HP5 v Pixels

HP5 v Pixels ..


This photograph is one of my own personal favourites. I took it at an Air Show in Manchester around 1980. Last night I was scrolling through ‘My Archive’ – as it’s grandly called on the Mac – and it occurred to me that, if I were to put one of the pictures from it online every day, it would still take over three years just to show you all of my favourite black and white shots! That fact I found amazing! And that’s without all my colour shots – the travel stuff, the slide library! Man, when I had my little Olympus XA camera I just shot and shot and shot! And those were the days when you had to buy film, and spend money on darkroom materials (Not to mention the time to process and print everything!) I have nothing against digital photography – seeing as I use it all the time! – but it does make me feel good knowing I was a photographer when the art needed a certain amount of skill, knowledge and know-how! Smug gloating over…   


Give it a name ..

I must be mellowing in my old age! I only got told off twice yesterday for getting too close to Princess Anne on her visit to Manchester. I got the PR booking to photograph her during a walkabout at a City Centre company and so – hey, you know – if I’ve been booked to take pictures then I’ll get into the best positions I can to get ’em! I loved the fact that she had her own name badge printed out, though I think Special Branch should have had a word with her, too, ‘cos she didn’t wear it once and nobody could tell who she was!!

It really was busy yesterday, with the ‘Royal’ job sandwiched between trips to The Lowry in Salford to cover an international business conference! I then ended up at The Imperial War Museum North last night to photograph the start of their dinner, and now I’m dashing about producing 101 framed prints of all the delegates so they can take them home when the conference ends today!

Oh, and there were two Wedding enquiries and two portrait bookings at the studio..

Tunnel! Light at end of?….

Funny old day ..

Funny old day ..


Yeah, funny old day, today. Bad weather, nothing on the diary .. time to twiddle my thumbs and pick my nose! All change tomorrow, of course, with a full day’s PR work and 100 mounted prints to get out for Thursday morning! Ah, just like the old days! Of course, the ‘old days’ was when I took this shot of Sir Robin Day, and I wish somebody had taken of picture of the entire set-up, ‘cos Paddy Ashdown was holding my reflector for me! Couldn’t have picked anyone better..

Hold onto your hats ..

The ‘paper was full of doom and gloom on the Wedding front this weekend, and it was sad to hear of the closure of not only one of the area’s biggest Wedding venues, but three bridal gown shops around the Cheshire area! My God! What’s going on? I thought we were coming out of recession!! Hold onto your hats, folks! It looks like we’re still on that bumpy road to recovery ..

Ironically, I have a busy week ahead but – gulp – none of it has anything to do with Weddings! I have a big PR conference to shoot at Media City, and then it’s Princess Anne and Co. on Wednesday. The jobs’ll give me chance to wear my new photographer’s vest, which arrived from the lovely land of Ebay on Saturday morning! I’m going to look a right proper snapper! If only I could find what the hell I’ve put in half the bloomin’ pockets! I’m sure I left a hat in one of ’em…

Up the wall..

I’ve just finished my second time-lapse film – for a company based on a business park near my studio. I photographed two funky graffiti artists spray-painting a monochrome Union Jack onto the walls of a trendy IT firm. I spent all day breathing in aerosol fumes, then set about – in a really good mood!! – to put the film together. Er, to use the vernacular, it took me bloody ages! (I must remember to put more coal on the Apple Mac!) Anyway, I’m very pleased with it – as is the client – (more importantly!) so I can now put it out there and let you see if for yourselves. It’s a little bit bigger than the first one I did, with almost 7 hours and 3900 frames squished down to less than 3 minutes! Ain’t technology wunnerful!! Click here to have a decko…

Oh, my Lord ..

Well, I never! Now I’m no prude but I got the shock of my life yesterday when I happened to open a newspaper that someone had left in a staff canteen. I was killing time at the supermarket in which I was working and there, beside someone’s half-eaten ham butty, was a copy of a UK tabloid. I think it was the Star – not sure – ‘cos I haven’t looked at one of those rags for a long time and – as I now know – for good reason! Thing is, I briefly scanned the front page story about the guy called Trotter who, apparently, knew he was going to win that disgusting amount of money on the lottery, and turned to the inner pages. There, pointing straight at me, was a pair of tits! Stopped me in me tracks! (Well, it would!) OMG! Do they still do that? Naked girls in the paper? You’re kidding! How very 1979!…

Ah!1979! I knew there was a point to this story (Two points, if you’ll allow me a pathetic joke!) Sorry, I was getting distracted by breasts! Yes, I was going to tell you about 1979 because, next week, I’m booked to photograph Princess Anne for the first time since I shot her (Oops!) that year. She was opening the new Greater Manchester Police headquarters in Stretford, and you know it’s a long time ago ‘cos the bloody building’s been demolished a year already! I’m thinking it was the first time I’d ever been on a Royal Rota and here I am, the 18 year old version of me as a Press Photographer, all Vivitar flash and Yashica, doing my thing with Annie. Like the Joy Division blog earlier in the week, the realisation has dawned on me that this was 35 years ago! Oh, my Lord..

Down to the wire ..

Here he is, the bass player I was telling you about yesterday! His name’s Ding and he first appeared in my life whilst I was watching a PJ Harvey DVD a couple of years back. He was the bass player on her tour of the UK and America and one day, suddenly, he was standing in front of me at a party and modestly proceeded to tell me that yes, that was him, and since then he’s played bass on an album and gone on tour with The Pixies! When I’d stopped drooling and fawning I asked if he’d let me take some photographs sometime, which brings us to the session yesterday. His playing is all about power and strength, so I had this idea of him looking tough and biting through his bass strings. I’m pleased to say it worked as a shot, even if Ding did get a mouthful of old sweat from the wires! Cheers, Ding ..

Back to the bread-and-butter photography today! I’m off to a supermarket in town later to shoot some PR photographs for a Trade Union! See? Rock Gods, Shop Stewards .. they’re all the same to me, ‘cos as long as they’re posing in front of my camera it means I’m still working as a photographer.

The Power of The Press

Well, that all took off rather quickly! I mentioned yesterday that I’d been called by a reporter from the Manchester Evening News. They wanted to do an article about the Joy Division gig I shot .. 35 years ago! They rang at 9.30 .. and the article was online by 3.30 (I think it’s going in the ‘paper today!) Well, my website went bananas! The home page received over 800 hits and is still ticking over nicely this morning, with the actual Joy Division page heading for the 800 mark as well. Anyway, you can read the article here! Funny, as much as I think everybody must have seen the shots by now it’s great to still get emails coming in telling me how much new viewers like them. Thank you ..

Music is definitely in the air today, as I’m off to shoot a rather-renowned bass guitar player this afternoon. I recently had one of those ‘Aren’t you the guy off the telly?’ moments – dribbling lightly from the corner of my mouth – when I saw this cool looking dude at a party I was at. Cut a long story short, turns out he was ‘the guy off the telly’, so I asked if we could get together for some portraits and .. well, now you’re up to speed. No doubt an image will grace this blog on the morrow! ..

Rock on ..

Well, well ..

Some weeks just start well! Already this morning I’d edited the whole of yesterday’s Wedding – some 600 images – by 9.30 am, I’d had a fantastic text from a couple who’ve just booked me to shoot their wedding, I took this fabbo glove shot to add to my ‘On the one hand’ collection on the walk down to the studio and I had a phone-call from the Manchester Evening News who want to do a piece on my Joy Division photographs! Phew! I think I’ll take the rest of the day off!..

So, yesterday’s Wedding went well – 65 guests and gale force 5 by my reckoning – and that followed on from Saturday when I took the booking of a lovely couple who are getting married next May at Kilhey Court. It was the groom’s lovely message I received just after breakfast. “Sue is so pleased..” he said “Thanks for putting her at ease. It was always going to be you, as long as you were available on our date!”..

Speaking of dates, it was brought to my attention that last Friday was thirty-five years to the day that I shot my Joy Division photographs! Thirty five!! Where the hell did that go? Anyway, I happened to mention it on Facebook and that was picked up by the ‘paper, who are now planning to run an article about the shots. Ironic, really, as the only reason the negatives got shoved in a draw in the first place was because I couldn’t get a newspaper to use ’em! Well, well..

Name-dropper ..

So there I was, merrily shooting 80s pop-maestro Pete Waterman yesterday, when in walks .. Terry O’Neill !! I know! Incredible .. the leader of Warrington Borough Council! Seems I’m – ho, ho – not the only O’Neill with a famous alter-ego and my, how we laughed as the football manager photographed the famous photographer – in name, at least!

So, so far this year I’ve shot celebs, I’ve shot cheese for websites, I’ve photographed dogs, passports, LinkedIn portraits, warehouses, apprentices .. so it’s about time I shot a Wedding! I’ll be honest and say it’s been a bit of a quiet start to the year as far as Weddings are concerned but .. that all changes on Sunday when I head off to shoot my first of the year in sunny old Warrington town! I cannot wait!

Mothers’ Day looms and I’ve tied in with a couple of local businesses to offer a fantastic deal on portraits as a gift idea for Mum. The Raven Inn and Spa Beautiful, as well as myself, are each offering 20% off our respective meals, massages and erm, mug shots as a sure-fire way of keeping your Mum happy come the end of the month. The offer lasts ’til the end of next month, too, so come on down and get yerselves a voucher. Don’t be shy about name-dropping. Just tell the others that Martin O’Neill sent you ..