MONOKROME MUTINEERS

I was recently asked to produce some publicity photographs for an interesting project in the works from these guys.. Meet Charlie and Kristian. Musical production collaborators and innovators.

After years of working in the field as employees of different companies servicing the independent record industry, both were becoming increasingly frustrated with the standard MO and status quo of this working landscape. They told me how things are routinely fragmented and inefficient in terms of the various aspects of production. A & R? Speak to this company. Distribution? Talk to that department. Photography? Maybe this, that or the other guy. Publicity? This company vs That department.. You get the picture. Kind of all over the place, with a lot of time and energy wasted in unnecessary meetings, negotiations and complications. They both took a deep breath... and quit their jobs.

Enter monoKrome music.

Their vision of a streamlined new blueprint for a refreshing way to work. Everything in-house, all aspects of the industry serviced from one place with an emphasis on efficiency and freedom from constraints. Sounds good to me, and I'm not even a musician.

The project is still in the early stages of development, but the guys wanted some images of themselves both together and individually to get the ball rolling.  

I look forward to the evolution of this exciting new company and to a continued working relationship going forward.

We had great fun working in the studio. Here are some of my favourites..


FUJI X-T1, XF56mm f/1.2R


EXPERIMENTIA VELVIA

Continuing my current pre-occupation with all things film, I thought I'd share this recent experience with some Fuji Velvia 100F.

For those who don't know, Velvia is a colour reversal slide film which when developed becomes a positive transparency, as opposed to an inverted negative. It is known for its fine grain and saturated colours. Sadly, it has now been discontinued but I found a few expired rolls on Ebay some time ago. I bought them and put them away in a drawer.. for like, years. Oops, now even more expired. I think it's now somewhere around ten years out of date, but I don't have the boxes so not sure precisely. 

Well, I finally got round to shooting a roll in my old Nikon. Now, there is a rule of thumb which says you should overexpose by one stop for every ten years past it's use by date a given film might be. Ok, no problem. Only thing is, being quite a slow film to start with - 100 iso/asa, this did result in some rather slow shutter speeds under lower light conditions, meaning an increased risk of camera shake and blurry photos. I think you can see this in some of the frames but overall I'm quite pleased with how things turned out.

Being my first and only experience (so far) with this film, I was interested to see what all the fuss was about in relation to colour saturation. I knew the results I would get might be compromised in some way because of it's age, and I think that is the case. There are a couple of frames which show it nicely, but a lot of the rest seem a little flat to me. Not unpleasant, far from it, just not perhaps as saturated as things might've been.

Over all I'm happy that the film is useable. I have three more rolls of it in the fridge. All I need to do is decide where and when to use it... :)

See what you think.

YASHICA..CA..CA..CA...!

Once again I've been indulging a little passion of mine.

Um.. Cameras. Yup, in case you hadn't guessed, I like cameras. If I was made a different way; if all I needed was a camera that worked. Got the job done. Ticked the box, perhaps with a couple of different lens options, then one would probably be enough (well, maybe two... think weddings and events etc).

I'm not made that way.

I love the act of photography, but I also find great pleasure in the camera itself. The object. The form. The design. The aesthetic. The history. There are so many makes and models, both past and present out there to investigate that if I don't watch myself, I'm in danger of becoming a collector. I honestly don't get bored thinking about, reading about, researching and handling these wonderful things. I know. *Geek Alert*

So, further to my little piece on the Olympus XA, here we have the Yashica Electro 35. A recent charity shop find I picked up for the princely sum of thirty quid. These cameras have somewhat of a cult following as there were so many of them made from the late 1960s and through the 1970s. I was particularly happy to find this GTN model as it was born more or less when I was so we're the same age :)

This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive review, but I will give it a brief descriptive summary.. Firstly this camera, like the Olympus, is a rangefinder. This means that focus is achieved by manually aligning a super-imposed ghost image onto the real image below in the centre of the viewfinder. See all that extra gubbins across the front there? That's all to do with how the rangefinder works, (amazing technical detail here, I know). It takes 35mm film. It has a fixed 45mm f1.7 lens which has an unusual amber coating and is pretty damn sharp when focus is nailed. It is an aperture priority camera, meaning that it is only semi-automatic/semi-manual. You pick the aperture, the camera picks the shutter speed based on a reading from its fairly rudimentary light meter. And that's it. Not a lot else to say about operation. If you really want to know more go here.

My example appeared to be working, but I couldn't be sure without running a film through it. So, below are a handful of images from the only roll I've tested so far. This, once again, is the super-cheap yet very cheerful Agfa Vista 200 which when they have it in stock I can get for a pound a pop. It's not the greatest film in the world, but it has a certain charm and for the price, I've got no complaints. See what you think of both camera and film..

DAMPNESS ON DARTMOOR

Last weekend I had the chance to take my two eldest sons away in the van. Doesn't happen very often, just boys. It's a bit of a thing for a dad: Going on a little road trip with his sons, camping (van style), just being in each others company and hanging out. It ticks some kind of box which really needs to be heavily ticked more often..

To add to the package, we also caught up with some friends we haven't seen for far too long. So all in all it was a very fine weekend, albeit just a weekend.

The weather was however, as we are accustomed to it being in this dear land, a bit shite. Rain. And lots of it. But, undaunted like the true Brits we are, we ignored it and went walking on Dartmoor. Oh man. It's easy to forget that stuff is out there. So beautiful, so wild, so completely awesome. We only stayed out for a couple of hours but it filled us up (well, me anyway) with a kind of wholesome connectedness with both the people and the land around us.

That's it really. Nothing much more to say other than that. Oh, and of course I took a few pictures... :)


ALL FUJI X100


MÉLISSA

Whilst I was in France a couple of weeks ago, I had a fun opportunity.

My dear friend Jonty was recently asked to start shooting the cover of a local Perpignan magazine. Assuming things go well it will be a monthly gig for him. Most excellent fellow that he is; knowing that I would welcome the chance of shooting with a model, he arranged for this to take place during my visit. 

Each month there will be a loose theme for the issue cover. This month, it being cherry season in the region, it was cherries and as he has worked with her before, Jon decided to use Mélissa.

Now, this was his shoot really so I tagged along as an impromptu assistant and had the opportunity to fire off some frames of my own. A few in 'pole position' but most from the alternative perspective of a second shooter. It was a lot of fun, and a little frustrating at times, mainly because I don't speak french! 

In the end there were various different locations. First and most obvious, we went out into a cherry orchard. After that, we used the temporarily empty and freshly white painted living room of his new house which made a fine studio space. We then went outside again and, almost as an after thought we drove to a field of wild flowers just a few minutes down the road because well, rude not to really :)

It was a lovely added dimension to an already good reason to be there. I think it might happen again from time to time..


FUJI X-T1 WITH XF 56MM F1.2 R


INSIDE

OUTSIDE

SIMPLE PLEASURES

My eldest son is here for a week. This makes me happy :)

Yesterday, the weather being beautiful, we decided to jump in the car and head for the coast. We settled on a part of Devon neither of us had been to before. North coast as opposed to south. Croyde, Putsborough, Woollacombe. 

We just drove to the beach and walked. With cameras. As I've said in a previous post, Louis is mid-way through an art degree at Edinburgh. He is learning various disciplines and mediums among which photography plays an important part. So he did his thing and I did mine, and man what a joy. The simple pleasure of shared experience between father and son, safe in the knowledge that neither person will become impatient with the other as we're both in the zone and have no fixed agenda. Just following our eyes and going where things lead.

Two or three hours wandering about, followed by a good meal in a pub and then home. There should be more days like these..


FUJI X-T1 + XF35MM f1.4 AND X-PRO1 + XF16MM f1.4


ONE ROLL. ONE HOUR.

Ok. Not an actual roll, this is digital. But here's what I mean..

I recently returned from a trip to France. On the morning of the last day, I went for a walk into town to pick up some bread, and I took my camera. Nothing special. Just a walk to the shops and back. I was out for about an hour. When I went through the pictures I shot, I realised there were 36. Hmm.. that's a roll of film. Which got me thinking..

As a photographer, I am often looking for simple exercises or constraints which can be used when one is uninspired or in a rut. One thing which is often suggested is to put yourself in a situation where you have one camera, one lens, one 'roll of film' and a set period of time. The aim being to get as many pictures as possible within those constraints regardless of the subject matter, or lack thereof. It can be a useful discipline and the results are often surprisingly rewarding.

Now, on the morning in question I was not thinking this way at the time. But afterwards it occurred to me that I had unwittingly done exactly that. I had gone out for an hour and shot 36 frames. This time I ended up with 20 I was happy with. Not a bad return :)

Here are the results.


FUJI X-T1 AND XF56MM f1.2R


 

 

BANGKOK TO BRUTON

Meet my little brother.

Some years ago now, Luke was living in London trying to make ends meet. The usual story.. working his ass off in order to just stand still. Drinking evenings and weekends, putting on weight and slowly but surely becoming less and less satisfied with life.

Then, disillusioned with that particular treadmill, he flew to Asia for a break. Starting off with a few weeks in India, his road led him ultimately to Thailand.  He fell in love. With everything. The climate, the culture, the people - everything. By the time his visa had run out he had decided to find a way to go back as soon as possible, to stay. Life back in London held little to no appeal any more and he was determined not to get sucked back into the trap. 

He did it. 

That was a good ten years ago. He is now married, living in Bangkok and is well on the way to becoming a successful personal trainer. He eats healthily, drinks rarely and is studying a mixture of different martial arts along with Thai language. He trains daily and has become a well known and liked 'Farang' in his local community.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

I am very proud of him and what he has achieved. The world needs more people who have the courage and tenacity not to accept the hand they've been dealt, and to carve out the life they actually want. It also means I have somewhere to stay in Bangkok ;-)

'Course, the downside is that I now only see him occasionally.

But right now he is here! He and his wife have come to stay for three whole weeks and I couldn't be happier. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to shoot some long overdue photos of him in the new studio. 

Particularly for those who know him... Enjoy.

B


FUJI X-T1 AND XF 56MM F1.2 R


OH YEAH.. FILM!

Well, it's a funny old world..

I shoot digital and I love it. No two ways. The technology available to us today is fantastic, and it just keeps on getting better. It's astonishing, and my only gripe is: I wish that camera manufacturers would actually slow down. An updated model every five or six years would be about right.  As it is, it's pretty much yearly and it's nuts.

Of course, I am of an age whereby any early explorations and experiences with photography for me necessarily took place using film, a long time before the advent of digital. When I was a kid I was lucky enough to have a dear family friend living in our attic, developing and printing Cibachromes and other colour processes. I can still remember the sheer magic of being invited into the darkroom and watching gorgeous rich colour images being brought to life through a soup of noxious chemicals. I myself dabbled with black and white printing whenever I got the opportunity to use someones darkroom, but many years passed before I truly embraced the photographic medium. By then digital had well and truly arrived, and for a long time now it has been my day to day bread and butter...

Then one day I was reading an article extolling the virtues of the Olympus XA (pictured above.. see the digital goodness of that shot? mmmm... oops sorry I digress). A tiny, compact rangefinder camera originally released in 1979. '..oooh I remember those!' It is essentially an aperture priority camera. You choose the aperture and the camera works out the shutter speed. Focus is achieved by way of a split screen rangefinder patch in the viewfinder, and the f/2.8 Zuiko lens was apparently renowned for its sharpness and contrast. I got hooked. 'Hmm, how would it be to play with film again..?' So I went straight onto Ebay and snagged one for cheap. Coupled with a few rolls of film I managed to find for a pound a pop, yes one pound! I had a tiny inexpensive film based set up, light enough for a jacket pocket. There are the associated costs of developing, but again, I found a lab where I can get a roll done for three quid. My good friend (Dave Watts top geezer) has graciously offered me the use of his scanner... Let the fun commence.. :-)

I have only put one roll through it so far but here are my findings:

I LOVE IT.

After years of shooting digital, the experience of being constrained by a roll of film is strangely refreshing. Because there is no way of seeing what you're getting, you are forced to slow down. Waaaaay down. You want to make each frame count so it really makes you look, think and question whether or not to press the shutter.

The quality. This is where, for me, it gets interesting. Having become so used to the nature of a digital file, I had begun to overlook how utterly gorgeous an image shot on film can be. There is a richness of tone and a level of dynamic range which I had almost forgotten existed. Add to that the grain which film emulsion necessarily yields, and you have a very specific look which gives a much more organic feel than a digital file. And this is all from a little compact camera loaded with very cheap 35mm film. Imagine what you can get out of a medium format set up... Drool.

And, the magic. It's just, well.. like magic. I feel a bit like a kid again. It's hard to put into words, but knowing what's going on inside that little black box when you press the shutter and make an exposure brings me joy. It's chemical man. It's analog. It's old school. And it changes things. In a good way.

So, this is just a start. I foresee a lot more film passing through my workflow. Fortunately I already have an old Nikon SLR for more versatile 35mm work, and a Bronica SQ-A for medium format. Hurrah!

For now, see what you think of these initial frames. Click for large.

Cheers

B


OLYMPUS XA, ON AGFA VISTA 200


AULD REEKIE

My eldest son Louis has grown and flown, and I couldn't be prouder. He has just begun a degree at Edinburgh College of Art, part of Edinburgh University. He's twenty years old and it's so wonderful to see the twin worlds of possibility and opportunity opening up before him. I myself never went to university in the traditional sense, much less art college with all its fantastic resources and shared motivation... Everything I know, I have essentially taught myself. Whilst there is a certain satisfaction in that, it is a long and sometimes lonely road. Part of the problem is that I only worked out that I needed to be a photographer a handful of years ago.. 

If I had my time again would I do things differently? Perhaps.. perhaps. But now I get to watch my boy walking a path which I hope will set him up with stronger foundations than I gave myself, and enable him to build the life and career he wants with more efficiency and success than I have. If our children learn from our mistakes and evolve past the point of their parents, then all is right with the world.

The name 'Auld Reekie' comes from the old scots meaning 'Old Smokey' and refers to the days when there were so many hearth fires burning, the city was permanently covered by a haze of smoke and it has always stuck in my mind. I've had a life-long connection with Edinburgh. My aunt, uncle and cousins always lived there. Sadly, my uncle died a few years ago and one cousin has moved away (Paul, you are missed) but it was good to visit again with such a new and fresh purpose. To re-visit old haunts and to catch up with family (Sara, thanks again for giving up your bed). Being shown around by my own son was a special feeling and strengthened the sense of pride I have in watching him grow in confidence and independence.

The three days I was there were (not surprisingly for Scotland in November) - cold. The sun was winter-low and it was dark by 4.30pm. It made for a lot of bright contrast, dark shadows and fleeting daylight hours. After a good bit of strolling about town visiting the college, the library and miscellaneous places of interest, we discovered that a short half-hour train ride away is the small coastal town of North Berwick. It provided a nice counterpoint to the city centre...

Grow well Louis. Exciting times :)

Click for large.

B


 FUJI X100


CITY


COAST

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

Last weekend I was asked to photograph the pumpkin festival held at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, the new contemporary art gallery on the edge of town. London. Zurich. New York. Bruton... Yep, still coming to terms with that one. I grew up in London and am no stranger to cosmopolitan cultural diversity, but I kind've left all that behind some years ago when I moved to Somerset. Living in Bruton is a very different experience to the big city. Not better. Not worse. Just very different. But we now have an enormous cutting edge art space right on our doorstep. Cool :)

The Pumpkin Festival was a community event, with food, music, competitions and childrens activities. My job was to document the day and deliver a number of photographs to be used for publicity purposes on their social media platforms.

I enjoyed the day and came away with a number of pictures I am actually pretty pleased with.

Since the bulk of images were, as intended, shot for H&W to promote the event, I will keep to just a few detail shots which I ended up liking.

Click for large. Enjoy.

B


SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-1OO, X-PRO 1 AND XF35MM F1.4


AFTER THE EVENT

So. It's been a while. Really quite a while. I began this blog filled with the best of intentions. With enthusiastic desires of producing regular content for people to consume, and of building, slowly but surely, a healthy archive over time. This is still my intention. But sometimes life hits. Throwing things at you which knock the wind from your sails and worry away at your stuffing until you become somewhat incapacitated. The last few months have been like this for me. It began with my mum having an accident and ending up in hospital for several weeks. There is a lot to that story but I don't think I will go into it now. Suffice it to say she's OK again and on the road to recovery, but it knocked me sideways. I had in fact put together a draft post about it, but as I hit publish the whole thing vanished. Once i'd got over my shock and consternation, in the end I took it as a sign that perhaps it was best left un-shared here. That, and some other challenges of the internal demonic sort ultimately led to my grinding to a digital halt.

Of late however, the proverbial sun has begun to peek out and dispel the fogginess which was holding me still.

So now, although a good deal further after the event than it should've been, It's time to start working through the backlog. Starting with Glastonbury.

I have been going to this enormous summer festival for a long time. My first one was twenty six years ago, aged 17.. Whoah. I've skipped a few since then but it's gotta be seventeen or eighteen times now for me. In all those years I have actually bought a ticket once. Every year before or since, I have found one way or another to be there as either a paid or unpaid worker of many different descriptions. I am currently involved in the lighter aspects of infrastructure at the Field Of Avalon. Myself and a small team of friends spend the final week leading up to the opening of the festival putting together a variety of finishing touches to the field and stage spaces we have there. Whilst not strictly a photographic gig, my position does mean that once it all kicks off I get some pretty cool access to our stages and I am basically able to shoot to my hearts content both front and back stage in the Avalon field.

Experience has taught me that there's really no point attempting to photograph at the other large main stages without proper access (think average punter type shot of small performer over the heads of a huge crowd). Instead I will usually head to the myriad of smaller tents and venues where the more intimate experience is to be had. Add to that the whole panoply of random craziness all over the rest of the site, and you have a pretty damn visually stimulating few days...

This year, Zillah and the two boys were there as well which brought an extra friends and family dimension into the equation which was fun :) 

I invite you back in to a slice of the summer. Click to view large.

B


ALL IMAGES SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-T1 AND XF18MM F2R, XF35MM F1.4R & XF56MM F1.2R 


STAGE FRONT


BACKSTAGE


INTERSTICES

PORTAL TO THE PAST

A few weeks back I was asked by Jack Price to shoot some production stills for the short film he is making as part of his Youth Cinema Foundation project.

The conversation went something like this:

"...We're shooting on location at Cothay Manor. Do you know it?"

"Umm.. No."

"Near Wellington. It's one of the most well preserved 15th century Manor Houses in the country. They shot Wolf Hall there. We've got it for the whole day. There'll be a bunch of teenagers dressed in period costume doing scenes for the film in various settings. What do you think? Is that something you could make time for?"

"Er.. YEP. OK."

No brainer. Not the sort of opportunity that comes knocking at the door every day.

I am a natural documentarian. One of my favourite things to do is to tell a story or portray an event using pictures, with the onus on attention to detail. I'm not fussy about the subject matter. It could be anything from the lowly and mundane to the most lavish and out of the ordinary - or anything in between. But I'll be honest: When it's something like this, it's a treat.

Working with Jack is always fun. He is a powerhouse of energy and creativity. His experience and enthusiasm are infectious, and he is adept at conjuring up scenarios you'd think would be next to impossible, out of nothing. His Youth Cinema Foundation is a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain rare experience and insight into an industry which would normally be shrouded in mystery for those of their age group. Instead of fetching and carrying and 'making the tea', these kids are learning to act, direct and to use camera and sound equipment. All hands on. Very little watching from the sidelines. It is a pleasing thing to witness.

For myself, I got to engage in one of the activities I like best, with the added bonus of being surrounded by the authentic trappings of a fascinating bygone era. You could say I had a good day.

The premier of the film 'Shaftesbury's End' will screened on June 26th at Hauser and Wirth Somerset.

Cothay Manor Shoot-100.jpg

SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-T1, X-PRO 1, X100 AND XF 35MM F1.4R + XF56MM F1.2R



A SPECTRE OF BLOFELD

I have just emerged from the first stretch of time which has proved to be an obstacle to my best blogging intentions.. Busy? Erm, just a bit. But for the first time in a few weeks I can breathe once again.

A while back I alluded to the possibility of a further post from my recent visit to Catalunya. Well, just so you know I wasn't making it up..

Once upon a time there was a hotel called Cap Sa Sal.

There is very little information out there on the history of this building but it was constructed in the late 1950s and early 60s during the reign of Franco as a large and swanky retreat for the rich and famous. Whilst it enjoyed a brief flourish of popularity, with actors and actresses of the time being seen to be seen, it was never quite as successful as intended and was eventually abandoned in the 1970s.

Yep. Abandoned. Lock, stock and barrel. 

Through coincidence, luck and opportunity, myself and a friend were able to sneak in for a quick explore. 

Woah. I wasn't expecting what we found..

Certain portions of the complex have been hived off as apartments and there IS a degree of human presence - Mail in a bank of pigeon holes, a janitor, CCTV. But large sections of the structure appear to have been untouched for forty years. Empty corridors and large chambers containing original furniture, fixtures and fittings. There is evidence of someone keeping the dust at bay but it was like stepping back in time onto a movie set reminiscent of a cross between The Shining and Dr No. 


SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-T1 AND XF 27MM F2.8


I have no idea what the future holds for this weird place, but I felt privileged to see what I saw. Sure, a small number of artefacts make it to the safe havens of museums yet so many genuine pieces of history in this world have been lost forever to the twin gods of Progress and Capitalism. Very occasionally one stumbles across a thing preserved in its natural habitat, still free of contrived curation. It feels fragile and special. 

May this, and the sprinkling of similar places around the world last as long as possible.

THE PROVEN CLICHÉ

Last weekend, I had one of those days.

It started with my attempt at mowing the lawn. I think I made it once up the length of the garden before I ran over the electric cable and cut straight through it. Great. Bang went my plans of quickly and efficiently cutting the grass and moving on to other things.. Literally. It tripped a fuse in the box which may have saved me from electrocution, but somehow caused a knock on effect which left the house without power and me tinkering around trying to fix it for a good couple of hours. It was about this time that Cosmo came back in. 

He had been out by himself for the first time (with a friend) to the woods nearby. It felt good. An initial spreading of wings. A step on the road to autonomous independence. Cool.. All good. And it is.

Except he fell out of a tree. 

Bless his fortitude, he walked all the way back to the house - the best part of a mile - and then sat on the sofa and cried. It took some time to persuade him that a trip to the hospital was a good idea. He was not impressed but we went. (By the way, y'know I said it was one of those days? Well, the car broke down on the way there. Uh-huh. For real). Several hours and an x-ray later it became clear he had broken his wrist. 

A few days later we went back to have a proper cast fitted. The consultant looked at his other wrist and.. 'Hmmm...' Another x-ray showed a little crack in that one too.

Blimey. (Click for full size view)


SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-T1 AND XF 35MM F1.4R



I myself have never broken a bone. Hell I don't even have a filling in my mouth, but somehow this feels like a rite of passage. For Cosmo obviously but also, curiously, me too. Can't explain it but there it is. Now the initial shock and pain have passed, it has also become a bit of a badge of honour.

And trying to get him to rest up, look after himself and maybe not take any risks for a few weeks? Yeah. 'Trying' is the operative word.

Boys will be boys.

CATALAN CONTRAST

I've just returned from a fleeting visit to Spain. Or more specifically, Catalunya. A region in the far north-east of the country just south of the Pyrenees. 

The main premise for the trip was to spend time with some dear friends who were getting married after many a year of cohabitation and making babies. Also to act as an official witness. I was there for a mere two days but it's amazing how much you can squeeze in when you know time is at a premium.

There are certain parts of the Spanish coast which, frankly, leave me slightly ashamed of being English. You probably know what I'm talking about. Nuff said. Catalunya is different. It is a special place. It has been attracting artists for a long time due to the nature of the landscape and the particular quality of light. Salvador Dalí lived and worked there, and many others such as Picasso, Tàpies and Miró to name but a few spent considerable time working in the area.

Having seen it first hand I can say there is something about the light. It's subtle; it doesn't smack you in the face, but it's as though there is a clarity to the air which allows the sun to penetrate deeply whatever it shines on, rendering colours more vividly and with more contrast than I am used to seeing. I'm sure there are other places in the world where this is also the case, but perhaps not many so close to home and it was a treat for me.

I photographed many different things, but for a while I got caught up in simply looking for Light and Shadow. Contrast. Silhouette. Detail. 

There may be future posts from this trip. But for now this. Just this. Enjoy.


SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-T1 AND XF 35MM F1.4 R


TURNING POINT..

I would like to say that there comes a point on the trajectory of every photographers life and career path where, unplanned of course, they take a picture which is pivotal. A frame where everything comes together through a sprinkling of unicorn tears and leprechaun eyelashes and it's just 'Yes!' 'Wow!' 'Damn look at that!'.

But I can't speak for everyone. Whilst I suspect most photographers will have a shot which might be described as the first 'One', I have no true idea to what extent this is the case.

For me however, this really did happen. 8 years ago, a scant three weeks after my second son was born.

After many years of kind've thinking somewhere in the back of my mind I might like to explore taking photographs more seriously, I finally bought my first digital camera. A little Canon Ixus 750. I was attracted to it because not only was it decent quality; it was tiny. It could slip into any pocket or bag and be the camera you always have with you. A concept which was immediately appealing. 

So I began. I started taking pictures of all sorts of things but primarily of course, my new born son, my partner and the environment we were living in. It was fun. At the time we lived in a converted barn pretty much in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields and a good ten minute walk to the nearest proper road.

One morning I was out by myself walking the dog in the fields. She stopped with the sun behind her and I saw there was a spiders web directly between me and her, backlit by the sun. The camera was in my hand, I grabbed focus and bang. I caught this..

2006 036.jpg

..Moments later she moved on and if I'd been any slower it wouldn't have happened.

I didn't realise what I had, or its significance until much later when I got a chance to get the days photos on to the computer and have a real look through. When I found this, I uttered words to the effect of "Woo Hoo!! Look, look, look," to anyone who would, well, look. I thought, 'I can do this'. Really cool pictures are achievable. 

There is no formula. If Only. But there is a magic that can happen when various elements conspire. Composition, light, shadow, exposure, focus, depth of field. All these and sometimes more play an essential role in dictating whether a photograph works or not. Is great or not.

Ever since I nailed this picture I've been striving to lift my game and get the most out of whatever it may be that I'm shooting. This is the image that taught me about the transience of photographic opportunity. Of the myriad variables, and how timing can be crucially important - the difference between an OK shot and something wonderful. Half a second can make all the difference. A splash of light in just the right place. A five degree shift in angle. All these and more can be the thing that swings it.

There is no end point in the learning process. As long as we keep on shooting we cannot stop improving, which is brilliant when you stop and think about it. But an understanding of the above points goes a long way towards keeping us sharp and hungry. Always chasing that next frame of juicy satisfaction. To be the best that we can be.

This is part of what makes me tick as a photographer so I wanted to share.

Back with more soon..

B

HERE BEGINETH THE BLOG...

This will be a platform for sharing from my life in general. It is a repository for my personal work, projects, thoughts, feelings, experiences, vignettes, stories etc.. 

Deciding what content to include on a photography website is no easy task. It is the 'face' of your business, and as such ought to be curated with care. But unless you're a photographer who really only specialises in one type of work, it can be difficult to know where to draw your lines. What to show, what not to show. How to present things in a way which will provide clarity and ensure your prospective clients understand what you have to offer and what you don't. To this end, with the other pages here I have tried show a clear cross section of the kind of work I am currently producing and able to offer across various commissioned environments. This is work. This is business. This is bread and butter. I care about any and all images I put my name to. Ask anyone who knows me well and they will testify to the fact that I am an incorrigible perfectionist. It's one of my greatest strengths/weaknesses. But...

That is really only a part of who I am as a person and a photographer.

My personal work can take many other random forms. I am interested in creating imagery out of anything. I take pleasure in seeking joy and beauty in the mundane, the everyday details of life we see all around us at all times, making a pleasing photograph out of ordinary subject matter. 

....Watch this space for further posts and all things personal from the world outside the box.


SHOT WITH A MIXTURE OF NIKON, FUJI AND CANON CAMERAS