The End Is Nigh

Shawna Leigh at Strangetown Studio, 2017

I decided a few months ago that after some 14 years of photography training, I was going to hang up my virtual board-rubber and concentrate on other aspects of my business – and perhaps some new business ideas as well.┬áThis was a very difficult and emotional decision for me but the more I considered it, the more it seemed like the right thing to do.

I began teaching photography at Birmingham Botanical Gardens as a way of earning a few extra quid while studying for my photography degree. As quite a shy person, I didn’t really relish the idea of standing in front of a group of fee-paying students and finding out I didn’t know as much about photography as I thought I did. But contrary to my expectations, I not only really enjoyed teaching, but I knew more than I thought I did, and I continued to learn with every course I taught.

Over the years, in courses and workshops at the Botanical Gardens, mac (Midlands Arts Centre), Stratford College, Solihull College, via Fotofilia and FOTO-CLUB, and at numerous private venues and institutions, I have had literally thousands of students in front of me. It has been a real pleasure and a privilege to watch absolute beginners develop into competent (and sometimes professional) photographers, some of whom I still consider friends. Our journey has taken us through at least 6 studios, too many courses and workshops to count, overseas trips, exhibitions, two successful photography clubs, numerous “copycat” “competitors”, a fair bit of frustration and a LOT of laughs.

So why would I give up something that I have grown to love? Well, there comes a time when other priorities arise, and you realise that what you’re offering is no longer achieving the level of interest that it used to and is suffering from a very crowded marketplace (so many photographers I know have begun to offer training on a more regular basis where they were previously less interested) and a growth in “peer knowledge” where groups of beginners or near beginners come together to “learn” from each other, often at little or no financial cost. Quality, it seems, can be less important than cost and increasingly, people are happy to glean bits of experience from other eager amateurs for free than have to pay the inevitable overheads/salary of full time, qualified professionals. I can understand this and believe it’s an inevitable consequence of the widespread belief that “anyone can be a photographer”.

Also, when many of your workshops rely on professionally-minded models, it can be frustrating to note a significant decline in the reliability of models, both male and female. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some wonderful models (and non-models) over the years and there is a reason that some are invited back time and again – they can be trusted to show up when a group of paying photographers are expecting them too. Sadly, I have been let down by more and more models at the last minute – arriving up to 90 minutes late or even not at all, calling in sick or suddenly uncontactable shortly before the shoot only to pop up on social media as working elsewhere or out on the tiles. The modelling interface sites like Purpleport and Purestorm are no help in this regard – when I left appropriate feedback on one model’s profile to reflect a last minute no-show, the feedback was removed within 24 hours. It is therefore increasingly difficult to provide a supply of “new” models for workshops without that knotted-stomach feeling of wondering whether they’ll show up.

So, I’ve arranged a few last bits and pieces for FOTO-CLUB early in 2018 and then that’s it. You’ll find these here on the website. I’ll say a proper goodbye to FOTO-CLUB nearer the day but for the moment, thank you.

Amber In Mono

As has become customary during a model shoot, I grabbed a few phone shots of the wonderful Amber Tutton when she featured in the recent “Special Studio Evening”. I used the very versatile “Vignette” app to take a couple of monochrome images because I love the beautiful tonality that this app displays.
In this case, I fine-tuned the initial image in the “Snapseed” app (a little softening mainly) and I really like the end result.

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In case anyone’s interested, my phone is a Samsung Galaxy S5.

My First Bit of DSLR Video: “Storm Bird” By Andrew Morton

Here’s a song from the first music video I’ve ever filmed on my Nikon DSLR. It was one of around five we made that day with a very similar look. Brilliant singer-songwriter Andrew Morton was handled the sound, singing live to a backing track and I just arranged the lighting and pressed the “record” button. I’m very pleased with the results and this is one of my favourites from the session – “Storm Bird”.

Electric Noir: Emilie and Joel

This isn’t the first time that I’ve paired up male model Joel Hicks and our most regular model Emilie Walt for a shoot together – there has also been a dance shoot, a Downton Abbey-themed shoot etc. But this Film Noir theme seems to have been one that they were both able to really get their teeth into. In recent posts, I’ve shown you solo shots and now here are a few of them together…

Sincere thanks to The Electric Cinema in Birmingham for being the perfect location for this shoot, and Keith Goodwin for access to his amazing box of props.

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

 

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

Emilie Walt & Joel Hicks by David Rann

 

Electric Noir: Emilie

More long-neglected images from the Film Noir shoot I organised for Fotofilia at The Electric Cinema in Birmingham. This time featuring the beautiful and versatile Emilie Walt who, as always, became absolutely absorbed in her role as the Film Noir “femme fatale”.

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Emilie Walt by David Rann

Hmmm. If ever a model was made for this shoot… Anyway, more shots to come.

Electric Noir

In a rather pathetic attempt to distract myself from election coverage on TV, I resorted to ploughing through an old hard drive and discovered some images from almost 2 years ago that have never seen the light of day since I edited them. So this, dear reader, is a little visual time capsule from a film noir-themed shoot that I organised at Birmingham’s beautiful, historic Electric Cinema. The first batch of images feature the peerless Joel Hicks, who has now modelled for two of our Film Noir shoots (and lots more besides).

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

A few more images from this shoot soon…

New Model Talent: Megan Jaye

Okay, so she might not be new to regular readers of this ‘ere blog but the beautiful Megan Jaye appeared at Fotofilia for her first group shoot (the “New Blood” Studio Evening) this week and proved to be another great success with all present.

We began with some very upbeat retro shots to reflect Megan’s 50’s style dress before moving onto some more serious stuff (still making the most of those amazing shoulders).

I’ll post more shortly, but for now here’s a behind-the-scenes shot of Megan posing for my group…

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