Life, Work, Photography
Bands and musicians, portraits, cats and a wife.
September 19, 2016 • 1 Comment
Last year I was honoured to be asked to shoot for the Hartlepool Folk Festival . This year I`m doing it again!
The festival runs over two days, one major event place Hartlepool's Maritime Experience which will be fabulous for a folk event. To say I'm excited is an understatement.
Yesterday we had a run down of the brief with the festival manager, outlined times of acts and where they will be located. It's a very busy schedule and I'll be working my butt off for this event, but we get free food and beer.. BONUS!
I don't mind doing events, especially if there's music involved. I guess I'm drawn to creative people. Talking of creatives, the art work for last year and this year was all created by Mandascat, a talented local artist. Go check her out, she'll be there again this year selling art.
I plan to do some portraits this year, so if your reading this and plan to be there come up and say Hi. You may end up with a portrait as well as a great time listening to the music.
September 12, 2016 • Leave a Comment
I have a project in mind called "The Girl".
This project came about by accident during a shoot on the beach with a friend and some props. A shot from behind the model made the image mysterious and open to storytelling in the viewer's mind, so we have decided to do more.
Over a period of time "The Girl" will appear in different settings and carrying different props that relate to the surrounding area, or giving a nudge to a suggested idea.
As with projects of this kind they may take a while to complete, but this may turn out to be the fun of them.
I'm getting the first shot printed and framed for my office wall to add some character to it.
September 06, 2016 • 1 Comment
A vampire shoot can go two ways, awesome or cheesy.
This shoot has made me think that I need to have a chat about stylist shoots and what's going on in them.
A few people have asked, what's it about?, why?, why is she doing this?, what happens to the images? and lot's of other things to be honest.
I always answer these in person, but still understand that people sometimes don't really get it and may think it's a little odd.
I can answer all the questions both for me and a few of my model friends I think.
This type of shoot is about creativity. Here the young lady has made the costume, done her makeup and props. Sometimes this process is joint, lot's of discussion over style, colours, props etc. Sometimes not so much and then it's called "winging it".
I'm still learning photography so a stylist shoot is no pressure, no money changes hands and it's a case of.. let's see what we can get. I learn lot's about lighting on a stylist shoot, which then comes in handy when I shoot bands and portraits.
I also learn about communication with a model, how to make them feel comfortable.. and how to make me feel comfortable. Normally this leads to lot's of laughs. I think I'm improving in getting a model to pose, which has been a huge weakness from the start.
So.. you can see for me, it's creative, practice and fun.
For the model, creative and fun.. but for this young lady.. a bit more. She's using these shoots to open the door to art college, her makeup and prop skills are going to be put to the test this year as she embarks on a Product Design Degree at Hartlepool College of Arts. Students from here have gone on to work in TV and the film industry.. so I wish her all the luck.
So I know people won't "get" all of my images and that's ok.. I'll keep on being creative and having fun.. and if it helps someone along the way that's a great bonus don't you think?
August 29, 2016 • 1 Comment
Shooting for CED Stone Group.. or mixing business with pleasure.
I never guessed a few years ago that I would be shooting for the company that I work for. I've now shot shows, Hampton Court Flower show being the latest and now shooting for the marketing team.
The remit was to show the skill and attention to detail that Steve has when it comes to his bespoke stone work.
The focus is about the man not the machine, so I focused on Steve's eyes... the focus he has for the detail in his work. So you could call this a portrait shoot.. with water and a stone saw.
I'd like to think that my photography skills will be put to good use again.
August 24, 2016 • Leave a Comment
I'm playing catch up with my news and blogging like a demon, so much has happened in my work and photography life over the last year.
Equations of Meaning.. another Tony Patterson release, I could really say now.. another album by my mate Tony. Before I go into the photography, you can buy the album from Cherry Red Records.. if you love Pink Floyd and Genesis, then you'll love Tony's album.
OK.. down to the photography and the concepts Tony and I came up with together.
Equations is a very personal album to Tony, you could even call it a sound track of his life. With this in mind, the images had to be thought through and crafted carefully.
I came up with the idea of a chair, on a lake shore (Tony's image of peace and reflection), whisky glass, old photographs etc.. Tony through a crucifix into the mix. The chair seemed a great idea until we had to carry it half a mile.
We also decided to shoot some portraits by the sea. With this sort of work you never know where the publisher/ record company could go with the images. During the day we laughed a lot, mainly at the fact that Tony discovered I'm mad when it comes to creating the image, his words.. mine would be creative..
I also took a few portraits for promotional use, magazines etc. These are always good to have up your sleeve when working with musicians and artists.
Over all, I was happy with the images.. Tony loves them and the record company used them throughout the album.
Tempting Fate.. the Four Colour Ghosts debut album.
So here the debut album has arrived, sounds great with some huge anthems. I've had hold of a CD for a while and played it to death on the commute to London, love it.. so grab a copy when it hits the shelves. To keep up with that info and what the bands up to.. go check out the website The Four Colour Ghosts.
Now lets get down to the photography and the making of the images. As you'll have gathered by now, shooting bands and musicians is a big part of what I do along with the portraits and the stylist shoots. All the skills I have learnt over the past few years came in to play for this photography.
The cover was shot in The Rabbit Hole Studio, my home studio based in the cellar of the house. Lighting for the front and back cover was a grid flash if anyone is wondering about the technical side of things. The cards was a great idea, the turning card keeping everyone guessing as to what has in store for the band.
The following pictures will be used for album promo material and some shots going inside the cover. I liked the idea of shooting the lads on stage with my lighting rigs and then doing some portrait work.. hopefully making the band look cool with a gritty edge.
There has been debate, should the shots be colour or black and white.. for me I like the black and white edgy edits. makes the lads look gritty and meaning business.
Hopefully more bands and musicians may find my photography to their liking and get in touch.
Writing is not my thing I have to admit, but photography seems to be.. I hope.
So.. stylist shoots, perhaps some people reading this post may not know what a stylist shoot is.. well a stylist shoot revolves around an idea, a thought.
From there a model is found, hairstylist, makeup, clothing and a location.. sometimes if luck is on your side the model can take care of the first three things.
Why do I love stylist shoots? The creativity and freedom, it's all about ideas and fun.. hopefully you may get that one awesome image. As I progress with my photography I`m now getting three or four images that I'm happy with from the shoot.
People often ask, where do I get models from.. Hartlepool is not full of agencies and catwalks lets face it. Well, brave mad people who see what I do and would like to give it a go.. get creative and get involved. Stylist shoots, I don't charge as it's all about fun and art.
If you like what I do.. get in touch.. be brave.. be creative.
September 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment
New blog, new news...
I've been focused on band images for a year now and helped out some great people with their images for publications and album covers.
Today the album for Northlands went to the publishers for proof reading and I got a peek at my images being used extensively throughout. My best work up to now I think.
Also, hanging with the Four Colour Ghosts has to be a constant blast for me.. so band images, yes I think I`m getting there.
August 24, 2014 • Leave a Comment
When I got a call from Simon asking for some shots for the new band Mammoth Step, I said yes straight away.
The next call revolved around locations and ideas. With the weather looking bad for the weekend, Simon told me he had got the use of a studio in the middle of Newcastle. Fantastic I thought, lights, big white spaces, everything a budding photographer could wish for!
So we all met up outside a huge building in the middle of Newcastle and then proceeded to carry huge amounts of musical instruments and my stuff up four flights of stairs.
Now here is a new thing I learnt, there is in fact… art studios too! And here it is…
I kept my cool and didn’t freak out, and Simon if you’re reading this I kept my moment of panic bottled up in a very small tight ball deep down inside so you didn’t see it written all over my face.
My mind raced, we moved furniture, we created a backdrop, we borrowed a chest from somewhere else, and we created images together!
The guys were great fun, we laughed loads which is what I’d like to think my shoots are all about… creative fun.
So when all the sweat and tears, the laughs and the goofing around are over.. we made this together.
I have planned to shoot Dark Angel for a while.
Unfortunately it rained and we had to call off the shoot after only a few shots. Stylist shoots sometimes turn out that way for the photographer and model, luckily we didn't have a full lighting crew with us.
The big saving grace is that these shoots are for fun and learning photography and lighting.
When I got an email via my website from Brendan asking if I’d like to shoot some pictures for an album, Northlands, I was intrigued but didn’t reply for a while.
There was a website link in the email, www.northlands-music.co.uk I followed it and read the lyrics from the songs on the album and listened to some sound bites. I replied to Brendan straight away by email and contacted him on Facebook saying that I would love to be involved.
The album is conceptual, telling the story of a guy who travels away and then returns to the North East of England to find things have changed. The coastal scenery remains but the heavy industry, ship building that he grew up with has now gone. There is a running theme of rivers throughout the album, the environment that industry once surrounded.
Brendan, Tony and I chatted over ideas, but I already had some strong shots in my head, based around the travel and sea aspects.
We agreed on a date for the shoot and locations. I think the guy`s were surprised when I said they would have me for all day and the locations spread around the North East, involving lots of driving. I planned the driving as it gave me time to listen to the album and really get into the guys minds.I wanted to produce some images the guys would love and compliment the album they had been working on for two years.
I borrowed some old suitcases from friends as props, hoping the guy`s would work around them for shots.
Listening to the album in the car was a real treat and gave us all ideas for shots. It also gave me the feel for the edits to the pictures. Some of the images will be used on the album and others for press releases, so if you take the time to view my gallery of Northlands, you’ll find three different styles going on.
Yet again photography has got me involved in exciting stuff, meeting two great talented guys who I think I shall be seeing again. If you’re reading this dudes… told you it would be a laugh and fun… and thanks for the killer sandwich.
July 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Photography is always a personal journey, but I meet people along the way.
It was great to see a photographer friend get into the limelight with one of his pictures being chosen for an advertising campaign.
After a quick chat on the nett, I realized that Si stood a chance of not even seeing the boards in the flesh. So I thought it would be cool to shoot him with one of the boards, and making sure he actually saw one close up.
Si spends a lot of his time shooting Whitby Abbey and is the Abbey`s official photographer amongst other things.
We have a new face in the family.. Feather.
Get ready for some cute kitten pictures.. yes the internet needs even more kitten pictures.
She`s a small ball of fun and bites and is so cute to photograph. Feather has also discovered my home studio, so don't be surprised if she turns up in some of the portrait photographs.
I’ve never been one for holidays or breaks, but recently we have discovered time away from technology is good for the soul.
We arrived early at the retreat and made ourselves at home, after pushing our stuff up the hill in a barrow. Amanda found this to be great fun as she got a free ride back down the hill in the barrow, something she had not done before. It was great to hear her laugh.
I lit the stove and boiled the kettle, put on some music and explored our new home. The hut was great, some lovely touches and nice little details.. and warm!
Amanda settled down to some writing… and I got my camera gear set up for some night shots, photography just couldn't stop.
Time drifted and the rain came down, which meant much running around with cloths to wipe lenses and flashes.
I`d decided to use a couple of flashes, one inside and one outside. The inside flash was fitted with an orange gel to give a warm glow, and the outside one had a light blue gel to give the impression of moonlight.
I think I got a few cool shots.
You can see more shots of the hut and the surrounding landscape on my site.
If you like the pictures you can even buy them from my online shop.
We had a great time and I’d recommend a stay if you need to get away from everything but still love some of the comforts of home.
Oooops… nearly forgot.. the breakfasts are great, order one!
July 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment
I spent yesterday being rebranded by a marketing guru.
Even though photography is only a hobby and I've never made any money from it, I still like to have fun building my “business”. I guess I always like to do things “right”, the look and feel of my site and all the social sites have to have the same feel and image so they “fit”.
Being interviewed about my photography and what I`m saying with it turned out to be a real soul-searching experience. Deep questions were asked and I really struggled to answer some of them, but what came out was my new tag line, which I think works with what I do.
“image maker picture taker” came out after studying my photographs from 2014 and some from 2013. It was interesting brainstorming with someone who looks at images for a living, the process has actually made me look at the path that my photography is taking. I think I now have a clearer view of where I`m going, what I like to do and where to focus my skill set.