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.

“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…

Priory Park ABC at Baggeridge.

Sam Gwilt displaces his opponent’s gum-shield.

From a photographer’s point of view, the lighting in boxing venues is seldom ideal. and Baggeridge Sports & Social Club is less ideal than most with the only lighting available coming from the room’s fluorescent ceiling lights. In fact, when editing images from the many boxing shows I’ve photographed there, I’ve noticed that usually the audience are better lit than the fighters in the ring!  However, what it lacks in suitability for sports photography, it makes up for in atmosphere as Priory Park ABC‘s boxing shows here are ALWAYS full to capacity.

This month’s “open” show was no exception and showcased the club’s new talent as well as some of the more experienced boxers. Wherever Priory Park’s shows are, the standard of boxing is exceptional and Paul Gough has assembled a great team of trainers, referees, MC’s, etc that I feel I am now a part of.

A Priory Park boxer is lifted off his feet.

This shot shows how the audience are actually better lit than the boxers.

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!

“Blind Dave” At The Hawthorns

I’ve never been on a football pitch at half time so it was quite an experience to emerge from the tunnel at West Bromwich Albion‘s home ground, “The Hawthorns“, late last year to a packed stadium.

I was there to shoot some “behind the scenes” images for film company Pixel Revolution and director, Nigel Davey as they filmed the presentation of a special ceremonial golden key to lifelong Albion fan, “Blind Dave” Heeley for their film about his life.

Fundraiser Dave’s most notable achievement was his completion of seven (yes, SEVEN) marathons on seven continents in seven days. Which rather put my brisk walk out of the tunnel into context.

Whilst waiting for our quick dash onto the pitch, we were based in the media room and had the opportunity to meet Chris “Kammy” Kamara, who kindly agreed to say a few words for the film and pose (briefly) for a couple of photos.

You can find out more about the film here.

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)…

Club Culture

January saw the final meeting of the FOTO-CLUB, previously known as THE CLUB, the little photography club I put together a decade or so ago.

The final meeting of FOTO-CLUB at the 1000 Trades bar in Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.

I’d been in a few “camera clubs” over the years and had promised myself that one day I’d start a club that was nothing like the club’s I’d previously been a member of.

I wanted to avoid dull “circuit” speakers, never-ending competitions, old-blokeyness, equipment snobbery, and narrow-minded rejection of anything vaguely associated with progress.

Yes, we had a few competitions and we had exhibitions – but not like ones I’d taken part in in other clubs. One competition that we ran a couple of times was the “Crap Camera Challenge”, where members were given a disposable 35mm film camera and a vague theme to shoot to – no “equipment snobbery” possible, just a level playing field and the photographer’s imagination.

Over the years, we’ve had LOTS of excellent guest speakers, covering most aspects of photography. Many, if not most, of these speakers had never spoken to an audience about their work before. Some took many months of hinting, cajoling and arm-twisting to persuade to appear but all added to our collective understanding of what this medium is all about.

My sincere thanks to all of the members of FOTO-CLUB, The Club, and F2, and obviously everyone who came along to talk to us (who have included photographers, film-makers, male and female models, software companies, artists and curators).

I’m especially proud that these were often people who would never have been asked to speak on the traditional club circuit.