What a treat ..

 Isn’t it lovely when your day pings you out an unexpected treat? Mine last night was an email that popped up from New York and made me feel fantastic. A lot of my music photography is represented there by a gallery which is marking 30 years of The Smiths, and the email from them yesterday took me straight to this page! I’ve been belting out Smiths’ songs ever since! They’re actually offering Limited Editions of my photographs of Morrissey alongside those of renowned photographer Kevin Westenberg.What a treat ..

I shot a Wedding once down near Stratford, and went down the day before to have a good look around the venues. The church had a gorgeous cherry tree in full blossom alongside its outer wall, and I marked that as a great place to get some fantastic pictures. Next day, I whizzed the bride and groom round the corner to find .. three punks drinking lager in the shade of the tree! Unexpected treat of that day? They offered to hold my reflector, provided a really amusing shot for the album and .. gave the bride a swig of their lager! What a treat ..  

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Printworks ..

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogging, Tumblr .. blah, blah, blah .. but how’s about a good old advert in the local community magazine? Yeah, forget ‘Social Meeja’ .. I’m going back to paper basics for my next advertising ‘push’, with a quarter page ad to cover two locales within our region. I firmly believe that the fad of the ‘selfie’ will soon be history and it’ll dawn on people that, hey, the best place to get a good photograph taken is actually .. a photographer’s studio! When it came to choosing an image for the ad I enlisted the help of my good friend Photographer Smurf, who has been sitting atop every computer I’ve had since .. well, since the first time I got a computer! He agreed to pose for my photo, although he did apologise for not being able to reciprocate as he’s not been able to get the sheet film for his camera since 2003! Say Cheese ..

Pure Vintage ..

I’ve had a lovely little article published in Pure Weddings Magazine, featuring a fab couple whose Wedding I photographed last August. Click on the image to get ‘the bigger picture’, and you’ll see a few of the shots I got round to taking on the day. The theme of the Wedding was vintage which is quite ironic because, once I’d shot the Wedding, I zipped off into town to see ageing punk rockers The Exploited! (I had a change of clothes before I went!) Reminds me of the time I went to see the UK Subs after finishing work at 11pm one night whilst working for the Sale and Altrincham Messenger. I remember arriving at The Russell Club in a suit and tie and the first words on arriving being some spiko leather dude screaming “F*ck me… a Mod!”

Ah, good times …

Red, white and blue .. and orange!

A touch of the old red, white and blue for you today – described in beautiful spring blossom and just to mark St George’s Day. Hurrah for good ol’ England – the land of the ditched fag packet, de rigeur use of the phone whilst driving and, My God, don’t even think of saying thank you if I hold the door open for you! Rude Britannia waives the rules, and you can post as many ‘Help for Heroes’ stickers as you like, but I won’t believe you have any pride in this country until you start showing .. erm, well, a pride in this country! It starts from the ground up. Literally, when it comes to smokers!..

Blimey, where did that come from? I had intended to carry on the ‘colour’ theme by telling you something that, I’m sure, a lot of photographers have noticed. All the teenage girls in the UK have turned orange! I made an early start today on some shots from a recent Wedding, and was having a bugger of a time trying to correct the colour balance in a few of the shots. I just could not get a young girl’s face back to ‘normal’ .. and then it dawned on me. Teenage girls are orange. Step away from the photoshop, Martin. Your work here is done..

Top!..

Saturday’s Wedding was fantastic! So laid back, so much laughter, such fun .. and hey, even the sun shone! Many congratulations, Liz and Ben! Loved being part of your Big Day! It was, as we say in Manchester … top!

So, that’s Easter done, 1000 images to edit before I hit the studio and I’m just waiting to hear now from a pub that’s asked me to shoot its new menu and interior. Other than that, not the busiest week ahead but at least my day has started a little better than David Moyes’! Tough at the top, eh?..

Love the new portrait of the Queen by David Bailey, though I’ve never seen such a kerfuffle over one bloomin’ photograph! It’s lovely! Damn, you’d almost think she was human! Top clicking, Bailey! Still at the top, dude..

Music to my ears ..

Hey, Happy Record Store Day, everybody! I’d be buzzing down to buy some vinyl too if I wasn’t shooting a Wedding today. Or would I? I seem to have enough records already! In fact, I was quite amused by the fact that I liked this 1980 album so much I bought it twice! (Fear of wearing it out, I would say.) Bet you don’t even remember The Photos – the most appropriately named band ever .. for me! I was smitten with lead singer Wendy Wu and if I can ever find it I’ll show you the picture I had taken with her backstage at some gig or other. Discount Records in Sale was my ‘place to go’ .. and every lunchtime a hairy hippy dude called Nick would convince me that I just had to have such and such a record. He was mostly right, of course, and I’ll never forget his advice to me to leave the needle on the Spizz Energi ‘Where’s Captain Kirk’ 45. There’s a really funny mickey-take of Spock, just before the run off, that I’ve never heard on any CD version of the song. Hurrah for real music! Go and buy a single .. now!

The good old days ..

I really should know better! Going to see The Buzzcocks on Friday night was, almost inevitably, like going to see a Buzzcocks tribute band! Only two original members – with Pete Shelley looking like his own grandad – and balding men trying to scrape the remnants of their hair into a semblance of the mohicans they sported a mere 35 years ago! Still, I sort of enjoyed it, although the sound was terrible and, this being Warrington – and therefore almost just as inevitable – there was a fight just six feet away from myself and Lesley. Boys! We’re too old for all of this!..

The trouble is, there’s nothing to replace it! Nothing comes near the music I grew up with and if – as my pal says – I’m stuck in the 70s and 80s, then it’s only because there’s been nothing to drag me out of there. Today’s music positively depresses me! Anyway, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and hey, it gives me the opportunity to show you this photograph of my old mates Roddy and Tish at The International, circa 1986 (And yes, I still have the poster in my collection!)

Stamp it out ..

Rather miffed to find a company in Nottingham was offering – on Ebay – in any size you liked, starting from £3.50, a nice selection of … MY PHOTOGRAPHS! A big thank-you to the pal that alerted me to this blatant breach of copyright! Imagine! They were quite happily prepared to make money from photographs over which they had absolutely no ownership claim! God, it drives me mad! Digital has a lot to answer for! The stealing of photographers’ images must be Stamped Out! (Cue image of big chunky boots worn by P.Paul Fenech, lead singer of The Meteors, and available to BUY – from ME – from here!)

Ah, music! I had to laugh at a selection of ads in last week’s Sunday Times. Upcoming concerts from the likes of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Yes, Steve Hackett and … Julio Iglesias!! OMG! Am I stuck in 1979? …

(Erm, I hope so, ‘cos I’m off to see The Buzzcocks tonight! Oops! Blush! Sorry…)

Life’s simple pleasures ..

Bubbles! A squirt of washing-up liquid and a hoop to blow it through and a kid can play for hours! Amazing what little it takes to make you feel good. It was a 14 foot roll of white paper that put the smile on my face yesterday, when I nipped over to Leeds to pick up the new backdrop I won in an auction on ebay. It’ll run down the side of the studio and it makes me feel so excited to know that I’ll now be able to shoot much larger groups than I could before.

Commercial Break: Come on down to StudioFiveFour for your fun family group photograph!

Oh, and talk about simple pleasures .. I spent this morning watching my Bronze Corydoras spawn! If you don’t know what that means, then you don’t know what you’re missing!..

Just wait 40 years ..

Much to Lesley’s annoyance, I never throw anything out. She watches programmes about ‘Hoarders’ and tells me I have all of the supposed sad, debilitating symptoms! But hey, if I threw things out I wouldn’t have been able to put this montage together, would I? It’s a Piccadilly Radio programme schedule from 1979, and I put it on Facebook when I saw a story about it being the station’s 40th birthday (Not just any station, either. This was the Manchester radio station to listen to when we were growing up!) There’s a shot in my archive too, of DJ Pete Baker on an outside broadcast from Altrincham in ’79. Happy Birthday, 261!

Anyway, this has absolutely nothing to do with today’s Blog, which was to be about Brides-to-be and their approach to Wedding photography. I thought I’d hit a new low this week when a young lady enquired about a booking. When she told me that she’d already had a quote in at £280 I knew I was on a hiding to nothing but, depressingly, that figure was knocked into a cocked hat yesterday when a bride told me she’d booked a “professional” photographer who would cover her whole Wedding day and supply 500 images on CD for … (God, I feel sick just saying this…) … £200!! “Are you sure that’s a professional?” I asked her. “Oh yes..” she said “I seen her work and she done some luvly wedding photos..” Ah, I don’t feel so sick now! Not as sick as she’ll feel in 40 years, anyway!…