A Tale Of Two Brothers: Part One

All parents tend to think their kids are exceptionally photogenic but mostly, this is wishful thinking. However, when I was recently asked to photograph two brothers by their proud mum, I was inclined to agree that despite the inevitable teen insecurities and first-shoot-nerves, both lads were a dream to photograph. Here is “Son #1” – Dominic. I think you’ll agree that he has a real “fashiony” look and model potential.

Impromptu Elena.

Sometimes, others’ loss is your gain. On this occasion, I’d booked lovely model Elena to pose for a short, fairly casual, studio lighting demonstration for two clients but despite having paid in advance, they failed to turn up. This meant that Elena and I could either call it a day and go home or make the most of the opportunity for a quick shoot in my studio and around the building. We went for the latter option and I was chuffed with some of the results. It was a cold wintry evening and I was in the mood for some noirish filmic images. Good job I took my camera!

Bethany Reynolds Fashion Shoot

The last (as in final) FOTO-CLUB workshop at Strangetown Studio was a fashion shoot featuring the beautiful Bethany Reynolds, a young model I’d wanted to work with for some time.  I think it’s safe to say that it was a successful evening with everyone walking away with a selection of tremendous images.

Here is a quick selection of images that I took during the evening (all shot on my Nikon DSLR)…

“Booster”: Lottie Locke

The recent “Strangetown Booster” shoot that I ran through FOTO-CLUB gave a small group of photographers the opportunity to photograph four models in my Strangetown Studio and around the Telsen building in which it’s based.

I was more than happy to have an excuse to bring back the gloriously beautiful Charlotte “Lottie” Locke for the event and as it was mid-summer, the light evening meant that we were able to use both natural window-light, studio flash, and ambient light (augmented with our own LED lighting) elsewhere in the building.

Always an utter delight to work with, Lottie managed to cover everything from classic high-key beauty to grungey urban rock-chick in a single evening. Note to self: Book her again soon!

Strangetown Studio

I’m very proud to announce that I will be opening a second studio later in March which will be called Strangetown Studio and will provide an alternative shooting space for my bigger shoots (especially where more headroom is required) and workshops but will also be my first foray into studio hire since I left the Regent Parade Fotofilia premises a couple of years ago.

The studio is on the third floor of the wondrously industrial 1930’s Telsen building in Aston, Birmingham which is already home to several photography studios including River Studio, owned by my good friend, the top photographer Richard Battye.

Strangetown will be nowhere as big as some of the others but will provide hourly hires (minimum of 3 hours) for just £15/hour. It will feature everything you would expect of a professional photography studio but in addition, the building has a host of nicely grungy corridors, stairwells and old gated lifts that I’ve used for shoots in the past and can be used by Strangetown hirers too.

I was introduced to the building by Richard a couple of years ago when he moved in and I’ve been visiting regularly since as the band I play in – also called Telsen – have a rehearsal room there. Here are a couple of shots I took in the Telsen building about 18 months ago…

Savannah in the Telsen lift.

Savannah in the Telsen lift.

Ryan in one of the stairwells.

Ryan in one of the stairwells.

Ryan in one of the many corridors

Ryan in one of the many corridors

I’ll post the website/booking details as soon as I have a moving-in date from the landlord (they’re sorting the electrics as I write).

Woodland Fairytale

Once in a while, you discover a shoot location that simply demands a certain theme. When I first heard about, and saw photographs of, a “lost chapel” in woodland near the nearby border with Shropshire, I knew I had to find it and see if was as amazing as it looked. It was.

But it wasn’t easy to find – the student who told me about it had failed to find it on the first attempt and it was only due to a slight detour and a warning about what to expect, that helped me to find it on my first expedition. I walked for 30-40 minutes uphill through beautiful countryside before having to wade through brambles and tree branches to actually reach the building. Once there, though, it was clear that this was a very special place and I decided that, as I had imagined, it was the perfect place for a “fairytale” themed workshop/shoot.

The model I had in mind (who was local, and had the look I had in mind) dropped out with just a few days notice so I turned to the most versatile model I know  – Emilie Walt (who you’ll spot in various guises in previous posts). Emilie lives some distance away and public transport to our location early on a Sunday morning was non-existent so I arranged to drive her there. As usual, Emilie went above and beyond what would normally be expected of a model, making her own hooded cape and bringing along other suitable props.

Even though I’d been to the location before, it still wasn’t easy to locate when I arrived with the group on the Sunday morning (there was much more foliage and even taller brambles, for a start). But we were rewarded with an excellent shoot and far too many images to post here.

Thanks, as ever, to the brilliant Emilie.

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!).