I think it’s over ..

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Hard to believe there’s only one installment left of my Twelve for ’13 project – a Flickr exhibition of my archive from the mid-seventies and early eighties and .. I’m going to hold my hands up .. it’s not had as much interest as I’d wanted! I should be world-famous by now!! Ok, only joking, but I do wish more people had seen the work, so it makes me feel all the better that the pictures will be physically ‘up on walls’ again in January of 2015. That’s what it’s about, isn’t it! Seeing ‘the real thing’! Digital is wonderful but look how, more and more, we’re hearing of people who have lost their entire collections of photographs because their mobile phone was stolen or dropped down the loo! There was even a Wedding Photographer on TV last night who ‘cried for three weeks’ because thieves stole her computer and back-up drives. What? You didn’t make CDs? Physical copies of your work? Are you crazy??…

So, photographs made of paper for me although I hope, when my show is up at The Peoples’ History Museum in Manchester, that they don’t atract as much interaction as this poster. It’s still some of the funniest graffiti I’ve ever seen…

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I think that’s amazing ..

3, 974! That’s how many frames I shot making yesterday’s Time-Lapse pr ‘film’ of two young graffiti artists at work, and today my chest’s telling me I’ve breathed in enough aerosol fumes to last me the rest of my life! Cough, cough ..

What a great day, though! From a blank office wall at 10am to a fully finished ‘muriel’ of a hip ‘n happening Union Jack and company logo, I captured the entire creation of the guys’ work over a  period of six hours and .. d’ya know what? .. I watched them make the whole thing, and still haven’t any idea how they did it! My fave quote of the day came from one of the lads who realised there might be a blank area towards one corner of the room. “Oh..” he said “We’ll just fill that with some splats and shit!” Sorted, man …

#prphotography

I think that’s so boring ..

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Oh, Gawd! The Taylor Wessing Portrait Photography awards have been announced for 2013 and, from what I’ve seen, they’ve been true to form and avoided smiling like the plague! Why don’t they consider a smile as suitable for a portrait? Do they feel a happy face isn’t a true representation of a person? Well, it’s too deep for me but then I never was one for “analyzing” photographs. All I know is that walking round the pictures at the National Portrait Gallery makes for a really depressing experience so, here .. have my contender for this year’s winner. My Mum, beaming like a Cheshire Cat as she waited to board Concorde for a pleasure flight back when .. well, when it was flying! I think the image speaks volumes about my Mum’s personality so Ya Boo Sucks Taylor Wessing and I for one won’t be zipping down ‘the smoke’ for a gander at this year’s misery fest!

#TaylorWessing
#culchethstudio
#portraitphotography

I think I’ve seen the future ..

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You can imagine the confusion of Peter Kay’s Dad if you’d told him they were making phones with cameras in ’em! Phone? Camera?… and now we’re getting cameras with ‘wire facilities’ in them just to add to the technological mix. Well, I couldn’t resist mocking up this shot the other day! Phones with cameras in them? I had one years ago! Ho hum ..

Anyway, it seems I’m still not getting this blogging malarkey right! I’ve been told I have to embed my keywords in my text, rather than just adding the tags to the bottom of the piece. Bit like the old days when they subliminally – “COCA-COLA” – flashed up images of fizzy drinks during films. I’m not sure if that – “WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY” – would work but it might be worth a – “GIFT VOUCHERS FOR CHRISTMAS” – try! Think that –“PR PHOTOGRAPHY” – got the message across? Good! Phone me …

#weddingphotography
#prphotography
#culchethstudio

I think this is where it’s @ ..

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I’ve taken to tweeting, with a vengeance! I’ll admit I’ve not given Twitter the attention it’s needed in the past, bogged down as I am with SEO and Flickr, Tumblr and Pinterest (..and to think, I used to be a photographer!) but now I’m hitting the keyboards hard and ‘following’ as many relevant people as I can find! Unfortunately, that means I’m also now being ‘followed’ by quite a few irrelevant people, too .. many of whom seem to need me to know from their profiles how many cats/kids/snowboards they’ve got, and one who urges me to “Close my eyes and see..”! (Doesn’t work for me, that one!)

So, for the first time ever I’ve had new business cards made with my Twitter details on, and now no longer can I sit and watch tv or eat a meal in peace! Oh no, now I’m constantly, feverishly, checking my phone as it bleeps and twinkles and oinks at me when I get new followers or retweets. I can only hope – as many people tell me – that it does actually work as a way to increase business or her indoors’ll have me out on my ear at this rate!

PS: Sorry about the seagull picture! Not being a bird-spotter I don’t exactly have many images of our feathery friends, so that’ll have to do! Jeez, seagulls don’t even tweet! Unlike me, ho ho ..

#weddingphotography

©Martin O’Neill 2013

I think it’s only a year off ..

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Big News!..

I’ve been selected to have an exhibition in Manchester! I’m going to have a four month show at the Peoples’ History Museum on the Left Bank in Spinningfields. A collection of my archive photography is going up to show working-class life in the 1970s – in other words,  my way of growing up as a teenager! I’m really pleased, as you might guess, but take your coat off and sit down again! Don’t be rushing out the door just yet, ‘cos the exhibition doesn’t open until January 2015. These guys plan ahead! Gives me time to get a nice set of prints done, though!..

#peopleshistorymuseum
#documentaryphotography
#culchethstudio

I think of foopball ..

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So, off I go to the Republic of Ireland! With Roy Keane! Ok, not the me Martin O’Neill, the football manager Martin O’Neill and it’s ironic I’ll .. I mean he’ll .. be working with Roy Keane, as I go back long enough to have actually photographed Keane’s signing for Man U when I was a press photographer! The MEN got an exclusive, so it was just me and him at, I think, The Cliff, in Salford. Cripes, that was 20 years ago! I remember shaking his hand and wishing him good luck! I think it worked for him .. ho ho!

Anyway, I can’t show you that photograph, as it went the way of all negatives at the Manchester Evening News, and will never be seen again! And, seeing as I’m not the mostly footbally photographer in the world, I have very little to offer in the way of other footy photos, so you’ll have to make do with this picture of Alex Stepney, shot when he signed for .. Altrincham! .. towards the end of his career. I just missed him giving me the ‘V’s as I’d just shouted at him during the game! Sorry, Alex!..

Oh, Foopball? If you’ve ever read Molesworth then any fule kno that’s how he phonetically spells the word. Try it! It works ..

#pressphotography, #prphotography, #ManchesterUnited

I think about cameras ..

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A Wedding photographer at work, circa 1977, and he’s probably using an old Mamiya or Rollei TLR – or two and a quarter – or 6×6 if you’re modern! I’ve got a box full of old cameras like that now .. the most expensive ornaments in the house, as I call them .. and now Nikon have brought out a DSLR that’s based on the old FM2 camera. Retro feel, as they call it! Phwoar! What is it about ‘old’ gear? Why does it just feel ‘right’? I mean, as much as I love my D300s I get such a buzz out of holding and using ‘old’ cameras! You can’t beat grabbing an FE2 and giving that wind-on lever a good ol’ yank! (Oh, heck .. where am I going with this?) Anyway, let’s put it this way – £2,750 says I won’t be getting a new ‘old’ Nikon any time soon. Funnily enough though, I’m starting to use the camera on my phone a lot more! I used to get in a blind panic if I found myself without a camera. “Have you got your phone with you?..” Lesley would ask .. and I’m suddenly calm again! Damn it, they’re good! The only thing we need to sort now is the names of cameras. In the good old days we had SLRs, and then we called digital cameras DSLRs to differentiate. Digital cameras are now, surely, the ‘norm’ so why can’t we just start calling them SLRs and call film cameras FSLRs? Just asking ..

#weddingphotography

©Martin O’Neill 2013

I think it’s Christmas ..

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Well, in these days of forward marketing it seems only natural, on Bonfire Night, to show you a photograph from a Christmas ‘promo’ shoot I did yesterday! Had a lovely family into the studio and, after we’d shot a set of ‘normal’ photographs I asked them if they’d ‘ham it up’ and pose for my Christmas ‘advert’. I didn’t expect young Jack to ham it up as much as he did, of course, but it makes for a great photograph and that’s what I’ve gone for on my new Christmas website page.

It reminded me of the time I did a magazine shoot for, I think it was Woman’s Own, of one of the first ever lottery winners – so we’re talking probably 25 years ago at least! The angle of the story was that they could now have the best Christmas they’d ever had. Trouble was, they won the lottery in September, and I had to dress their house to make it look like Christmas. Lord knows how I winged that one! Their tree was pathetic, the shops – unlike these days – weren’t already stocking crackers or decorations or the like, and we had a devil of a job to source a turkey from Liverpudlian shops that were still stocking summer foods. I’ll always remember asking the winner what he’d do with 1.5 million pounds. “Well..” he said “We’re going to spend the million .. and put the point five in the bank!”

Merry Christmas!!…

©Martin O’Neill 2013

Hey, Fonzy ..

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These cool dudes are my introduction to the penultimate installment of my Twelve for ’13 project! I reckon the shot’s from about 1978. The lads used to loiter under the motorway bridge in Winton, near the flat I shared with my dad, scaring the life out me every time I walked past ’em with their tough guy image and under-aged smoking until, one day, I simply asked if I could take their photographs! They instantly changed into the nicest, chirpiest happy young boys, and gave me a range of ‘Fonz’ type poses there and then! Lesson number one : Never judge a book by its cover! I’d like to think I’ve stuck to that work ethos ever since.

Any road up, click on the link and have a look for yourselves ..