Due to the nature of my work it can be a very, very long time between shooting a photo and it going public for everyone to see. This is one of those short posts where I get to show off photos I shot that have recently(ish) been allowed out in the wild world of the internet. If you like the look of what I shoot, say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org and have a look at more of my work in my Portfolio and Gallery pages.
The Dry Cleaner (Short Film)
I’ve been asked more times than I care to count about how I started a career in photography, especially about how and why I started shooting on film sets. It’s definitely not a typical lifestyle that many people would willingly pick, there must be a super interesting and cool reason, right? Maybe.
Generally I’ve avoided posting old work and discussing my previous non-movie related photography. Partially out of avoiding confusion about what I currently shoot, partially out raw embarrassment and not ever wanting to display old photos that today I wouldn’t consider shooting, let alone display for people to see.
With that said, I was astounded / disturbed out when I realised a couple of weeks back that I’ve been taking photos in one capacity or another for about TEN years now. It’s very difficult to state a time frame where I started to consider myself professional, but with a full library of everything I’ve ever shot, I can look back and see where I started taking photography seriously.
Things have changed a hell of a lot since I was an ikkle 17 year old kid. Not just photography, the business, and technology, but myself as a person. While I don’t allow the role of photographer to define myself as a person, I cannot deny that photography has absolutely been a core part of my adult life and has heavily affected many life changing decisions I’ve made down the road.
I reckon that it’s worth sitting down and spending some time discussing the lessons I’ve learnt as a photographer and as a person over the past ten years. I feel that it’s something of a responsibility to pass some of my experience down to younger people who want to take a similar path to mine. But how do I write about all this in a meaningful way that people won’t glaze over and ignore? The hazy cloud of deep nostalgia is very difficult to navigate on your own.
This is a difficult task for one man, so I’m asking for thoughts from everyone who’s mildly interested. I want to hear what people would like to hear. I’m hoping that feedback will help me to construct an interesting format that’s actually worth reading, and contains more insight than me simply, begrudgingly digging up the past.
If you have a question, or if there is something you’re curious about, email me at email@example.com. I’m mega keen to hear all of your thoughts.
Below is a tasty teaser at what ten years of hard graft can do to a creative persons abilities. On the left is a super early photo of a local gig I shot on 2004, on the right, a portrait I shot in 2014.
For around ten years I’ve been masquerading as a highly trained photographer shooting for all sorts of clients, predominantly film production companies. I’m one of those people who’re lucky enough to afford being a picky git about who I work with and sell myself to, my services aren’t open to the public even if they’re intended audience for what I shoot.
However I think it’s time to open the doors a little bit and let more people enjoy what I create. How you ask? How about selling a variety of premium quality prints? Yeah, lets do that. Have a look at my first online collection that contains prints that are available to buy RIGHT NOW! Barely in time for Christmas!
Alternatively, and for future reference, here is the Print Shop page where links to all available collections will be visible as they are created in the future.
Why haven’t I got round to selling prints before? Shooting film productions requires me to vanish from the world for months at a time. It means I’m not been able to guarantee a fully functional retail service that paying customers deserve. Additionally, online print suppliers have also been very mediocre in my eyes, filling store pages with cluttered designs made to benefit themselves and not me as an art seller. Not interested. Until now.
My prints are being handled by theprintspace, a professional photographic printer in London whom I trust to create perfectly coloured prints every time, something which is disappointingly difficult to find. Should they deviate I can go over there personally and see what’s going on. I wouldn’t accept anything less!
For this opening selection of prints I’m opting for a pricing scheme that’s aimed at being accessible for everyone at starting from £19.97 and up to £49.36 (plus shipping) for the largest sizes. Much like great films, I think prints should be available to all people who like looking at cool things.
Starting off small, this whole endeavour is completely experimental for me. Creating photos for people to buy is a very different process to shooting marketing for a film. As a long term investment to building a large and attractive selection of prints to buy, I’m going to be constantly prodding at things to see what does and doesn’t work. If feedback is positive I might even create shoots purely for the sake of selling prints.
I’ve created an FAQ page for my prints which will hopefully answer any questions you may have. If you’re still confounded by something though, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to hear what you have to say.
More galleries and prints will go online in the near future as certain things are agreed to and the last layers of polish are added. Keep an eye out!
Yup, I’ve taken up the pre-yearly naming scheme of crappy sports games. I’m sure you’ll live.
In a vain attempt to look busier than I am, I’ve decided to sit down, have a look at my portfolio for the thousandth time and decide what to do with my life. This time my mental processes came to the conclusion that I should re-jig my portfolio a little bit and do some winter cleaning.
Have a look! Portfolio! Click it!
If you know me, you’ll know that my portfolio is my greatest enemy. It’s the physical embodiment of my latest, greatest and most beautiful work, however because I’m a stereotypical creative, my huge levels of arrogance are dwarfed only by insufferable levels of insecurity. Even when everything is perfect I’ll still sit and stare at the body of work, treating it like I probably would a tarantula that magically appeared on my desk; paralysed with fear. Fortunately as one gets older, wiser, and
uglier more confident, it’s not as hard to decide what works as it used to be.
When I created the 2013 edition of my portfolio, it was a hugely needed overhaul of everything. Today I’m subtly tweaking the core design ethos so that it reflects my own artistic directions. Gone are the thick black borders I used attempt a portrayal of creative authority and the page cluttering production details have been put at the back.
I’ve now opted for “BIGGER PICTURES!”, which rings much better in my head. It still looks cinematic – anamorphic aspect ratios will do that on their own – but it makes a huge difference to raw impact. Pragmatically speaking individual pages will also look much better when they’re scattered around on the internet.
There are a few new additions to the portfolio for the release, however for me it’s also laying the foundations for 2015 when more of 2014’s excellent projects will become public, I want those awesome pictures to stand big and proud for everyone to see!
If you like what you see, let me know! Give me a yell at email@example.com – especially if you like it enough to hire me, you lovely person you.
Occasionally an individual photo will be released here and there, but it doesn’t validate a blog post of it’s own. Instead I’ll just quietly add them to the Gallery page. With the release of 2:AM’s key poster today, I figured that it’s a good time to show off some of what’s been released recently.
2:AM – [Link]
War – [Link]
Like what you see and want me to shoot awesome photos for your film? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and say hello!
Working on film sets I frequently get to see and work alongside some of the best cinematography equipment available today. It’s always comforting to see Arri, Cooke or Zeiss logos floating about the camera department.
I’m a grizzled old camera guy, having seen pretty much anything camera manufacturers can throw at me I don’t get excited by camera equipment very often. I could walk past cameras and lenses that cost many thousands of pounds without really thinking much of it.
However, there are certain lenses for stills cameras that are only spoken about in gasped, reverent tones. Lenses like the alien Nikon 6mm Fisheye lens, or the extraordinary LEICA 50mm f/1 NOCTILUX, that are so rare the photography average consumer will likely never see one face to face.
Today, courtesy of MPB Photographic, a second hand photographic supplier with whom I’ve purchased goods from before, I got to meet a very special beast. The Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L lens. A near mythical lens of which no more then 2 dozen are publicly known to be made. (Click any image to embiggen!)
Much like large format photography, there’s not very much concrete information about this lens floating about online, mostly ghostly rumours. So I hope to disperse the clouds of mystery, at least a little bit. Have a look at this beast!
Operating this lens very much echoes using cinematography cameras or my large format camera. You need to use it calmly and ideally planning what you’re shooting in advance. It might even behove the user to have a second person with them to help operation go a little bit quicker / more safely.
I like to get very close to the lenses I use. My Canon 50mm 1.2 L lens has certain characteristics which you need to understand to fully utilise it. If you fail to pay attention to those little quirks you can easily turn an awesome photo into something very underwhelming. The 1200mm lens appears to be no different. The telescopic view is so extreme that very few subjects are actually ideal for it’s usage, and like every other telephoto lens, it isolates the subject so much that a photo can appear context-less and isolated. Focusing is also clearly something that isn’t to be rushed with such a lens. Having only 10 minutes to fiddle with the lens meant that I didn’t get the time I’d like to understand the lens.
This is the 1200mm seen through a Full Frame Canon 1Dx, shot with a 50mm on a 7D. Just look at the power of that magnification! At 24 times more powerful than my 50mm lens, every movement of the lens creates extreme movements in the frame of the image, every vibration makes the image that little bit softer.
So just how good is this lens? Magnification isn’t everything! It could be soft!
The guys were kind enough to let me shove my camera on the lens and give it a quick test drive.
Here is a photo of the London Eye shot with my Canon EF 50mm 1.2 L lens on a 7D body.
Wow! This was shot from a good 200+ meters away! You can even read the warning label inside the capsule! (100 percent cropped image)
At these distances atmospheric distortion is a genuine concern, so the fact that I can read these words from such a long distance really is remarkable.
Next we turned the camera around and pointed it at Big Ben / The Elizabeth Tower. Here it is with the 50mm lens again.
I actually loudly exclaimed “Oh my God!” when I looked through the viewfinder for these images. I’ve never, in all of my days of hanging around the streets of London seen the clock face in such detail.
Finally, here is the view across the Thames again towards the old County Hall. With the 50mm on the 7D again.
Incredible levels of detail for a subject so far away, and yet I can’t help but feel that I was only scraping at the potential quality of the lens. If I was given time to familiarise myself with the optimal operation of the 1200mm lens, I would be able to make these photos much, much sharper. I would kill to have a couple of hours with myself and an assistant on a rooftop in Central London to really find out what I can bleed out of this colossal piece of glass. As long as the security services don’t think I’m trying to spy on someone!
What a beautiful monster!
A couple of months ago I worked with Chris Cronin to produce my first ever short film called “The Gardeners Go To War” on behalf of Roots & Shoots to be displayed at this years RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Somehow, as if almost by magic and time travel, we have delivered a finished film, despite both me and Chris having worked on-set in numerous other films during the post production of Gardeners.
With it being the first public day of the Chelsea Flower Show, the film has also been released! Have a looksie! Cast entirely of students and staff of Roots & Shoots with no prior acting experience, “The Gardeners Go To War” is a story about how the community surrounding a 1914 era manor house is transformed by it’s men being recruited into the army to fight in World War 1.
I would also like to take a moment to thank the key crew involved, Chris Cronin, Alex Stone, Sheara Abrahams, Lilly Hale, Joel Catchatoor for their hard work on this extraordinary project. Without these people the film would’ve been virtually impossible to pull together. Still looking for more WW1 era goodness? Here’s some more stills for you to eat up at your leisure.
If you have any comments or questions about “The Gardeners Go To War” please feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com