Opening Up

Looking forward, looking up.

The future is finally looking much brighter than my last post at the beginnng of the year – Trump has gone forever, the NHS have had the huge financial pat on the back that they deserve, and the UK Government continue to inspire confidence and trust. Hmmm.

I’ve been doing occasional socially-distanced shoots for quite a few months now and jobs are thankfully trickling in at a gradually more frequent rate. Sadly, a few of my previous regular clients are no longer operating and so I’m going to be giving my advertising/marketing a push over the coming weeks.

There are a few areas of photography that I’d like to be doing more of in the future and I’ll be posting more about these soon.

As always, I welcome all enquiries about corporate, portraiture, event, studio, editorial and social media marketing photography.

In the meantime, here are a few recent images…

2021: I’ve Been Expecting You

Well 2020 didn’t quite pan out as we’d expected, did it?

But not to worry, 2021 is here – kinda like 2020 but with a slab of medicinal hope, a smattering of eco-apocalypse, a soupcon less Brexit, and a sprinkling of Trumpageddon.

A fortnight into this new year and here in England we’re up to our chins in lockdown, which means photographers are again watching each other, thinking “if they’re opening their studio, I’m opening mine” but with no clear information or guidance from the government (again), I’m interpreting the rules according to “the spirit” of the “Stay Home, Save Lives” message and my studio is closed until further notice.

What this means to me as a business – a business that has “fallen through the cracks” as regards governmental financial support – is that once again, I can’t make my studio available to my little group of “residents” and can only accept jobs that involve shooting outside and at a distance. And this is why I, like so many other photographers, am decidedly “unbusy” at the moment, with a depressingly empty calendar ahead. So, money is going out, but very little coming in.

But… I believe the industry and the economy will “rise again” later this year, possibly with a renewed energy.

For reasons that, with hindsight, even I am struggling to understand, in the middle of the pandemic, with several hungry mouths to feed (mine, 2 felines and an occasional daughter), I decided to splash out on new camera kit. Insane. I haven’t even had the mojo to go out and take photos for fun with my new camera. But an update was long overdue and the shoots that I’ve done with it so far (stilted unfamiliarity aside) have produced beautiful results. I’ll tell you more about my reckless purchase sometime soon but for now, here’s a few images from (comparitively) recent commercial shoots…

Fun And Games At The Gym (Part 2)

A few more (of the very many) shots taken at the recent Henrietta Street Gym Games. You might want to put the kettle on and have a nice sit down after you’ve looked at these. As someone once said, “I love hard work – I could sit and watch it for hours”.

Expressions are what made these images for me. The 24 participants absolutely went for it and it definitely shows in their faces but they also definitely thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

If you’re wondering about the technical stuff, I can tell you that it wasn’t easy. The light levels aren’t high and vary greatly in different parts of the gym so my ISO on the Nikon DSLR never dipped below 2000. Also, the lighting is mainly fluorescent so when shooting at shutter speeds of around 1/500, the pulsing nature of the lighting meant that images taken a split-second apart had quite different exposures.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Extreme Harping

Early evening, December, and I’m on a Birmingham rooftop photographing mega-talented harpist/tutor/entrepreneur Fran Barsby (of PoppyHarp) for a CD with a working title of (I think) “At the edge”. There’s a cold breeze and occasional spots of wintry rain. And it’s freezing!!!! Myself and my glamorous assistant Alastair Barnsley are wrapped up in thick coats, scarves, and wherever possible, gloves. Fran, however, is wearing what you can see in these images apart from brief moments in a coat as we walk between locations. I’m shivering just typing this. So just to make Fran REALLY uncomfortable, I persuaded her to climb onto various barriers and fences with her harp and try to balance. Easypeasy.

 

Henrietta Street Gym: Promotional Shoot

I’m doubly lucky in that I have not only been involved with photographing Henrietta Street Gym since it opened (and it’s predecessor, Fighting Fit City Gym before that) but I also happen to thoroughly enjoy every visit.

HSG is definitely the premier “heritage” boxing gym in the Midlands -and probably the UK, based as it is in a wonderfully stylish converted former industrial building near Birmingham’s St. Paul’s Square. It is often used by TV production companies (The Gadget Show were there recently) because of it’s photogenic qualities – and I get to shoot there regularly! Periodically, I go in to provide lots of images of a typical day at the gym for their various social media outlets (details below) and here are a few images from a recent visit in April. Hopefully, they capture something of the atmosphere that Neil Perkins and his team have created in this amazing venue.

Links…

Henrietta Street Gym Facebook

Henrietta Street Twitter

HSG Website