Whacked ..

Friday already! Oh, my Lord, where has the week gone? Well, I’m glad you asked, ‘cos I can tell you straight away! It’s gone in a flurry of shoots and website design .. and not necessarily in that order! I’ve spent absolutely ages transferring all my website pages across to a new company and, I have to say, it’s been well worth it. I think my new site looks amazing! After I changed the location of Manchester Wedding Photography I decided I’d go the whole hog and shift the rest of my website over, too. As soon as the new home page goes live I’ll let you see it but I can give you a few clues here by showing you links to the PR and Portraits pages..

And shoots! Yes, it’s been a really busy week for ‘real’ work, too! When I’ve not been at the computer I’ve had some great jobs this week, including the advertising shoot of a Company’s new boardroom, and various and assorted family and baby sessions at the studio! Can I possibly dare to think that there are the stirrings of a Christmas ‘rush’?  I say that because, as well as a family shoot, I also had two different grandmas bring in their grandkids to be photographed as gifts for their parents. Here’s hoping ..

So yes, I think it’s fair to say I’m really looking forward to two days off this weekend. I’m whacked! Today’s picture, from my archive of a trip to Kenya, is perfect for the Friday blog. That man in the cart? That’s me, that is …

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Not so smelly ..

The thought occured to me this morning that I may well have just been to the first Wedding I’ve ever been to where no-one smoked! Let’s put it this way .. if they did smoke they must have done it a long way from the venue, ‘cos I didn’t once have to waft my way through a great cloud of yukky ciggy smoke at the front door! Hurrah! I was at the swanky Didsbury House Hotel in South Manchester for the Wedding of Alison & Rich, and what a brilliant day it was, too! 998 frames and exhausted by 8pm!! That’s the way to do it! Have a look at some of the shots on the website of Manchester Wedding Photography..

Yesterday’s shoot was also the first ‘winter’ Wedding of the year. The clocks went back the night before so I was struggling for light by 4 o’clock in the afternoon!
No chance of an early bath, though ..

On reflection ..

This is me, when I was 17, practising long-exposure photography on a nippy November night in Manchester back in 1977. My next-door neighbour had lent me his Rollei 35 and I kind of hoped that, as he had no knowledge or interest in photography, he might forget I’d borrowed it and the little beauty would have been mine forever. He remembered, damn it, and it was back to my second hand Zenith E again the next week!..

Anyway, excuse me, I’m getting all reflective ! Hahaha.. see what I did there?..

Sigh! No, it’s the clocks going back, see? Waving goodbye to British Summer Time always makes me misty-eyed and sentimental and I can’t help but look back as we move forward to winter. You know the sort of thing. How was summer? Did I make the most of it? Was my work any good? Did I tan? Important stuff like that ..

As it happens, it was a good summer! Weather-wise, photography-wise, garden-wise, friends and family-wise. Yes, nine out of ten for summer 2014, the summer I launched my new Manchester Wedding Photography site. Looking back, that’s going to stand me in great stead for the future. Worth reflecting on ..

Get a professional ..

I’ve just stuck my head above the computer after a full two days’ bashing it against my new website design. Folks, it is finished!..

Manchester Wedding Photography.com is up and running, at last!
At last, and for real!..

Thing was, after I’d got hold of the domain name in May I was feeling pretty chirpy that I’d soon be flying up the Google+ rankings. Ha, what an idiot! As if that was going to happen! Despite all my best efforts – all the SEO, the keywording, the blogging, the tweeting, the Facebooking, the Pinteresting, The Tumblring – nothing worked!..

But, it’s been my good fortune to have an IT specialist as one of my forthcoming grooms. He was kind enough to give the site the once over, made a few recommendations and  .. whaddya know? .. I made the front page of Bing before I’d even finished the site and popped up twice on the front of Google after I’d only linked a couple of blogs!!..

So, there ya go! Get someone in who knows what they’re doing! Man, I just wish that applied to Wedding Photography, too …

File under twat?

Jake the Peg, Jane Street .. and Jump, you twat! Just the first three listings in the ‘J’ section as I begin the long process of cataloguing all the negatives in my archive. ‘Jake’ is a shot of a ‘three-legged man’ shot through a van window in Blackpool; Jane Street is a series of photographs of youngsters running up said road in Salford .. and ‘Jump’ is the picture shown here, one of my favourite pieces of grafitti, scrawled onto a road-safety poster in Eccles! Hmm, now should it be filed under ‘Jump’ or ‘twat’? Might need to double list that one! Anyway, yes .. the process of filing all my work has begun. Now that I’ve been taken on by the Picture Library it’s not good enough to simply have rows of big boxes of scrambled negatives on a shelf, a lucky-dip lottery every time I shove a hand into the chaos. Time to get a grip and get ’em organised, and I’ve got to say that looking through them all again is an absolutely fantastic experience! Library, litter, lorry anyone?..

Time, travel ..

Having a pub meal in London at the weekend, I couldn’t help but notice the Italian at the next table. I knew he was Italian – ornate facial hair, scarf up to his ears and a leather cap on backwards – but I became fascinated as I watched him examining a bottle on his table. He picked it up, turned it around, read the label, shook it up and down a bit, held it up to the light, unscrewed the cap, sniffed it, scratched his goatee .. then put it back down on the table, perplexed. It was a bottle of vinegar!..

It brought back to mind the sheer excitement of travel. The thrill of being somewhere new and the absolute ‘exoticness’ of everything .. even vinegar!
Made me want to pack a bag right there and then!..

Thing is, now I’ve been accepted by the Picture Library, the only bags I’ll be packing for the next few weeks are negative bags, as it’s suddenly dawned on me that every shot in my archive is going to need to be properly filed. It’s fun to think, though, that by viewing my work, people will be able to ‘time-travel’ and see a world that, if not quite exotic, is as different again from the one around them today..

A moment in (my) history ..

Great news! My mission to London has been a success and I’m delighted to say my archive is now being represented by one of the finest ‘specialist’ historical Picture Agencies in the country! I went down for a meeting with a very nice guy from the Mary Evans Picture Library who said he ‘loves’ my work and would be very happy to add it to their wonderful collection. I am so flattered, and in such great company, too. The library houses the archives of both Shirley Baker and Roger Mayne, both fantastic photographers of the latter half of the 20th century. So this will be a really great way for my work to be seen and – hopefully – used around the world! Oh, did I say they were one of the best in the country? Sorry, I meant World! The library is itself represented by over 100 agents in over 70 countries across the globe! World domination beckons! Or at least the odd shot in an American magazine every now and again!..

Speaking of history, I popped down to the Tower of London to see the magnificent ‘Blood swept lands..’ display of ceramic poppies filling the moat. I couldn’t get near it! There were, like, a kertrillion tourists hogging every inch of the railings above the display, all taking ‘selfies’ for the folks back home in Idaho! I actually thought I’d caught a  moment when I saw this chap in a ‘Help for heroes’ sweater, standing with his head bowed in what seemed like poignant prayer for several minutes. As I moved away I looked back to see he was actually .. texting on his phone!
Hmm, I doubt they’ll take this shot for the archive!..

Falling for you ..

I went to the doctor yesterday. The old shoulder has been giving me ‘gip’! Turns out that’s why .. ‘cos it’s old! Degeneration! OMG! (And I thought it was only my grey matter that was going downhill!) Anyway, painkillers with possible physio in the future and that’s that. The doctor, who I’d not seen before, was a very nice young Indian lady who looked at my notes and said ‘Degeneration’s not really surprising, you know, looking at the lifestyle you lead..” “Oh?..” I uttered, with a sharp intake of breath and slight reddening of the cheeks! “Well..” she said “Badminton, swimming, photography…” Phew! I nodded my head, enthusiastically. “How often do you take photographs?..” she asked. I laughed, and pulled open my jacket to reveal the Fuji X10 around my neck (Yes, I know…) “As often as I can..” I smiled “I have the studio across the road..”
“Oh..” she said “Have you got a card?
I’m getting married next year!..”

I was editing Friday’s Wedding yesterday, and came across the picture I’m showing you today. It was one of those shots I knew I’d got as soon as I fired the shutter. The briefest of moments as the little flower girl – called Poppy, appropriately! – took a tumble during the line-up. I put it on my Facebook page last night and, when I checked this morning, it had been viewed by 475 people!
Well, I nearly fell over backwards!..

Let there be love ..

The rain and wind is finally here this morning which means that – incredibly – both my Weddings were shot in glorious sunshine this weekend! In fact, yes .. I did moan that it was too sunny but hey, the Great God of Wedding Photography didth smileth oneth more upon the young O’Neill! You can check out both Weddings from the top of the list on my Recent Weddings page ..

Now, I can’t let this weekend pass without mentioning poor old Alan Henning, the horrendously unfortunate victim of the worst kind of evil in the world. For me, of course, the thing that’s really brought this whole episode home – the thing that’s made it so much more awful, if that can be possible – is that Alan was from Eccles. My home town. He was a taxi-driver .. from Eccles! Not a high-flying diplomat, or a glamorous international photo-journalist, but a caring, compassionate taxi-driver .. from Eccles! My heart goes out to him and his family and well done to the people of Eccles for the great memorial they gave him last night. All I can offer is a shot from my archive of the church that staged it – right across the road from Alan’s taxi office. A view he must have seen a thousand times!
RIP Alan ..