Monday, 28 February 2011

Now and Then

Decided to kick off my blog with a post about my first and most recent shoot.

I remember thinking about what my first shoot was going to be. It had to be something extreme because I wanted people to take notice from the start, and naturally fire was one of the first ideas. It soon grew into the idea of an 'Elements' series as water, earth and air all seemed like they could potentially prove to be ideas worth exploring to kick start my photography, so we went for that. I met up with the model, Jasmin, a good friend, to discuss ideas. But it was sorta inevitable she would do the fire shoot. She and her boyfriend Ethan who helped set things on fire had no problem working with it, so shout out to them for that!
One of the plus sides to living on the Isle of Man is the photographic opportunities in that many places and potential props are abandoned. Jasmin knew of an abandoned farmhouse in Laxey which, when we arrived, was conveniently full of junk we could set fire to.

This is my favourite picture from the shoot, and until a couple of weeks ago remained on my carbonmade portfolio ( since the shoot back in July 2009. Looking back, it’s really not up to much technically. We made the amateur mistake of leaving the tub of paraffin (used for a failed attempt of some fire-breathing shots of Ethan) in the background, although I guess it doesn’t really make much of a difference. You could maybe interpret a story from that. I remember leaning near the mantelpiece to get this shot and the others like it, and needless to say it was so hot, my camera stunk of smoke afterwards. Not to mention we had to be careful and not leave any of the fires burning too long unless they got out of control.
The lighting was pretty tough going, with the contrast of the incredibly bright fire and the general darkness of the house which was largely boarded up. Being my first shoot I had little to no technical knowledge and so from what I remember I used auto settings, effectively fluking this whole shoot.

A tricky shot. I remember Ethan who was on the floor below us saying that whoever was sat to the left (Jasmin) had to be careful as the roof was starting to cave, so we quickly abandoned. No pain, no gain, as they say.
Probably my second favourite of the shoot. This one was actually Jasmin’s idea. She was pretty much in her element in an abandoned house and this one came about as she started playing with the mug as I messed with camera settings.

And onto the latest shoot I have done - definitely my favourite picture from it. It’s only a simple black and white portrait but Mike is the perfect person for exactly that. I’ve wanted to use him for a while and asked him back in December. Figured it was time to shake things up a little and I wanted to shoot with Mike because he is interesting as opposed to being a 'pretty boy' as such. He has a face people will remember.  Folk seem to like it too – usually the pictures I like are the ones that get very little feedback.

Again a pretty simple picture. At this point we were basically moving from tree to tree and just changing small things one a time in terms of 'poses' etc… I knew I wanted the pictures to be black and white but what sucked about this shoot was that I was using my friend Nick's camera (the D90, all good) but I didn’t think to check the file type. He often shoots in RAW (I usually shoot in JPEG) and so that was what the camera was set up to. RAW filetypes are a lot larger, so my memory card filled up pretty quick. This has never happened before but I didn’t want to start deleting the pictures I’d taken so far, so we’re going to shoot again at some point.

Due to the problem mentioned above, we had to move onto these shots pretty quickly at the shoot. This picture summarises what ultimately the shoot was about - being so stressed out you get to a point of anxiety where you feel like you can't see how you're going to work things out. I really need to keep going with the ‘photos with meaning’ series, it’s got a lot more to give so watch this space.

It’s not until you compare the pictures you realise the huge difference and I can honestly say that it’s down to experience. Some mistakes you learn to never make again… phone bulges in the model's pocket for example. That's the best way to learn what to do and what not to do – and likewise how to edit right. If I could give people one word of advice it would simply be just keep shooting.
And for now, that is all. Hope you liked my first blog post, and congrats on making it this far if you bothered to read it all. I’m going to try make this place as interesting as possible. Got a busy few weeks with Uni work but after that I shall be free to shoot more often, and will hopefully have a beautiful new camera with which to do so! x