Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Keir Siewert

Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Keir Siewert, a talented photographer based in Kilburn, London.



Hi Keir, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. We should probably start at the beginning, when and how did you come about getting into the world of photography?

"Well, I’m actually a filmmaker by trade and by training. Film making is a very different science from photography even though there are obviously cross over elements. The first thing most photographers miss when transitioning into film is the importance of both movement within the frame and movement of the frame. You’re not creating a single image, you’re creating a sequence of images. It sounds straight forward, but the tools of photography don’t really teach you these sciences. But on the other hand the thing I found fascinating about photography was the concept of the impact of a single image. That is something which is very important in film, the necessity of a single image to resonate with the viewer and hold their gaze and attention.

I started making a style of music video I cribbed from the music video auteur Mark Romanek (his music videos include Nine Inch Nail’s Closer and Jay-Z’s 99 Problems) which I refer to as Collage Videos. Essentially it’s where you create a large amount of thematically connected images that while not directly related to each other, add up to a mood and feel. Example would be this video I made for The Love Zombies: https://vimeo.com/121802455

The exciting thing that came out of that was attempted to create singular images with punch that could kind of stand on their own and I really liked the screen shots I was getting out of it. So I’d always been interested in photography as an art so I decided to try and experiment with it and see if could translate some of my skills shooting videos into shooting stills and it’s almost been a year now."



Photography, especially online, tends to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views an image to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?

"I think it’s hard because I have my influences and interests and I’ve certainly never set out to have a style or fall into any camp. Truth is I’m a bit like a magpie, I see something I like and I want to try it or put my own spin on it. The fact that it always comes out looking like something I’ve made probably shows my limitations still as a photographer. But I’m always keen to learn.

I certainly have preferences. I started off shooting actors and musicians so I tend to direct people rather then pose them. For me it’s about energy, movement and attitude. I like to try keep moving and find the image, so it’s always an organic process and I like to start a shoot with clothing options and props and we work it out as we go. I guess for me I like the images to have a raw energy rather then be pretty and perfectly composed. I’d so say the goal is always striking, rather then beautiful. And I’m interested in people more then anything, so I like the image to be about the person I’m shooting."

Model: Dani Ford


Photography can have it's share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of photography particularly challenging?

"My technical knowledge is still pretty limited. I have a sort of “punk-rock style” (not my words) so it kind of suits the more gritty stuff I’m interested in. But to be honest I feel like I’d be lost if you asked me to take wedding photos or events photos. I just don’t think I have the technical understanding to create something as glossy as what the client is likely to want. And occasionally I feel like I butt up against it when photographers are talking cameras and specs. I respect people with intricate technical know-how, but I also think sometimes it can be a mask for taking dull images. I think I’d always gravitate towards an imperfect image with compelling content, rather then a technically perfect image with nothing very interesting to shoot."


In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?

"This is probably not a great answer, but honestly the photographer I take most inspiration from is Terry Richardson. I’m fascinated by the raw sexuality he captures from people and his images have this kind of insane intensity to them. I love how they sort of meet in the middle of the beautiful and grotesque. The fact that he’s always shooting celebrities too means he brings something unguarded and really primal out of them which doesn’t feel glossy and posed. I know he’s a controversial figure and I wouldn’t try and stick up for him as a human being but I can’t deny how much the images fascinate me.

Otherwise I’d say filmmakers like Mark Romanek and Spike Jonze are huge influences in terms of what I’ve been trying to do with music videos and how that translates into photography."


Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?

"I wish I had a good answer for you, but honestly I love the process and care very little once the photos are done. Strangely it’s never really about the final product for me as much as it is the creation of it. I can share images that I like but I’m not sure how many of them truly hold a deep significance for me. I’m not a sentimental person.

I have film moments that move me. My father was a Texan, I was partly raised in New Mexico, so the Old West is a big part of my heritage. There’s a famous shot at the end of John Ford’s The Searchers, where John Wayne brings back his kidnapped niece and reunites her with her family and he pauses at the door and then walks off into the wilderness. As an image it moves me tears every time I see it. It is everything about the dying way of the west and the men who built summed up in one image. Their savagery and violence created civilization, but they have no place in a civilized world. The film is a fucking masterpiece."

Model: Dani Ford


Photoshoots can sometimes leave you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in because of photography?

"I’m gonna cheat here and talk about a video shoot, because it’s a good story. I was shooting a music video in the California desert about 4 hours north of Los Angeles and it was a small guerilla crew. We had no permits and no permissions, but I figured we were out in the middle of nowhere and what’s the worst that could happen? We were shooting an execution scene with a replica gun and everything was going fine. All of sudden out of nowhere I hear a loudspeaker voice say “you with the gun, drop it and everybody put your hands up.” So I turn and see there’s two California State Troopers with real guns pointed directly at us. So the actress drops the gun and we all put our hands up.

I tell the officer I’m in charge and he asks me to approach him and everyone else to get on the ground. He checks me for weapons and puts me in handcuffs. Then his partner watches me as he goes and checks the replica. I’m just super polite and compliant the whole time, so I’m not giving them an excuse to fly off the handle or get pissed off. After he see’s the guns not real, he tells us we just need to drive ten miles up the road and walk further into the desert. He then starts talking to us about how U2 shot the cover for Joshua Tree near there. After about 5 minutes of him and his partner chatting to the actors, I asked very politely if it would be okay for him to take the handcuffs off.

Here’s a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ihrt0M7HkiI"



We've talked about your start in photography, we talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year, more of the same? any special projects? And in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?

"To be honest I do it for fun, so my only real goal is to get better. I’d like to do more stuff with multiple people, up the ambition and scale of the photos but my main source of income and work is still film making. I’m shooting a web series at the moment based off my award winning short films, Let’s Have a Threesome and Let’s Make a Porno (both can be seen on YouTube). The web series is called Let’s Do It and the first two episodes Let’s Do Cocaine and Let’s Get Naked have both been shot. I’m wanting to shoot 5 more before I release it. I’ve got multiple scripts I’m looking for financing on. I also want to help support my girlfriend who just made her first funded short called True Value which she directed from a script I wrote and that’s just about to start the festival rounds."

Model: Lajze


We can't really talk photography without discussing gear, so...what is your 'go to' equipment that you find yourself gravitating towards the most on shoots?

"I personally shoot on a Canon 5D MKII with a 24-70 as my prime lens, but I’m not much of a tech-head to be honest. Coming from a film background I don’t like shooting with a flash, I prefer continuous light I can control. I like my little overhead lamp, which creates the vignette effect I use a lot. I also prefer to do things in camera as much as possible, so I do practical things like put vaseline on the lens. I shoot with a mixture of small soft boxes and natural light a lot.

It sounds a bit dick-ish but I kind of always liked the quote John Lennon said “I'm an artist, give me a tuba and I'll create something worth listening to.” So from my stand point, no matter what tools you give me, I’m going to try and make something that works with that. I’ve been saying for years someone could make a feature film on an iPhone if they just went about it the right way and low-behold last year we got Tangerine. Now does it look like it was made on an iPhone, yeah, but it’s fucking compelling. To me the most beautifully composed photo of a beautiful model will always be less compelling then an image of war captured on an iPhone. We can’t allow ourselves to forget the importance of content."


Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find you and your work?

"You can find all my video work at either;
http://breakingpointflix.com/
or
http://vimeo.com/user3449672

Find my stills at;
http://purpleport.com/portfolio/keirsiewert
or
http://www.instagram.com/breakingpointflix

My official facebook fan page is;
http://www.facebook.com/breakingpointflix"



I'd like to thank Keir again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all of the links for more of his work.


Ian
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Friday, 24 June 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - Stephen Lynch

Welcome to 'Foto Inspiration Friday', the series in which I not only use a rarely used alternate spelling of photo for the sake of alliteration, but I share with you anything and everything I find inspirational, be it a person, an image, a song, a quote, a place, a pizza...ok, maybe not a pizza but you get the point.

Having polished off a Papa John's pizza prior to writing this post, it was very nearly the week that included the pizza mentioned in my above intro, or cheesy jalapeno bites, my god those things are good! Anyway, sense somewhat returned and I decided to share a person with you instead...that person is Stephen Lynch.

This post is quite possibly a risky one. Not because it shares my political views, my religious views, my views on capital punishment etc. All of which is a no-no in blogging/marketing I believe. It's risky because it shows how utterly immature I can be at times.

If you're reading this scratching your head trying to work out who Stephen Lynch is, allow me to explain. Stephen is a comedic musician...he's also a former Tony Award nominated Broadway star but that's not the point here, the reason he's on 'Foto Inspiration Friday' is because of his comedy music prowess.

Often when I'm working on stuff I need some form of noise in the background, it's something I picked up when I worked in a warehouse...mind you, that was to drown out the noise of ar...anyway...

If I'm having a particularly stressful time of it, if writing my blog post is a nightmare, or my photo editing just won't go how I want it etc, my 'go to' musician is Stephen. His songs mocking daily life and popular culture (Wiki's words but they some it up well) are awesome, and always make me laugh. If my wife is down I can usually garner a smile by simply uttering one word, the name of one of Stephen's songs, Beelz (I had to link it!).

If my Amazon Prime Music was a CD, or MiniDisc (be honest, did you have to Google?) it would have crapped out by now, what with the amount I played Stephen's music the week I found he was on there. I realise he won't be for everyone, but if you like music and comedy I suggest you give him a try...if you don't like music and comedy, I'm a little worried you're a cyborg and the story from Terminator is happening!

Ian

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Arabella

Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Arabella, a talented model based in Derbyshire.



Hi Arabella, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. We should probably start at the beginning...when and how did you come about getting into the world of modelling?

"I can never quite remember exactly when it was I transitioned from Photographer to model but I think it was around 5-6 years ago. I was doing a Fine Art Photography degree at Derby University and needed a model for a project, I found a local model Fleur and began working with her. We became pretty good friends in the end and one day she just said, have you ever thought about modelling as well it would be easier for you as you know so much about photography. So I gave it a little bit of thought and jumped straight onto Model Mayhem which was ‘the thing’ back then… And in a couple of days of having a portfolio I was booked for a paid shoot and it went from there! It was a quick transition and I think I’ve been really lucky that things just fell into place with it becoming my full time job."



Most things, especially online, tend to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views something to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?

"This has always been a massive bug bare because art is so subjective in general, during my degree it was an ongoing struggle to prove that your work reflected a certain style or idea, and the problem was to the individual who was producing the work it did, but not always to the tutor so if they didn’t agree then you were wrong! Very frustrating…. I have no idea what style of work I produce!... I think that your style of work is unique because it’s you in the picture whether you are a model or a photographer. I shoot a lot of portraiture,… But I guess I would say I produce work that fits into an emotive niche, I’ve always had a very expressive face and that’s what I tend to get booked for. I like images that have a narrative, emotion or show some sort of movement. So I guess that!... Whatever that is! On the other hand I’ve been told that my niche is because I’m ‘plus size’ I hate that term completely! Yes I’m not the same shape, size as most models but why can my skill not just be noticed as a model. Also to me I have shape, I’ve had this conversation many times with Lucifera, who of course is a gorgeous model here on Purpleport and we don’t agree that plus size is a positive label, to me plus means something large, bulky etc… My shape is not that because I have shape! So I don’t like to say that my niche is ‘plus size’ but if people have to say it I prefer the term ‘hourglass’… Maybe that should be a new niche!?"



Photography, modelling and their related skills, as with most things, can have their share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of modelling particularly challenging?

"Oh god yes! I suffer with really bad self confidence in general anyway it doesn’t come across in shoots because that’s where I feel at home, I get into a zone and become a floaty dancer person!... But it does affect me when it comes to approaching photographers/creatives, there are so many amazing photographers I want to contact to work with but most of the time I would rather not because I assume they wouldn’t be interested in me when there are far better models around. It took me about a full year to contact an amazing photographer on Purpleport, who is now a good friend, but before that I thought I didn’t have a hope in hell! So yes I guess I’m always underestimating myself!"


In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?

"As a model and a photographer I have one massively inspirational photographer Tim Walker… I love his productions and creative concepts… His images are always so story driven and his use of props and environments add this real emotion and feel to the images… 
I take a lot of inspiration from art in general; ballet, sculpture, colours, patterns…. And of course Purpleport has some pretty awesome stuff that gets you going, creatively speaking!"


Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?

"There are a couple of very sentimental images that I love…. One image I have up in my guest room/dressing room is of my Auntie in full ballet dress during a rehearsal, she was an amazingly skilled dancer and was offered placement at London Royal Ballet…Sadly she didn’t take up the place and now suffers from a condition  that causes are spine to crumble. But I always look at this image and find it inspiring in so many ways…. From an art point of view I find ballet very inspiring, I took it up when I was younger and it taught me so much about the movement of my body and the way it can be positioned, which I think in turn has massively helped with my modelling.. But also in life I find my auntie very inspiring the way she lives her life to the fullest whilst still living with so much pain that even morphine injections aren’t working anymore…. It reminds me to grab life, live it to the fullest and do it in the most graceful way possible!"


Photoshoots can sometimes leave you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in on a shoot?

"Thankfully I’ve never had anything scary happen on a shoot apart from having to stand on some pretty high things like roofs which did actually happen during a portfolio builder day, I’m afraid of heights, but nothing more than that!.... And funniest I do remember one that was a little embarrassing and tickled me… I used to live in a flat by the river and had floor to ceiling windows overlooking it and over the other side of the river were abandoned industry units, or so I thought… I was doing an art nude shoot which went well. Towards the end we noticed a couple of workmen over the other side, I thought they were dropping off rubbish, turns out they were working over there and had been for a fair while, it wasn’t empty and there were a lot of workmen who saw me, causing a couple of them to stand and wave at me the next day!"



We've talked about your start, we've talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year, more of the same? any special projects? And in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?

"Well I’m hoping I might pluck up some more courage and work with some of these amazing photographers I’m so scared to message!... 
I am really getting into video work so would love to do some more creative work like that, I’ve done a few narrative films. Movement and gracefulness is a thing that I like and sometimes I can feel a tiny bit stilted by stills photography. (Anyone reading this that shoots video, probably no one, get in touch!)
And really I hope to just carry on improving and branching into different genres…. I personally don’t think you ever stop learning in art and as a person so I just want to continue to grow personally and professionally.
I do have a long term plan which doesn’t solely involve modelling, I’d like to own my own studio in one of our local mills and set it up as a base for offering national diplomas to the public in photography… But that’s a fair way off at the moment… fingers crossed!"



When I speak to photographers I ask about their gear, it's only fair you get to geek out too...do you have any go to items you can't live without?

"Oh god this sort of thing is really hard for me!... I don’t really have anything specific that relates to modelling… other than things like oh this make-up product etc!.... 
But in general I can’t live without my bose portable speaker and my beats headphones, music is such an uplift for me that I pretty much have it on every day! I’m so fussy with the balance of sound and bass notes so it took me forever researching brands… so I guess that’s where I get a little geeky…"



Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find you and your work?

"Mainly just Purpleport to be honest!... I’m in the process of rejigging my blog around, I guess I can still link to that right?

http://purpleport.com/portfolio/abella
http://www.facebook.com/ArabellaModel
http://arabellappmodel.blogspot.co.uk"


I'd like to thank Arabella again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all of the links for more of her work.

Other creatives involved in creating images, in order of appearance: Image 01 - Photographer: Latitude, Image 02 - Photographer: Simes Himself Post Processing: Thales Studio: Loft House Studio, Image 03 - Photographer: Imaginary Revolutionary, Image 04 - Photographer: Jon Downs, Image 05 - , Image 06: Photographer: Jon Downs.


Ian
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Monday, 20 June 2016

Macro Madness - Getting To Know My Lens

Welcome to Macro Madness Monday, the series in which I try my hand at 'true' macro photography. In these likely sporadic posts (as I'm sure you can understand, life can hinder shooting at times) I'll be learning, and sharing the in's and out's of shooting with true macro lenses...for those who aren't in the loop, unlike normal lenses a true macro lens reproduces what you are shooting in a 1:1 ratio. Put simply, if you are shooting something that is 1cm it is reproduced on your camera's sensor at 1cm.


A while back I perused various photographic sites looking for a macro lens with the intention of learning macro. Whilst there are a few I would like, Nikon's 105mm springs to mind, they can get a little spendy. After some sulking and desperate searching down the back of the couch for money, or winning lottery ticket, I came to the conclusion as this was to be a learning experience, and I'm just a poor boy...(singing now aren't ya?) I'd be better not spending too much. I lucked out at the time as the already cheapest lens I could find happened to have a further discount to it...anyway, long story not quite so long, I got the Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm f/2.8G.

Since getting the lens I have thrown it onto my camera a couple of times to get to know it, to get used to things like the limited depth of field involved when using such short focal distances. The following images are from my first couple of plays with it, one test was outdoor with natural light, the other was indoor having to use a slow shutter speed to battle terrible lighting...and the fact I'd forgot my batteries for my flash unit!






Ian
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Friday, 17 June 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - Returning Next Week

There is no 'Foto Inspiration Friday' this week, normal service will resume next week.

As I have five minutes, allow me to quickly explain...

This absence is due to my wife and I having to spend a large portion of yesterday, my normal writing day, sat in a drab, gray, depressing building waiting for some miserable woman to question my wife about her disabilities like she's some criminal with a dodgy alibi.

For non-British readers I should explain. Disabled people in the UK get benefits, one of which is called Employment Support Allowance (ESA). If you receive ESA you are dragged in once a year so they can effectively ask you 'are you still disabled?'...this has come about as the British government has decided that everyone lies, so have set up these 'assessments' with the intention of stopping payment to people who need it!

I must be off now, I have a wife to look after who among other issues suffers from depression and anxiety, conditions that this government funded bullying session has exacerbated.


Ian.
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Where When How Wednesday - KG Photography

Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Kaan of KG Photography based in Enfield, London.



Hi Kaan, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. Let's start at the beginning, when and how did you come about getting into the world of photography?

"I think it would be when I was attending a football match supporting my team , I had a compact camera with me and like a tourist I was thinking I could get a few pics of the players and the stadium while I am here , after looking through the pics I thought were amazing at the time I had a moment of clarity and thought I could really get into this so after a few months of saving I purchased my first camera in 2010 from Jessops, a Canon 450D with the standard kit lens and zoom lens and so my journey began."


Photography, especially online, tends to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views an image to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?

"I would describe my work creative, I don't limit myself to a particular style or genre. I have worked at sporting events, family shoots, charity days, studio and location with models, wildlife, landscape. I like to think I adaptable to each project I am on."



Photography can have it's share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of photography particularly challenging?

"The only thing that gets to me is if I have a client who is paying me for a shoot. I tend to put pressure on myself to achieve the perfect end result, the photography and post production actually makes me thrive. I am always looking to better myself and improve how I take pictures and edit them, I always try find faults in myself and make sure next time I don't make the same mistake twice."


In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?

"I draw my inspiration from my partner Amanda who has always stuck by me and supported me through thick and thin, my brother who explained how and what he was doing with his SLR back in the mid 80's. Also, studio owner Andrew Simpson has always been a great help to me by showing me so much over the last two years."


Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?

"I have a few images that are my true favourites that I am so proud of which are as follows;"






Photoshoots can sometimes leave you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in because of photography?

"I have had a passer by ask if they could pose nude for me whilst I was on a shoot doing some fashion nude with a model which made me chuckle."



We've talked about your start in photography, we talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year, more of the same? any special projects? And in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?

"For this year I am focusing on getting professional portfolio worthy images captured as I am looking to get more paid work commercially and from private clients, I have 4 models in mind for my latest casting which is for lavender fields and in-between that I am going to try to improve my fashion side of my port over the coming months. So in short I am looking to supplement my day job with an income from my photography."



We can't really talk photography without discussing gear, so...what is your 'go to' equipment that you find yourself gravitating towards the most on shoots?

"My go to gear is my Canon 85mm f1.2, I absolutely love the lens, super sharp and never misses a beat, for sporting events my new 100-400m L IS II is another I don't think I could do without after having for the last 3 months."


Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find you and your work?

"I can be found on;
Facebook: 2015kcaphotography
adobe portfolio: kaang1980.myportfolio.com
E-mail: kaang1980@gmail.com"


I'd like to thank Kaan again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all of his links for more of his work.

Image subjects & creatives, in order of appearance: Image 01 - Model: Ruta, Image 02 - Model: Rosa Brighid  Make-Up: Maria Samuel  Studio: Studio Zero, Image 03 - Model: Angel, Image 04 - Model: Jemma Funge  Studio: Studio Zero, Image 05 - Model: Elle Beth  Studio: Studio Zero  Assisted By: Andrew Simpson, Image 06 - Model: Rosa Brighid  Make-Up: Maria Samuel  Studio: Studio Zero, Image 07 - Model: Romanie Smith, Image 08 - Princess_Carly


Ian
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Monday, 13 June 2016

Macro Madness - What Is Macro Photography & Macro Lenses

Welcome to Macro Madness Monday, the series in which I try my hand at 'true' macro photography. In these likely sporadic posts (as I'm sure you can understand, life can hinder shooting at times) I'll be learning, and sharing the in's and out's of shooting with true macro lenses...for those who aren't in the loop, unlike normal lenses a true macro lens reproduces what you are shooting in a 1:1 ratio. Put simply, if you are shooting something that is 1cm it is reproduced on your camera's sensor at 1cm.

As I stated in my first post in this series, you mention macro photography to someone and they instantly think bug and/or flower photography. Whilst this comes up a lot it is to my knowledge, or rather in my opinion, not strictly the meaning. I say in my opinion because in researching this post (Googling), a task I thought would be relatively easy, I didn't find two peoples definitions that matched...in all seriousness it was headache inducing!

I think to best convey what macro photography is in my opinion, I should really answer two questions...

Firstly...
What is Macro Photography?

In my mind, buried somewhere within the pain caused by researching this subject, macro photography is simply close up and extreme close up photography of any subject using a macro lens. It's those last four words that for me make all the difference. It's those words that in my mind take the photography from just 'still life' or 'close up' photography to 'macro' photography. I do at present have a slight internal conflict going on however, the subject of which; must the macro lens be used at it's closest focal distance or not for it to truly be macro photography?...I'll let you decide for yourself because if there's one thing I've found researching macro photography, there's as many opinions on the subject as there are macro lenses out there...actually, there's probably more!


And secondly...
What is a Macro Lens?

From my tireless and painful research for a lens to be deemed a 'true' macro lens depends solely on it's reproduction ratio. A 'true' macro lens has a reproduction ratio of 1:1 at it's closest focal distance. This means the subject you are shooting appears life size on your sensor, something you don't get with 'normal' lenses. 'Normal' lenses can have a reproduction ratio between 1:5 and 1:2, and quite probably ratios outside of that range. To give you a quick example, lets say you are shooting a 12mm ant... If you shoot it, at the closest focal length using a 'normal' lens with a 1:5 reproduction ratio it will appear 2.4mm on your sensor, 5 times smaller than in life. If however you use a 'true' macro lens at the closest focal length, it will appear 12mm on your sensor, filling more of your frame.

Another aspect of macro lenses that differs to that of 'normal' lenses is minimum focal distance. Due to some sorcery, or fae...ok it's probably the optics and their placement within the lens, a 'true' macro lens can focus a hell of a lot closer to a subject than a 'normal' lens. For example, the Nikkor 85mm f/1.4g has a minimum focal distance of 2.79 ft, yet Nikon's macro lens of the same focal length the Micro Nikkor 85mm f/3.5g has a minimum focal distance of 0.9 ft


There you have it, what macro photography is, to me anyway...now, I'm off to find some paracetamol.


Ian
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Friday, 10 June 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - Purpleport

Welcome to 'Foto Inspiration Friday', the series in which I not only use a rarely used alternate spelling of photo for the sake of alliteration, but I share with you anything and everything I find inspirational, be it a person, an image, a song, a quote, a place, a pizza...ok, maybe not a pizza but you get the point. The focus of this weeks 'Foto Inspiration Friday' is Purpleport.

I'm a little ashamed that it's only just dawned on me today to share this site, especially considering the majority of my interviewees so far for 'Where When How Wednesday' have come from Purpleport.

Purpleport is a networking site for visual creatives, be they photographer, designer, hair stylist, make-up artist, model, Photoshop whiz, studio etc. It's a place to share your works, meet people who share your passion, and arrange photo/video shoots.

As a visual creative networking is important and Purpleport is a great place to do it. The other members are generally very friendly (I'm not gonna lie, you get the occasional d**k, but they're everywhere), the layout is easy to navigate and is customisable, they run daily competitions to fuel your creativity, and if you're not one who is keen on paying membership fees, you get a lot of features as a free member compared to other sites I am on.


Ian
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Leanne Leawood

Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Leanne Leawood, a talented model based in Birmingham, West Midlands.

Hi Leanne thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. We should probably start at the beginning...when and how did you come about getting into the world of modelling?

"Well.......Honestly, I grew up surrounded by all sorts of creativeness, from performing arts, growing up being on sets with my mum, being apart of performing and drama, SPFX Make-up, Artists, models of all levels, dancing, musical theater. I moved around a lot as a child with my Mum and guess you can say I have been lucky to see and be apart of all walks of life, It was never my 'intention' to become a model, although I always wanted to I never knew what part of the industry I wanted to be in or lack of confidence in how I would fit in where, so guess I gave up pursuing it, until one day I saw some beautiful Art Nude images and I got a Nude book by Peter Feierabend given to me and I was like 'wow...' yes this is it this is what I want to do, this is the artistic side I want to be a part off. Helps I also love being nude and nudity itself :)"



Most things, especially online, tend to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views something to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?

"Erotic Imagery :) I accidentally slipped into this side of it, but honestly it came so easily and I was so comfortable doing it, I love being sensual, erotic, its like errrrrm...... 'telling half the story, keeping you in suspense, what happens next?' I am not a pornstar (as some people have said, if I was I would of 1. featured in a porn movie and 2. I am 100% sure there would be still images of me getting jiggy with another or myself - sorry) in fact that part of my life is obviously very private to me but hey! People will hate. I would also describe it as body confidence and being 'at one with your body' when I am infront of the camera its like a switch, I am someone different, I love my body, I am free with it and I think because of this my images or so I get told are naturally done, no faking, what you see is what you get, refreshing and unique (probably just being polite haha) and yes of course I am going to say Artistic :) Also people would say I am in the alternative catagory as I have very visible tattoos, I accept that photographers will say that of course but that is not my intention, I just love being coloured in hehe"



Photography, modelling and their related skills, as with most things, can have their share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of modelling particularly challenging?

"Honestly? No! I started with a level head, open mind and able to take a) critism and b) rejection. I honestly truly believe that if you can't take that and you don't have control of your mind then you will struggle, especially in this industry as it can be very negative, but again ony if you let it. I have my own get-ups day to day within myself but for some reason I switch that off as soon as I am infront of the camera, I have no hold-ups and confidence."



In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?

"Ummmmm, I will try not to babble with this one, as there are so many, one women in particular Marilyn Monroe I grew up idiolising this woman, her views, self belief, her quotes and that body! I didn't aspire to be her, I admired her and she inspired me, 'give a girl the right pair of shoes and she will conquer the world' and I absolutely love shoes :) Personally also in every day life whether we admit to ourselves or each other I think that we all inspire each other one way or another, we all have an influence and impact on one another. My friends, time with them inspires me and what my next move will be and what I want and don't want, My mum, tattoo artists, photographers, dear old June at the supermarket, all, I walk away from educated, motivated and inspired. Practically anyone who as creative, ambition, passion, drive I seriously am in awe off."



Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?

"Well this is a big yes..... I have alot of images but I can't release those as they are being published :) but the images you see above are very very significant to me as they are now available to buy on a T-Shirt - When I was growing up right until now I used to say 'one day I will be on a item of clothing, that would be awesome' then for these to be picked by the owner at House of Priory I was so excited... I actually shot these images for a publication but they didn't make it unfortunately! But the gutted feeling didnt last long when this happened :) this and having publications honestly I am proud to have achieved.... Don't just say it, do it, make what you want happen!"


Photoshoots can sometimes leave you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in on a shoot?

"Scary and I will say this cause I honestly think it has to be out there, it happens.... when I started out although at an older age, that didn't matter you still are a little nieve and boy was I.... I fell for the scout call, had conversations, shared emails etc, met up with the guy who claimed he worked for a magazine, he even had a contract, everything seemed legit, then Bam, turned out he was not who he said he was and I don't want to think about what would happen if I didn't get away.... Always research, no matter who they say they are, always, always research, I am so strict now, I question everything and I am on top of my game..... If you smell a rat, it probably is a rat."



We've talked about your start, we've talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year, more of the same? any special projects? And in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?

"Well 2016 as certainly been a good year so far, In august I am performing at Sexhibtion honestly I nearly wet myself when they accepted my application, the line up for it is immense and I am performing alongside some very talented, well followed and known women. I am also due to be published in the June editions of Dark Parlour Magazine and Femme Rebelle Magazine. Also another exciting thing that is happening that is through-out the year and there after is, I have been blessed and asked to be apart of a beauty range in which my face will be apart off, all across the world, I am stoked about this too as it is quite a lifestyle and life changing thing to happen to me, the long term plan. I said things will happen and my time will be when I am 30 - I needed to go through lifes tests and guess what I am 30 this year and things are happening and I know will continue too :)"



When I speak to photographers I ask about their gear, it's only fair you get to geek out too...do you have any go to items you can't live without?

"The above picture says it all haha water, a bath, cleanliness! My toothbrush, perfume, Tan. And as sad as it sounds but society as changed of course my mobile phone, I work on that thing none stop, I capture moments on it, I video my work on it, if its not my phone its my laptop.... Unfortunately that as to be said realistically."



Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find you and your work?

"Myself;
http://www.facebook.com/Lea-Lea-Model-1610266039258438
http://www.instagram.com/leanneleawood/
http://twitter.com/leanneleawood
http://purpleport.com/portfolio/lleawood

Photographers in order; 
http://www.facebook.com/Paul.FiftymmPhotography
http://www.facebook.com/stunderhill199
http://purpleport.com/portfolio/mattharper
http://purpleport.com/portfolio/regardezmoi
http://www.instagram.com/stunderhill199
http://www.instagram.com/fiftymmphotography

Also T-shirts are available at;
http://www.houseofpriory.com/collections/mens-t-shirts/products/echo
http://www.houseofpriory.com/collections/mens-t-shirts/products/twilight

Thank you so much :)"


I'd like to thank Leanne again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all of the links for more of her, and the other creatives works.


Ian
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Monday, 6 June 2016

Macro Madness - The Beginning

Welcome to Macro Madness Monday, the series in which I try my hand at 'true' macro photography. In these likely sporadic posts (as I'm sure you can understand, life can hinder shooting at times) I'll be learning, and sharing the in's and out's of shooting with true macro lenses...for those who aren't in the loop, unlike normal lenses a true macro lens reproduces what you are shooting in a 1:1 ratio. Put simply, if you are shooting something that is 1cm it is reproduced on your camera's sensor at 1cm.

When people think of macro photography they usually think close-ups of bugs or flowers. Whilst this is not strictly the meaning of macro photography, it does tend to come up a lot, and chances are a fair bit of my macro photography will be this. I've tried bug and flower photography prior to getting a macro lens, and despite the close up limitations of my 'normal' lenses it was possible to get macro-esc results...though it did take a lot of fudging, and selective cropping in Lightroom.

For this, my inaugural post in my new series, I thought I'd share some of my older macro-esc photography to give a point of reference for my future posts...









Ian
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Friday, 3 June 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - Matt Granger

Welcome to 'Foto Inspiration Friday', the series in which I not only use a rarely used alternate spelling of photo for the sake of alliteration, but I share with you anything and everything I find inspirational, be it a person, an image, a song, a quote, a place, a pizza...ok, maybe not a pizza but you get the point. The focus of this weeks 'Foto Inspiration Friday' is Matt Granger.

As I've mentioned in previous posts I watch a lot of YouTube channels, thinking about it Matt Granger, or That Nikon Guy as it was known back then was one of the first channels I came across. Matt is quite possibly one of, if not the busiest photographers/photographic teachers there is out there, putting out a s**t load of YouTube content, producing books, running workshops, photo tours, meet ups, and quite probably stuff I've forgot.

His YouTube channel has something for everyone, be it gear reviews, tutorials, behind the scenes, news, competitions and much more. He has also recently started a series which is close to the hearts of many new, novice, and poor photographers such as myself, Budgetography. In Budgetography Matt and Sir Clicks-A-Lot show how stunning results can be achieved with basic equipment, and a can do attitude.

The quantity and quality of Matt's content make him a great resource for photographers of all levels. His videos, whilst informative are fun and easy to understand...also, in some of his older behind the scenes videos you get to see him trying pole dancing moves which is always funny!

Ian
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Lucifera

Welcome to 'Where When How Wednesday'. In these weekly posts I'll be interviewing creatives about their journey into the creative world, their works, and what makes them tick. This week I'm interviewing Lucifera, a talented model based in Sidcup, London.



Hi Lucifera thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. We should probably start at the beginning...when and how did you come about getting into the world of modelling?

"Long story this, when I was 18 I was looking for a confidence boost and applied to a couple of agencies. I didn’t have access to the internet back then, so these were ones I fished out of the local directory LOL. I went with one that was in Midhurst and promptly did a few shoots for them. They liked my look and that fact I looked younger for my age so they kept trying to push the whole pigtail and school uniform look on me (I hated that) I wanted to be seen as a woman not some little girl, which I felt I had only just escaped from. It was all really rather twee. I went and got a few piercings and dyed my hair red and black, but they didn’t like this and told me there was no demand for the "goth look". I recall feeling frustrated, I was looking at album covers by Cradle of Filth dripping in Goth girls and vampiric chicks in coffins so I knew there was a demand, somewhere… I eventually tracked down the guy behind the Cradle of Filth album covers, the very controversial Nigel Wingrove who runs Salvation Films/Redemption Films and of course the Satanic Sluts. I looked through the portfolios and eventually settled on a photographer who’s work I really admired and booked him. I think I paid £100 for a full days shoot, no lie! with these photos I applied to the Satanic Sluts and got shooting straight away. It was all bit cliche now I look back, goth girl in grave yard, PVC nun with vamp fangs but I loved it. I went on to model for bands like Danzig and Dimmu Borgir and international publication. I quit a few years ago when my dad was diagnosed with MND to look after him but after he passed away I felt a void and started to want to model again. I felt my old portfolio would hold me back, I had been shooting a lot of what I now consider fodder and I didn’t want to continue down that route. Again I booked and paid a photographer to give me a new and up to date look. Once I had those photos I joined Purpleport and pushed myself as a fetish model. I have since then been pushing myself to try new styles and I hope to master each one."



Photography, modelling and their related skills, as with most things, can have their share of problems. I personally have a particular problem with self confidence. This confidence issue can and has caused me issues with my photography. Do you find any aspects of modelling particularly challenging?

"I think if anyone is honest we all struggle with confidence, I certainly struggled for a long time with the fact I am older than most models here and I am not exactly the typically sought after model. I have started to pitch myself as a plus size model, but I really resent the term, as a tall size 12/14 I don’t feel I deserve to be filed as plus size (which is anything over a size 12 up to a size 22 or more I guess) I feel its like being told if you’re not a perfect size 8 or 10 then you’re over there with that lot. I would rather see another category called curvy or hourglass. Saying this though I am delighted to see more and more photographers embracing the fact a slightly bigger girl can add a lot to a photo. We’re really very sexy ;)"



Most things, especially online, tend to fall into specific genres and/or gets described as being a specific style. The trouble with this is it's quite subjective, the style someone views an something to be can often differ to the style the person creating it views it as. How would you describe the work you are putting out there?

"Ah, see my comment above. I think people can be very blinkered view, which seeing as we are in a creative world is bloody stupid, surely seeing the whole of something and the potential within that makes more sense? I recall when I first joined Purpleport, contacting a photographer who flat turned me down because he didn’t shoot gore. The fact is I had about 4 gore photos in a portfolio of about 40 photos. I find when you shoot something strong people will focus on that rather than anything else you do."



In my series 'Foto Inspiration Friday' I share the people, images, places etc that I find give me inspiration. Who, or what, or where do you draw inspiration from?

"Mostly its music, I'll put an album on and day dream, sometimes its a film, the seasons (I’m very seasonally inspired) I admire the work of Jeffery Scott, Emily Soto and even people on here so I am surrounded by inspiration."



Sometimes images hold a special significance to us. It can be the first image we ever made, it can be an image drawing attention to a cause close to our hearts, it can simply be an image of someone we love. Do you have an image or images that hold a special significance to you?

"I guess I am proud of my published work. I am also very happy with the 2 shoots I have done with Horrify Me, as we got to shoot themes I have been desperate to shoot since I got into modelling. One is the Hellraiser Cenobite Pinhead and the other has not been released yet but is based on one of the first iconic female serial killers who I have a mild obsession with. Other than those I guess its the spring time shoots. My mum didn’t really appreciate a lot of my modelling but she loved the Tudor and the pretty floral shots, so every spring and summer I try to get a few of those in to my portfolio, because its nice to create something your mum can be proud of."



Photoshoots can sometimes leave you open to scary or funny situations. What's the scariest or funniest situation you've found yourself in on a shoot?

"I can’t say I have any scary stories, I am extremely careful and perhaps lucky there (touch wood) but I do have a few that are funny! The one that sticks in my mind was yonks ago, I used to shoot with one photographer a lot, almost all the time and I discovered he had a thing about voyeuristic exhibitionism, if such a thing exists. He had me and another model cat walking in fetish gear up and down on a water feature by London Bridge, all the buses going by and lots of cars honking, it was really embarrassing, especially when the tour bus went by and them saying 'and here on the left is...'and there we were trying to hide….when the bus passed the photographer was on the other side of the road laughing his arse off. I still to this day think that was a set up."



We've talked about your start, we've talked about your current work, let's quickly chat about the future. What have you got coming up this year, more of the same? any special projects? And in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?

"The future is a blank canvas, I know I am shooting more with Horrify Me and we have some exciting projects we’re discussing. Id like to shoot more fetish actually but most people on here don’t seem to like it, I try to avoid working with anyone who isn’t on purple port, I mean who isn’t in here unless they got the boot! I am actually thinking of picking up the camera again, I used to do more photography than modelling 10 years ago, so that could be on the cards..."



When I speak to photographers I ask about their gear, it's only fair you get to geek out too...do you have any go to items you can't live without?

"I don’t have any real go to items really, I pride myself on being versatile, so I am bit of a collector and a hoarder, some items I use more than others though! I swear by MAC make up and always use that. I always try to throw a corset in there and am often teased for bringing a portable mirror to my location shoots, but that makes sense to me."


Now for the shameless self promotion part of the interview...where can people find you and your work?

"I have a couple of websites:
http://www.lucifera.co.uk which is mostly fetish and glamour, horror.
http://www.lady-lucifera.uk which is all PG friendly content and mostly fashion, pre raphaelites and tudor.
I have a Facebook http://www.facebook.com/lucifera.bathory  I am on Instagram and all the usual places (linked from my websites)"


I'd like to thank Lucifera again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all of the links for more of her work.

Other creatives involved in creating images, in order of appearance: Zardoz (photographer), Mike Croshaw (photographer), Kestrel (photographer) Rain Hollow (model), Mark Perry (photographer), Horrify Me (photographer & make-up), Mike Cohen (photographer), Horrify Me (photographer), Jon Downs (photographer).


Ian
http://facebook.com/guffoggthegeek
http://twitter.com/guffoggthegeek