Back in Black ..

Last night I did something else I’ve never done before! I took a call about a booking for a second Wedding .. from a bride whose first Wedding I shot! But, more than that, it was a call from an old pal who I used to be in a punk band with and so, being a rock chick, she got married in a black Wedding dress! Tish was the bass player/singer in a little combo we had in the early nineties. I was the drummer or, should I say, I owned a drum kit! Listening back at old tapes it’s patently obvious I couldn’t drum. Apparently you need a sense of rhythm!..

Anyway, there ya go, she’s booked me again and I’m delighted to have been chosen to capture her (next) Big Day. And it’s obviously a music thing, ‘cos another bride who married in black was Vicky, who you can see here in my shot with her new hubby, my old mate Mick Middles, erstwhile music writer and red wine quaffer of this parish. I like this picture so much I’m adding it to the new web-site of Manchester Wedding Photography. Sneaky SEO mention of the name, there!
Rock on …

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Go, Cowboys .. but go a bit faster!

So, American Football. Live and in the flesh! I went to see the Dallas Cowboys play at Wembley on Sunday and I’ll tell you what I think about that. I think I don’t need to go and see another live game of ‘Gridiron’ ever again in my life .. ever! My God, those boys can drag it out! I mean, I knew there were lots of breaks in the game – after all, I’ve followed it since the early days of Channel 4’s broadcasts – but I didn’t realise until Sunday’s live match just why the programme cuts back to the studio so often. It’s because bugger all is happening on the pitch! Bugger all! Yep, it’s TV coverage for me from now on ..
This week’s a Portraits and PR kinda week with lots of prints to get out and another Wedding album to design. I’ve been redesigning my ‘other’ website, too – the Studiofivefour site for ‘Weddings, portraits, PR and .. other stuff’. I’m moving it over to a different Web company so it’s all rather painstaking trying to ensure I get every single last bit of info, image, link, keyword and SEO content across to the new site. I’ll tell you this, though! As slow as this process is I’m still moving faster than the American Footballers …

Sit back, relax ..

Well, I set my quiz yesterday and sat back and relaxed, waiting for the deluge of email answers to flood in. I was totally underwhelmed! Two people answered! Two! (And they were both wrong! Sorry Simon and Jo!) Come on, dear reader, I am sulking! Where’s your enthusiasm? There was a signed Martin O’Neill photograph up for grabs there! (Or is that what put you all off entering? Hm!..) Anyway, if anyone gives a monkeys, the answer was .. The Statue of Liberty. The shots were taken inside the statue and show the windows in the crown on Liberty’s head, which was used as a fantastic viewing platform, and the very crowded spiral staircase which visitors climbed – and vertiginously descended – to get up to said Crown. So now you know. Quiz over ..

Great evening at my pal’s book launch last night and all the more satisfying as I get two mentions in the story and a byline for two pictures within the book. Lots of laughs and love for the late, great Chris Sievey. By a strange coincidence I also received yesterday two contracts to sign, one of which was to grant permission for some of my Chris Sievey photographs to be used in a forthcoming film. The other was the hard copy from the Mary Evans Picture Library to arrange representation of my “terrific photographic collection”. If it carries on like this I’m gonna have a mug as smug as Rod Stewart’s, seen here at Maine Road and, yes, dug out of my archive during my latest ‘root’! ..

Now, my IT bod says that, in order to get a better Google ranking, it’s very important for me to mention Manchester Wedding Photography in my blog. Not too often, mind. Just enough for the great analyst in the sky to pick up the words. Oh, there ya go! Done! Sit back, relax ..

Quiz time ..

Ok, Blog Fans! Quiz Time! How exciting! Your starter for ten! Do you know where these shots were taken? Time starts now!..

Yes, I thought I’d show you another couple of shots that have reappeared after more mega-trawling through my boxes of transparencies. They were taken a long time ago – twenty-nine years by my reckoning – and they show places that, sadly, aren’t accessible anymore. Tell me what you think and drop me an answer here!
I’ll send a signed print from my ‘travel’ selection to one lucky winner!..

Seems I’m the ‘official photographer’ at a ‘do’ tonight. Hey, I’ll do anything to get into events with free wine! It’s the launch-event of a book written by my old journo pal Mick Middles. His newest offering is all about the life and times of Chris Sievey/Frank Sidebottom. I was filmed last year for a forthcoming film about Chris and told a little story about how I asked him to sneak up behind Prince Edward’s Missus when she was opening something or other in Manchester. You know who I mean. Sophie, thingy! Anyway, he did, then she turned round and spotted him and .. er, told me off! The annoying thing is that – the day before the book launch – I find the bloody trannie, don’t I?
Damn! Timing ..

Speaking of timing, my next Wedding looms and, this weekend, Manchester Wedding Photography will be seeing action at the tasty Park Royal Hotel in Warrington. Time of Wedding? 4pm! Time it goes dark? – and no, this isn’t the second question in my quiz! – 4.01pm! Oh yes, it’s going to be a lighting challenge alright!..

Hard copies ..

I’ll say this about Press photography! You certainly got to meet some famous people! I was rootling around my many boxes of archive negs and trannies yesterday when I came across a box marked ‘Celebs’. Like, wow, dudes! Kaboom! Check out who I found in there! Joan Collins, Cliff Richard, Cilla Black, Norman Wisdom and flippin’ Peter Ustinov, of all people! (I’ll always remember Joan telling me off for ‘getting too close’) There are also shots of Eartha Kitt, David Bellamy, Rod Stewart, George Best, David Hockney and, er … Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris! Oops! God knows who else I met over my years on newspapers, but a lot of those shots will have gone down the pan when the Manchester Evening News dumped all its negatives when it moved offices. (No comment!!) But that’s film for you, isn’t it? Those tiny slips of gelatine are all you’ve got! I was once the only photographer allowed to cover an event with the Queen in London’s Hyde Park but, unfortunately, the client got the film. Same with Take That, so I have no copies of any of that work, and it’s very unlikely I’ll ever get any, now. Shame they hadn’t invented the digital era, when I could have backed up my own set of images on a secondary memory card!..

Having said that, it’s good to see that ‘hard copies’ are still proving popular in some areas. A young lady who lives some distance away came up for a family reunion during the summer, and organised a big family portrait during her visit. She’s just emailed to say she’ll be back in the area soon, and could I meet her at StudioFiveFour Photography on December 23rd, where she’d like to order one of my canvas prints. “But ..” she adds “Don’t worry! I won’t need it in time for Christmas!”..

Interesting, that ..

A couple of interesting points came out of my ongoing website design over the weekend. Firstly, I was questioned about this photograph, which I’d added to the PR page of StudioFiveFour Photography. “It’s obviously superimposed, isn’t it?..” came the query. Er no, my friend .. it isn’t! This is a ‘straight out of the camera’ photograph, taken of the owner of the Yang Sing restaurant in Manchester for a Business Magazine about five years ago. The story? The fact that the price of rice was rising, cutting profits for the numerous eateries in Chinatown. Well, how do you photograph the price of rice? This was my take on it. The ‘lady’ in the background was part of the restaurant wall decoration, so I plonked my subject in front of her and stuck a flash-gun either side of him. It was then left to his PA to stand on the table and spill a stream of rice through her fingers as he let it splash around him. I’m sure she never saw that coming in her job description! However, I was really pleased with the effect. Just wish I’d taken a shot of the mess I left behind me ..

The second point arose when a chap I met on Saturday was asking about my portrait pricing. In a nutshell, he couldn’t believe I was so affordable! Seems he’d taken his little daughter to Venture photography and spent over £600 on a series of images. Thing was, that was well over a year ago and, as he put it “I’m still f*ckin’ paying for them!”…
Interesting, that ..