Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

There is, apparently, a nasty virus going around. It’s separating loved ones, frightening people of all ages, preventing and changing “normal” life, making people ill, ruining businesses, stalling education and careers, and even killing thousands.

Given that perspective, the cancellation of a few photography courses and workshops is pretty small beer really. Inevitably, under these extraordinary circumstances, I’ve postponed all of my training events until it’s safe and sensible to reschedule. Everyone affected has been contacted and have been wonderfully understanding (this is no surprise – my training clients are lovely folks). Whatever happens, and however long it takes, these bookings will be honoured.

I, like many other photographers, and many other freelance/self-employed people (including the models I work with), have a very uncertain future because of Covid-19. I noticed a fairly sudden drop-off in my usual PR and commercial work 4-6 weeks ago but hoped we’d escape the worst of it and could begin to recoup the lost earnings. It’s now apparent this is unlikely to happen any time soon and with studio and house rent to pay, I’m unsure how my business will weather this enforced period of inactivity. I went into self-isolation almost a week ago because I was showing symptoms of what I believe to be (but can’t be certain was) a cold and cough. I have no work whatseoever in the diary until September which is when the school photography contracts should begin – but of course, there’s a chance these may not materialise. Freelance photographers sadly cannot work from home.

But I’m one of the lucky ones. I am in generally good health, have food in my cupboards and freezer, have a little garden I can sit in for fresh air when needed – and most importantly, my family are safe, well and taking the necessary precautions to avoid infection. If my business doesn’t survive this, I’m sure I’ll adapt and eventually find alternative work.

My real sympathy is with those already infected or lost to this virus and their families.

And my eternal gratitude to the wonderful NHS and other keyworkers keeping this country battling through despite the best efforts of the moronic hordes of panic-buying, stockpiling, advice-ignoring, virus-spreading dimwits who see no reason to make any adjustment whatsoever to their own selfish routines in order to save the lives of innocent people. To those people, I wish a swift and painful death.

In an attempt to end on a lighter, photographic note (this is a photography page after all), I leave you with this image of lovely Laura (actually two shots, taken, edited, composited on an iphone) proving that there really is light at the end of the tunnel…

Pride Of The Black Country: Father’s Pride

As a sort of sideline to the action shots of the boxing events arranged by Priory Park Boxing Club in Dudley (the “Pride of the Black Country” as they have been called), I have continued to add to my ongoing documentary project of the same name.

The above shot shows a young boxer (just 9 years old) emerging from the ring after a non-competitive bout at a recent “Development show” to a huge hug from his very proud father, still clutching onto his trophy. This image will eventually be converted to black and white.

To me, this image encapsulates some of the excitement and euphoria that is so apparent at all of the many shows I’ve shot.

Boxing Away

Over the last… ooh, quite a few… years now, I’ve been fortunate to photograph some amazing boxing action at all levels, from young amateurs to white collar first-timers to professionals. I owe my┬áintroduction into boxing photography to Paul Gough and his amazing team at Priory Park ABC in Dudley, which in turn led to my ongoing relationship with Birmingham’s fantastic white collar gym “Fighting Fit City Gym” (led by Neil Perkins).

I’ve covered many fights but also provided promotional and press images for clubs, promoters and individual fighters. I’m pleased to say that this seems to be growing nicely. However, I’ve decided to push myself and my services a little further afield. After all, even the studio images can be produced on location if necessary.

New Blood: Natasha

You know you’re getting on a bit when you find out that you went to school with your model’s auntie, and mom. Such was the case this week when I booked the lovely Natasha Fearon for the FOTO-CLUBNew Blood” event. It also turns out that I know Natasha’s boyfriend – the excellent Black Country boxer, Ryan Partridge. Anyway, you get the idea. Here’s a couple of images from the shoot…

Mud, Boxers, Mud, A Tank And A Digger

Some people spend their Summer Friday afternoons drifting away from their places of work and heading over to the beer garden for a bit of liquid refreshment. Not me. I was taking photographs in a very muddy builders’ yard in the Black Country.

I had been asked by Priory Park ABC‘s head trainer Paul Gough to take some pictures of some of the club’s top boxers for a poster. The idea was to photograph the lads in front of a digger – with boxer Ricky “Digger” Summers (who will be fighting for a title at the event that the poster is going to be advertising) taking centre stage.

Pictured are (from left): Ryan Partridge, Ryan “Tank” Aston, Ricky Summers, Luke Paddock, and Ryan Corrigan

The only digger available was perched atop a huge pile of gravel/soil and because of the available space could only be photographed from 180 degrees. The strong sun was in and out of the clouds on a minute-by-minute basis and was either directly behind, or almost to the side of the lads. And so I used some off-camera strobe to lift up the shadows on their faces a bit.

We finally dispensed with the high-vis jackets and helmets and let the boxers look like boxers…

And just to show that we also experimented with some different positioning…

Neither of these images are the one chosen for the poster. You’ll have to wait to see that. And the ultra-high-clarity finish to these images is as requested by Paul (it’s not my usual look but I do like it on these shots).