All Killer, No Filler ~ Self Portrait

This was fun and also relatively easy self portrait photograph to set up. I was taking some products shots and had the lights set up and just changed the background and set up the lights with different modifiers. Props from around the house, the scrabble letters get used more for photography than as a game.

Background to the shot I was listening to Radio 6 ( as I normally do most days ) last Saturday and Liz Kershaw was talking about the show for Saturday 4th May and how it was her 25th anniversary of being let loose on BBC Radio. To celebrate she wanted to know the best album for her All Killer, No Filler feature from 1988, Daydream Nation got mentioned and I chipped with my support for that album by email. I got email back from producers asking if I wanted to chat about it on the show eeck ! Got to be honest at this point and say while it was a favourite album many years ago it hasn’t been playing in a long while since it on vinyl and I got rid of my deck years ago. I then headed off to iTunes to buy it. I’ve been listening to the album all week and its still great. Loads on energy,  great guitar riffs and lovely melodic breaks downs and clear vocals over buzz guitars. The first track Teenage Riot is a classic, and the one I chose for the show.

For the photographers out there here’s the lighting set up.

Three flashes used main soft box on me and the table, gridded unit on the back ground on very low power and then a snooted flash unit behind right also on low power adding some fill to the shadow side of my face.

 

 

 

Posted in Music, Photography, Portraits, Strobist

Didjitalis ~ St Pancras Station Session

This is first video I’ve shot on my new camera, not bad considering I only looked at the manual 2 hours earlier! Only problem is… after 7 years of getting good with still photography its now back to school for video! Its a little underexposed and slightly shaky as I was using a monopod rather than a tripod. Lessons learned and to be honest Darien just asked me along to take some still shots.

The film features the band Didjitalis playing their track Wild Child at the St Pancras Station sessions on St Georges Day April 2013. They played a half hour set, I shot the video and also took some stills shots as well for their website. From their website……

“Didjitalis is a musical collective formed by a DJ, a jazz pianist and a didgeridooist. Known artists in their respective fields,  they have come together to form one of London’s top live dance acts. With their unique blend of organic instrumentation, musicality and cutting edge technology, Didjitalis strive to create the most innovative live performances around. With a deep passion for the natural world firmly embedded in the band’s ethos, Didjitalis invite you to join them on a musical journey which explores our relationship with the Earth, through a sound that will blow you away!”

Was very impressed at how the band has progressed since I last some them play, on Australia day in 2012 at a bar in Balham.  I took some photo’s at this gig and then some studio promo photo’s of the band last June. This was before Andre their singer joined them.  You can see the earlier band shoot here.

They are next playing the Ship in Kennington on the 1st of June, I’ll be there taking some more photo’s and experimenting with the video.

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Posted in Music, Photography, Portraits Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Inspired by Ansel

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I went to the Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains to the Sea exhibition last weekend at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, it finishes end of this month if you haven’t been. It was nice to see some of his other less famous work. His Surf Sequence shots looking down a cliff at waves breaking on a sandy beach created these lovely flat abstract images as shown here.

Which reminded me of series of images I took a few years ago whilst we were on holiday in Colombia back in 2010. We went to Tayrona National Park which had these fantastic beaches which had both black and yellow sand. I never managed to process them in a way I was completely happy with. Converted them to duo-toned B&W and boosted the contrast and I’m a lot happier with them.

Posted in Art, Landscape, Travel Tagged , , , , , , , |

Holly M Portraits

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I’ve been taking portraits of Holly for several years now, I think this was her 6th shoot. She currently a student back in my home town of Glasgow completing a 1 year acting course. I’ve seen her in a couple of productions here in London and she’s very good.  She was back down in London a few weeks ago at The Globe Theatre as part of her course. We hooked up as she needed some new head shots taken for her acting CV, the consequences of having her fringe cut.  Playing around with the lights in studio we came up with a variety of looks.

Posted in Photography, Portraits Tagged , , , , , , |

Brick Lane Portraits

Rather than concentrating on candid photography I went up to Brick Lane thinking it was time to get out of my comfort zone. I decided to start asking strangers for posed portraits, I need to practice establishing rapport quickly with subjects so people to loosen up in front of the camera and you hopefully get better images. Plenty of other photographers do it, so how hard could it be?

I either got lucky, chose my subjects well, or my “hanging around and waiting for people to get curious” technique works. Managed to take 6 portraits and didn’t get any knock backs in 2-3 hours. Having my iPhone loaded up with my portrait portfolio helped.

First up we have two visitors to London, Fabiana from Taiwan looking very fashionable. Completely engrossed in texting, she was oblivious to me taking photo’s of her from 6 feet away before I asked her. The posed portrait is a much better than the candid shots I took.

Fabulous Fabiana

 

Then we have Salvatore from Italy, but living in Paris. He was the least keen, which I think you can tell from his expression.

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Then I got chatting with Joseph, who was playing this organ outside the shop on the south side of the bridge about half way up Brick Lane. He seemed to know the owner and was trying to get people to play the organ, even though it had a do not touch sign on it!

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Next door on the pavement Anthony had stall selling clothes, we got chatting whilst I was changing my lens. He was into his photography. I do like my 85mm lens, it takes nice portraits.

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Next up is Tamarah Djalloul, she was with a friend, who was filming her doing quick voxpops with people on the pavement. These were for her show-reel as she wants to be a TV presenter.

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And finally there was Tom, I spotted his hair before I saw him! He does improv comedy sketches and seemed pleased at the idea of getting some new profile shots.

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An interesting mix of people for my first attempt, I’ll return to this challenge as the year progresses.

R

 

Posted in Photography, Portraits, Street Photography Tagged , , , , , |

Social Media Profile Portraits ~ Casey

Friend of friend wanted some profile portraits for his various social media presences, the usual ones – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

Worked through 5 different set ups in a couple of hours, going from a more traditional business image to something a little edgier.

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Posted in Photography, Portraits Tagged , , |

Siobhain ~ Norcott Road Party

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Continuing the Friendly Tree series of portraits, this is my friend Siobhain aka “Shiv” who I’ve known almost as long as I’ve known my partner Selena. They met while they were both temping at a company for just one day in 1993.  Another chance meeting that turned into a long term friendship. We been to Thailand and Guatemala with Shiv, and through her Selena and I established a large group of long standing friends. Step forward the SOAS gang – Tim, Robism, Kevin, Jules, Ant, Ian, Miranda, Helen, Andy, Mischa, James & Jo the other James and Jo and then all the partners, husbands and wife’s that came along as the years went by.

The first time I really met Shiv is amusing. Very early in my relationship with Selena we had a party at the house share I was in, in Stoke Newington. I was living there with Mark, the chef and his girlfriend Marika, the couple that took me to DTPM where I had met Stephen. Also living there was Jane, she had invited some of her London friends one of which was James Leppard, who unbeknown to us was also friends with Siobhain. The party was in full swing and the doorbell goes and Selena and I answer it. There is James asking for Jane, with Siobhain standing behind him with a puzzled look on her face, wondering what the hell Selena was doing at this party with friends of James. In this massive city of 6 million people I had ended up sharing a house with a friend of friend of Siobhains.

This however is not the only strange coincidence. Years later we find out that Siobhain had known a very good friend of ours – Gina – for several years before either of them figured out they both knew the same Robbie and Selena. Here’s Gina recollection of when they figured it out…

“I first met Siobhan through my ex flat mate Suzie in March 2004- at LMNT, my now favourite restaurant in Hackney. Suzie and I had just moved to Hackney and while I had never met her, had often recounted stories of her colourful and gregarious friend Siobhan and I was looking forward to meeting her- especially when she said Siobhan had suggested we meet in a decadent cocktail bar/restaurant with an outlandish Egyptian theme. Outlandish it was- with cocktails named after Pharaohs genitalia and mythic porn etched into the loo walls- although Siobhan was totally at ease as if she’d grown up there.  As expected she was energetic, sharply witty and huge fun- with her own brand of intelligence and abandon that few people can match. Suzie then moved to Scotland and I saw less of Siobhan but it wasn’t until the spring of 2006 that Siobhan mentioned Robbie and Selena in passing at another one of our drunken 6 hour lunches at LMNT that we realised that we had them in common – and the shock that we hadn’t realised this before still amazes me. Siobhan will always be her own individual person, and I am so grateful to know her and now rare though it is always love to see her – both through Suzie and Robbie/Selena- thank you guys!”

 

Posted in Photography, Portraits, The Friendly Tree

Business portraits for your website – Kibri

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Professional portraits for personal and business websites.

If you run your own business then its goes without saying that you need a website these days, and a standard element of any business website should be an About us or Profile page on the owners, or key employees. Having a high quality photo, typically a headshot, of the person or people providing the service or running the business puts a face to the company and helps build trust with your potential clients. They show that you take your business seriously and are prepared to invest in projecting your business in a professional manner.

Kibri has just started working for my friend Tim, who is a podiatrist. He is setting up a clinic in north London covering the Hackney & Walthamstow area. I did a photo shoot back in July for his new website, where I went to the health clinic and took a selection of business portraits and photographs of Tim carrying out his job. This was before Kibri started working for him, so they needed some additional profile portraits taken.  She came down to my south London studio where we took these additional images. We completed the website business portraits fairly quickly and had a little bit of time left to try some other studio portrait set ups. It was too good an opportunity to miss having someone as photogenic as Kibri is in front of the camera. Taking some more casual portraits also means the person has additional image that they can use on other websites such as Facebook or LinkedIN.

Kibri was a great model, she didn’t blink, and could hold a pose and its amazing the difference a white scrub coat can make. Compare the first two business portraits with the rest, we go from smart health professional to fashion model in the blink of eye. I used my big Westcott 50″ soft box with a single SB900 flash. Its a gorgeous light on its own, or used in with a reflector or with a hair/ cross light from behind.

One final thing about a good profile page is it also provides a potential opportunity for SEO, because if each business portrait also has a short biography of the person attached to it, then the keywords and phrases about your business can be inserted into the biography, in Kibri’s case such as “podiatrist” or “foot care”. This will help your website rank higher in search engine results.

Posted in Photography, Portraits Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Mystery girl wins London fashion look photography competition

 

Candid street photograph of a fashionable girl in London, England  “who’s that girl halfway to heaven?’

Can you help find this unknown girl who sums up the London look, according to judges from the National Portrait Gallery and the Horniman Museum?

This candid street portrait was took up the West End of London during the Olympic torch relay. Its a good example of a street photography technique, find a pool of reflected light and then patiently wait for someone interesting to walk into it. Late evening sun gives nice long shadows and back light. It also bounces off windows and shiny building façades, so you get fleeting reflector / flash type illumination of peoples faces with the sun behind them. You get them late afternoon / early evening. The trick is just find a good spot to take pictures and hope for something to happen. Hopefully before the pool of the light disappears as the sun is moving and so is the reflected light. I got lucky in that she was distracted by her phone, so walking slowly, which meant I had time to get the focus right. Added bonus she was also pretty and stylishly dressed.

Couple of days later I saw on Facebook a online competition being run by the Londonist.com and the Horniman Museum. They were looking for images that summed up “The London Look”. This image fitted the brief so I entered it. A couple of weeks later, much to my surprise, it was a joint winner. Always nice to be appreciated and its the first time I’ve won anything for my photography. Looking at now after some time has passed I think its one of the best street photographs I’ve taken. This is mainly down to the light, but it needed the fashionably attractive woman, lost in her own private world of email, Twitter or Facebook, oblivious to their surroundings to create that Zeitgeist image.  Its a scene we all see every day in the city, but it only started happening in the last 4 – 5 years as smart phones took over our social communications.

I thought it would be a bit of fun to try and find out who this mysterious girl is so I can send her a print. No luck so far on that front. Photograph was taken on Duncannon St opposite the bar Halfway To Heaven, near Charing Cross Station about 6.30 on the 26th July. If you come across this post and you think you know her please get in touch?

Posted in London, Photography, Portraits, Street Photography

Lis Rhodes at Tate Modern

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Popped into the Tate Modern at the weekend while wandering down the river taking in the Thames Festival sights and sounds. Was really impressed by an installation piece from the Tate’s permanent collection by the artist Lis Rhodes. Its been installed in one of the new Tank Rooms in the Turbine hall. They’ve been opened temporarily ( approx. 15 weeks ) before they are are shut again whilst they finish building the rest of the new extension.

Its possibly one of my favourite installation  / interactive pieces of art I’ve ever seen. Its fun, you and the people around you become the art, the artist uses two projectors to chop up light and cast shadows on the walls. I would recommend staying for at least 10 -15 mins in the room, watching how the projections change slowly and how people react and interact with each other. Also get involved yourself!

Probably better at the weekend when there will be children there, as they’ve loved running around creating shapes. More so than the adults who were being much more restrained, apart from the couple in the pictures who were getting right into it.

I had to use stupidly low shutter speeds and high ISO, so lots of blur and noise in the resultant images, I don’t mind the blur, it adds to the image in my opinion, and the noise was removed in Lightroom at the expense of even more softening of the image. The final images have a painterly feel to them which is appropriate given where they were taken. I want to go back and sit my camera on the bench at the back of the room and try some longer delayed shutter speeds shots at a lower ISO. This should hopefully capture people movement without the camera shake.

The Tank Rooms are opened for another 5/6 week. so if you’ve got a spare afternoon over the next few weekends get yourself to the South Bank.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Art, London Tagged , , , , , , , , |