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September 2013

London Fashion Week

Its always interesting to see how your photos end up in print. The shoot I did with the reporter, Izzi, at London fashion week is due to be in print in October. If you want to see the pictures refer to my last post! Note three of the pictures are not mine, but were taken by another talented photographer: Harry Hubbard.

London Fashion Week #LFW

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We asked these guys who their style icons were, the guy on the left said “Peter Saville” – very cool.

A selection of photographs of people attending London Fashion Week 2013 at Somerset House London. I went with a reporter from Kensington and Chelsea Today  to do some street-style shots – rather than inside the venue. IT was interesting to focus on the crowd there, a lot of whom were young -university age – and a lot of people created their own clothes, bags, jewellery and a range of other accessories.

London Fashion Week
Click twice to enlarge – once here and once on the following screen.
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We asked the chap on the left who made his brilliant suit. He said ‘My mum actually, she lives in Ghana”,
Really? Your mum is a designer?,
“No she’s a hairdresser”
Coolest thing I heard that day

Altrincham Arts Festival

I don’t show much of my design work – which is something I’m going to change, as it’s the lions share of my work. Last week I was offered a short brief to complete a poster for an arts festival In Altrincham. It’s a new venture and I thought this blog could both show this work off and promote the event.

Do check out the Festival here, and if you’re in the area, or nearby mid October.

The brief was to create something that reflected Arts and Crafts more than the type of graphics that we all regularly see, this is very different to my usual style which is very corporate. I’d also been given the circular illustration (by the very talented Yoko Isami) which helped a lot in defining the ‘softer’ aspects brief to me – this means that the selected illustration defines the poster very directly. It was also well chosen; If it was a conventional ‘graphic’, whether that was corporate or more trend (hipster) driven, it would have misrepresented the Festival’s collection of mixed arts. I worked with the curator, Carole Evans, to get the textures and type correct, and reflect the spirit of the festival. She’s pleased with the result, and says it’s been well received, so I’m pleased too!

AAF FINAL

Back again at the National Portrait Gallery

A couple of recent drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, I’ve posted other ones before.

Even though I got there late I did get one lengthy double portrait in. We were asked to blend two images. Which was fun, I didn’t do it to the brief because it was meant to be profile. But I wanted the man on the rights fantastic eyebrows to stick out, and they  would have been lost. Ha! So ended up with this Mount Rushmore thing I quite like.

The second image, Frazer, was a wonderful, dynamic modern sculpture. It somehow reminded me of 300, Dark Knight & Sin City author / artist Frank Miller – even though I only got 5 min in before the session ended I wanted to do this in a much rougher, more angular style that suited the sculpture but the result is nice for the time I had.

I love that place. I always leave these sessions feeling really happy.

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Work is always work, but sometimes its fun – which is not to say I don’t take it seriously. Recently an educational client promoting an Arts Award sent me to Leicestershire where students were learning a dance routine, these students were also being filmed by media students. The brief was to capture portraits,dance rehearsal and the filming activity. And it was only on for three hours.

(if you are after technical info on low light go to the bottom of the page)

Early rehearsal, they all grasped the moves very quickly
Early rehearsal, they all grasped the moves very quickly

I was thrilled to find them friendly and motivated, wait – excited, about the day ahead of them and full of energy. I was also happy to find out they were rehearsing the dance from Rocky Horror’s “Timewarp” – and to finish with a performance in full costume, which the media students would film.

Video Production Student posing for the camera
Video Production Student posing for the camera

Remembering what it was like to be a student, I realised I would have to catch them in this window for sure. They drift off outside of prescribed hours so quickly it can make your head spin. So it was a tough brief, but I like the challenge. The challenge was also the lighting – I have done a few shoots in these type of environments and I’m often working out on the fly how to balance the three desirables of low light shooting: Freezing action, low noise (grain) and using the correct aperture to get what you need sharp.

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I know I don’t really ever talk technical on my blog, but the toughest part is working out which way you’re going to shoot in low-light, especially during a fast moving dance or sport performance. The three main ways are:
1) to drag the shutter and use a second curtain flash to freeze the action – you will get some blur but it can be very effectiveif done well.
2) to use a high ISO and get loads of grain (noisy photo),
3) to try and balance ISO, shutter speed and use a little fill flash – which is tricky when the stage lights are so much warmer (orange) than the flash (blue), it can make the results unpredictable.

This third option was my main approach for stage shots. You can see a slight difference in the header image where the centre dancer – the blonde woman, has a good colour temperature, but behind the others are a shade more orange, but the level is acceptable to me.

(*Thanks to http://exposureleeds.org/ for the link).

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I took this straight portrait in the break, as well as one of this dance student smiling. I’m really pleased with it (click on it to see the detail) . It’s also worth noting taking pictures in a daylight / white room is A LOT easier than in a theatre.

Photography Resources

As I live in London and thinking about all the wonderful photography resources we have here, I decided to compile a list of these for general use.

Here it is 

If anyone wants to add to it post in comments and I can add to it – if its from outside the UK that’s ok. It’s going to remain as a a page instead of a post – and so i’ll add to it as I go along. It’s great for me as a note taking exercise, but may also be useful for you guys, whether you live here or just visit.

Its going to remain at the top of my WordPress page.

Image

More from London

Revisiting London to look at people working and the light. I’m always amazed by how people are in their own worlds. I asked a few people about a portrait, now usually I get more ‘yeses’ than ‘nos’ but not today. I didn’t get a single yes, my solution? Take pictures of people anyway.

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Sure it took me a little while to get into my groove. But I got there, now to continue developing.

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Incidentally, the British Journal of Photography had pictures from the notebook of one of my favourite photographers, Tony Ray Jones, who takes pictures in the street and social situations – as he likes to explore British Culture. In it he gives himself advice on how to take better pictures, the list has a lot of advice I’ve heard elsewhere, but its collected and very good – And i agree with a lot of in regards to my shooting –  so I thought I would share:

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Be More Aggressive

Get More involved “talk to people”

Stay with the subject matter (be PATIENT!)

Take simpler pictures

See if everything in the background relates to the subject matter

Vary composition and angles more

Be more aware of composition

Don’t take boring pictures

Get in Closer (use 50mm lens)

WATCH CAMERA SHAKE

Don’t shoot too much

Not all eye level

NO MIDDLE DISTANCE

Incidentally, Tony Ray Jones has a book of largely unseen American Colour work out with MACK

Tony Ray Jones 
American Colour 1962–1965

Although I think the edition will sell out quickly. Some of his work will appear in an exhibition with Martin Parr at the Science Museum, London. It’s a travelling exhibition called Only In England

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Polo

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Dynamic – the match was amazing to watch. the horses seem so graceful from far off but they thunder their way around – which I really felt when I was close up.
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The above shot, as it appears in Kensington & Chelsea Today. One day only I’m afraid! http://www.kensingtonandchelseatoday.co.uk/
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it’s a bit more leisurely when theiy’re nowhere near the goal
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I was amazed by the skill. the ball is so small, and riding, and turning these skilled equestrians manage to score again and again – with a long mallet.
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Sylvester Stallone, once a competitive player, said of Polo:
“Playing polo is like trying to play golf during an earthquake”

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