Ivory Flame: Gypsy Caravan (Part 2)

I’m actually embarrassed at how long it’s taken me to finish and publish these images of Ivory Flame‘s gypsy caravan-themed shoot (we’re talking YEARS). In my defence, I’d already worked my way through editing the 700 or so images from this very inspiring and productive shoot when my laptop conked out and all of my Lightroom work-in-progress was lost.

And then, predictably, I got absorbed in other, current work and never got around to starting again with this shoot. It’s taken a global pandemic, social isolation and the disappearance of all work engagements to give me the opportunity to dip back into these images and start again on the editing. Silver linings, eh?

In a way, I’m rather glad to be attacking these images now because I’ve been developing a collection of painterly Lightroom presets that I think work beautifully with Ivory Flame’s wonderfully ephemeral and Pre-Raphaelite style.

As if Ivory Flame, an amazing authentic gypsy caravan, and a ruined cottage wasn’t enough to inspire heaps of photographs, Gillian’s horses came over to get in on the action…

And here’s a final selection from the hundreds of shots (that I’d be more than happy to share if there were time).

I’ll no doubt be raiding my dusty hard drives for more previously unpublished stuff during the zombie apocalypse. But for now, huge thanks again to the stunning Holly (Ivory Flame), Gillian (for the caravan and wonderful hospitality) and my little group of togs who made the whole thing feasible.

Ivory Flame: Gypsy Caravan (Part 1)

One advantage of the enforced isolation we now find ourselves in is having time to do things we’ve perhaps been meaning to do for a long time. For example, I’ve been able to delve into my deepest darkest archives and find whole shoots that for one reason or another, I never got around to editing.

What I’m going to share today, are images from a shoot I organised FOUR years ago featuring the truly unique Ivory Flame and with a “gypsy” theme (that she does so well).

The other star of this shoot, and the inspiration for the whole idea, is a genuine antique “gypsy caravan” that is owned by my good friend, Gillian, an award-winning designer. When Gillian showed me the caravan, which is at the bottom of her beautiful country garden, the idea for the shoot (including choice of model) instantly popped into my head.

What may not be immediately apparent from the images is that this was early spring and was blimming freezing! It was also spotting with rain and a cold spring wind was blowing through the garden, but Ivory Flame is a consummate professional and soldiered on regardless.

That’s all for now. I’ll post a few more soon.

James: Headshots

I enjoy shooting “headshots”, especially when the subject is a performer or someone who understands the importance of image presentation. And it’s also more fun if it’s someone I’ve known for many years and have worked with before.

James is an actor and musician that I first photographed around 14 years ago when I was putting together my final project for my Photography degree. We originally met via a mutual interest in a band. James is definitely less affected by those years than I am.

I know I’ve said it before but the best thing about my studio (Strangetown Studio) is that apart from my cosy and well-equipped studio space, there’s the rest of this huge 1930s industrial building to use as backdrops for my portraiture and quite a few of the corridors and stairwells have rather nice natural light.

Miss Deadly Red at Strangetown

Always nice to have modelling royalty at Strangetown Studio and Miss Deadly Red certainly brought a touch of colour and class to a recent workshop. I set up shoots in the studio and around our lovely building that encompassed a bit of vintage lingerie as well as some wonderful latex looks.

The difficulty when posting results from these workshops, even though I didn’t take as many shots as the attendees (too busy sorting lighting etc) is choosing which images to post – I was delighted with every single image from this shoot.

I’ll be aiming to run one workshop per month in 2020 and if you’d like to be considered for joining our little group, please get in touch. Numbers are strictly limited and so far, former FOTO-CLUB members have snapped up most or all of the places but I’m hoping to add a few more new faces too.

Cops And Cars

Since my last post I’ve moved house (I’m now living in beautiful Bridgnorth, Shropshire again) but still very much based at my Strangetown Studio in Birmingham. So it’s been a very busy couple of months in many ways but I’m delighted by the way 2019 has gone so far.

It does mean, however, that I’ve badly neglected this website so it’s about time I got on with sharing some recent work with you. Much of my work can’t be published (at least not yet) due it’s sensitive commercial nature but here is a development that many (including myself) wouldn’t have imagined just a few months ago…

I organised a workshop. My first for over a year, and this time it was really for my own amusement and creative stimulation. I began by inviting only former FOTO-CLUB members but then opened this up to a couple of other great supporters of my previous workshops.

The concept for this shoot was inspired by spotting that my friend Nick had bought a beautiful 1966 Dodge Charger. Nick had previously supplied an original 60s Vespa GS scooter for a shoot quite a few years ago and so I had the idea of creating a shoot based around his new car and that kind of car’s role in certain American 60s movies such as “Bullitt” (starring Steve McQueen). Nick kindly agreed to take part and mentioned that his friend Simon might also be interested in bringing along his 1967 Pontiac Catalina Coupe.

Next came the models and I was keen to echo the Steve McQueen and Jacqueline Bisset roles to some extent. For the female role I approached the stunning Lottie Locke who I knew, as a skilled make-up artist, would be able to reproduce an authentic late 1960s look.  As she’d just started a new job, there was some doubt if she’d be available but I waited for her to try to get time off and was prepared to postpone the shoot if necessary because I was convinced she was the perfect model for the role. Once I knew Lottie was available and happened to have a fantastic wardrobe of suitable clothes, I approached boxer Ryan “Tank” Aston to play the role of the male cop. Ryan is a very good and cool-looking model with a genuine “tough guy” look. I bought a black polo-neck jumper from the Custard Factory vintage clothing market for him but discovered on the day that he had one of his own that was perfect.

The location was the backstreets of Digbeth in Birmingham and I chose an early start time on a Sunday morning to minimise traffic and intrusive pedestrians. Finally, Nick and Simon arrived looking like they’d just stepped out of one of the films that had inspired the shoot – and so were persuaded to play support roles in the shoot and were fantastic.

So this has been a very small selection of images from the shoot. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the morning and we all came away with shots we were happy with.

Many thanks to Lottie, Ryan, Nick and Simon (and to Keith for supplying the prop “weaponry”).

The team: Simon, Lottie, Ryan and Nick.

Spice Of Life

So as I mentioned in my last post, I have a lot of catching up to do! 2018 saw me photographing everything from crematoria to penthouse apartments, from harp concerts to bacon-flavoured cakes, and from go-karts to coaches. Here’s a little sample of the stuff I got up to last year…

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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!