Electric Noir

In a rather pathetic attempt to distract myself from election coverage on TV, I resorted to ploughing through an old hard drive and discovered some images from almost 2 years ago that have never seen the light of day since I edited them. So this, dear reader, is a little visual time capsule from a film noir-themed shoot that I organised at Birmingham’s beautiful, historic Electric Cinema. The first batch of images feature the peerless Joel Hicks, who has now modelled for two of our Film Noir shoots (and lots more besides).

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

Joel Hicks by David Rann

A few more images from this shoot soon…

A Very Clean Shoot

I finally got around to editing images from a location shoot based on the classic 1980’s television commercial for Levis 501 jeans which featured Nick Kamen and launched Marvin Gaye‘s “I heard it through the grapevine” back into the charts. The venue was Harborne Launderette here in Birmingham and I was joined by a small group of my students there one evening as the shop closed to the public for the evening.

The models were: Mark Hoban (in the Nick Kamen role) and Jayne Osborne, both of whom were fantastic sports. All of my photographs were taken on the Olympus EM-1 with f1.8 prime lenses. I took some Bowens flash with me but only used the continuous modelling lights to raise the overall light levels but without losing the atmosphere.

Many thanks to Mark, Jayne and the lovely people at Harborne Launderette.

Lofty Ideas

Photographing interiors is something I don’t do much of but when a regular commercial client told me he’d developed some loft apartments in Birmingham for short term furnished rentals and the agent had failed to provide any satisfactory images, I was happy to have a go to see if I could do something different.

What made the challenge all the more appealing is that the developer/landlord had furnished each of the apartments in a boutique style using his extensive collection of vintage furniture and objets d’arts.

I used mainly daylight with occasional splashes of low-powered flash to fill shadows as needed in this lovely Victorian former industrial building.

 

It became clear from my conversation with the client that the images were as much about the details, and the lifestyle “feeling”, as about the fixtures and fittings. Previous images had been very “dark”, he’d told me, so I set about creating as light an atmosphere as possible.

Eventually, it was my images that the developer used.

My First “Published” Photograph..?

During a very rare office tidy-up this afternoon, I stumbled (almost literally) upon this…

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It’s a Mod fanzine – or “Modzine” I suppose – from Summer 1984, when I was a fresh-faced 19 year-old hipster who took my beloved SLR along with me everywhere I went, including a gig upstairs at the less-than-salubrious Sandwell Hotel is West Bromwich.

The band was a local combo that I’d seen quite a few times and was on chatting terms with a couple of the members, including bass player Martin “Mart” Blunt (soon to the considerably more successful outfit, join The Charlatans).

I took lots of photos and gave the band copies (that was how we did things in pre-digital days, children). Someone (named as “N. Joel”) wrote this review and used my image. It’s a pretty dreadful picture, admittedly, and not even the best one from the gig (I remember there were others of Mart smashing up his bass, Townsend-style).

Kit? This was shot on a Praktica MTL-5 with the then “kit” lens – a 50mm f1.8 – on cheap colour film. And I also remember that the light meter didn’t work. And that it weighed a ton even with the 50mm lens fitted (I have long suspected that Prakticas were recycled Russian tanks). Anyway, it was the start of a lifetime of photography and now, almost 30 years on, I remember this gig like it was yesterday.

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