It’s time to mark the anniversary of the death of Lady Di, and I’m sure I’m not the only person wondering where the last twenty years have gone. At least I was lucky enough to photograph The Princess on a couple of occasions but it made me think of the changes in photography over that period. I mean, just look at my shots. They’re in black and white! They’re in black and white and I had to take my film to a darkroom to get it processed before I could see what shots I’d got. Man, that’s so last century! It’s no wonder 18 year olds look at me as if I’m an antique!! ..
Heading home on Ryanair and yes, believe it or not, both these shots were taken on the same small 90 minute flight back from France to Manchester. No prizes for guessing which shot is Manchester. In fact, one little girl behind me asked her Mum “Why is it not sunny at England?”..
I’ve always loved aircraft, and taking photographs of aircraft, and just plain old standing and gawping at aircraft. As a lad I used to catch the number 500 bus to Ringway Airport, as Manchester was then called, just to stand on the roofs of the termini for a couple of hours watching and snapping the jets. And yes, you were allowed to stand on them in ‘the old days’ – right above the gates and mere feet from the jet-fuel smell and the screeching engines. It was great ..
Thing is, I never got to go on a jet until I was 18. My parents simply couldn’t afford to take us anywhere. And I know that plane-spotting isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but when I left for France last week I saw the saddest sight I’ve seen in a long time. Ok, keep it in context but ..
.. as I was at the gate, waiting to board, I was back to being 15 and excitedly watching all the aircraft taxiing past me. A plane I didn’t immediately recognise was identified for me by an app on my phone, and I was delighted to realise I was looking at my first Airbus A350. I strained my neck to watch it disappear around the corner then looked down to see .. a boy of about ten, with his back to the jets, playing games on a tablet. I almost threw up on him ..
Anyway, gotta go dust off my 500mm mirror lens. I’m off to the International Air Tattoo this Sunday..
I’m writing this on a typical Friday night before a Wedding. I’m charging batteries, cleaning sensors, dusting lenses, formatting memory cards .. all to make sure I’m good to go in the morning. So it was nice that I got a chance to get out this afternoon, walk the dogs, get some fresh air .. and notice all the blossom, already falling to the floor. That’s Wedding Photography in a nutshell. A Wedding Day is such a fast moving, fleeting thing that it’s vital you have a good photographer to capture the entire feel of the day whilst it’s there. Sod this modern “fashion shoot” approach to Weddings. Get in there and get some proper documentary photography done. Sermon over ..
I’m going to talk about our gîte again. Oh no, I hear you cry, this blog’s supposed to be about photography. Ah well, it is, because today I want to tell you that the latest people to book our place have also booked .. my photography workshop! Yes! Can’t wait! It’s (probably) the first time I’ll give it in France ..
My workshop is a simple day’s photographic fun. A couple of hours on mechanics: aperture/shutter/ISO etc .. and then we move onto the good stuff .. composition and framing and seeing photographs. More importantly, it’s an afternoon concentrating on what the ‘students’ actually want to shoot. It might be portraits or ladybirds or sausages but the main thing is they’ll get the chance to photograph their subjects alongside a professional photographer. A debriefing follows, when we download and compare our photography and then, well .. it’s France .. wine and cheese .. bien sûr!..
Yippeeeeeeeee … we’ve made it! January’s done and we’re heading into Spring at last. Ok, I know it’s still cr*p out there at the mo but things are on the up, most definitely. The dreariest month of the year is over and it’s already light by eight o’clock. Reasons to be cheerful, or what?..
I changed cars last week and had to swap all my accumulated garbage from the old car to the new. Reader, I had 53 CDs scattered around it. They were everywhere. In the glove box, in door pockets, under the front seats, stuck into my sun-visors, spread attractively around the boot – everywhere, in fact, but in the CD player. In amongst the discs was a small collection of cassettes. Yes, C90s! So, as other drivers are getting blue-tooth and built-in Sat Nav and combination tv/microwave/toasters in their cars, I’ve finally got rid of a car that still had a cassette player in it. Another reason to be cheerful? You betcha! Yippeeeee …
It’s a year since I took this photograph. A year to the day. Happy First Wedding Anniversary to Jim and Karen. I was reminded of the fact when I bumped into Jim in Asda last week – we both lead such exotic lives – and it got me thinking about all the people whose Weddings I’ve photographed. One of ‘my couples’ will be celebrating their fortieth Anniversary very soon! Forty years! They actually asked if I’d photograph their daughter’s Wedding, which would have been an absolute first though, as yet, that’s on hold as the youngsters are a bit skint. Still, I’m here when you need me, guys. Just give me a date for the diary ..
Selfies in Dubai
I’ve gone montage-mad! You can tell I’ve finally finished work for Christmas ‘cos I’m actually getting chance to look through my recent personal work and get it out there for all to see. Gloves, selfies and my trip to The States have all had a work-over and been put up on Instagram and Flickr and, I have to say, I’m really pleased with what I’ve been shooting lately. That brings up the all usual New Year intention to ‘commit’ to projects; to find time to photograph ‘for myself’ and to get more exhibitions but, to be quite honest, as long as I’m shooting then I’m happy. Weddings, portraits, food, properties .. I don’t care. I love it all. Perhaps I should put up a montage of solicitors head-shots ..
The idea of having a Wedding ‘album’ seems to be fading into history. I think I’ve only made three this year. One of my faves is this one, from a Wedding back in July, that involved a boat trip on the Manchester Ship Canal and a walk through Salford Quays to the Imperial War Museum North. It was so laid back, so ‘different’, and so unconventional .. it was just made for good photography.
Click on the pix to see what I mean ..
Off for drinks with pals today, and time to count our blessings. Of the six of us meeting up, all are still working photographers apart from old fart Jim, who has taken early retirement. You can be sure that – as always at our get-togethers – the changing face of photography will be a dominant theme of our conversation and then – as always, especially after the third pint – it’ll deteriorate into a ‘fings ain’t wot they used to be’ blub-fest. Photography sure has changed a lot in ‘my time’ but, whatever its challenges today, I’m still bloody lucky to be a professional working photographer.
Looks like we’re set for a wonderfully colourful autumn, with the leaves already showing some fantastic shades of yellow and red. I’m minded of the one time I went to The States in ‘The Fall’ .. when I visited a pen-pal (yes, it was that long ago) in New Hampshire and got to see the trees in all their glory. The countryside was breath-taking although, as you can see from today’s shot, the leaves in the city didn’t let their concrete surroundings stop them coming up with the goods too ..
Landscape photography is way down on my list of photographic faves though. A tree on a hill? Big deal! Give me PR and people every time. I’ll be in my element tonight when I cover a dinner that will kick off a conference I’m photographing tomorrow. A late night, and an early start tomorrow morning, mean I’m being put up in a hotel by the client, and they’ve sent me two full A4 sheets of shots they want me to get during the event. Obviously don’t want me to ‘leave’ anything out!..
(See what I did there?..)
Oh no .. not more showers! Hahaha, see what I did there? A little play on words, reference the Great British Summer, seeing as it’s raining again as I write this and I’m bloomin’ well fed up with it. Anyway, that’s not the subject of today’s blog ..
Actually, just to put you in the picture, this shot was taken in Greece on my 6×6 Yashica and was part of an exhibition called ‘Trace’ at the old Cornerhouse in Manchester. They printed me some postcards featuring the shot and if you’d like one just let me know, ‘cos I’ve got about 5 million of ’em left ..
I told you I’d had some good news. I announced on a Culcheth Facebook page that I was closing my studio and, within about two hours, I’d been phoned by a chap at our local Village Club asking if I’d like to use the facilities there to shoot any future portrait sessions. Would I? You betcha! So, the upshot is that I’ll be shipping all my gear across there and will be up and running by the end of this month. I can’t wait. People coming in for portraits will now be able to get a coffee or a beer, or something to eat, and make a proper day out of the whole photography experience. How brilliant! In fact, I’m getting so excited I think I’d better go for a cold shower ..