Guess it’s over ..

Well, there you go! You’ve done it! Pat yourself on the back and get out that brochure for the new Ferrari! The recession is over! It’s official – or it will be when they announce it later – so yippidy doo and happy days everybody!..

I’ve got to say I feel extremely pleased to be able to say I’ve survived yet another recession as a photographer, and I hope it means the end of having enquiries for Weddings at £200, or folk choosing ONE 7×5 inch print from a full forty-five minute portrait-shoot .. and don’t even get me started on PR companies turning down my quotes for jobs! Actually, that’s even more pleasing to have survived because it’s involved the ‘double-whammy’ of the increasing use of digital cameras by non-professional camera-owners! My best example – and I kid you not – was of one company having one of the staff’s mothers take the shots they wanted because she had .. wait for it .. a good camera!..

So, yes, according to one chap being interviewed on the radio this morning “There is jobs out there!” now. I can only hope that some of that extra dosh trickles down to StudioFiveFour and I can borrow that Ferrari brochure once you’ve finished with it…

Now will you get down to my studio and have some bloody photographs taken!!…

Image du jour : Eccles Job centre, circa 1977.. From The Archive, of course!


Sad ..

How awful is the news at the moment? I normally tend to fight shy of writing about the goings-on in the world, but it’s pretty hard to ignore all the terrible things that have been happening just lately. One of the ironies of my love of air-shows is that I never forget what those planes and missiles are actually used for! No-one ever designed an F16 jet just to make a few nerdy anoraks go “oooh” in the middle of a Gloucestershire field. Those wonderful whizzy machines? They’re built to kill people! End of! My thoughts are with all those who left the world in a violent manner this week…

So what do you add to that? Today, I think, nothing …


The world would be a boring old place without its characters, and I couldn’t help but be curious about this guy, snapped at the air show over the weekend. He looked Japanese – and, with 3 Canon lenses and bodies, obviously a pro .. or a very keen snapper – but he kept retreating under this towel and falling asleep, only to jerk awake when different aircraft began their displays. Still, at least he didn’t sleep through the displays, like the people I wrote about yesterday!..

On another outing ‘darn sarf’ last month I found myself in Oxfordshire. Very nice, lovely little market towns, plummy accents! I picked up a local ‘What’s On’ magazine from one of the shops there, and read it whilst I was sitting in the sunshine yesterday. They had a feature in it about one of the Estate Agents in their area, a big time boy whose houses go for up to 5 million quid. But I almost spat out my ‘g and t’ when I read they were .. and I quote .. “just as adept at selling homes for as little as £250,000″ .. !!! .. I won’t be moving to Oxfordshire any time soon ..

Anyway, back to photography and I was absolutely thrilled yesterday to get not one, but two, confirmed Wedding bookings in one day! I can now add Rookery Hall and Great John Street Hotel to the list of next year’s Weddings. The thing that pleases me most is that neither bride wanted the all-pervasive current ‘trendy’ photography of stupid poses and sickly vintage colouring. Looks like ‘sticking to my guns’ is paying off ..

©Martin O’Neill 2014

Ah, summer..

I seem to have been taking it a little easy this week – work’s not exactly been stretching me these past few days – and then there’s been football, nice weather, Stella Artois, gardening, gin and tonic..

.. although, when I think about it, I have been quite busy! I’ve been manning the studio, doing my accounts, calibrating my printer – so much so that I’ve used up all me bloody ink! – shooting a commercial portrait, booking a couple of new shoots, spotting pimples off a portrait of a teenager – and fake tan-coloured arm-pits off another! – meeting new brides, contacting PR companies, adding new images to my archive – see above –  .. and now I’m gearing up for Saturday’s Wedding!
See? There’s always something to be done when you work for yourself!
So – actually – I think I am due a little more me time in the garden!

Getting it off my chest ..

Lesley loves to watch programmes about those crazed nutblob kinds who can’t throw anything away! ‘Hidden Hoarders’, ‘Obsessive Compulsive Hoarders’ .. that kind of thing! Hoarders, anyway! Trouble is, she then goes bananas when she looks at me! She thinks I’m on the way to getting my own show! Hey, it’s not my fault I can’t throw anything away! Magazines, books, records, t-shirts, cassettes, ticket stubs, my old toy cars and, of course, every single photograph I’ve ever taken – be it on film, transparency or digital. I just can’t throw ’em away! They’re too important! This is my history and, whilst I’m still around, I want to wallow in it! Don’t get me wrong  .. I’m sure as a regular reader you’ll know I’m pretty forward looking .. always searching for new ways to shoot, or new styles of music and so on .. BUT I don’t seem to be finding anything that turns me on! I find ‘new’ photography so plastic and bland, so digitized and desaturatedly lack-lustre. Same with music! So I’m staying here! Circa 1979! It’s lovely here! You’d love it!..

Glad I’ve got that off my chest ..

God bless America ..

Today’s theme? It can only be America! Go, USA! Man, if you didn’t see last night’s World Cup match between the States and Belgium then you missed the game of the tournament so far! Boy, did those yanks battle!..

Coincidentally, today I’ve entered this photograph into an American magazine’s Wedding Photography contest. I’m not normally a major fan of over-photoshopping an image but I’ve decided to ‘go with the flow’ and drop some effects onto this picture. It seems to me that most photography competitions these days are more about the ‘effects’ than the message so I hope this shot gives the judges a nice example of both, and they rightly reward me with huge financial gain, praise and my choice of  top-end Nikon cameras!..

Independence Day beckons Stateside, and I remember once being in Houston on a hot, sticky Fourth of July. My friend there had just had a baby boy, and I can still recall the embarrassment when she told me his name. “Willy..?” I giggled “Don’t you know what that means in England?..”

I was young, dear reader! Our friendship continues ..