Rather amused by all the Page Three hoo-ha that’s going on at the moment. If you’re not from the UK, this revolves around one of our national newspapers – The Sun – which, after 44 years, looks like it’s finally stopped printing photographs of topless girls on its third page. Basically, you opened the ‘paper every day and there, right in front of you, was a pair of hooters and an inane caption telling you how Stacey was 19 and wanted to travel the world and save hedgehogs. I’m not getting into the ins and outs of the argument – I never bought the ‘paper and I’ve never shot topless women (Well, once .. and that was to show how much space there was in the sleeping compartment of a new truck .. I kid you not!) but I know it worked for some people and drove other people crazy. You have to admit it was a British institution but hey, everything has its day. I mean, I can see far steamier stuff right here on this screen with a couple of clicks of my mouse .. er, apparently! It just reminded me of this old cartoon – I’ve had it in my collection for absolutely ages and, by the way, thanks are due to whoever drew this all those years ago. It seems that, even now, if you mention to someone new that you are a photographer they’ll more often than not assume you photograph topless women. No, folks, I don’t, and I don’t get asked to, so thank you very much and goodbye! The funny thing to my mind yesterday was the TV interviews with the Anti-Page Three campaigner, who was delighting in her apparent victory over the mighty press. She had a big slogan splashed right across her t-shirt. I had no option but to look at her t*ts…
I’ve been in Foo Foo Lamar’s bedroom! Now, if you’re not from Manchester, that statement won’t mean a thing, so let me explain. Frank ‘Foo Foo’ Lamar was a Drag Queen who ran his own club – Foo Foo’s Palace – in Manchester, for years and years. He raised kerjillions for charity though, sadly, died of cancer over ten years ago. Anyway, let’s get back to his bedroom! The Manchester Evening News launched a new weekly magazine in the 90s and, rather flatteringly, chose me as one of its small posse of snappers. They decided they’d run an article on ‘Celebrities in their bedrooms’ .. (?) .. so I got the job of hoiking my 645 transparency camera around the city and squeezing myself between the wardrobes and dressing tables of the more-well known citizens of Manchester. I mention this because I’ve just turfed up rather a lot of celebrity photographs from my days on the ‘papers, so I decided to design a ‘Slebs’ page on my web-site. Alas, as I was working for the press, a lot of my shots are long gone, but the ones I managed to salvage are a fascinating look back at the days when being famous meant you’d actually done more in your life than marry a footballer or sung for two-minutes on a Saturday night talent (?) contest! Anyway, have a look via StudioFiveFour Photography. See how many you can name! There’s everyone from Peter Ustinov to Sooty, via Maggie Thatcher, Terry Wogan and a very young Steve Coogan!
Oh, and Foo Foo? Great legs ..
Another dive into my mysterious cache of unfiled negatives yesterday, and I dug out a cracking pair of pictures from the early 90s. These were the heady days when Manchester felt it had a decent shot at winning the 2000 Olympics although I think, from the peeling poster and the headline on the MEN board, you can guess the outcome!..
Prince Andrew was another surprise in the box. I’d forgotten I even photographed him! And then there was Nigel Lawson, Gary Davies and Sonia, the Scouse singy-bird from Stock, Aitken and Waterman’s little collection. There was even a shot of my old boss from the Warrington Guardian, a diminutive Georgie called Eddie who looks like he couldn’t possibly have the strength to actually carry the huge Nikon and motor-drive he’s wearing round his neck.
All great additions to my archive ..
What’s a motor-drive, Grandad? ..
I almost didn’t write a blog today. Hell no, I’m far too busy! Well, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? I’ve got sofas to buy, cruise holidays to book, detox diets to start .. who’s got time to blog? Actually, TV ads aside, I have had a busy start to the year, albeit stuck in front of my trusty Mac as I work through Wedding selections and people’s print orders. I spent yesterday mentally back in October, as I sorted out the images for a Wedding I shot then at the Didsbury House Hotel. Today I’m working on a selection of shots that have been ordered from a lady who came into the studio for some ‘Dating Agency’ photographs. The agency like them so much, in fact, that they’ve asked if I’d consider travelling to London to shoot more of their clients! Tasty! I’ve also chucked a bit more work at the websites – both Manchester Wedding Photography and StudioFiveFour – in my never-ending quest to get them up, up, up those rankings. In fact, I googled myself yesterday and was delighted to say I came out on the front page exactly one listing above one of my old mates! We may be the best of pals but I’m afraid there’s no love lost in the murky jungle of work! Ha ..
No love lost? Isn’t that a Joy Division song? Funny you should ask, ‘cos I’ve got good news about my shots of the band. They’ll be going ‘on tour’ in the Spring as part of a theatrical production about the group. Theatrical production? A play, Martin .. a play. Jeez, keep it simple! I’ll tell you more after my meeting with the company. Man, I need a sit down …
Great, isn’t it? Tree down, decorations gone and time for the obligatory ‘Let’s go to the park and photograph the frost’ walk! Normality has returned!
Oh, January, such joy!..
I was searching for a message I’d received recently on Facebook, and suddenly came across a section of my page I’d never seen before. In it were 48 unread messages! Forty-eight!! Bloody hell! It seems it’s a section where messages go if you’re not a ‘Friend’ with a person but they message you anyway, so they varied in importance from utterly irrelevant or highly amusing to ‘Oh, bugger, I wish I’d seen this’! Irrelevant messages included one which started ‘Dear O’Neill’ and one which told me about an Uncle who’d died and left me $17.2m .. Nice! Highly amusing ones included two involving the famous photographer Terry O’Neill. ‘Is he your Dad?’ asked one and ‘Can you put us in touch with him?’ asked another. A couple of people asked if I remembered them (No!) and there was one which simply said ‘Such a loser’ but then there were messages saying things like ‘The prints were really fantastic’ and ‘Promotional material received; Photography and quality brilliant!’ …. Aaagh! Who? When? What? Oh, bugger! Note to self: Monitor your pages more effectively!..
Oh, the original message I wanted to find? A Wedding enquiry for 2016. The fourth I’ve had in a week! Looks like Manchester Wedding Photography will be shooting more than frost come this time next year ..