celebrity, European Premiere, Film, Film Premiere, image, images, Leicester Square, london, Oz the Great and Powerful, photographer, Photographs, Photography, Photos, portraits, premiere, professional photographer, Red Carpet, the empire
Saturday morning, January 5th after what has been a 2 week festive and new year holiday period.
Its been a slow start to my year as I trawl through my archive, weeding, checking and ensuring every image I have that is saleable is out there “working” for me. The photography market is so difficult now; yes commissions make up most of my income but library sales (of musicians, celebrities or just general stock) make up an important part also and with this side of the business now almost being a “numbers game”, it’s important to make sure all of my best work is out there, on sale.
I have tackled 2012, 2011 and 2010 and I am now into 2009 and at a point where my filing was not so good and therefore my progress has slowed. Going back has also enabled me to look at what I have shot, who I have worked with, what I enjoyed and think about why I do this thing called “photography”. A while back I posted this on my personal Facebook…
Yes, you have probably seen it but it has made me think more about what I do, what I photograph, why and finally what do I enjoy about it.
I can hear my dad now, “we all have to do what we don’t like” but combining these thoughts with going through my archive it is really clear that I produce my best work when I am enjoying it most. Obvious! you cry (yes I know it’s obvious) but without doubt many photographers spend much of their time shooting things they are not passionate about because “that is where the money is”or “”that is what I am paid to shoot”. Lets be honest about this, it’s shooting things that we don’t like shooting that pays for us to be able to shoot what we want (we can call them “personal projects” 😉 ).
So what have I discovered about myself and my work? (I have skipped the work I produced in The Congo for CARE International for obvious reasons. However it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life).
(Warning – this post now breaks all the rules and contains both colour and monochrome images. You have been warned!)
People: I love meeting new people, I love learning about them, understanding them and shooting them, trying to represent them in a single moment, a single frame. Particularly I love working with artistic/creative people and teams. Seeing creatives working together, recording it and then seeing the result can be the most rewarding experience.
This year I was lucky to work with so many, from fairly small teams such as Nice Media. (I meant to blog about my shoot with them earlier in the year but I just run out of time).
To the large team that is The London Symphony Orchestra.
In both cases I know I hit the brief spot on and produced sets of images for the clients that I am really proud of (and I feel represents them well).
Music: I blog often about shooting music. I’ll be quite honest and say I do not make enough profit from it. I do not market my images or work strongly enough (although I am regularly published).
I do it because I love it. I love it because of the music. I love it because of the lights. I love it because of the technical challenge and I love it because of the people (see above!) – every gig is emotional for those attending in some way or another and its great to be involved and try to record that.
News: I rarely cover “hard” news. I don’t cover wars or when protests get too violent. I don’t stand outside courts waiting for arrivals and departures. General protests, marches that matter to those attending, matter to society. Those I enjoy.
Celebrities: I guess this “category” means so many different things to different people. I do a few one-on-one shoots with those that might be classed as “celebrity” but I would include those shoots in the people category above. Here I am referring to the photo-calls and red-carpet events. These are are shoots that I personally gain the least from. They help with marketing and they fill in empty evenings but they are without doubt the least emotionally rewarding (although again, I am regularly published).
Personal Project: I mentioned this here. Today I made a suggestion to another photographer (a great landscape photographer) that he ought to have one of his favourite (self) works hanging where he relaxes. At home our lounge has only works by me hanging (both paintings and photos) and the thing is, they are all landscapes of one form or another. Landscapes are what relax me, where I find myself.
My conclusion from this process is I have to push hard and work harder to shoot more of the things I love; more people, more creatives, more meaning (emotion), more landscapes. This is difficult realisation. Changing from one genre to another is just like starting a completely new business; not impossible but difficult. My personal project has to become commercial, my land/town-scapes have to become desirable (something I think neither of those above are). I have to understand producing works not just for commercial clients but also art-buyers and the public. Oh and of course it has to stand out in an already crowded marketplace….
How will I do this? Well my next post will be my thoughts on the online showcases and technology. 2013 is going to be a tough but interesting and I hope fun and enjoyable (after all, is that not the aim here) year……
Bond Girls, Brighton, Brighton Dome, concert photography, Dexys (Dexys Midnight Runners), Elton John, Film, gig photography, Goldfinger Celebration, images, Live Music, london, Marc Bolan 35th Anniversary Concert, Mick Hucknall, Nik Kershaw, Peace One Day Concert, photographer, Photographs, Photography, Photos, professional photographer, Richard Hawley, Shirley Eaton, Sir Elton John, T.Rextasy, The Brighton Dome, The British Beard & Moustache Championships, The Royal Albert Hall, UltraVox
Despite the emptiness of this blog, I was very busy during September covering a number of Corporate events as well as plenty of entertainment events.
On the 15th, I started with the The British Beard & Moustache Championships in Brighton (see gallery) before travelling to London to photograph the Marc Bolan anniversary concert at Shepards Bush Empire (images from both events also here).
On the 18th it was off to The Royal Albert Hall for Mick Hucknall (singing American Soul classics). The shot below was used in The Guardian the following day. A full set of images may be seen here.
The next two days allowed me to stay local with a local client before shooting Richard Hawley at The Brighton Dome on the 19th
And Dexys on the 20th.
On the Friday night of the 21st it was back to London and Wembley for the Peace One Day Concert featuring Elton John and James Morrison.
Considering that most of these shoots are all in one week (we are at Friday night at the moment) you might expect Saturday was a day off but no, it was back in London for an event tied into the celebration of the 50 years of the Bond movies and a Goldfinger Celebration day featuring a number of the “Bond Girls” from that film.
You may remember Shirley as the naked girl covered in gold paint left dead on the bed. More images here.. Thanks to London Underground making it almost impossible for me to photograph the planned gig at Wembley and get my train home, I actually managed the rest of the weekend off.
This has turned into the sort of blog post I hate, just a list of photographs, gigs etc. Although it does not give much about the background and more about how I work and who I am, it does give an insight to the sort of images I create. I do have plans for more posts shortly, more personal and more about how I work. If there is anything you would like to know, please do not hesitate to contact me. Until Next Time…
P.S. Don’t forget, all of my images are for sale. Like most photographers, I do not take kindly to images being used with out my consent if you would like to discuss using an image in some way, please contact me).
Black and Blue Films, Frondsham, gig photography, Jonathan Sothcott, Light, Martin Kemp, Mersey View, Overton Hill, photographer, Photography, Photos, professional photographer, Set Stills, Shirlie Holliman, Sunsets
Wether its making the best use of what’s available, modifying existing or setting up your own, one thing that every photographer must understand is light.
It does not matter how great the subject, if the light is wrong, the image will not work. This weeks images could not be more different but they demonstrate this.
Last Monday I was training some clients in Frondsham, Cheshire. As it was to be a 9AM start, I traveled by train on the Sunday, starting out early enough to ensure I had a few hours good light to shoot some of the surroundings. Dumping everything at the hotel I went for a wander and found that the hotel was atop a high hill with wonderful views to the Mersey Valley and surrounded by lush woods. The sky was blue and I spend a nice couple of hours walking and shooting before returning to dinner. After dinner I wandered back out as the Sunset was wonderful and (although I hate shooting cliched images), shoot this sunset over the River Mersey.
Travelling back on the Monday night I took a call asking if I was free the next day to join a production company on set to shoot some film “stills”. This was a new line for me but as they were keen and I came recommended I switched my diary a little and headed over to the location the next day.
The set was in a dark nightclub and I was required to shoot stills of a main cast character. We found an area to the side and asked lighting to rig me some lights. (What a great feeling that was; never had someone rig my lights before). It was obvious that the images had to reflect the film and also that the surroundings were going to have a huge effect on the finished product. The lights given gave a nice light but were of a tube variety I had never used so I started playing with positioning and white balance to get the look and feel I was looking for (using the Mac as a remote as I planned to shoot tethered with me as the subject). This is one of my test shots; a rare self portrait:
I will have to wait to show the final shots as of course they need to be kept under wraps.
So far we have covered available, creating your own and now we have modifying available. In this case the sun is giving a nice backlight to this group shot (taken at a roof top reception). Adding a balanced flash completes the lighting ensuring the faces are nicely lit.
So without being at all technical you can see all the different types of light I have needed to work in over the course of a few days, each requiring understanding to harness it
I’ll end with another sunset (from the same set as the one above) for you to contemplate:
Now the summer is here it’s great to get back out on the bike/skates/running shoes in the sun to try and burn a bit of the fat off I put on over the winter (I am a fair weather exerciser!)
My plan is to jump on the bike at least once a week for increasing longer rides locally, taking a light camera kit to build both stock and maybe “art” images along the way. So far I have been heading north and east but Sunday I headed west; toward Littlehampton.
The South Coast Cycle route heads inland just west of Worthing but I thought I would ignore that and try to wind my way along closer to the sea. I soon found out why it heads inland; the coastal area between Ammering and Littlehampton is full of private estates all declaring no public right of way. I am all for privacy but not even having bridleways through the estates near the sea?
This sign is right next to the beach, beside a wide strip of grass. As I walked my cycle along the path with the sea on my left and 6ft high walls on my right I could not help feel that allowing many of those things would not cause a problem. All the houses nearby had big gardens but I’m sure the children growing up there would much prefer to picnic and play by the sea..
There were many of these estates and “Keep Out” became the theme of my ride. I could not help but be drawn to this “No Trespassing / Way In” sign combination..
Down by the river (on the west side of Littlehampton), there was a different reason for keeping out; the bridges and walkways were just too rickety..
All in all, 3 hours in the sun, 25 miles covered and a new batch of stock.
It’s an old adage that one should not mix business and pleasure but I’m not really sure it applies to photography.
On Saturday night I left my family at home (as I do many weekends) to photograph K T Tunstall (and support) at Brighton Dome.
First the support (Johnny Lynch / The Pictish Trail; very entertaining ). Having shot a the first couple of songs I relaxed at the back of the venue with the other photographers discussing upcoming acts and commissions.
Next up was K T Tunstall. Her show seemed to have more of an “edge” than shows in the past (looking at photos going back I think thats true).
She sounded really great and I have to say it was another of the gigs where I would have really liked to stay longer. My only disappointment from the evening is I did not manage to get a good iPhone crowd shot. (I got an iPhone for christmas and since then I have been trying to take unusual quick views of the audience and pit at every gig).
Sunday evolved like most Sundays along the coast, (although I started with editing the night’s before shots); A nice breakfast followed by a walk along the front (in the feeble attempt to walk off the eggs, bacon etc). As aways one camera is over my shoulder as we walked down Worthing’s to “Splash Point” which has recently been re-developed.
I captured this image of children playing in the mist/fountain with a small rainbow; a nice joyful editorial stock shot.
So you see, my work life and private life totally overlap, for me business IS pleasure (and visa versa in fact). The key is commitment, enjoyment and balance…