Thursday, December 1, 2011

Back in the studio

It's been a long time since I posted on my blog. This was mainly due to finishing a Thesis for my Masters, that and many other things just piling up. Well I passed my Masters in photography with a Merit grade... I was really pleased with this as I have no under-grad qualifications. So all my work was started from a few runs up the ladder. It's over it's done and now like anything the real learning begins.

I've just quickly converted one of the shots from today. It was taken by myself at a demo day for Broncolor lighting. The camera this was shot on was the Hassleblad HD4, with a mighty 50 mega pixel back. I also switched between my Nikon D700 with a 70-200 2.8 ED lens (only 12 mega pixels) I wanted to see the differences and the feel of two ways of shooting. There was a big difference, but like anything you have a 4x4 for snow and sports car for sunny days. (well you do in the world of this kit)

The image below really does no justice to image quality of the file, it's huge and massive beyond reason... I'm sure the model will hate me for it, but you can even see the hairs in her nose. Anyway enough babble the image... (space left for text cover usage etc.)

And yes it was great getting back into a studio... watch this space for more updates!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

From the outside looking in...

I have just completed editing and print making for a forthcoming exhibition. I've added two of the featured image below. The project titled. 'From the outside looking in.. portraits given on the streets of Istanbul' is an exploration into many different dimensions of street photography. I set myself a challenge of photographing people on the street, but only asking for their permission first - hence 'given' in the sub-title.

Questions which the project opened were, 'Is it possible to represent a city from street portraiture?' - 'Is it possible for a outsider 'foreigner' to a city understand it's people?'

I utilised many different methodologies during this project, to start with the very first visit employed a Dérive of the city. However upon reflection this resulted in a very small capture; so upon consultation my return visit was far more informed. I would visit many different districts, and consider the time of day and the type of people I would encounter.

Without wishing to label or stereotype people I titled each image by the location, time and date. The mounting and print type have been considered, along with finish and location within exhibition. At the exhibition there will be cards for people to take; these include a special code which allows a complimentary download of an e-book of the exhibition - This again is considered as the portraits were 'given' and not taken. However of course sales of prints will be available and limited to production of only 10 per image.

I'll post details soon of the opening as dates are confirmed.

Çeşme Sk. Taksim 13:23  3/8/11

Tesvikiye Cd. Nisantasi 16:34  8/8/11

Thursday, August 4, 2011

From Israel to Istanbul

It didn't seem that long ago I was sweating out pints in Israel, and now the same in Istanbul. Something has to be said for the UK, at least dehydration isn't an issue. I'm aware that I have a catalog of work to edit from Israel, some of which will be postponed until the end of August.

I'm now working on my final project in Istanbul. It's a follow on from my last visit, this time with more local information and of course reflecting upon what I missed last time - or indeed improve upon what I have. One thing that does strike me is the overwhelming complexity that this project has unfolded. I'm already thinking that I will need to visit again, and in fact that will never be enough. In fact things like this just keep evolving and progressing. I guess much like you never really understand a country on one visit, and in fact do I really understand my own place of residence.

However what I do appreciate is the visual feast that the city has to offer, and more so how willing people are ready to assist you. I entered an area today which is predominately religious. I asked again and again for permission to photograph women; and each time I was refused. I'm not completely ignorant to that fact that certain sects deny this act... it's just sometimes you just have to keep asking. I'll try again another day, just a different area and perhaps with a command of the language I'll stand a chance.

Well tomorrow brings another day of shooting. I'm looking forward to it, and of course Friday is a special day around my next destination. It will be a long day, but after my results today the harder you work the better it gets! Again a lack of images, but in the coming weeks updates will start to become more frequent... an exhibition looming, coupled with a Thesis due the 25th... my energy is slightly diverted.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I am a tourist

We all travel to see and marvel at sights outside our daily lives. It's impossible to act differently, other than to look in wonder and awe. But do we see what is in front of us, or are we looking beyond.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


The practical consideration of a door is obvious, a temporary means of dividing two spaces with something that can be moved. However the symbolic meaning that is represented is far higher. The person whom holds a key for example is not only considered a gate keeper, but has a station of power and control. The doors will protect and provide shelter from a hard wind, protect and halt any unwanted visitors. The meanings and historical importance is endless.

I recently spend time in Israel and Palestine, these are but only  few doors that I chose to photograph. It could perhaps be the starting point of a collection, an obsession or just a means of keeping a record.

The neglect and muted colours make this door blend into it's surround

Where some doors are trying to blend into the wall

Some act as a celebration of colour and painting to draws a child's attention

Grand gestures of masonry frame ornate hinged doors

And not from just the outside but the beauty that waits inside

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Olive wood factory - Bethlehem, Palestine

On a recent visit to Bethlehem, Palestine I visited 'The Olive Wood factory' it is a typical tourist trade, where they manufacture figures from Olive Wood by hand. Over the past years due to the ever increasing risks associated with travel to the West Bank, the trade has suffered. At the moment they are experiencing a difficulty for continuing this woodcraft business.

"Most tourists come to visit Bethlehem with guides and these guides takes tourists to special shops where they give them big commission of their sales, they sell high prices but still tourist believe their guide.
We prefer to sell directly to the tourists and with little profit." - Jiries, Olive Wood factory

 Although similar products are sold in Israel, often at a higher price; margins are always pushed. The following photographs display some of what happens in the workshop. The staff were very friendly and extremely helpful, there is a certain feeling of tranquility in the air and an incredible smell of fresh wood turned.

Raw materials are stored outside, it seldom rains although if it did it wouldn't effect the material. 

A cutting machine to carefully shape smaller pieces. Typically a worker would spend several hours on this machine before swapping to a different station.

The workshop is fairly sizable and housed within the same building as the shop. Once completed the goods are simply carried next door. 

A larger machine which allows the craftsman to remove rough edges and provides a smooth finish. 

Another station where varnish and stain is applied.

Storage for blanks ready for finishing

This worker is hand finishing the product. He will typically complete around 20 of these figures a day. Each item is completely individual, as the raw material dictates with knots and burrs. A high speed drill bit carves away the wood.
"To carve a statue example Mary with the baby Jesus size 20cms plain work minimum is eight hours of work.

They use this piece as a model and to carve more using a copy machine which helps us to rough the shape of the carving so it takes an hour to finish two pieces and this is just rough work, later they work on the details with the flexible shaft; an hour each piece the later comes the sanding." 

I am told that working with the material is a joy, and that each piece is lovingly created. This is obvious in feeling and inspecting the final product.

It is often hard to stop working on one piece as he seeks perfection in every item made.

Larger pieces are also fashioned. This is typically reflected in the final sales price. The products for sale in Palestine are around 30% cheaper than Israel.

"The other pieces you have seen with all the details this takes long time, prices never enough for the long hours of work " - Jiries

A small, modest piece completed with a natural oil applied. Sells for around $17.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tel Aviv

I spent the first two days of my vacation in the 'un-offical' capital city. The following six days would be in Jerusalem a tour-de-history and ultra-relegious harmonious experience. I didn't spend too much time with my camera at the beginning. The days started late and became interspersed with trips from the bedroom for air-conditioned sleep; then mixed with swims and lazing on the beach. However the one day that we walked into the centre, I'd taken along my camera and came across this scene; some what expressed the feel for the party city on the coast.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

back from Israel.....

Just a quick note to update, I'm now back from two weeks in Israel. I'll be posting updates in the next week or so of projects once they've been edited!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Journey Monroe

A few weeks ago I had a meeting with Emma O'Brien regarding a book cover shoot. Emma wanted a video shot as well, so I had put her in contact with Dima who I'd worked with before. After a few meetings it all finally came together, and we shot the video and made the photographs all in the same day.

Dima worked on the video, shooting around the photographs being taken; and likewise when the video was being shot the other way around. It worked really well, and despite worries on the weather turning we managed to work around it.

The brief for the photography was to create images of 'Journey's' rise to fame, and catalogue her life through the years. Emma managed to find the perfect model, as she had a younger sister who would play the 'young journey' in the video and photographs. Bethany (Journey) was a great model to work with, despite her age she was confident and followed direction perfectly.

The shooting list was compiled of the following: A book cover, Dancing in a studio, Book/Movie Premier, Guitar playing, Recording studio, Various on location, Mother and Daughter, young Journey in park, young Journey at table with some drinks. I think that was about it.

Well we managed it, the shoot took 6 hours in total. I've added a few below although these are by no means a final edit. It should give a feel for the results. Please note I've added links to Emma's website, and the Journey Monroe facebook page below.

One of the proposed shots for the cover

A casual at rest during a dance performance

Reading at leisure - I love the back light from the window

This was a rough mock up using an image for a cover/poster at a premier - it was shot with on camera flash to give that 'press' look 

This was Journey as a child - the photograph has been aged to imply a time scale

This time shot with on camera flash to give a 'home snap' feel. I've over saturated and allowed the background to wash out to heighten this effect

Journey in a recording studio. 
 Here are the following links: (click on names)

Emma O'Brien's Website

Journey Monroe's facebook group

Thursday, June 2, 2011

BLAC Jewellery Shoot online

I've not posted anything for a few days as I've been working on a new website. However last months Fashion goes online at (link) Fused Magazine

Thursday, May 26, 2011

FOC Science lesson

A couple of weeks ago I attended a Science lesson, to photograph the students in action. I had been given the brief to provide a series of images for FoC (FoundationCampus) that would fit in with existing images. This meant that I had to analyses established images that the company uses.

My requirements of the subjects were that integration and diversity was apparent (this of course is restricted by the students) and the image should convey learning, scientific study and elements of fun and enjoyment.

During the lesson or period of just over an hour, I shot just under 200 frames. My first edit went to 125, then second to 20-30. I've only added 11 of these below.

Friday, May 20, 2011

International Students language day FOC

I was fortunate to be called in for an last minute photo shoot of students teaching their own lessons. It was part of an International language/ culture day where they were sampling each others national food; and some of them had asked to share their language with fellow students.

I've just quickly edited a few. It was a really enjoyable experience - and I was impressed with the presentation and abilities of all involved.

The technical considerations were mainly based upon available light. I had to adjust my ISO a few times so I was getting a high enough shutter speed to avoid shake. I switched between two lenses allowing me different perspectives, also the ability to photograph natural expressions.