Livin’ off the wall ..

I’ve been booked to shoot the Wedding of Michael Jackson!
Get down! Shake yer booty and, er .. all that!

Ok, not that one .. obviously .. but it still rather amused me when a young couple called yesterday to talk about their Wedding Photography! The clichés flooded out of me, and I can only hope they choose ‘Rock with you’ as their First Dance come November!..

No first dance coverage today, but I am set to shoot the Wedding of Victoria and Mike at Mere Court, near Knutsford. Sounds like it’s going to be just as wild and wacky, though, as .. get this .. I’ve been asked to photograph the Wedding party doing handstands .. and to keep an eye out for one of their Wedding cakes made of .. Pork Pie! Funky! Now these guys are livin’ off the wall..

Ps: Bloody hell! I just heard on the radio today would have been MJ’s 56th birthday! Spooky ..


Double Whammy ..

I must be a total glutton for punishment today because I’m not only off to the dentist .. but the accountant, as well! Just how much joy can one man fit into his day? My poor old wallet! Still, it gets it all out of the way in one fell swoop, doesn’t it!..

On the subject of ‘doubles’, I thought I’d show you a couple of shots from my ‘Social Seen..’ project. You can tell it’s been going on a while ‘cos the bottom shot is obviously from the days when people were allowed to smoke indoors. (Thank God that’s all gone, although I do find all these E cigarette smokers rather amusing. It looks like the whole world’s been taken over by penny-whistle players!) Anyway, I’m rather enjoying pairing up photographs that work well together, and I do believe the seed of a new photographic exhibition has been sown..

My next Wedding‘s on Friday. Can’t wait! Just think of all the shots that’ll be ‘Social Seen..’ by me tomorrow!..

I got your number ..

Honestly, you couldn’t make this up ..


My next Wedding is on Friday and, as usual, I phoned the bride over the weekend to have a final run-through of the shots she needs me to take on the Big Day. There was no answer so I left a message, only to be called back two hours later by a very suspicious sounding young man who wanted to know who I was and why I’d left a message on his phone. I immediately assumed it was the groom, so asked if I was speaking to Mike. ‘No..’ came the reply, and I began to apologise for having apparently calling a wrong number. After a few more seconds of conversation it turned out I had actually misdialled, and I was wrong by one digit but .. get this .. the chap I was speaking to is an usher at the Wedding! What are the chances? Flippin’ ‘eck ..

I’ll drink to that ..

Monday lunchtime, and so far I have ..

Shot and delivered a PR job, copied, renovated and reprinted an old photograph, edited a portrait shoot I did on Saturday, been booked for a really interesting PR job on Thursday, been to my framer to choose some picture frames for a recent shoot .. and spoken to a bride about her forthcoming December Wedding. Busy day? I’ll drink to that…

Yes, in fact, the whole week has got off to a cracking start, and there all already two more studio sittings booked in for later in the week. It feels like the ‘old days’, which is pretty much all we talked about on our Photographers’ booze-up on Saturday. Four old farts – with at least 120 years’ photographic experience between us – chundering on about medium-format, the general slowing down of work .. and hearing loss! (I blame the noisy pubs we went in!) Anyway, my liver was doing cartwheels on Sunday. Sobriety? I’ll drink to that…

Bigging it up ..

Shooting some lovely portraits at the studio yesterday, I decided to knock off a few frames on my Mamiya RZ67. “What’s that?” .. cried the teenagers in unison as I pulled it out of the bag and, for a split second, I did feel as if I was revealing some monstrous bye-gone antique curiosity until I remembered ..  ‘This baby is cool’ !! To think that, up to only a few years ago, I used to shoot all the ‘colour’ at my Weddings on this hulk! Here it is next to my little Fuji compact! Big, eh?..

It weighs a ton and, off the tripod, is quite awkward to handle but, oh boy, does it produce fantastic photographs! It will be making many more appearances, I can tell you! ..

I shall be hitting the sauce tomorrow afternoon as I join up with three other freelance photographers for our annual Summer Booze Up! Stand back and prepare for a barrage of moans and groans! Work’s down! Fees are down! Prices are up! Etc., etc., etc .. yet …YET .. we are all still professional photographers after all these years! Somehow we’ve all hung on and made our livings from photography alone. I hope the guys remember that and don’t spend too long in the doldrums. We should be proud of our achievements and BIG OURSELVES UP!…  

How times change ..

Well, there you go! I’ve done a Cake-Smash! I’ve entered a new phase in the evolution of my photography .. despite most people still not knowing what one is! Never mind, it went well, now you ask, and it didn’t take that long to clean up the studio floor afterwards, though I still can’t help thinking it’s a terrible waste of a good cake and a way of raising a child that I personally have my doubts about. How times change ..

I’ve been on more familiar territory other than that, with a family shoot yesterday and another booked in – with pet dog – for this morning. I had a reminder of the ‘old days’ of press work last night when I got a call from a newspaper asking if I was free to shoot a ‘snatch’ shot at Preston Crown Court today. A ‘snatch’ is a grab-shot of the person who’s been on trial and it’s unfortunate that I’m already booked today but, to be honest, I haven’t done one of those since 1978! Still, it brought back fond memories of my years on the newspapers when you’d fly out at the drop of a hat to whatever it was the Picture Desk needed a shot of! After moving across to Wedding Photography I used to joke that my idea of a ‘rush-job’ meant a bride asking if I was available next September! How times change…

A bad week for ..

I’ve been drowning in a cess-pool of negativity this week! I had the cancellation of a photo-shoot for an actor’s head shots (They got a big phone bill and needed to pay that above anything else!) – I was turned down for a Wedding because I was too expensive (£200 more than the bride wanted to pay!) – rejected for a PR job because the company didn’t have any budget for the opening of their housing scheme (I quoted £125 for God’s sake!) and I was offered the princely sum of £40 to shoot every room in a house that was up for sale (“Well, that’s how much we pay”). I even had a guy walk into the studio this morning telling me how he used to run not one but three photography studios across the north-west and now he works for a window-fitting company (“Sometimes decisions get made for you” he said) Jeezo! Cheer me up, why don’t you!..

One good piece of news was finding out my old Yashicamat 120 camera still works. I had a roll of film developed and scanned during the week and it just made me feel a complete nostalgia for film! Actually, it made me feel nostalgic for the ‘good old days’ of newspapers too, as one of the shots was of the boarded-up Salford City Reporter office in Eccles. Still, looking back, I think film is the future, and I’m definitely going to try to introduce it back into my Wedding photography!..

Anyway, back to the doom and gloom …

Oh, my memory ..

Christine’s Birthday Party
Summer 2014

Hot day


“Are you Martin?”.. asked a young lady I bumped into yesterday. “You took my Wedding photographs!”..

I was embarrassed that I didn’t remember her. “When was your Wedding?”.. I asked her. “2005 .. ” she replied. “Ah..” I said “No wonder I don’t remember! I’ve got a memory like a sieve! How is everything?..” “Oh..” she said “We’re divorced, but they were a lovely set of pictures!” ..

Well, it sure is a time for memories at the moment, what with the 100th anniversary of the war and everything, and look how fascinated we are with all those old photographs from the time. Ah, the power of the image. How evocative .. but where the hell will all the images be from today when they look back in 100 years time? The flippant answer for me now is “I don’t care!” I won’t be here then – unless I’m the healthiest 154 year old on the planet – so it ain’t my problem, but I’m sure as hell going to make sure that, at least for my lifetime, my memories get out there to the people who might find them useful…

Given the choice ..

Today’s Blog just has to tip its hat to the start of the First World War, and my archive shot of the Cenotaph in Eccles seems an appropriate way to remember it. I shudder when I think of that disgusting waste of life, and I shudder even more when I look at the state of the world today. We haven’t learnt a single bloody thing, have we? I think that’s why I like the little figure on the sign. Its perky posture seems to suggest that yes, it is possible we can walk away from war and get on with a better life. If only it were so ..

My PR weekend continues into today, with a portrait shoot in Manchester for one of my ‘regular’ clients. Over the weekend I was working on a somewhat stressful shoot for a well-known Home Builder that involved hammering rain, a shrieking 18 month old baby and an absence of half the props I was supposed to be shooting! Still, not exactly serving in the trenches, was it?..