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I've been so busy burning my Rolf-A-Roo collection I completely forgot to post this....... My first (and probably only) front page of The Independent. They didn't byline me though, the buggers.
Spring has kind of sprung and summer is just around the corner. Apparently bunions up and down the country are twitching like crazy which obviously means 2014 is set to be a scorcher!
If you’ve dug-out the Hawaiian shirt and found the moths have turned it into more of a floral string-vest why not get down to your nearest St. Peter’s Hospice and grab an on-trend bargain from the likes of French Connection, Topshop, Christian Dior and Phase Eight to name but a few.
There are forty-seven shops across Bristol so you’re never far away from that new look. Pick-up a lightweight summer jacket, floral dress, or let those bunions breath with some summer sandals.
So not only look your best but feel great about the fact that you have helped a Bristol charity which cares for adults with life-limiting illnesses. Who aim to improve the quality of their patients living and dying while extending care and support to their families and loved ones.
All of the care at St. Peter’s Hospice is provided free of charge, but it does cost around £18,000 a day to provide.
If you need some inspiration then please check out the images I took of some fantastic models from Mustard, Alice F, Alice L, Ishmail & Jona. They all volunteered their time to help St. Peter’s Hospice and were extremely professional and a pleasure to photograph at a decidedly chilly and at times very wet Ashton Court.
I recently had the pleasure of photographing pupils from Staple Hill Primary School who accepted the invitation of Merlin Housing Society to spend an afternoon helping to brighten-up their estate and to hone their gardening skills at the same time.
The children, who all live at the Merlin Housing Society flats in Staple Hill, braved some very heavy showers to plant over one hundred flowers and herbs, which will add a splash of colour and fragrance to a communal courtyard area.
The planting was part of ongoing improvements that Merlin is making to the area around the flats, which also includes, new hedges, creating wild meadows and adding benches and picnic tables.
Last week I had the pleasure of being invited by media gurus Otrovez (www.otrovez.com) to photograph Bristol based performance poet Martin Kiszko at the official launch of his latest collection of poems ‘Verse for the Earth: More Green Poems for a Blue Planet’ at @t Bristol.
Martin was a pleasure to photograph as he is so expressive and has an amazing ability to bring his poems to life. His work tackles the tricky and sometimes complicated subject of being ‘green’. He uses recycled materials to help to get his audience to think about the poems’ messages and wording. All too often messages about the importance of being ‘green’ and looking after our environment wash over us and Martin is a breath of fresh air cutting through the cynicism with a humour and sensibility that emphasises that being ‘green’ is the responsible and right thing to do.
The illustrations in his book are also brought to life by the amazing Academy Award winning, Nick Park CBE. I was very fortunate to meet the creator of the ‘Wrong Trousers’........ Talking of which Bristol Mayor George Ferguson was also there sporting his red ones.
Check out Martin’s book, please visit www.greenpoemsforablueplanet.com.
A man of real conviction. I had the privilege of meeting and photographing him on a visit to a Gurdwara in St.George....."Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment; photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure."-Tony Benn
When people ask what you do, responding I’m a photographer generates very little in the way of enthusiasm as almost everyone now is. Cameras on Phones have revolutionized the practice and it’s fantastic that everyone can now use images to document life and loved-ones.
‘Done anything interesting lately?’ is the hardest question to answer. To me every job is interesting. Meeting new and often very interesting people. Every job brings it’s own technical and logistical problems that have to be solved to achieve the best results.
So when I recently replied, ‘I spent two hours photographing a boiler’. The response was even less enthusiastic than usual and I could see that my ability as a photographer was starting to be doubted, I mean two hours to photograph a boiler?
Should I mention that it was a Bosch UL-S series boiler with it’s combustion chamber featuring a wetback reversing chamber specifically designed for optimum flow of the flue gasses? Or that it’s round design ensures maximum pressure resistance, perfectly matching the water volume against internal heat transfer? Maybe the fact that the Bosch UL-S boiler’s front door can be hinged on either side to help with easy maintenance will do the trick? No, no surely that it’s rapid water circulation ensures steam is produced quickly by even heat transfer, with the large chamber offering sufficient storage volume to cope with sudden peaks in demand, will re-ignite some interest.
As it transpired all those years in journalism, taking often complex information and distilling it to form an interesting, informative and cohesive statement that both accurately summarises a subject and stimulates further interest in it, came flooding back and I came-up with the perfect response.
“It was a f**@in’ massive thing they use to make Stella in Newport”.
Confidence was restored.
A fantastic birthday celebration for Lela on 7th February 2014....... To view the images click on the link below. The password to access the images is the name of the venue followed by the age of the Birthday Girl (lowercase).
Thanks to everyone for letting me snap away...... I hope you had a great night.
Well it had been a while but I recently got a commission to photograph a bit of football again.
I know what you're thinking, the Real Madrid PR juggernaut frustrated with the worlds media, turned to me to capture that quintessential Gareth Bale photograph. They could stump-up €91million for him but could they afford me?
Unfortunately for them while they were thinking about it the Rotherham Advertiser phoned and asked if I could get some shots of 'The Millers' in action against Bristol City.
No contest really as they now have tea and coffee in the Press Room at Ashton Gate AND you get a £4 pie and a bag of crisps voucher.
I’d like to ask whether I could be the first person on your Christmas card list this year. Why? Well, I am holding a competition to find the best Christmas card from you creative types and in return I will photograph your team and business in the New Year or if you are very brave snap away at your Xmas party or at your office whilst you open your secret Santa presents – whatever takes your fancy!
Companies famously spend this time of year wracking their brains trying to come up with an innovative design for their card and to celebrate this Christmas creativity I’d encourage you to get involved in this competition!
What will make a winner? To be honest, I’m not sure yet as I bet there are so many different designs out there but I’m looking for some originality and I do like anything quirky so whilst your thinking about your design keep that in mind.
Email your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than Friday 12th December and the winning company will be announced the same day. Along with your entry can you let us know your name, number and when you’d like me to do the photoshoot.
Go on, get Christmas card crafting!
I was recently asked by the Forestry Commission England to take a series of PR images to promote their new ‘Forest Fairy Tales’ campaign which through a programme of events including fairy trails, picnics, craft workshops and walks, aims to get parents and their children into the Forest in 2013.
The photography took place in Leigh Woods, Bristol. It really is a beautiful place and we didn’t have to go very far at all off the beaten track to find some already made shelters which were perfect places for stories and with the children all dressed-up and bribed with biscuits, the whole thing was a real pleasure to document.
The campaign comes after the recent publication of a Forestry Commission England survey of two thousand parents of school-age children. Three quarters of the participants believed that their children play less outdoors than they did as a child with half of them relating outdoor play to how much imagination their children have.
Fairy Tales and in general indulging a bit of make believe is thought to help children develop their independence and help with key social skills such as empathy. They can create a place where complicated feelings can be expressed and conflicts can be resolved but hopefully not by hitting each other with a big stick..... Ouch!
The Gromits’ are in town. All eighty of them! Launched by Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal and Aardman Animations, Wallace’s canine sidekick is dotted around the City of Bristol having each been decorated by invited artists, which include such prestigious names as Sir Paul Smith, Cath Kidston and er, Harry Hill.
I’m sure every freelance photographer in the City has taken a commission to photograph one or all of these fabulous, fun sculptures.
I was tasked to photograph the 'New Found Land' Gromit painted by One Red Shoe and sponsored by Yankee Candle. Easy task? An inanimate giant plaster dog, what can go wrong? Well I have learnt over the last fifteen years, never to utter those words. There are always pitfalls and problems to solve. If you approach a job with anything other than one hundred percent commitment you run the risk of failing to maximize it’s potential to deliver the quality image that is needed and expected by the client.
New Found Land Gromit is bolted to the deck of the Matthew. A full-size replica of the vessel sailed by John Cabot in 1497 from Bristol to North America, hence the name of the Gromit on board as Cabot made landfall at New Foundland although the precise location is not known.
What the sponsors Yankee Candle wanted was an image of the Matthew sailing out on it’s maiden voyage with the Gromit onboard under the Clifton Suspension Bridge, three Bristol Icons for the price of one.
I set out early to get for the ship, moored at the M Shed to get some images of Gromit on the deck of the ship as I was unsure how visible he would be from land. I’m very glad I did as the construction of the ship makes viewing the Gromit quite difficult unless you are above the deck level. This fact meant that there was only one place to get the shot from, the classic view looking down on the Bridge from close to the Clifton Observatory
Preparations to sail were under way and when I asked what time they ‘Cast-off’ I was politely informed that you ‘Let Go’ and the former term has more to do with knitting than the nautical. So off I set and scouted various locations just to make sure I had the best one for the purpose. I then took position looking down the Avon Gorge and waited for the high tide and the appearance of the Matthew through the swing bridge and out of the Cumberland Basin. I waited, and waited still nothing, time to check with my contact on board.
An unbelievably freak event had occurred…… The Swing Bridge, which has to open to let this masted ship out of the Floating Harbour, had malfunctioned and the whole trip was effectively off.
It’s funny but even in such moments when fate intervenes and what your required to do just isn’t going to happen as a professional and wanting to get the best for your clients and for yourself you instantly try to think of alternatives to get a shot, any shot that the can be used but I already had that in the bag and unfortunately until the next sailing of the Matthew and Gromit, decorated with the route of the Matthew’s famous voyage, I just had to ‘Let Go’ and accept that sometimes things are completely out of your control, but not always, especially when you have foresight and experience to draw on.
Back in March I had the pleasure of once again photographing Rob Law MBE, the founder of Bristol based firm Magmatic and the makers of the worldwide smash-ride-on-suitcase-hit that is the Trunki.
I first met Rob in 2006 when he received his first consignment of Trunki’s from China at Avonmouth Docks, Bristol. Who would have thought that after appearing on Dragon’s Den that same year and having his Trunki broken by Dragon, Theo Paphitis, he would now be celebrating well over 1million Trunki suitcase sales in 1,564 stores in 62 countries around the world.
The reason for my return to Magmatic was to photograph Rob for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Founded in 1964, the CF Trust is the UK’s only national charity dedicated to all aspects of cystic fibrosis (CF). As well as funding research to treat and cure CF they also aim to ensure appropriate clinical care and support for everyone with the disease.
The charity has undergone a re-branding and Rob, who has Cystic Fibrosis, is featured in the launch issue of their magazine, ‘Is’. The task you think would be a simple one. Just get some interesting shots of Rob in his work environment. On my arrival I noticed a board covered in press and publicity photos of Rob at their Bristol Headquarters utilizing almost every area of the building, including the escape chute from the top floor to the tea-room, making my chances of getting that totally unique shot pretty slim.
My favourite shot from the day was taken in the lift of the building which featured an outline of an astronaut on it’s glass doors. The colour of which was strikingly similar to the new yellow branding adopted by the CF Trust. I just had to persuade Rob to stand in an elevator on tip-toes and peer through the ‘helmet visor’ of the suit.
As always Rob was the perfect subject and more than happy to help in anyway to create some engaging images for the CF Trust.
Click here to watch a truly inspirational and fantastically well made video about Rob, by former ITV executive producer, Tim Miller, for the CF Trust.
St Peters Hospice have just launched their new campaign to recruit volunteers during National Volunteers Week 1st – 7th June.
In April I was asked by Volunteer Coordinator, Jenny Brothwell to photograph a series of scenes depicting the duties volunteers would undertake within the organization. Nothing too unusual in the brief for a freelance photographer until she mentioned that the scenes would be created using her childrens toys and items from the shops themselves.
I immediately started thinking about the photographic work of Slinkachu which you can check out here… http://slinkachu.com/
Sold on such a fantastic idea I couldn’t wait to get started. The photography itself was great fun and you have to check yourself when your worried that your Captain Scarlett isn’t in proportion to Scott Tracy of the Thunderbirds or does Scooby Doo actually work well in conjunction with Po from the Teletubbies in a Toy Department scene!
And after all the 'hard work', brought to you in conjunction with Blue Tack and strong cups of tea (two sugars), is the final artwork. Currently being used in their Bristol shops for an A1 poster display and postcards.
Click here to see more images on the St.Peter's Hospice website. You never know you may be inspired to join the Sylvanian Family members do some book sorting or create a fashionable shop display with the Bratz.
Following on from a fashion shoot for St. Peter’s Hospice last year at Bristol Temple Meads Station I was commissioned again this year to photograph a Summer Fashion Collection for St. Peter’s Hospice at the Curzon Cinema, Clevedon.
Despite it being held on 1st March the temperature was more like the middle of winter. So it was a fantastic effort by the volunteers who took the brave and cold step to model the clothes.
It was the first time I had visited this cinema for a shoot. I do know from experience that photography in a cinema presents it’s own challenges as most of it is of course required to absorb light so portable lighting was essential on this occasion.
I arrived extra early for the shoot to take the opportunity to look around this fantastic old cinema, one of the oldest continually running purpose built cinemas in the world.
Having a snoop around the old balcony which is not visible from the ground floor due to a suspended ceiling, was a real highlight. It really is a fantastic space and you immediately think how spectacular it would look if this area could be renovated and the current ceiling removed.
The Curzon opened on 20th April 1912, the very first show was a fundraiser for survivors and relatives of those killed on the Titanic, which had sunk earlier that month.
The building has changed hands on numerous occasions in it’s long history but is now run by the Clevedon Community Centre for the Arts and it’s patrons include Aardman Animation founders David Sproxton and Peter Lord, directors Nick Park and Terry Gilliam, as well as the actors Alan Rickman and Tony Robinson.
The pictures were released to the press last month and the coverage has been fantastic for St. Peter’s Hospice. A double page spread in both the Bristol Post, the local daily newspaper and Somerset Life Magazine as well as an article in the Bristol Magazine and extensive coverage on the local web pages and blogs.
St. Peter’s Hospice, is Bristol’s only adult hospice. Last year they cared for over 2,600 patients with life-limiting illnesses while also giving support to their family and loved ones.
Care is provided free of charge, making the revenue gained form their many shops throughout Bristol crucial in raising the £6.5 million it costs annually to provide this fantastic service.
In tough times it’s great to be able to put a stylish outfit together for as little as £20 and to have access to labels such as, Christian Dior, Miss Selfridge, Cath Kidston, Warehouse, Fenn and Wright Mason, for a fraction of their original price.
When most people think PR they think of Press Releases. Text and words, which it undoubtedly is but don’t forget about it’s unfashionable, seemingly long-lost cousin, the picture.
The importance of images really cannot be underestimated and in my opinion they are essential when trying to achieve almost any type coverage.
Okay so I may be a little biased but think about it. Before you pick-up a newspaper, magazine or even when your browsing the internet what catches your eye first? It’s the picture isn’t it? Go on admit it. It’s okay you now can there’s research to back it up.
Apparently we process visuals sixty-six thousand times faster than text and in this age of information overload, it’s a real battle for anyone to get their businesses and brands noticed. The average person receives hundreds of emails every day, not to mention texts and phone calls. News and picture editors in my experience deal with a lot more than that. You really need to make their jobs as easy as possible to stand a chance of coverage in any publication and all the other media outlets. Here’s a few tips;
- Try to offer a good package. Great copy with a fantastic image will vastly increase your chances of coverage.
- Keep an eye on the diary. Try not to submit if there are any other major events happening. There will be less space left for you.
- A picture offers a great opportunity to get branding in. A small amount is acceptable but most newspapers and magazines will not publish anything that is too overt.
- If you have a preferred target for coverage try to offer them exclusivity. Being able to offer something no one else has is really attractive to editors.
- Use a photographer with good newspaper experience. Discuss the brief and what is required but do leave them a certain degree of freedom to be creative. If they are good at what they do they know exactly what it takes to get into print. They were probably getting half a dozen images a day into the papers for many years and will want to do the same for you.
Images are deeper, richer and convey more information than text alone. They enable an emotional connection to be formed with a subject, leading to a greater rate of retention of that information and a faster recall of it - They really are worth a thousand words. If not more.
So how would you describe what you do?
Sometimes the best way to find out is to ask a three year old. Really I hear you say well why not? They see the world in a lovely simple way (No… It’s MINE! I WANT it NOW!). Their brains are hard at work trying to figure it all out and in the process they come-up with the most wonderful insightful connections and explanations.
Not convinced? Michael Aspel probably could only afford every colour and pattern combination of Pringle jumper because of it. He hosted the ITV gameshow Child’s Play back in 1984 which ran until 1988. Remember ? A child comes on gives a defintion of a word and the adult has to try to guess what it is, for example, in 1984 David Mans, 7, from St.Mary was asked to describe what a baby is ….. ‘They come out of your mummy’s tummy and sort of eat sausages…. on a string’. After a very brief spell as a gynecologist David now happily runs a chain of organic butchers.
Everyone has profited from the wisdom imparted by children. Noel ‘Don’t mention Mr. Blobby’ Edmonds was able to win a pair of Tom Cruise’s built-up shoes on eBay from hosting ‘Are You Smarter than a 10-year-old’ and 'Small Talk' meant that Ronnie Corbett could afford his very own Flea Circus. Despite being well into his eighties he is still a major contributor to it. An accomplished tight-rope walker he regularly performs at heights of up to 4cm, without a safety-net.
What was this about, oh, yes, anyway. What do I do, well I offer a professional photography service, run with efficiency and the greatest attention to detail. My images are stylish, modern and capture the essence and essential elements of the event or story. Giving my clients the confidence that they will have the image they need on time and to budget.
What’s that you say? Follow my own advice? Well, okay….. ‘What does Daddy do for a living?’..... ‘You make Cheese’ Tom, 3, replied.
Think about it….. I was right and so is he.