2021: I’ve Been Expecting You

Well 2020 didn’t quite pan out as we’d expected, did it?

But not to worry, 2021 is here – kinda like 2020 but with a slab of medicinal hope, a smattering of eco-apocalypse, a soupcon less Brexit, and a sprinkling of Trumpageddon.

A fortnight into this new year and here in England we’re up to our chins in lockdown, which means photographers are again watching each other, thinking “if they’re opening their studio, I’m opening mine” but with no clear information or guidance from the government (again), I’m interpreting the rules according to “the spirit” of the “Stay Home, Save Lives” message and my studio is closed until further notice.

What this means to me as a business – a business that has “fallen through the cracks” as regards governmental financial support – is that once again, I can’t make my studio available to my little group of “residents” and can only accept jobs that involve shooting outside and at a distance. And this is why I, like so many other photographers, am decidedly “unbusy” at the moment, with a depressingly empty calendar ahead. So, money is going out, but very little coming in.

But… I believe the industry and the economy will “rise again” later this year, possibly with a renewed energy.

For reasons that, with hindsight, even I am struggling to understand, in the middle of the pandemic, with several hungry mouths to feed (mine, 2 felines and an occasional daughter), I decided to splash out on new camera kit. Insane. I haven’t even had the mojo to go out and take photos for fun with my new camera. But an update was long overdue and the shoots that I’ve done with it so far (stilted unfamiliarity aside) have produced beautiful results. I’ll tell you more about my reckless purchase sometime soon but for now, here’s a few images from (comparitively) recent commercial shoots…

Fun And Games At The Gym (Part 2)

A few more (of the very many) shots taken at the recent Henrietta Street Gym Games. You might want to put the kettle on and have a nice sit down after you’ve looked at these. As someone once said, “I love hard work – I could sit and watch it for hours”.

Expressions are what made these images for me. The 24 participants absolutely went for it and it definitely shows in their faces but they also definitely thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

If you’re wondering about the technical stuff, I can tell you that it wasn’t easy. The light levels aren’t high and vary greatly in different parts of the gym so my ISO on the Nikon DSLR never dipped below 2000. Also, the lighting is mainly fluorescent so when shooting at shutter speeds of around 1/500, the pulsing nature of the lighting meant that images taken a split-second apart had quite different exposures.

Henrietta Street Gym in Birmingham has been called “Britain’s coolest gym” and for good reason. If you’d like to know more about HSG, click here.

Fun And Games At The Gym (Part 1)

Some days, I’ve very happy to be on this side of the camera, and rarely moreso than the day (a couple of weeks ago) that I was asked to photograph the very first “Henrietta Street Gym Games” where 6 teams of 4 gym members competed in a series of gruelling challenges.

The challenges required a mixture of individual and team effort, testing the strength, speed and stamina of the participants. All 24 participants gave the Games their all and it was a joy to photograph (mine was definitely the easy bit). Consequently, I took a LOT of shots, so this is a very small sample of the first part of the day – I’ll post more soon.

Henrietta Street Gym in Birmingham has been called “Britain’s coolest gym” and for good reason. If you’d like to know more about HSG, click here.

Henrietta Street Gym Boxing Show (Nov. 2019)

I haven’t posted any of my boxing photography for a while so here’s a selection from the last “white collar” event, superbly organized as ever by Henrietta Street Gym at Pryzm Nightclub in Birmingham. White Collar Boxing events don’t come any more spectacular than these shows that I’ve been privileged to photograph for… erm… many years now.

This really is just a sample from the evening (I delivered over 650 images of this event) but hopefully it gives a flavour of the show.

If you’re interested in taking part in one of these shows, and perhaps raise some money for charity whilst learning a new skill and getting fit, get in touch with Henrietta Street Gym for superb training by top trainers and well-matched, safety-first bouts in superb surroundings.

Dream Team Fitness @Henrietta Street Gym

I always enjoy working with Nic and Tracy of Dream Team Fitness. On this occasion, I was photographing a group of their fitness clients as they trained at the wonderfully photogenic Henrietta Street Gym in Birmingham.

Apart from a few posed portraits at the end (for which I used off-camera speedlights), most of the images were shot using the gym’s ambient light which was a mixture of cool fluorescent and window-light.

A few days later, Nic and Tracy were married. Congratulations, guys!

Henrietta Street Gym: Promotional Shoot

I’m doubly lucky in that I have not only been involved with photographing Henrietta Street Gym since it opened (and it’s predecessor, Fighting Fit City Gym before that) but I also happen to thoroughly enjoy every visit.

HSG is definitely the premier “heritage” boxing gym in the Midlands -and probably the UK, based as it is in a wonderfully stylish converted former industrial building near Birmingham’s St. Paul’s Square. It is often used by TV production companies (The Gadget Show were there recently) because of it’s photogenic qualities – and I get to shoot there regularly! Periodically, I go in to provide lots of images of a typical day at the gym for their various social media outlets (details below) and here are a few images from a recent visit in April. Hopefully, they capture something of the atmosphere that Neil Perkins and his team have created in this amazing venue.

Links…

Henrietta Street Gym Facebook

Henrietta Street Twitter

HSG Website

 

“Dawn Of A Pugilist” White Collar Boxing Show (Henrietta Street Gym)

I’ve photographed all (I think) of Henrietta Street Gym‘s (and Fighting Fit City Gym before that) white collar boxing shows, the most recent being the “Dawn of a Pugilist” show at Pryzm nightclub on Broad Street, Birmingham a few weeks ago.

These are always excellent shows with well-matched bouts, great crowd, and the safety of the competitors given maximum priority. For the client, I supply the images in vibrant full colour – and the excellent lighting means bright blues and reds of the opposing teams. However, for once I thought I’d do a few black and white edits for my own amusement…

Henrietta Street: Fixtures & Fittings

One look at me is enough to realise that I’m not a person who voluntarily spends much time in the gym. However, when a regular client (Fighting Fit City Gym) re-brands as Henrietta Street Gym and moves to a specially-designed new premises and needs photos, I’m there.

Owner Neil Perkins had been keeping me up to date with the re-fit of this former industrial building in Brum’s Jewellery Quarter but I was still hugely impressed when I finally set foot in the gym a week or so after it’s launch. Neil and his architects have cut no corners and have managed to retain the building’s “heritage” feel while making it an inspiring and comfortably modern place to train.

Retaining and re-using some of the building’s character features (like old machinery, exposed brickwork and parts from the goods lift) and augmenting those with well-sourced suitably period furniture (like old theatre/cinema seating and historic pugilist artwork)  gives the gym the feeling of a film set.

Even the changing rooms and showers have been carefully planned and laid out with exposed pipework, reclaimed ceramic sinks but state-of-the-art shower fittings.

Even I, whose motto is “no pain…” (that’s it, just “no pain”) can feel a little inspired in a gym like this. Neil and his team have created what must be the most stylish boxing gym in the Midlands (at least!).