Archive for September, 2014

Completed a small shoot for the NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, a month or so back, from which two images have been used in issue one of their quarterly magazine. The NHS North Lincolnshire (CCG) officially took over responsibility for purchasing and commissioning such services as hospital care, mental health care services, district nursing, rapid response and emergency care in April 2014 for the 167,000 NE Lincs residents. Another reshuffle of NHS resources, run on a shoestring, and tasked with informing the public about the services available. This quarterly magazine, A4 in size, is distributed to all GP’s Practices and other associated NHS service outlets which made my decision to shoot the required images oh so very easy. Along with my extremely discounted fee I asked for an appropriate credit to my images. This free advertising across the county this has already reaped rewards in the first 20 days of distribution. First call was for a modelling portfolio (now booked) and the second was regarding a wedding in 2015 (Now booked). These two customers had seen the image credits, sat and googled me whilst sat in their Doctors, liked what they saw and contacted me. A job it would appear many didn’t want, my wife calls me and this tiny 30 minute job has already earned 15x it’s value. So a copy of the images on the page on which they were shown. I’ve highlighted the all important credits in green 🙂

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A quick exercise, for our new programme leader, in how we interperate the definition of ‘Edgelands’. This is the alleged area where the city meets nature either through development and expansion or the retreat and abandonment back to it’s original state. Six images required to show him how we think, approach and execute such a task.

An article in The Guardian stated: The zone goes by different names, few of them complimentary. Victor Hugo called it “bastard countryside”. The landscape theorist Alan Berger called it “drosscape”. The artist Philip Guston called it “crapola”. And the environmentalist Marion Shoard called it “edgeland”, which she defined as “the interfacial interzone between urban and rural”. The edgelands are the debatable space where city and countryside fray into one another. They comprise jittery, jumbled, broken ground: brownfield sites and utilities infrastructure, crackling substations and pallet depots, transit hubs and sewage farms, scrub forests and sluggish canals, allotments and retail parks, slackened regulatory frameworks and guerilla ecologies.

Now let’s get one thing straight from the off in that this is not my idea of fun photography. The whole urbex, abandoned buildings style of photography is a very niche area. Clambering over fences, entering derelict buildings or trespassing to get an image, inside or out, of some derelict structure is just not my thing. Tip toeing around fly tipping and domestic rubbish in many of these edgelands simply reminds you of how we feel about our world. Additional hazards such as asbestos, which all too many of these old buildings contain, or collapsing floors etc are a risk too far in collecting an image for me. We know these areas exist, we complain at the state of them yet allow them to remain for many years in some cases. There are however a seemingly unlimited supply of such buildings and areas of land within the local area for me to capture such an image from the outside.

I thought about documenting the decline of our local heritage, fishing, and what little remains of such a once thriving industry. A set of images showing docklands left to nature in calling home along with the newly sprawling renewables sector building its new structures nearby. Unfortunately with the time restriction and work commitments this would have taken too long.

So here we go with my interpretation of ‘edgelands’.

1. This image is simply a representation of what far too much of the City of Hull looks like. Dozens of old industrial and commercial buildings cleared for future redevelopment which either hasn’t yet happened or in many cases unlikely to happen in the current financial climate. Shot over the security fence this image details the foundations of ‘what was’, the unsightly domestic rubbish of ‘what is’ and then the onset of mother nature reclaiming in ‘what will be’.

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2. An old abandoned school, not a five minute walk from the city centre, now being overrun by mother nature and a few less desirable members of society.

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3. The road to nowhere where development simply stopped. A tarmac’d entry road, with markings, speed bump and path where nature has reclaimed the mound of rubble left blocking it.

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4. Something a little different here. These are the remains of what was once the main dock gate gears at St. Andrews Quay in Hull. A huge steel gearing system, now rusted, yet still in situ owing to its formidable build quality now simply overrun by weeds, grass and brambles.

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5. Where urban meets rural with a twist as here urban meets water. This image is of a small estuary, linked to the Humber, where many years ago small ships were launched to sea. The remains of a small sea going vessel peer from the silt and mud which slowly erode its carcass.

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6. A boundary wall near to the city limits. Built to keep people in or out it would seem mother nature doesn’t share the same thoughts as the original creator so through and over she comes. With the wall partly collapsed to the rear the car park is being invaded, covered and colonised by the unchecked shrubbery. Brambles and vines climb over from above whilst mother nature is also coming around the wall and down the old path. The wall also has a slight bow to its shape owing to the pressure exerted by the ever expanding tree trunks of the rural side. If the wall does eventually collapse its colour and content will differ from what appears to be a dumped pile of builders rubble.

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Took advantage of the non day at Uni to complete a shoot delayed from the summer. Another mature female wishing to have a moody shoot completed with a twist………she wanted cigars involved. The crux of this was she started clothed, wearing the trilby and having a smoke through to finishing the shoot only wearing the trilby whilst still having a smoke. My thoughts reverted to 1920’s styling with a trilby hat, mens shirt (black or white) and then the underwear of her choice. This would blend a retro style image with the modern style underwear. Use of the trilby to almost blank out her eyes or at least reduce them to virtual non existence would, in my opinion, draw the viewers eye to the cigar. As items of clothing were removed she would stand differently and alter poses whilst retaining the balance of shadows we created within the initial test images.

I set up for low key with some rim/highlight lighting behind her. The use of a reflector to ever so lightly lift the darks on the shirt sat opposite the key light. I then discussed the process, potential poses and snapped a few test images for my satisfaction and her approval on the lighting style. Immense fun, if a little smokey, but a first for me in shooting a smoking client. She was absolutely pleased as punch with a quick trawl through the RAW files on the laptop. After some further discussion and option deciding she plumped for all the images to be converted to B&W. Here’s an early image from the shoot which shows the basic style and before clothing started falling off.

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Below is an early test image which used an alternate, black, shirt though we both preferred the grey scale and shadows with the white shirt. No cigar in use as this was during the lighting setup. Wearing black underwear meant, at times, there was just too much black within the image. This would have been better used in a high key setting but we didn’t have enough time. She has however rebooked to do a similar shoot in high key and also implement her ideas for posing on my new high back formal chair in the studio.

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The images have already been noted and commented on as sublime yet controversial with the smoking. Whilst controversy was not my priority in creating the images I knew the smoking aspect may draw varied views. Being a photographer who is reasonably established with the stock family, wedding and child portrait I find times like this superb in showing an alternate side to my creativity and what I can produce. The incidental aspect that the connotations and denotations seen by others provokes discussion is what we strive for, as one comment placed me, being an alleged ‘artist’.

Something different.

Posted: September 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

Another adult shoot today, but not the usual studio stuff, with the young lady in question wanting to complete an image outdoors. She had mentioned wanting a derelict house or monument and whilst we have a plethora of derelict buildings in the area we don’t have anything what I would regard as suitable. We do however have the old mausoleum to the north of Welton, East Yorkshire.

Long since forgotten about and well hidden in woods this old building is becoming encompassed with the greenery of mother nature. Built in 1818 by local banker Robert Raikes (1765-1837) this family tomb was to be the centre piece of a new cemetary. The cemetery however was little used and finally abandoned some years later.

I pitched the idea and location to the client and she agreed what a different location this would indeed be. When we arrived the most bizarre and spooky thing happened, there was another vehicle there. Two old people were scything away shrubbery around the mausoleum. We approached and as we did so they identified themselves as descendants of Robert Raikes. With broad cockney accents they explained that they annually attend the site and clean it up as all descendants throughout the years have done. A short while later they left, happy with me photographing their heirloom and we started the shoot.

Nothing suitable, from the shoot, for these pages but here is a simple wide angled shot of the mausoleum. You can see that once upon a time this monument would have been a majestic site but years of morons vandalising it and the ever encroaching mother nature have taken their toll.

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My enrolment at Uni followed by a quiet day of editing tomorrow.

…shooting a cake smash. Good job I can pop in through the week and enrol owing to me working today.

I’ve done several of these now and it’s always good when the parents decide to join in after a while. Today’s parents were superb and quickly became thoroughly immersed in the fun.

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Why some photographers shy away from this kind of work bemuses me though could it be the mess?

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Edit : As a bonus the couple have just booked me for their wedding next October.

Excellent Day

Posted: September 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

Pleased to say that my first ‘major’ corporate event went superbly. 250 competitors for the afternoons fun and shenanigans which were divided into respective categories of school standard ability. From 3-legged racing and space hoppers to a 150ft inflatable assault course and finishing off with rounders and 5 a side football there was something for everyone.

The 250 competitors were by no means my biggest event to date. I have covered BGA events of 300+ competitors however they are all in one stadium and not spread about over several football pitches and running at the same time. My main issue was covering the different levels of sporting activities to provide a balanced overview of the afternoon. With that in mind I acquired a timetable and set about making some sort of coverage plan. Thankfully the finals were all consecutive, so people could enjoy them all, which then gave me at least some opportunity to capture a good selection of the various events. A fantastic day and some 900 images later it was time for tea before the evening event of presentations, music and celebration (drinking).

The evening was held in a local club. A good size, though a little dark for photography, I suggested our ‘white wall” option to capture the presentations and fancy dress in best quality. This obviously makes my job 100% easier as it’s effectively my studio in portable form rather than, on the hoof, portable flash lit subjects which never look brilliant regardless of how prepared you are. The organisers of the evening gave me a wonderful area to set up in, isolated from general footfall and yet massively prominent near to the main entrance/exit.

We set up as per any event or function, where our white wall is being used, along with our newly acquired display screen which either shows a random selection of the days images or any specific image being processed at that time. Die-sub printer and all the associated equipment in tow too.

I finally finished with my last clients/image at 0130hrs and decided to pack up. It ran onto 0200hrs but I wished to be packed up and clear before the exit became clogged with revellers all awaiting taxis etc so off we went. As a plus point to the evening the live band, who played and excellent selection of music, paid me to take a portrait image of each member and a group shot. Grabbed a few of them on stage too but the ‘nightclub’ lighting was not helpful in doing so. If it hadn’t been for the few lights they had brought themselves we would have needed candles to see them 😉 Anyway one from the day just to show the type of fun games they took part in………

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And one from the evening, a fancy dress affair which was great fun.

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Relaxing

Posted: September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

With no work booked until the 12th Sept, for a corporate sports day & presentation evening, It’s been a nice week of doing very little on the photographic front. It would also seem that we are back to Uni on the 15th and not the 22nd Sept as we had previously been informed. This won’t happen for me as I have a 1st Birthday Cake Smash booked for 11am on the 15th. The communication between HSAD, it’s clearing office and students has been appalling as usual. We had this in year 1 and 2 with apologies on both occasions that it was unique yet it continues with all courses year in, year out. As a business it would be bankrupt by now as people would simply choose another business to buy from. Typically within education there is no other local alternative so they are allowed to just bungle along. 

With my weeks break in mind and not wanting to leave the blog too long I have a couple of images from the Freedom Festival this weekend. Couldn’t get there on Friday because of family reasons & the persistent rain on Saturday made my mind up not to visit then. Sunday however was dry and sunny so off for the closing parade we went.

Had a good mooch about, tried some of the various foods available, listened to some good live music and then, along with 1000’s of others, waited for the final parade to arrive.

The parade arrived on time and then stopped whilst a steel drum band did some kind of solo act on the main stage. This left the parade strung out all the way back towards The Deep. The drum troupe then finished and without warning the paint throwing began. This was billed as a mass of colour and excitement yet the 100 individuals chosen to take part had been penned into some barriers, barely noticeable, and so the 15-20 seconds it took for them to actually throw the powder was missed by many and almost myself too.

Some 20 minutes later things were still congested, barely moving with event staff looking bemused at the sheer volume of public within the area. I had a friend taking part in the parade and she was still stuck, with her display team and many other parade groups, well back from the main area. She messaged me about an hour later to declare they had finally got round but sadly we had already left along with a swathe of disappointed public.

Anyway a few from the afternoon. An image taken down Humber Street showing the volume of visitors, one of the kids eating some funky doughnut mix dipped in chocolate, a couple of the paint throwing and the obligatory one of the wife. The place was packed from the moment we arrived which shows how superbly popular the festival has become. Sadly ignorant people blocking the roads and parade getting their phone snaps appeared to spoil the finale. 

 

Diabetes in a cup.

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A packed Humber Street.

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The alleged 100 people throwing paint powder. Blinked and you missed it. To the rear you can just make out the front of the big finale parade.

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 Appears some of them had fun though.

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 And the wife in full party mode. I know she reads this so Ha Ha Lisa 😉

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