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.

Britpop United: Second Shoot

Here’s my second shoot with the excellent “Britpop United” in and around my very own Strangetown Studio. Their first shoot included a fifth member who later left the band and so new images were needed to reflect the new line-up. I have to say there seemed to be a better “vibe” about  the band this time around, with lots of banter and wind-ups.

I do enjoy band/musician shoots although it’s hard to avoid the cliches so it helps when the band already have a few ideas of their own and are aware of how their images are going to be used.  It also helps when the band come fully prepared with instruments and have discussed outfits in advance. Being a lovely bunch of guys is a bonus too.

I’m fortunate to have seen Britpop United (with this line-up) performing at a local scooter rally not long after they became a four-piece and thoroughly enjoyed their set.

You might be interested to have a look at Britpop United’s website, where you’ll find more photos plus videos and gig information.

Back To School?

If you’ve known me for a while, or have been reading this here page for a year or two, you’ll probably know that until the beginning of 2018, a sizeable chunk of my business over the years was in teaching photography at a variety of locations including MAC (Midlands Arts Centre), Stratford College, my own studio (obviously) – and Birmingham Botanical Gardens (for around 14 years).

I stopped the teaching side of things, and even the successful photography club I ran, to concentrate on the practical side of photography at a time when it seemed everyone (including people who had little more experience than one of my own courses) were teaching courses of their own.

When I finished teaching at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, my courses were taken over by my friend and former student, David Tunney who has clearly been doing a great job for them. Sadly, David became ill in 2019 and I was asked to return to the BBG to cover his Autumn Term classes until he was well enough to return. I agreed to do this and quickly remembered how much I enjoyed delivering these courses. As David wasn’t quite well enough to return for the Spring Term, I agreed to stay on to cover those classes too.

And so I am now not only looking forward to what should be my “definitely final” term at the BBG, but I’ve also decided to continue to run a few one-off workshops at my studio (Strangetown Studio). Until now these have been available mainly to my former FOTO-CLUB members via our closed Facebook group but I will be posting some additional events on the Strangetown website and Facebook page by this weekend.

If you’d like to be added to my brand new mailing list, please get in touch! (Events so far have often sold out within a couple of days).

A recent group shoot at Strangetown Studio with the wonderful Rose Beaman.

Introducing: Shannon

One of the joys of this job is that occasionally I am able to “discover” potential new models. I met Shannon in December 2018 when we were working together at Birmingham’s NEC and it was apparent to me that Shannon had the looks, attitude and personality to be an excellent model if that that was something that interested her. We worked together again at the end of 2019 and, after other colleagues had also told her she should give modelling a try, Shannon and I discussed her coming in for a shoot at my (Strangetown) studio in the new year.

Although the eventual shoot lasted only around an hour, I was extremely pleased with the results – Shannon is a dream to work with. She has expressed an interest in doing more modelling and until she sets up profiles on the usual UK modelling sites, I would be happy for photographers to contact me and I’ll put you in touch.

Shannon is based in Wolverhampton but also has links to Kent.

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.

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.

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!

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.

The “B Word”

Just to show it’s not all snazzy cars and beautiful models, here are a few images from a recent conference shoot. The theme was “Beyond Brexit” and luckily the participants were a bit more animated on the subject than I might have been. Good job I was just the photographer really.

 

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…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.