All at sea ..

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It’s all getting very real! Our move to France has stepped up a gear now that we’ve started getting quotes from removal companies to ship all our gear across the Channel. Another two months and all our worldly goods will be boxed, packed, wrapped and on a big lorry heading for South-West France.

This, of course, brings up the big question of what exactly we take over with us. Do I really need that old copy of the NME from 1985? Yes, of course, it’s got The Smiths on the cover. And that advertising brochure for the Nikon FE2 from ’83? Naturally! That’s part of my photographic history. And so it goes on. I have managed to throw out one or two things. There are only so many copies of The Face and Spin magazine that a man needs but, apart from that, I’m finding it very, very hard to part with any of my past. Perhaps I might start thinking differently once the quotes start coming in ..

We wish you a merry montage ..

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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 ..

Nutty ..

I’m skipping right along from England’s disastrous dismissal from the Euros last night (That’s football, for those of you lucky people living on another continent) and looking ahead to my great summer of Wedding Photography ..

To be honest, my year’s been a bit hit and miss for bookings so far but, come next week, I pile into the season proper with a long stream of dates in the diary. I’ve got such a variety of Weddings to come. In fact, my very next one will see me afloat on the Manchester Ship Canal as the Wedding party sails from Ordsall Hall in Salford to their reception at the Imperial War Museum North. The week after that I’ll be photographing a Wedding in a tepee and then I’ve got, amongst others, dates at Crewe Hall, Didsbury House and Styal Lodge to look forward to. I had a meeting with my ‘Crewe Hall bride’ last week and her Mum confessed to me that they booked me because I was “nutty” ..

I do like that ..

Stexit?..

In or out, remain or leave? Well folks, it’s been a tough decision and I’ve thought about it long and hard but now, this Monday morning, I can tell you I’ve decided to leave ..

Oh, sorry .. not the EU, I’m talking about my studio. This week marks the third anniversary of its opening and, to mark the occasion … I’m shutting it down ..

Yes, tears all round but reality must be faced up to and the cold hard fact is this ..
it just hasn’t worked! Quite simply, not enough people have come along to be photographed and it sits there empty, day after soul-destroying day ..

However, all is not lost and, in true EU style, I am about to renegotiate my position and will have some good news by this time next week. I already have a new plan in place meaning I’ll still be able to offer studio photography and I’ll be able to offer more ‘location’ photography to the good people of the North West. So it’s onwards and upwards and, like a certain other story that’s knocking about, I’ve taken control of my borders and opened up my markets ..

Let’s hear it for Stexit ..

Back to Liverpool ..

It was back to Liverpool last night for the second PR shoot in a week. After photographing the opening of a new Dunkin’ Donuts store on Tuesday it was time to cover the Liverpool City Region Tourism Awards at the amazing St George’s Hall. Had a great night, and can’t believe I’ve never been to such a fantastic venue before now. All that, and a set by The Christians thrown in ..

Back down to earth today with a booking to shoot a series of corporate portraits on an industrial estate in Salford and then it’s a Saturday with my feet up to watch Man U in the FA Cup Final. Not to rub it in but I hope we do better than Liverpool did ..

Splashdown ..

I was shooting a Christmas Wedding at Peckforton Castle, literally on this Monday a year ago. The weather was abysmal. It rained non-stop all day, and I didn’t get a single photograph of anybody outside .. much to my frustration. However, just before the Wedding Breakfast, the rain stopped and I practically pleaded with the Bride and Groom to come outside for a quick photograph. They reluctantly agreed, as long as the Bride could hold her dress up and away from the soaking paths, so it was lights, cameras and a hasty walk down to the gate-house at Peckforton to enable me to get the whole of the Castle in the shot. I parked the couple under the huge tree there, plonked down my tripod, set up my light and .. a Rook dropped a big blob of poo straight onto the Groom’s head! (It was easy to see .. the guy had no hair!) I automatically pressed the shutter, even though I hadn’t set the exposure or white balance, and was just about to shoot again when the Bride screamed in dismay and set off back to the Castle at 100mph. The big, black splish had bounced straight off the Groom’s head.. and all over her dress! The shoot was over!

No shots of the couple outside the castle.

So close!!..

Next there were tears, and then I got a ticking off from the Bride’s dad, but I was more concerned that I hadn’t got a shot of the couple with their venue in the picture! Still, everything calmed down and, by the time the pair came to Manchester Wedding Photography to pick up their Wedding album some months later it was all a great, big, funny part of the day. It goes to show that these things are always worth shooting ‘cos, when it’s all done and dusted, a dress is for a day, but a memory is a memory for ever!..

“I’d love to Blog that one day..” I said to them. “You should..” they said.

I just have..

Happy Anniversary, guys!…

Load of rubbish ..

Oh well, I guess I don’t have to wait ’til Tuesday to find out what happens to England in the World Cup! What a disaster! It’s no wonder we English are so stoical and ‘stiff upper lip’! We get plenty of practice!…

On to better things now, and I was the guest on FabRadioInternational’s Middles Show last night, talking Joy Division, punk and God knows what else! Seems to have gone down well, with even friends in The States tuning in to hear my waffle! Thanks for listening, folks!

Shooting a 50th birthday party and a First Holy Communion this weekend! Just wish I could shoot the England team ..

Sick as a dog ..

Poor old Lesley was sick as a dog last night! Nothing to do with the football – she really was ill .. all night – and is now lying in bed with a cold cloth on her head and a bucket .. well, you get the picture! We think it was something she ate yesterday lunchtime. Anyway, the lads couldn’t come up with the goods again last night, could they, losing 2-1 to Uruguay and the team all but sure to go out of the World Cup. A pal of mine is out there covering the tournament for the Daily Mirror and, when he left, I joked with him that I looked forward to seeing him again .. next week! Reminds me of my favourite joke from Facebook. A shot of the team getting off the plane at Rio has Gerrard turning back to the captain and shouting “Leave it running, mate. We won’t be long!”..

Off into Manchester later for my ‘guest appearance’ on the Middles Radio Show, and frantically trying to think of what the hell to talk about! D’ya think music and photography will cover it? I’m certainly not talking about football! In fact, I’m going back to having no interest in football again! Er, after Tuesday!..

Back o’ the net ..

Dammit! I fell off the wagon! I’ve started to watch football again! (I refer you to Friday’s blog!) But, hang on, did I say watch it? God, I’ve written all the kick-off times in my diary! Daren’t miss it! Oh, bugger, and I was doing so well. I blame Holland v Spain. What a game! And then, of course, there was our own valiant effort against the Italians, for which I managed to stay awake on Saturday night, and now I aim to get everything done today in time to watch the Germany v Portugal game at 4 o’clock this afternoon!

My name is Martin O’Neill. I’m a World Cup addict …

Having said that, there’s a world of difference between watching football and photographing football! I’ll hold my hands up .. that’s something I just cannot do. I think this image from my archive was the last time I had a go at it! I mention this because I had to try to photograph footy again when I shot the pictures for a school prospectus last month. Managed to get the ball on at least three of the pictures! Brilliant! The other shots, though? They’re great! I added ’em to my PR page his morning. Back o’ the net!..

No pressure ..

There’s a lot buzzing round my head at the moment, what with designing Wedding albums, sorting the SEO for the new website and dealing with what’s turned out to be quite a lot of fantastic PR work this week, but I thought I’d write about what I guess is ‘The grass ain’t always greener on the other side!’..

I was shocked at the number of posts that flew up onto Facebook after the death yesterday of poor old Rik Mayall and, this morning, there are photographs of him taken on Sunday when he was out walking his dog. My God, I thought, he couldn’t even walk his dog without being snapped! That was a theme echoed in a TV programme last night about David Beckham, who set off for a motor-cycle ride through the Amazon jungle to ‘get away from it all’. (Ok, we’ll ignore the camera crews, medics, bike technicians and that irritating little ‘health and safety minder..) He was talking to a native of the Yanomami tribe who – much to Beckham’s delight – didn’t recognise him as he only followed football on the radio. Beckham was talking about his life, and the reasons for his trip. He was doing it, he said, to get away from all the pressure. “Pressure?..” said this guy who lives in the jungle, killing his own food, risking death by everything from poisonous frogs to falling trees and jaguars “What’s that?!”…

And relax …