Friday, 30 September 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - Facebook Photography Groups

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.


I've always had a somewhat distant relationship with Facebook. I have no desire to tell people every little thing that happens in my life, I don't think people would care, nor do I really wish to know what you ate for dinner, or how your last bowel movement looked like Elvis Presley. I do however have a page for my photography/blog which has kept me on there...if it wasn't my 'business' page, I probably would've left Facebook some time ago.

One of Facebook's few features that I still use on a regularish basis, other than my page, is the groups. Chances are whatever you're into, unless you're into some weird kinky stuff that involves a feather duster, a pair of Converse and a medium sized chicken, there's a group on Facebook for you.

I'm a member of various groups, many of which are photographic in nature, such as; Nikon UK Photography, Nikon Advice & Tips, The Societies Of Photographers and Black & White Photography to name but a few. I'm also a member of a few none photographic groups such as; Diostructure, Action Figure Trading Community UK and Articulated Comic Book Art...actually Articulated Comic Book Art is sort of photography related. I may write about it one day, there's lots of fantastic work on there, assuming you like action figures!

As I said, disregarding that weird kinky thing you like, you'll be able to find a group for you. You'll find yourself somewhere to share your passion, get advice, offer advice, show off your work, and chat with other like minded people.

If you see me in the groups, pop over and say hi...and if you're off shopping for a duster and a chicken, remember it has to be medium, large is just too much!


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

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Where When How Wednesday - GJP

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 Graham aka GJP, a talented photographer based in Wiltshire.

Model - Amalia


Hi Graham, 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?

"I’ve always enjoyed taking photos, but I mainly took snap shots and I always wanted to improve. Then, just over 3 years ago my Dad got diagnosed with terminal cancer, so to try and help me cope with this my other half booked me on a 1 day course at Lacock School of Photography (who I cannot recommend highly enough). This enabled me to understand Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO, and from this I went out and tried all sorts of photography (I can also say it is a great stress reliever). As I experimented I did a course on portrait photography, found PurplePort and the direction of my photography has never been the same."

Model - Rebecca Lotus


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?

"Great question, as I always struggle to describe my style (if I have one at all). However, I know I like to try and tell stories with my images...


Models - Artemis Fauna & KRG

...and I also aim to create images that could be stills from a movie, or be on a poster, an album or a book cover. 


Model - Artemis Fauna

Whether I am successful and what style people class those as I’ll let others decide."



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?

"I have to say I am very similar to you in that I have an issue with self-confidence in my photography. This leads me to periods of self-doubt and a few times giving up model photography for a while. However, when I come back it is normally with more purpose, focus and love for shooting again."

Model - Rebecca Lotus


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?

"One of my main inspirations are song lyrics.  I worked with the wonderful Sinopa Rin and we had discussed shooting around the lyric “Hubcap Diamond Star Halo”. So we approached the designer Sparkly Bird (https://purpleport.com/portfolio/alittlebirddreams) who created a fantastic headpiece based on this, and this image resulted...


Model - Sinopa Rin. Post Processing - Siren Arts. Designer - Sparkly Bird.

I am also currently shooting images with models based around an Ed Sheeran lyric.

Other than that I love looking for inspiration on PurplePort, 500px, FStoppers and the quality of the work I see on these sites keeps me trying to up my game."


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?

"It was seeing some images (on petapixel.com) and what dodge and burn did to them (in the days of darkroom only processing) that got me understanding how post production is a key part of the process.  So as much as I try to get it right in camera, I now firmly believe that PS isn't cheating, it's making the most of what you captured.

If you haven't seen the article and seen the images it is well worth a read:

http://petapixel.com/2013/09/12/marked-photographs-show-iconic-prints-edited-darkroom"


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?

"On one of my first location shoots, I was working with a 19 year old model (shooting lifestyle images), doing my best to remember what little I knew about photographing people, when a police car pulled into the car park near where we were shooting. 

I thought nothing of it and carried on clicking, until I saw a look of concern on the model’s face, turned round and found two policeman right by me.  They had received a call from a ‘concerned’ citizen that someone was taking ‘inappropriate’ photos of a young girl and had come to investigate.

Thankfully the model had ID to prove her age and I showed them the images on the back of the camera and those already downloaded to my laptop, all of which were fully clothed and they left after apologising. 

Scary at the time but quite funny looking back.  However, it actually helped the shoot because after that we both relaxed and got a lot better images than before they arrived."



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?

"Right now I am interested in shooting with more fantastic models and making sure I keep having fun, keep learning and keep improving.

Other than that, short term I am looking to try and get some images published.

Further ahead I’m looking to put some creative teams together to shoot some bigger more adventurous ideas – so anyone interested (MUA, Stylist, Model, Location Owner) please drop me a line."


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 have to be honest my kit is not overly ‘sexy’ but I shoot on my Nikon D5300 with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 for the majority of my model photography."


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

"Come visit me at:
http://www.gjppictures.com
https://purpleport.com/portfolio/gjp

Come follow me at:
https://twitter.com/gjppictures
https://www.instagram.com/gjppictures"


I'd like to thank Graham again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. Be sure to check out the links for more of his work, and the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved.


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

Friday, 23 September 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - Danny Molyneux Photography Blog

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.

Continuing what seems to be a current theme for 'Foto inspiration Friday' I'm going to share another blog today. As with the past two shares, today's is also a former 'Where When How Wednesday' participant.

Danny Molyneux, whom I interviewed back in May, has blogged for a while now, having started his blog back in 2013.

On Danny's blog he shares the results of his photo shoots, stuff he's learned, and some of his none photography related escapades with, well photographs. His writing is detailed but not tossy, it's easy to digest and enjoyable. His posts are also accompanied by some great images. His blog has even been noticed by YouTube photography royalty, having received comments from the one and only Tony Northrup.

If you're reading this I can only assume you enjoy photography related blogs, or you got majorly confuddled on Google. Anyway, assuming you're here because you enjoy photography content, I highly recommend Danny's musings to you...I've just finished rereading his '5 steps for getting the best from your model'. It's full of great tips not just for how you should interact with other creatives, but how to interact with people in general.

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

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Malefica

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 Malefica, a talented model based in County Durham.



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 had been admiring a few friends that did it as a hobby, and occasionally expressed a degree of wistfulness at being so confident and admired. The partner that I live with gave me the metaphorical kick up the rear end to apply using some photographs taken from LARP events that I had attended, and it went from there! My first shoot was May 25th, 2015."

Photographer - Andy Green


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?

"I consider myself versatile as my selling point, so I try not to deliberately pigeon-hole myself. A pierced chameleon! Most of my work is predominantly nude and gothic however, so going with that label if anything will work."


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'd say that self-confidence is also a problem. Good photographers have made me apologetically cry/nearly cry at them from how they make me look at the end. And the flip side of that has happened to. Trying to maintain an un-influenced self-image is a continual challenge, I think. Remembering the good images, and keeping true to knowing how you really look versus the old adage of the camera adding ten pounds..."

Photographer - Photos By Marshall. Studio - Studio f2.8


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 art actually! I'd love to do more shoots that get quite Brom-inspired (http://www.bromart.com/). Helmut Newton's work is also very distinctive. So far as inspiration otherwise? My friends and my music."


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?

"One of the images done by Graham Short Photography, definitely...

Photographer - Graham Short

...Not only did they raise the bar for the quality of my portfolio, but they are also the producer of the images that, if I'm having a bad day, I look at and feel near-instantly better about myself."


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 really say I've ever been in a scary situation, to be fair. But funny? Ask all of the photographers who've seen me pull funny faces when they do lighting test shots. I try to lighten the mood of shoots if I feel that it is getting too serious. Trying to get set images is all well and good, but I model to be creative and to have fun. If I can't crack a smile or have a laugh with someone who I'm working with, then I won't be 'in the groove'."

Photographer - Aphrodite Images


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?

"I plan on eventually being internationally published, and just more 'known' really. I've already had a few friends say that they find my modelling and related confidence to be inspirational, which really means a lot to me. There are a few people that I want to work with that would require saving up for, so that is a long-term goal, and I'd like to travel abroad to model at least once next year if all goes to plan. In the short term, more of the same - with more wigs!"

Photographer - Photos By Marshall. Studio - Studio f2.8


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?

"Make-up, definitely. I like putting on my warpaint and battle armour, as I playfully call it. I do rely on my mobile quite a bit, for the obvious communicating and for taking behind-the-scenes images that seem pretty popular. My phone also really helps me feel connected to people, so I'll say that? But my collars (14 and counting!) have a special significance to me, so it is rare for me to be in a shoot without them on - or without some other item of jewellery standing in for one."

Photographer - Graham Short


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

"Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maleficamodel
Twitter: https://twitter.com/maleficarose
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maleficarose/
...and on Purpleport of course!"


I'd like to thank Malefica again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me, be sure to check out all the links above for more of her work, as well as the links attached to the images for all the creatives involved in creating them.


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

Friday, 16 September 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - Lucifera and Lady Lucifera

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.

Following on from last week when I shared the blog of a former participant of my 'Where When How Wednesday' interviews, I thought I'd share another participants blog...or rather, blogs.

Lucifera, whom I interviewed back in June writes two blog, Lucifera and Lady Lucifera. Lady Lucifera focuses on the 'safe for work' work that Lucifera creates, the stuff you wouldn't mind your nan seeing. Lucifera's other blog, Lucifera focuses on the not so 'safe for work' work that she creates, the stuff your grandpa looks at when your nan's at bingo.

On both blogs Lucifera shares her work and offers insights into the creating of the work. She also often interviews the other creatives involved in making the images with h...dammit, I'm advertising competition again!

If you're like me and you very much enjoying hearing about the creation of images, as much as you do seeing the images, I can't recommend Lucifera's blogs enough...Lucifera recently published a post 'Learning To Love Yourself' which is about the subject of body confidence, and body shaming, something which I've touched on in the past. If you only read one of Lucifera's posts for now, I highly recommend that one.

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

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Review: Neewer NW985N Speedlight For Nikon

I just came across this in my drafts folder dated 19/09/2015. I'm not sure why I never published it, possibly my terrible memory, but I thought I'd share it now with a couple of images it has been used on...


Photography can be a very bloody expensive hobby to pursue, even disregarding the expensive 'basics' such as bodies and lenses the cost of the other paraphernalia can soon mount up. Over recent(ish) years many companies have popped up selling equipment at a fraction of the price charged by the big names, one such company is Neewer...I have to admit, until seeing them on Amazon I'd not heard of them.

One expensive piece of kit that Neewer offer at budget friendly prices are speedlights, carrying a range that covers most of the major camera brands, be it straight out of packet or with a hot shoe adapter. One such speedlight they offer is the Nikon fit NW985N, and that is what I shall be attempting to review for you. I say attempting, I'm a relative newbie to speedlights having used mainly available light in the past, so if this review stops abruptly part way through, I couldn't fathom the damn thing out!



According to my extensive research (unrelated YouTube videos followed finally by Googling it), the NW985N has very similar power to the Nikon SB800. Now, I can't verify this, but what I can say about it is...a quick Google search show prices for the SB800 alone starting at around £129 (used) and £170 (new), and I got the NW985N with wireless trigger set for around £60 and a few pennies.

Up to now the only speedlight (or rather speedlite as it was for a Canon camera) I have ever used had two settings, on and off. Whilst the NW985N is more complicated than that one was, it is by no means difficult to use meaning newbies like myself shouldn't be put off giving it a go. The menus are laid out in quite a simple fashion, with each mode (TTL, Manual, Wireless (slave) and Multi) having it's own colour coordinated menu. Whilst I mainly stick in manual mode, each of the modes work well...I just like the control I have in the manual mode. The only slight issue I had at first was turning the speedlight on...due to not reading the manual, being that I'm a man, it took me a moment to realise the power button needed to be pressed for around two seconds to turn it on/off.

The NW985N feels quite sturdy, plastic, but sturdy. It has that stereotypical 'professional' look that non-photographers/models expect if you shoot them. The head can rotate 180 degrees either left or right, and tilt 90 degrees between the direction of your lens and straight up. Within the head is a pull out bounce card and a wide angle diffuser...no more taping bits of card to my speedlight. The NW985N comes with a plastic dome diffuser, plastic slave stand, and a padded fabric carry/storage case. I have to admit, the dome diffuser just seems like a flimsy bit of plastic (mine was warped on arrival), I haven't used it yet, and likely won't.



As I previously mentioned people liken the power of the NW985N to Nikon's SB800, I don't know how true this is but I've found the power more than adequate so far. The level of power can be adjusted from 1/1 down to 1/128 in half stop (horizontal buttons) or third stop (vertical buttons) increments, this gives you plenty of control when it comes to lighting your subjects. The recycle time between shots is very quick, gradually increasing as the battery power depletes. I don't know exactly how many shots you get from insertion of fresh batteries, obviously different factors affect it (Amazon states you get between 100 and 1500 shots, which is a little vague), but I've always got plenty out of it.



As my proficiency with speedlights grows, if it grows, I may well find myself leaning towards buying a more expensive named speedlight, but for now the NW985N is serving me well. If like me you're learning and don't want to shell out big bucks, it seems a good choice. If you're more advanced, you tell me, is there a benefit to getting one of Nikon's own speedlights over something like this? If you're from Nikon and want to give me a speedlight to see if there is a difference, or a camera or two, my contact details can be found on the contact page!


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

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Black Salad

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 Jim aka Black Salad, a talented photographer based West Sussex.

Model: Mell Smith


Hi Jim, 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?

"I did a bit of photography when I was at art college in the late 80's, but I was always more interested in drawing and painting, so didn't really pursue it at the time. Many years later I was working with a group of teenagers who had been excluded from school. I was roped into delivering creative art classes for them five days a week. It was hard to find subjects that would engage them, stuck in a classroom with me. They would arrive late, stoned and only interested in gawping at Facebook and YouTube and strangely not excited by my attempts to encourage them to express their dissatisfaction with society through the art of cut-up newspaper collage. So, I borrowed a couple of cameras and dragged them all outside to take pictures. They mainly enjoyed it and I struck up an instant interest in teaching myself some basics. Then I got the bug.."


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?

"Hmm. I guess the majority of my work is an overlap between portrait, fashion/beauty. Away from model photography I love street/travel shooting. I'm happiest wandering around a foreign city taking pictures of little details that catch my eye. You would not believe the amount of folders full of battered doorways, broken windows and wrinkled Mediterranean faces I have!"



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 don't tend to draw inspiration from any particular sources. There's so much stuff out there to admire; films, art, photography, music etc. I don't really know what has a specific influence on me. Probably a combination of all of those things. As I'm not much of a planner, I tend to try and take inspiration from the subject or location I'm working with at the time. This approach doesn't always work!"


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 don't really attach much significance to my pictures once they've been edited and posted somewhere. It's all about the next shoot and improving. That said, there are a couple of street portraits I've taken which I'm quite fond of. And being a soppy parent, some photos of my daughter which I hold quite dear."

Model: Amy Shadbolt


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 remember when I started out I did a kind of lingerie/glamour shoot for a friend of a friend. The pictures were pretty dreadful. Anyway, I got a message shortly after from a Polish girl she knew who wanted to pay me to shoot something similar for her. She told me she'd hired a hotel room in Crawley (alarm bells should've started ringing just at that point) and would meet me there for our shoot. I turned up and she came to meet me at the reception then we went back to her room. Waiting in her room was a much older woman who spoke no English and kept nagging at the girl whilst answering endless phone calls. The girl told me this was her Aunt who was there to act as a chaperone. Through sheer naivety and feeling a bit disorientated, I didn't twig that this was her 'madam' or pimp or whatever. When it dawned on me after a few minutes, I decided to fire off some quick shots and get out of there. That's when two burly Polish guys entered the room with a couple more girls in lingerie moping behind them. Things got a bit heated when I informed them I wasn't going to shoot the girls for them and was leaving. One of the girls, beautiful in her lingerie, refused to let go of my light stand and I had to wrench it away from her. One of the men grabbed my arm and I wriggled free, grabbed my stuff and bolted out the door, just ducking a stiletto heeled shoe which whizzed past my head and landed in the corridor. I think that was my 4th shoot!"

Model: Elva


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?

"I have some interesting portrait projects coming up with people involved in the art world, painters, sculptors etc. I just want to improve and work on ideas and concepts and to find my identity more. In an ideal scenario I would be spending my time nosing around old foreign cities, drinking good coffee and taking pictures of battered old doors."

Model: Charley Christianne


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 started off using Sony cameras (A350 and then an A77). Good cameras, but dreadful for low-light. So I recently treated myself to a 5D mk3 and a couple of decent lenses - 135mmL f2, an 85mm 1:8 and a Sigma 35mm art lens. Those Sigma art lenses are damn sexy!"



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

"For mainly model photography I'm here: https://purpleport.com/portfolio/blacksalad
For battered old doors and stuff: http://www.jimkirby.photography"


I'd like to thank Jim again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. Be sure to check out Jim's PurplePort portfolio for more of his work, and the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved.


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

Friday, 9 September 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - The Digital Amateur

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.

Whilst it may seem a little counterproductive as a blog writer to advertise another blog, the subject matter of which is similar to yours, that's exactly what I'm going to do today...

Back in July I interviewed Mike of Arrow Photography about his work, it was a great interview and some stunning images accompanied it, you should check it out. Anyway, in recent weeks Mike has started his own blog 'The Digital Amateur'.

'The Digital Amateur' is set to show Mike's works, share his anecdotes, and disseminate his words of wisdom...his 'my helpful hints for new photographers!' is a particularly good read!

Whilst Mike's blog is currently in it's infancy, his first few posts have been both very informative and very entertaining. I highly recommend you head over and add it to your reading list...after adding mine obviously!

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

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Mike Ashmole

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 Mike Ashmole, a talented photographer based on the Isle Of Man.

"I had the great privilege of photographing Mike on a number of occasions.
This shot taken at the Isle of Man TT during the late 1970's. Just before the evening practice was due to start.
He then went on to win at least one race that year."


Hi Mike, 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?

"I started photography compleatly by accident, I left school early without any qualifications, and went to my local college of further education to do an art course, then about six months into the yr I was asked to take a message to the photography dark room, once I went inside with the mixture of dim red glow, the strong smell of chemicals and that magical change from blank white printing paper to a subtle blend of greys  through to black I never wanted to leave."

"two planes, 4 coaches, full ground crew. 1 hour to start and complete the shoot.
And I was only about 22yrs old when I did this photograph.
This is something that I doubt will ever happen again, taken approx 1982, the coach company wanted their new coaches photographed.
somehow they got permission from the airport to allow me to photograph the coaches almost under the wings of two aircraft.
My Bronica was being repaired so I had to borrow a Hasselblad, which I hated with a passion, and would never use again.
The coach company wanted the medium format negs, so this is from a 35mm."


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?

"Since joining PurplePort which I have to say is a fantastic site, I have been trying to improve my Art nude photography, I only started last summer 2015 so I know I still have a long way to go in this genre. But I love the way that light catches a woman's body, and the work I do is to show a combination of beauty, grace, and strength of womanhood, and even though some of my work is a little more gritty, I hope it still comes across as a form of raw beauty."

"I used to photograph antiques for an auction house, one day they arrived with a painting wrapped in newspaper, ( you can see under the frame the paper it was wrapped in ) when I opened it this beautiful Lowry was inside in a old battered frame. it has now become a well known and famous example of LS Lowry's work. and I now remember what a joy it was to hold in my hands, and to be one of the first people to see it close up.
The reason why it's in B&W is because the auction house produced a catalogue for any special items but at that time it was only printed in B&W."


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?

"One aspect of modern photography that I have problems with, is editing, on a number of levels. Firstly I work like no one else I know, I only shoot JPEG, and before everyone jumps on that, I have had that argument a hundred times already, i have tried, I just don't get on with raw. Secondly I have never reused a compact flash or SD card, I delete shots as I go along, but once I fill a card, that's it, I file it as I would a set of negatives, so that at any stage in the future I can always go back to the original frame. Also I find these days that it's not photography as I understand it, more like who has the best computer skills, people say that it's always been like that, but that's not the case, in days gone by you relied on your own skills as a photographer, / printer, / spotter ( retouching with a 00 sable brush ) and mixing ink dyes to match the right skin tones etc, but now it's more a case of who has the latest software for Photoshop, by the way I don't use photoshop, just the program built into Windows 7."

"I don't take many landscape type photographs, but with this one, I saw the grass curled around, and when the sun was low enough in the sky, got this beautiful sun set, with the reflection off the sea.
Taken with a Canon 70D with 70-200 f4 L lens"


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 have always relied on my own inspiration, yes I look at other people's work and think that looks good I must have a go, but that's as far as any photographer as ever inspired me, I tend to think the other way around, ok so that's a good shot but I try to do better, I like to keep things as simple as poss and then do them the best I can. When I first started, I would go into my back garden and look for something different each time, it might be using a different lens, or time of day, or mono rather than colour, but over time I trained myself to be able to asses a scene so I could get the best from it, I would then be able to see the final result in my head, so I knew if it would work before I took the shot."

"taken in August 2015, during my very first Art nude shoot. I had arranged a 3hr shoot but was afraid I might not manage to fill the time, when the 3hrs was up I was asking if she could do longer.
I have been hooked ever since."


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?

"My PurplePort avatar of the exploding bulb has always been one of my personal favorite photographs, it was done because a friend wanted to do a sculpture of a bullet breaking a light bulb and wanted a photo to work from. It took me a week. I only ever took three frames two on the first night, when I saw I had the timing wrong and all I had was a crack in the glass, I then set it up again the next night and I was thrilled with the result. By the way I say at night because I had to work in total darkness, the bulb was fixed in position, my Canon F1  with 100mm 2.8 lens on a tripod, a Mertz 402 flashgun set on only a small flash, which should have a duration of approx 80,000 th sec  and an air rifle held in place on 2 stands. Now turn out the lights, open the shutter set on bulb and pull the trigger.  After a bang, flash of light and tinkle of glass, remember to close the shutter, and it's off to the darkroom to develop the negs, then some 37 yrs later it becomes my avatar on PurplePort."

"Taken in 1979 but still one of my all time favourites.
I have never revealed all the details about this shot, as some was by chance, but made all the difference.
Basically shot with an air rifle, with flash as the light source and to control the exposure. The camera, a Canon F1 was set to bulb so the shutter was open before the trigger was pulled, and not closed until a few seconds after the bulb had been shot.
I only ever took 3 exposures, 2 on the first night, when I found I had the timing wrong,and only had a hairline crack in the glass, and then this one shot the following night."


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?

"The scariest and for some the funniest situation was when I was helping to teach one of the girls on my o level course how to print, we were both 17 and each night the cleaners at the college would knock on the door of the darkroom to say they were locking up for the night, well this night they didn't, so about 9.30pm I said to her we had better pack up for the night, so we went down to the front doors only to find they were locked, no problem I said we can climb out of a downstairs classroom windows, but they were all locked. We then headed for a payphone that was in one of the corridors and called 100 for the operator, who of coarse wondered why I wanted out when I was with a 17 yr old girl, and spent the next 20 mins laughing amongst themselves, eventually they said they had managed to contact the caretaker and to wait. Well a few mins later we heard the cleaners coming along the next corridor, so we went to meet them so they could let us out, but as we went through the next set of doors there was no one there, (to this day I know we both heard voices), so we ran back to the front doors just as the police arrived with the caretaker, I have never been so glad to get out of somewhere."

"from a shoot with a local model, Oleander, I love to explore shape and form, and I find that black and white or mono suit this kind of work, often better than colour.
Taken at my home using a couple of old Bowen's studio flash heads that are at least 30yrs old now."


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?

"I don't really know where my photography will lead me, this time last year I had no idea I would be a member of PurplePort doing this, all I can say is that's it a constantly changing arena, I love the process of taking photographs and I get withdrawal symptoms if I don't at least hold a camera, I thought I had just about done it all, until I tried Art nude, so now I can't say, but I hope I enjoy photography as much in the coming yrs as I have till now."

"taken in the models changing area, I had less than 3ft to work in, my elbow was in a sink behind me and at one point I turned on the tap by mistake,.
but the light was sublime, natural window light, but the panes were frosted glass, so the light was so even.
April was so patient, I kept her in those cramped conditions for at least an hour while the light held.
Taken on a Canon 70D with what is my favorite lens for Art nude work, a Canon 17-55mm f2.8 is. which I bought second hand off eBay.
This lens allows me to work in confined spaces and in very low light, I am also able to obtain the body shape and lines that I like."


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 current equipment is a Canon 70D. I chose this especially because of my mobility problems and the articulating back means I can move the camera and see what I am photographing via live view without me having to physically move position.

My favorite Art nude lens is a Canon 17-55mm  f/2.8. IS, It is very sharp even at 2.8 and the IS allows me to work in very low light.

Other lenses I have are 24-105mm f/4 IS, 70-200mm F/4 Non IS, 100-400 IS.    

Primes  50mm. f/1.8, 100mm. Macro, and a new one which I also really like the 85mm f/1.8...all Canon.

I have recently bought a strip soft box, and I love the focused light that gives.

My studio flash is three 30yr old Bowens Flash heads and white umbrellas I have had since the 1970's"

"taken in March 2016 at a shoot arranged by Sandon Studio.
Artemis was one of the models and I was able to have a 2hr shoot with her.
I have been lucky in my choice of models, and Artemis is no exception, being not only a very beautiful and talented model, but also a lovely considerate young woman as well.
Canon 70D. 17-55mm 2.8 is lens."


When we've chatted in the past we've talked about the fact that you are disabled (Spina Bifida), and you mentioned just then in the gear question your mobility issues dictating your camera choice. As the carer for a disabled wife we've had to find workarounds for things people take for granted, have you found your Spina Bifida has made any aspects of photography particularly difficult, or impossible, and have you come up with workarounds for it?

"My disability affects every minute of my life, and this is also the case with photography. 

When doing model shoots these days I am not able to stand for very long, and even when I am able, or have to do so, I use a walking stick with my left hand and then try and use the camera with my right, it's one of the reasons I use zoom lenses more than prime, as a zoom allowes me to compose shots without the need to physically move position. But most of my shoots are done with me either sitting on a chair or just as frequently on the floor. I am sure to the models it must seem unusual, but needs must. 

Location shoots are particularly difficult as it means carrying photo gear to wherever we are shooting, and as i try to be as independent as I can, I don't like asking people to carry things for me, also due to the nature of shooting Art nude it needs to be somewhere not many people go and may also be slippery under foot if wet, such conditions for me are a nightmare as I am prone to falling over, I am way past the embarrassment part but I am likely to hurt myself, so if I want to do a location shoot I try and visit the area a few days before to make sure I am happy with all the above aspects. I drive a Toyota RAV4, she gets me to lots of places I cannot walk to, in case anyone is interested, my Rav is an automatic and is also converted to hand controls as I am paralyzed from the knee down in my right leg, and almost in my left."


This question is sort of a two-parter... Do you find the fact you're disabled affects people's perceptions of you and your ability as a photographer before you shoot? And after you've shot with them do you find that their views have changed?

"This is a really hard question, because I have always been disabled I have no way to compare how people react to me as a disabled person, rather than if I wasn't, but because I am aware of my difference when arranging shoots I always let models or studios know, and that I might need help moving things, I have to say considering some of the horror stories you hear these days about how some people react to disability, I have been extremely lucky and have only been treated as another person, which is all I ask, thankfully I now have enough work on my port so that any models can see the general standard I am able to achieve , and from my own point of view, whilst I know I am not at the top end of the photographer to work with list, I hope I am not at the bottom.

weather people's views change after a shoot, is again not something I can answer, and not a question I would normally ask. But what I can say is that after some and also during shoots I have got to know some of the most gorgeous people that I have ever come across and the more I work with differant models the more relaxed I am able to be and so conversations start up and often I just want to put the camera down and chat. So I suppose the real question is how are these same models like with other photographers."

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

"I live on the Isle of Man so I have not managed to meet many differant people yet, but I sometimes try and arrange shoots on the mainland,  the only place I publish my work at the moment, is my PurplePort portfolio, as I have said I am not very good at computer skills so I don't have a web site. However if anyone ever wants to contact me for some reason then they are welcome to do so and I will always help anyone if I can."

"the amazing Anna Rose, another 2hr shoot at Sandon Studio.
I didn't know what to expect, but as soon as I arrived at the studio, Anna introduced herself to me, and within a very short time she was producing shots like this.
Another very talented and lovely lady.
Canon 70D. 17-55mm. f2.8 is. Studio flash."


"If I may I would like to pay my thanks to all the people I have met and, or worked with over the past few months, as I have mentioned before I never expected my photography would change so dramatically as it has, and it has given me a real wish to continue and to try and improve, and also since starting this kind of photography, my understanding of modeling has changed so much, I have learned that it is not always the glamorous lifestyle one expects, that on ocassion it means after being in a studio with lights and makeup one moment, then eating a takeout in a motorway car park, or maybe going on location for the first time with a new photographer, and trusting all will be ok, or even having to go home after a full days shoot and having to catch more than one train while carrying a massive case stuffed with various outfits. Another aspect I could never fully understand is why so many models say they have problems with self image and esteem, but after a shoot with one, who said she started modeling to gain confidence, I asked why do this if you are unsure about yourself, and this young lady then explained so clearly that when she has a nice shot taken and she is then able to show her friends, when she gets the response that they like the shots, that then gives her the confidence she needs to carry on and makes her feel good. Until then I hadn't understood but when she explained it made perfect sense."



I'd like to thank Mike again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. Be sure to check out Mike's PurplePort portfolio for more of his work, and the links attached to the images for the other creatives involved.


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

Friday, 2 September 2016

No Foto Inspiration Friday This Week...

Due to the events of this past week there's no 'Foto Inspiration Friday' this week.

Normal service should resume next week, there should also be the launch of a new feature...

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

Thursday, 1 September 2016

No 'Where When How Wednesday' Yesterday - This Is Why...

For anyone who looked for 'Where When How Wednesday' yesterday, please accept my sincerest apologies as there was none. There's a legitimate reason, not my usual 'ooo, icecream'...'I was eating icecream' reason that stuff doesn't get done.

Tonight marks the first night ever that I am spending without my wife, Jan. Since we married on January 8th 2011 we've never spent the night apart. This may seem weird to many, but to me the notion of spending the night away from the woman I love seems weird.

Before I explain why we're apart tonight, a little background...around ten years ago Jan suffered a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the pulmonary artery), since then she's never being 100%. Around 2012-2013, after contracting a multitude of conditions prior, she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia...actually, that's not strictly true. She was initially diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalopathy, then during a conversation with her doctor, he casually said 'well that's to be expected with Fibromyalgia'...and like that, she was diagnosed with a condition that many don't understand, many don't believe to be a real thing, and most couldn't give the furry crack of a rat's behind about.

Fibromyalgia has a many symptoms, excessive tiredness, muscle and joint pain, weakness in limbs, and 'fibrofog' to name a few. Since we married, Jan has gone from a very active person, who went to music concerts with groups of friends on a regular basis, to bed bound. Before today, the last time we managed to get her out of the house was for her Employment Support Allowance (E.S.A) review. E.S.A is a stupid named benefit, which is frankly no benefit at all, and each year some I.T company on the orders of The Job Centre forces disabled people to be questioned like criminals as some people have abused the system...if we couldn't have got her there, her benefits would have been stopped straight away, it was bloody difficult! When I say benefits, after electric, gas, and water you barely have enough for food...I have no idea how these 'benefit cheats' do it?

Tuesday 30th Jan was showing the signs of a bout of her Fibromyalgia symptons, something that isn't too rare, we've just learned to deal with it. Things quite rapidly got worse and we found ourselves at Bolton Royal Hospital...when I say worse, it was like she'd had Absinthe, and I'm not talking the modern facsimile, it's was like she'd had the oldschool stuff! She's currently having to stay overnight, on her own, getting pumped full of fluids and antibiotics as she has an infection...they don't know what, they don't know where... They're just giving her broad spectrum antibiotics and trying to find the infection, something which they say 'may not be findable, it may just be one of those things!'

This is why there was no 'Where When How Wednesday' yesterday, I was unable to write it up...I realise there's an odd irony in saying that whilst typing this, but today is now Thursday and I have a few minutes while my pain killers kick in to bump off my headache.


Thank you for being patient, and again, sorry there wasn't a 'Where When How Wednesday'...I know some people actually seem to enjoy them!


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