A Tale Of Two Brothers: Part Two

If you read my previous post, you’ll have seen Dominic, the brother of this young man – Aaron. Aaron really only came along to support his (slightly more nervous) brother but proved to be extremely comfortable in front of the camera. All of these images were shot in my studio (Strangetown Studio) and in the rest of the Telsen building.

And finally, a shot of the two brothers together…

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)…

Winter Sunshine

Please forgive a bit of self-indulgent nostalgia. One of the highlights of the year, in so many ways, was the second FOTO-CLUB Spain trip. Same villa, a couple of the same models and I’m ashamed to say I haven’t posted any of these here before. Funny how being snowed-in for two days makes you pine for Spanish sunshine. Here’s the stunning Lauren, who despite insisting she was not a model, turned out to be one of the best models I’ve ever worked with…

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 Рand perhaps some new business ideas as well. This 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.

All That Glitters…

…Is probably our favourite FOTO-CLUB model Emilie Walt and her equally sparkly accomplice at this week’s “Showgirl” themed group shoot at Strangetown Studio.

Professional dancer (and our most-photographed model) Emilie will be bringing some welcome seasonal sparkle to the studio and there’s still a couple of spaces if you feel like braving the arctic conditions to get here.