’m using now…I want to shoot my ideas on the best kit…should I get the seventy to two-hundred?”
Amazing. This talented young artist has actually put his photography on hold because he doesn’t want to ‘waste’ any of his creative ideas on what he considers to be inferior camera equipment. I was going to point-out that the Canon 5D mark III isn’t actually ‘The Best’, if he wants that then he should really be saving-up his student grant for an 8×10 inch film camera, but I’d have been wasting my time, I think.
What is ‘The Best’ camera? It’s the one you have with you, of course. I always have at least one camera on me, usually two – a 35mm film compact and some kind of digital, at the moment it’s a Canon G15 or a Fuji X-Pro1. If for any reason I can’t take a small bag out with me, I always have my iPhone in my pocket. People have become obsessed with megapixels and millimetres to the detriment of actually making photographs, we should be shooting with what we have, not what we think we should have.
If I ‘saved-up’ all my ideas to shoot on the best possible equipment, if I didn’t take that photograph outside the pub because I only had my iPhone, then I’d never get anything done.
Top to bottom – Fuji X-Pro1, X-Pro1, iPhone 4S, some toys, Nikon TW20, Holga GCFN, Canon G15, X-Pro-1, Olympus Mju II, Nikon TW20, Kodak disposable, Canon G11.
Posted on February 13, 2013
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been sorting-out what gear to take, or more accurately, what gear NOT to take to Canada in 6 weeks time. I took far too much gear last time, too many different formats and 4 different types of film. I was shooting on 6x7cm, 6×4.5cm, 35mm and Fuji Instax instant film, using colour and black and white with 3 different film speeds. In April I’m taking a Mamiya 7II, 80mm lens, a sekonic light meter and 60 rolls of Kodak Portra 160. I’m also packing my trusted Olympus Mju II and a small flash, just in case.
I’m going back to Yellowknife to work on an on-going project which started last September, this could be my second of many trips to the area, or it could be my last, I’m still not sure…
An Apple a day…
I’ve had the same 21″ iMac for 5 years now, I’ve always been happy with it, but 5 years is a long time in the life of any working computer and it had started to show it’s age. So, I ordered a new one, this time a 27″ version, I also decided that if I was going to invest another 5 years into the Apple Corporation, I may as well do it properly and maxed-out all the specs – 3.4GHz processor, 32GB of RAM, Thunderbolt storage,etc,etc….then I had to wait nearly 6 weeks while Apple used the slowest employees in China to assemble said iMac and then send it off for a 9 day trip around the world via Shanghai, Dubai, Germany, Ireland and England, all courtesy of UPS. But I knew the wait was going to be worth it…
…My new Mac was delivered last Friday, the same day that I came-down with the worst bout of ‘flu I’ve had in years, it was the best I could do to carry the 17KG box down to my basement without passing-out. I un-boxed it, plugged it in, then passed-out for 3 days.
I have finally got to play though, and the wait was well worth it, the new Mac makes my old one look like a pocket calculator. I can now scan 4800dpi files from 6x7cm without any problems, in an instant. I’ve also invested in Adobe CS6 6, which runs like a dream, as does Lightroom 4.
The best thing though is the huge 27″ screen, size certainly does matter!
Posted on January 7, 2013
I recall my first day at nursery school clearly, I was 4…
My Mum marched me into to the Methodist church hall and introduced me to the old ladies, I say ‘old’, they were probably in their late 20′s, but as my Mum was only in her mid-20′s at the time, anyone older than her was an old person. I played for a bit, unpacked the dressing-up box and made a house with Stickle Bricks, then it was snack time. I was at the back of the queue. On the table was a large tin of biscuits, a jug of orange squash and a basket of bananas. I was never a great fan of biscuits, but every other child had taken 3 custard creams each out of the tin, so I took 3 biscuits, but I actually wanted a banana. All the orange squash was gone, so I had to have water. I ate one of the biscuits, they were stale, the other two ended-up hidden behind the dressing-up box.
Later in the day, I’m not sure when, one of the old ladies announced that it was “nap time”. I distinctly remember thinking, ‘Nap time?! I don’t have nap time at home, why am I having it here?’. I realise now that it was probably the old ladies lunch break. I lay down on the sweaty gym matt, closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep for what seemed like hours.
I also remember my second day at nursery school, very clearly…
The first thing I did was check behind the dressing-up box, the biscuits had gone, probably eaten by mice. At snack time I made sure I was near the front of the queue, I got a cup of orange squash, which turned-out to be so watered-down it could have been holistic, and a banana. Everyone else got biscuits. I spent nap time sat in a corner reading Dr Seuss, watching all the other kids pretending to be asleep.
Photograph what you like, when you like, just because everyone else is shooting sunsets and kittens, doesn’t mean you have to…
Posted on November 12, 2012
My entire website is actually an attempt to convert every photographer in the world into shooting film. My quest is to send-out subliminal messages every few days via the medium of WordPress…my plan is coming together nicely (rubs hands together, big booming Dr Evil laugh, etc, etc)
The most common argument I hear for nor getting down with celluloid is that shooting film is too expensive. It’s not expensive – I shot all of these images using a second-hand Olympus Mju-II compact loaded with Fuji Pro 400H film. The film cost £3.50 and it cost £7 to have it developed and scanned at Peak Imaging – that works-out at a mere £0.29 per shot. Twenty Nine Pence! What can you buy for that? A packet of Tesco own-brand instant noodles, that’s what. Nobody wants to sit and look at packets of noodles for very long, believe me.
Point and shoot – it’s that easy.
Posted on April 27, 2012
Words by Liz Corlett. Images by Phil Kneen
Seaside resorts give you everything up front; there’s no waiting game or charms withheld. This can lend their ‘off duty’ quarters a curiously unfinished quality: leave Morecambe seafront and walk three or four streets deep into the town, and the quietness is singular, as though there’d been an emergency evacuation only moments before.
In the East End, time itself has been ushered out of town: a detour through the side streets leads directly to the 1950s. There’s a general store called Vittles, a no-frills tobacconist, two handsome Methodist chapels within a shout of each other and a tiny Shrimp Shop, which closes at 1 o’clock so that its proprietor can carry on shrimping.
Morecambe’s bane is that there is very little in the way of contrast to this hush. There is no shortage of cafes, shops and bars but the town is haunted by absent splendour. In its heyday, Morecambe had eight cinemas, five theatres, two piers, a funfair and one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in Europe. The Olympic-sized Super Swimming Stadium, which opened in 1936, accommodated 1,200 bathers and, at one time, the glories of Miss Great Britain.
As the crowds moved on, the landmarks which made Morecambe were either demolished – like the pool – or claimed by the elements. The hungriest by far was fire: the Central Pier suffered two blazes in its lifetime before being dismantled in 1992; the Alhambra Theatre was gutted in 1970; even the Victorian schooner which starred as the Pequod in ‘Moby Dick’ before being retired to Morecambe, went up in smoke. Frontierland fairground staggered on as far as 2000; the site is now a retail park. As local historian and councillor Evelyn Archer says with brio, “Morecambe’s had it rough”, and it sounds as though the town’s arm just fell in a wrestling contest.
So what can you do in Morecambe, now that its gilt has all but worn off? If you had a mind to send a postcard home, how would you fill it? You can truant in the arcades and browse old-fashioned pranks – hot sweets and exploding cigarettes – in Mr Santa, if you can withstand the glare from the man behind the counter. You can buy a five-sausage bap for £2 in the West End and count how many Staffordshire Bull Terriers go by in the time it takes to eat it.
You can insinuate yourself into the thick of a Mod rally at The Ranch House, hit the bingo hall or sing Meatloaf at a karaoke night. I got a taste of paradise, I’m never gonna let it slip away. The cemetary should not be missed. And don’t overlook the potential inherent in the great stretch of promenade: you can walk, cycle or run for miles and miles – until you’re in another place entirely.
Posted on April 7, 2012
I had the most fantastic long weekend in London last week with my lovely wife, Helen. We did all the tourist things – London Eye, The British Museum, The War Museum (where I saw the amazing Don McCullin photography exhibition), we ate-out and spent a lot of time in various pubs with good friends, Amber and Loz. I really didn’t want to come home!
I took three cameras, a Mamiya 7II medium format, a Nikon TW20 compact and an Olympus Mju II compact and 10 rolls of film. All the shots were taken on the Olympus using Kodak Portra 160 film.
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)