Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Amy Stout

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 Amy Stout, a talented model based in Liverpool.

Photographer - John Ayliffe


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 first of all, a big hello to everyone reading!

I know people may say this a lot but I kind of fell into modelling. I finished my musical theatre training in June 2015 and I was experiencing my first year in the performing arts industry. In August 2015 I was pointed in the direction of a casting website aimed at the modelling industry. Originally, I was unsure as being.. well... ‘short’ I always assumed I was too small for the modelling industry. However I did join the site and began booking shoots and building a portfolio. Safe to say I haven’t looked back since!"


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 try to work in as many different styles as possible. For me that's what keeps it interesting! I am a fitness instructor and aerialist as well as a dancer so I tend to have a lot of demand for fitness and dance shoots, which I love to do! However on the other side to that I tend to do a lot of portrait and fashion styles. I think overall my work doesn’t fit into a single category. I just love to try new things!"

Photographer - John Ayliffe


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?

"Its funny as I have suffered with self confidence issues myself. I think a lot of us do in this industry but we often go to extreme lengths to cover it up and appear confident even when we are not. Which is sometimes not the best way to go about solving the issue. I have trained as a dancer for many years before I started modelling and I have found that being in front of mirrors/an audience/a camera can make us put too much pressure on ourselves to look ‘perfect’. Now and again I have found myself in a right panic before a shoot/performance over the tiniest of issues. For example, I have woken up with a spot, my hair won’t go right etc. Like I say the tiniest of issues that somehow manage to stress me right out. I’ve just had to learn to breathe and remind myself how silly I’m being sometimes!"

Photographer - Danny Molyneux  Taken At - Nyx @ Studio 13


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 tend to draw inspiration from the people in my life that inspire me. For example, my mother is one of the strongest and most hard working women I know. She is a very strong woman and has instilled that attitude in me. She is the reason I work hard and never give up in what can be a difficult industry at times. Creativity wise I can draw inspiration from various sources. It could be beautiful location I find myself in or stumbling across a truly inspirational image. I often stumble across inspiration at the most unexpected of times. Its crazy!"


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 actually! I have a picture of myself and my grandma who unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago. It was taken at a family wedding and everytime I look at it I am reminded of all the happy times spent together. She was a truly amazing woman! Modelling and photography wise my dance and aerial shots definitely have a special significance to me. I was in my teens when I began dancing so I was known as a ‘late starter’. There was once a time where I would have never dreamed that I’d be able to keep a rhythm let alone be involved in dance photography! Same with aerial. A year before my first aerial silks shoot I couldn’t even climb the silks let alone do anything else. Looking at these images make me realise that if you work hard you can achieve just about anything. And, I’ll admit it, I get a little sense of pride rush through me!"

Photographer - John Ayliffe


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?

"Oh there has definitely been a few funny ones! Luckily for me not so many scary ones. There have been a few incidences where I have perhaps not researched the photographer/client enough and found myself in a situation which was not what I was expecting. Of course, these are all situations in which I have found hilarious and luckily I have never come to any harm nor felt afraid on a shoot. But I think a big tip here is to definitely do your research! I’ve been quite lucky so far, although I am very aware that not everybody in this industry is a ‘good person’ so to speak. Some horror stories I have heard have definitely made me a more cautious person."


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? Plus in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?

"At the moment I have just returned from 2 and a half months in the United States enhancing my performance career. Now I have returned I am continuing to work with the wonderful people at Alternative Fashion Fest. Like I say wonderful people who campaign for an amazing cause. 
You can find out more about them here: http://www.alternativefashionfest.co.uk & http://facebook.com/alternativefashionfest 

Other than that I am continuing to see where life takes me in the world of modelling. What I do know is that I will be spending the coming year working my socks off! And we’ll see where that takes me long term. Watch this space guys!"

Photographer - Danny Molyneux  Taken At - Nyx @ Studio 13


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?

"Modelling wise I cannot live without my little suitcase that I take to every shoot with me. Its like my little treasure chest full of all sorts of clothes, shoes etc. I always turn up over prepared to a shoot. I still can’t figure out whether its because I’m super organised or just really indecisive! Outside of modelling I simply cannot live without my Disney films and my extensive collection of books. I love to get lost in a good book just as much as I love to sing and dance and pretend I’m a princess!"


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

"People can find me on Purple Port as amymary. Here is the link... http://purpleport.com/portfolio/amymary"

Photographer - Danny Molyneux  Taken At - Nyx @ Studio 13


I'd like to thank Amy 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 the other creatives involved in creating them.


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

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Travelling Creative Tuesday - Photography Notebook

As someone within the photography world, travelling somewhere you don't really know is likely to happen at some point. With that in mind, and with a deep love for food...so deep my wife worries I love pizza more than I love her...I came up with 'Travelling Creative Tuesday'. In 'Travelling Creative Tuesday' I, and guest writers will be sharing useful amenities for travelling creatives, be they places to get food, studios, locations, accommodation, supplies...if it's useful, or sells food, we'll be sharing it.


Have you ever heard one of those suggestions that's so damn simple you're almost ashamed you didn't think of it. Like for some reason your common sense didn't bother firing up one morning, like 9 times out of 10 you go into a public bathroom you check the paper, then that 10th time for whatever reason...yeah, that's what happened here. The suggestion thing, not the paper thing...you know, I'm starting to worry about my analogies!

As I mentioned in 'Foto Inspiration Friday' last week, I watch a fellow by the name of Ted Forbes on his YouTube Channel 'The Art Of Photography'. Ted recently started a new feature 'Photography Assignments', in which he'll be setting assignment for viewers to do...it hasn't truly started yet, he's merely announced it. As part of his announcement, he suggested that everyone get themselves a photography notebook (sketchbook, jotter...whatever you wish to name it), for keeping notes on shots, ideas, critiquing your own images, whatever tickles your fancy.

Whilst this is a damn simple idea, embarrassingly so, I hadn't thought of it until I watched Ted's video. It's not a new idea, many photographers did it for years, but I suspect the advent of modern technology has made many of us forget the benefits of the simple technique that is the pen and paper...he says, typing an online blog, on an iPad.

As soon as I had watched Ted's video I decided, even if I don't get to do anything else from his upcoming series, I'm going to do the notebook. So off I pop, on my merry way to Staples to buy a notebook, pens, Sharpies, highlighters, post-it notes, and a Pritt Stick or two.

I'll maybe post an update or two in the future, share how it's going and how it's affecting my photography.


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

Friday, 21 October 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - The Art Of Photography

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 a lot of the YouTubers I watch have a fair amount of content, the majority tend to stick to one or two things such as reviews, or behind the scenes. I don't think there's many of them come close to producing the broad spectrum of photographic content that Ted Forbes puts out on the 'The Art Of Photography' YouTube channel.

Stumbling across 'The Art Of Photography' was one of those happy accidents. It happened to one day flash up as a suggestion on my YouTube home page, and as it was photography related I clicked it. I'll be honest, I can't remember what the video was, but I remember the detail and knowledge Ted displayed made me click the subscribe button whilst watching that first video. This is no mean feat, I usually have to check out YouTuber's other content before doing so.

I think just listing off the type of content Ted uploads would do him a disservice, I think it could demean the channel, and I have no doubt I would miss something. What I will say is, whatever your photography genre, whatever your camera brand, whatever your experience level, 'The Art Of Photography' will provide you with a lot.

Ted's latest feature 'Photography Assignments' is something I am keen to follow the progress of, and whilst life may prevent me from at times taking part, I have no doubt I will gain from it...actually, I already have. All will be explained in this coming weeks 'Travelling Creative Tuesday'.

I know it's often said at the end of a lot of these posts, but really, go subscribe to the channel, you'll get so much out of it!

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

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Oliver Sedgwick

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 Oliver Sedgwick, a talented model based in Liverpool.

Photographer - Mansy.  HMUA - Hayley Roe.  Assistant - Natalie Cowley.


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 did a bit of modelling while doing fashion in college for our assignments and end of year catwalks. Menswear wasn't very popular among the 16 year olds so I was also differentiating my work from the rest of the classes by learning menswear and women's. My family had said I should go into modelling from age 15 maybe? Being an awkward teen with self esteem issues etc and not really understanding how to begin trying to get into the industry I didn't try until I was about 18 and I applied once to a few agencies, they either didn't want me or wanted me to pay (scams) so it went no further.

Fast forward 3 years and I finish college and don't get into uni due to being unorganised, college losing my first year of work and personal issues. I decided to start a creative year project for myself to try and break into modelling, keep busy and creative, create a portfolio, make connections and try other outlets and decide which I was good at and enjoy. I started my project on the 9th September 2015 and have posted everyday since, I have 5 days left now as the project over ran. I have had around 35-40 shoots over the year, been signed to 2 agencies and I am so grateful for everyone who has helped me get this far, and seen the potential to work with me.

I have decided to focus on the makeup side for my next course, it feels the best long term career option creatively and it's something I enjoy doing practically - whereas I didn't really like the sewing side of fashion. I loved research and design/development, I even liked cutting patterns. I just had no patience for sewing machines."

Photographer - Akin.


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 like to think my work is creative, I might not always look professional and 100% polished but my shoots are different to a lot of work I see on Purpleport. I prefer to shoot fashion/editorial type looks with interesting makeup and avant-garde headpieces and accessories. I like to genderbend/cross dress for the shock factor but also because why not? I have a body/look that suits a majority of clothes I try on regardless of who it was designed for, I feel society is moving towards more of a gender blur with fashion and I feel it reflects me as a person as I do wear men's and women's clothes, some days I wear makeup and I see no problems with this. So I hope to show people it is ok to be "odd" to some people as long as you are being your real self."

Photographer - Flash Bang Wallop.  HMUA - Allkah Zaverie.


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 find the travel most frightening personally, I can't relax on a train if I'm going somewhere I've never been or if I'm having to change lines. I am rarely late and have only got the wrong train once (to Manchester instead of wigan - I missed my delayed train by one minute when I was on a platform with no signal/arrivals screen). Another thing I find not difficult as such, but working with other models. I've only had about 5 shoots that aren't solo and I don't really feel comfortable having to touch people I've never met, which I think reads through sometimes in the pictures. Or it's hard to match up facially sometimes as I can't see what the other people are doing so I can't see if it flows as an image. It is something I can work on though as you have to realise it's a job, we're all in the same boat and we're here to get the best images possible."

Photographer - Chris Hall.  Make Up, Styling & Hair Holly Star.


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 really like makeup artists, drag Queens and club kids. I like that they usually work to a theme or a colour palette and it's all very..... over the top but also put together. It looks decorative and extravagant - I also love how people can look different in every single look they do and I aim for that in most of my shoots. If I'm doing something that doesn't revolve around makeup, I like to have an editorial type look - I like magazines like POP and Wonderland. Something unique but a bit quirky but youthful too, I feel it fits me as a model. I don't think I'll ever be one for the super muscled David Gandy kind of thing, so I have to work with what I have and be the scrawny guy who has the great makeup and a nice skirt Smile

People I love are Ryan Burke and Domonique Echeverria who are club kids from New York. Luke Harris a club kid from London, @harmonyhalo on instagram is exactly the kind of thing I love and I was lucky enough to meet him and be shot by him at an event once.

I love the all saints aesthetic too and it's probably where a majority of my daytime clothes are from. I'm a massive fan of Japanese street style too."

Photographer - John Ayliffe.  HMUA - Hayley Roe.  Project management - Naila Ahmed.


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?

"The picture in my profile with the flower horns is one I shot myself and is the one that inspired my creative year...

...Aside from that I can't really think of anything that has stuck with me or that I really like as a single image."

Photographer - Corin Dickinson.  HMUA - Maisie Twigger.  Taken at - Nyx @ Studio 13.


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?

"Probably the first time I ever shot with Zak Tyler is the funniest/oddest story. I was the last to arrive at the shoot where there was 2 photographers and 3/4 models I'd never met who had all been working on other shoots through the day. It was scary meeting a lot of new people and jumping right in to shooting as I think this was my 4th or 5th shoot ever.

Within 20 minutes we were sat in a cinema with tubigrip over our heads.

That's about it really though, I suppose as a male model who doesn't do nude work or fetish shoots I'm not ever really exposing myself to a situation I can't get out of or most of the predatory type people in the industry. Not like I'm complaining but I've never really felt scared or forced into anything I've done."

Photographer - FlashBangWallop.  HMUA - Eva Riley.


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? Plus 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've just finished my big project. I'm looking to start a makeup course and start doing makeup as well as modelling. I'm hoping my agencies will help me to get some new exciting work. I have some catwalks lined up, I'm shooting with a local brand for Asos, my first magazine publication will be out soon and I should have some shoots with some fab people on here lined up before Christmas too. I don't know if I will be able to model forever, but hopefully the makeup will keep me in the industry as it is the first thing I've properly enjoyed for a while, I am so proud of my portfolio and it will be something I can look back on and remind myself that I did believe in myself and push myself to not waste anymore time."

Photographer - Mansy.  Model - Scarlett Kay.


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 love my wardrobe, it is so packed full with interesting garments. I love big knits and fur coats. I have a giant cardigan from Zara with fur cuffs and hood which I have worn to death this year, I have a pair of buffalo boots I love going clubbing in, my prize possession is a black wool and leather Tom Ford for Gucci coat that should be popping up in a shoot or two soon.

Daily clothes I have a pair of grey suede all saints high tops that I will cry when they break, a Sandro Paris baseball jacket, an Issey Miyake pleats please wrap and a limited edition/one off tattered Levis denim jacket with American flag patches and studs. I've only ever seen another one on Kylie Jenner for a shoot.

I also use my Limecrime venus palettes almost everyday and the Spectrum Collections brushes are the best I've ever used - so worth the investment."

Photographer - Zak Tyler.  MUA - Holly Star. Taken at - Amber Kat Studios.


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

"My work is on Purpleport - I should be upgrading to unlimited soon so I'll be able to spruce up my portfolio - I have so much to share and it's difficult to only choose one image from every shoot and have to delete some off here to put more recent work up.

@oliversedgwick on instagram which is my most popular social network - I'm lucky enough to receive fan art and drawings from people there too - I've had over 250 since 2014. It's great for photographers and mua's too because it is also their work and I make sure everyone is tagged and sees it.

My Facebook page is less busy, less than a month old but it's going OK. I prefer to post everything on Facebook and instagram gets the highlights (Facebook.com/oliversedgwickmodel)

Also I'm signed to Rogue Model Management in Manchester and Buildiful Models in London"

Photographer - Flash Bang Wallop.  HMUA - Allkah Zaverie.


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

Photographer - Corin Dickinson.  HMUA - Maisie Twigger.  Taken at - Nyx @ Studio 13.


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

Friday, 14 October 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - Back Next Week

As you can probably tell by the snazzy title of this post, there is no 'Foto Inspiration Friday' this week...

I had a guest writer lined up to share their inspiration with you, but as is often the case, life happened and prevented them from completing the post...and I, like the doofus I am, didn't have a back-up post ready...sorry about that!

Normal service shall resume next week!


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

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Mark Skeet

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 Mark Skeet, a talented photographer based in Leeds.



Hi Mark, 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 dabbling back in the late nineties/early noughties with travel snapshots. It wasn't until I got an opportunity for voluntary redundancy in 2008 that I gave it serious consideration as a career path. I attended a photography business course across 2009-2010 and shot commercially (PR, editorial, portraits and weddings) between 2009 and 2012. All the time splitting effort between photography and my freelance web developer gigs. I did the odd model shoot for fun/creativity during that time.

In 2012 the IT business needed more of my attention and I'd fallen out of love with weddings so I quit professional photography.

Thus ensued a two year break where I didn't take a single photograph. Then my partner and I headed off to Wester Ross (in the far north west of Scotland) and I started shooting landscapes. Fast forward to 2016 and a conversation triggered building a portfolio site, reviewing my old fashion shoots, taking a lease on a studio and 60+ shoots since the end of January... phew!'

Model - Mischkah.  Make Up - Dorota MUA


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?

'It's likely going to sound a bit arty/****y but I aspire to create images that make people go "Wow". 

In the days when I shot portraits and weddings making people cry was the criteria. If you can pull that emotion from people you've made a connection. I suppose in the more sterile world of fashion/model photography that connection is harder to make, but the recognition of your peers is a good substitute for tears.

Overall I’d say I was an OK people photographer, and landscapes aside, I remain fascinated by and rooted to making images of people.

In the work I put out on Purpleport I look for technical competence but more importantly conveying a connection in what I shoot. Whether I succeed or not is for others to decide. I do seem to err towards mid and low key moody set ups, not sure why though…

I’d hate to pigeon hole what I do though, but loosely coupled I’d describe it as people photography.'

Model - Katie Anna


Photography can have its 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 think self-confidence is an issue for anyone with a creative streak. My failing is I'm a perfectionist and my own worst critic. Historically, I would never be satisfied with anything I produced. I'm getting better, slowly. Right now the whole post processing thing is my biggest worry/fear/weakness.'

Model - Barry


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?

'First time round (pre 2012) there wasn't a Purpleport; Purestorm and Model Mayhem were much as they are now and there wasn’t really anyone to bounce off of any great note.

Around that time I was on Flickr and an admirer of the precision that Jay Mawson (http://www.jaymawson.co.uk/) managed. I was also partly mentored and inspired by the most generous French Canadian (sadly no longer with us) Gaëtan Bourque (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lesec/). His work in Canada gave me wanderlust to travel more just to shoot.

I’ve always had a fascination with the bravery and insight of war photographers and am inspired (though it never finds its way into my work) by the likes of:

Robert Capa
Don McCullin - http://donmccullin.com/
Tim Hetherington - http://www.timhetheringtontrust.org/

I’m also inspired by portrait photographers as diverse as:
Steve McCurry - http://stevemccurry.com/
Brett Harkness - http://brettharknessphotography.com/  - his personal travel work is just stunning
Platon Antinou - http://platonphoto.com/menu/
Peter Hurley - http://peterhurley.com/
Jeff Rojas - http://www.sajorffej.com/index
Zach Arias - http://beam.zackarias.com/index

Peers:
Danny North - http://dannynorth.co/
Paul Thurlow - http://www.paulthurlow.com/
Orson Carter - http://purpleport.com/portfolio/orson%20carter/
Vic Kumar - http://purpleport.com/portfolio/vic%20kumar/
Andy Park - http://purpleport.com/portfolio/andypark/

But there are so many inspirations the above are just a small sample.'

Model - Keira Lavelle.  Make Up - Lizzie Shaw


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’ve spoken about connection already. I’ve made many people cry at their kids’ portraits and wedding pictures. But nothing comes close to the work I did for Now I lay Me Down to Sleep (http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/).

I registered many years ago and whilst I was a member photographer I only got called on once. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever taken on, but ultimately the most rewarding. 

You parachute in on a family, at very short notice, whose lives have been torn apart. But to be there to help them, in the small way you can, to provide them with a memory of their child is the most precious gift you can give, voluntarily, in my opinion. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to many people, but I think you have to believe in the good it can do and perhaps, experience the difference it makes to a grieving parent to understand. It provides a lasting memorial for a life taken way too quickly. I’ll never shoot anything as important again my career.'

Model - Sarah Angel Adesiyan


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 always having heated conversations with my equipment (as it seems to exist to misbehave and wind me up) as most of the models I’ve worked with will testify. At least it keeps them entertained. Especially the white seamless not wanting to remain rolled up.

Scariest though, was one of my early shoots. The fab Lisa Marie Thompson came down from Newcastle, she was on the floor with a heavy beauty dish over her and it came loose from its mount (hadn’t clicked it into place properly) and it crashed to the ground no more than 3 inches from her arm. As a true northern bird she didn’t even flinch. We breed them hard up here!'

Model - Lisa Marie Thompson


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, and as sad and depressing as it sounds, my journey is all about retirement. I’m working towards shooting for stock with the aim of building a passive income which will supplement the other provisions my partner and I have to help pay for trips to travel (and shoot more stock) and follow F1 around the globe.

The rest of this year is a mix of shoots with models with a great commercial look, those that can emote and provide a diverse range of images. I’m sure I’ll pop the odd shoot in there that’s just for fun as well.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to afford to work with some of the best models that PP offers.

Creatively, I’ve been really fortunate to make a decent working relationship with the fab Dorota (http://purpleport.com/portfolio/dorotamua) a really fabulously creative MUA so we have the occasional splurge and go mad. The results are always good.'

Model - Natasha J Bella.  Make Up & Styling - Dorota MUA


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?

'99% of my stuff this time around has been shot on a Fuji X-T10 paired with the Fujinon XF 56mm F/1.2. That combined with 1 or more Godox studio mono blocs and a variety of modifiers with Westcott 7’ Parabolic, 27” white beauty dish and a Selens 36” parabolic soft box being my go to key light modifiers.

First time around it was dual Nikon D700s with 2.8 glass (24-70, 70-200) 50 1.4 and 85mm 1.4 - I really miss the bokeh and colour of the Nikkor 85mm - it was something else.'

Model, Make Up & Styling - Natalia Fox


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

'Personal portfolio http://portfolio.markskeet.co.uk
My commercial portfolio: http://markskeetphotography.co.uk
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/mrskeety
Pinterest: http://uk.pinterest.com/markskeet'

Model & Make Up - Ooh La Lea


I'd like to thank Mark 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.

Model - Rob James Seymour


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

Friday, 7 October 2016

Foto Inspiration Friday - The As Yet Untitled Post...AKA, Warning This Is A Rant

As someone who blogs, and/or as a business person you often find yourself told not to share your opinions on various matters. It's ok to have them, just don't share them, it may put off readers or potential clients. With that said, on this here blog of mine, I'm going to share the hell outta my opinions!

This December marks the 20 year anniversary of the JonBenét Ramsey case. I'll say now, this post isn't about the case, although I, like many, have strong suspicions over who committed the murder, and I fear he'll never be brought justice, I'm not risking a defamation suit. As it's a 'big anniversary' of the case every Tom, Dick and Harry tv channel is showing documentaries about it, and as criminal psychology is something I've always had an interest in, I've found myself watching them.

A large part of the documentaries focus on the beauty pageants in which JonBenét took part. Whilst I have no issue with children taking part in sports, or dance, as long as it's something they enjoy and want to take part in, the whole beauty pageant thing makes my skin crawl. For those blissfully unaware of what a beauty pageant is, lucky you, I'll spoil that a little for you though and tell you Wikipedia describes beauty pageants as...

'A child beauty pageant is a beauty contest featuring contestants under 16 years of age. Competition categories may include talent, interview, sportswear, casual wear, swim wear, western wear, theme wear, outfit of choice, decade wear, and evening wear. Depending on the type of pageant system (glitz/natural), contestants may be found wearing makeup to fake teeth, known as flippers, as well as elaborate hairstyles and custom, designed and fitted, outfits to present their routines on stage.'

...Yes, you read that right. A group of adults look at a bunch of children in makeup, and at times swim wear, and judge how 'beautiful' they are. 80's tv personalities did that kind of shit and they're getting arrested left, right and centre (they also did worse, I know. I'm merely pointing out how messed up it is!). It's an entire business built around telling children, mainly young girls, that as themselves they are worth nothing. That they must change everything about themselves to have any worth to anyone. In a world filled with media that tells people, especially girls and women, that they aren't slim enough, or they aren't beautiful enough on a daily basis, would it not be better to try give your child confidence in themselves and their abilities, rather than telling them they aren't good enough?...as someone who's 'family' mocked his body/size for years, trust me, that shit sticks and fucks you up for a long time!

Initially this post was purely going to be about beauty pageants and the damage they cause (believe me, I have many, many more complaints), but it got me thinking about other, more widely viewed outlets that fuel this sort of dickish behaviour, and that lead me to one of the biggest culprits, YouTube...

Whilst thankfully beauty pageants are mainly an American problem, YouTube is available worldwide, and it shares a lot of similarities with beauty pageants. In recent months many YouTube 'celebrities' have made appearances in various magazines. With subscriber numbers in the millions some of these people have a chance that many people do not have, they have a chance to try make positive changes in the world. They have a platform on which they can speak directly to their audience about individuality, about self confidence, about how everyone is beautiful in their own right. Do they do that? Do they fuck! They appear in the aforementioned magazines Photoshopped to within an inch of their life, to the point where they no longer look like themselves. They, as with the beauty pageants, perpetuate this myth that unless you look a certain way, you are hideous. That if you're not a certain clothing size you should live in a bell tower and never be seen by human eyes.


I realise this is quite possibly a controversial stance, and will probably lose me readers and potential work, but...if we shoot together, by all means wear makeup, pretty clothes, or some form of costume. If you only want to be shot from a certain side, or from certain angles, I will oblige. I'll remove the odd blemish that's not normally there if you've had a spot flare up. What I will not do for you, nor for any website or magazine that may want me to shoot for them, is Photoshop you slimmer, taller, remove scars, freckles or anything that makes you, you! I'm not going to be part of perpetuating this idea that you are not beautiful, or that you are worthless the way you are. I don't want the images we create to be a constant reminder of how you don't look, or how mass media thinks you'd look 'good'. I want you to look at them, see yourself, and love what you see...you could say it's one of my biggest inspirations!


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

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Where When How Wednesday - Flash Bang Wallop

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 Doug aka Flash Bang Wallop, a talented photographer based in Blackpool.

Model - Beth Jade


Hi Doug, 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 been interested in Art. It's the only "O" level I got! My twin brother got umpteen "O"'s and a heap of "A"'s and is a bank manager. I guess I'm the creative one then. I always liked looking through old art books and wondering around art galleries.  

I never actually got round to painting or drawing, though, after I left school. It was about when I was 52 before I bought a camera, 5 years ago. I got a bit fed-up of getting wet on the golf course and was looking for something else to do.

Image created by Robert Alvarado, used with consent


The one shot that got me into photography - that made me go and buy a camera was the above image of Candy Del by Robert Alvarado. It's such a simple image and I had no idea who either the model or photographer was and I can't remember how I came across it. But the finish reminded me of the 1950's pinups I love so much by Elvgren and Vargas and although it was a photograph and not a painting I loved the illustrative feel to it.  I wanted to see if I could do it. So I came across quite a few photographers I admired after Alvarado (who is probably my favourite). One was John Farrar and I noticed he'd also shot with Candy Del. I'd assumed she was a Yank...but was thrilled to learn she was from the North East...I was equally thrilled to host a workshop with John where Candy attended. She's a fabulous girl.'

Model-Lilly Von Pink  Make Up-The Velvet Unicorn


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?

'My goal is to make it eye-catching.  

If it was in a book or a magazine I'd hope that one of my images would make the viewer linger for a bit longer. That's my goal, I think. It needs to be a page stopper and a bit different from everyone else.  

But, how weird is this?  I don't court a wider audience. I much rather the model or makeup artist gets an FPI (a recognition of an image's quality on Purpleport, a badge of honour if you will) if we're both using the same image, for example. I never submit images for publication (but happily supply hi-res stuff to models who do). I don't care about all that. I really don't. I'm glad when it gets peer recognition, and all, but have no hankering for that wider audience.'

Model-Heather May Corvid  Make Up-Makeup By Nicci  Stylist & Assistant-Photonumpty

 
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 don't find being creative challenging. I think we all know that it comes in huge peaks and troughs. I'm troughing right now but know it will come back - it always does. There's a good buzz after a good shoot and I'm beginning to miss that. I've recently cancelled a few shoots and taken a part-time repetitive photography job on. I need the dosh. There's no money to be made photographing the stuff I do that's for sure....and when I used to do family portraits...I hated it. It was such a relief when I decided to stop doing them. But this job will let me keep the studio for at least another year or two. It's getting harder to justify the expense to Mrs Wallop.'

Model-Beth Jade  Make Up-Anna Baldwin MUA


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?

'All over the place. I always have tons of ideas...and if I can't think of one then after two glasses of wine I'm usually formulating a plan. It could be from anywhere - how somebody had placed their hand on the bus or the raise of an eyebrow from a waitress or the colour and blur of a reflection. I love people watching. It makes me wonder about them and what they are thinking...right now.  Catcher in the Rye gave me that outlook, I guess, 30 odd years ago.  

Photographers and artists who have really taught and helped me...Rembrandt, Alvarado, Farrar and on PurplePort: RKD Photographic. I think when I hosted a workshop for Rob a couple of years ago it really helped me look - to see the light better and I know my photography improved a lot. Another recent get-together with him has got me really thinking about it a lot more...and when that mojo comes back I'll be putting it into practice. I'm looking forward to that part - experimenting more and simplifying things. I may even start looking for another studio with a bit of window space. If I could find one for the same price, slightly bigger, with a window I'd be a real happy bunny.'

Model-Hazel Rose  Make Up-Nicola Joanne MUA & Makeup By Nicci


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 shoot with Ophelia Overdose was probably my highlight.  She stayed with me for a few days and brought some amazing props with her.  She calls herself the "Queen of Luggage Tetris" and to see her German precision packing of her suitcase is something to behold.

But in general I think my photography has improved a lot in the last year and there have been quite a few shoots that I'm really pleased with. One shoot that springs to mind is a new girl, Beth. I was introduced to her by another photographer and invited her in for a quickie shoot - and was quite taken with her innocent look so invited her back with Nicci MUA and is probably one of my fave shoots.'

Model-Talli Lyndsey  Make Up-Makeup By Nicci


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?

'Oh there's been a few. I recently did a circus shoot with 5 fabulous models...one of them, Kira Dawn, wasn't quite holding a prop how I wanted and my grunts and lack of direction weren't helping...so I just shouted out "Oh! Hold it like a fucking Bell End!" The words were coming out of my mouth and I was like....stop it...don't say it...really stop...but I couldn't....  There was a pause and luckily they all just started howling with laughter. Phew! I could have got 5 neg refs for that!'

Model-Harley Monster


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? Plus in regards to a more long term plan, where are you hoping your creative journey will take you in the years to come?

'No big plans. I'm not one for future planning much. The Intro to Studio Days I hold are usually fun and I need to do more of them to help pay the rent. I don't profess to be an expert, or anything, and they are aimed at the newbie to the studio - showing them how I go about lighting someone etc. I really enjoy them. I'd like to do more big group shoots, the 7 Deadly Sins and Heavenly Virtues were epic shoots as was the recent circus shoot - I would really like to do more of those. They came together so well with minimal planning - just how a great shoot should be.'

Model-Ophelia Overdose


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 shoot with a Nikon d800, the 85mm rarely comes off although I do realise I dont use it to its full bokeh producing brilliance - I love the perspective it gives for portraits and full length shots. I miss the creaminess of the d700 and will never sell it but have never used it in 2 years.'


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

'http://purpleport.com/portfolio/flashbangwallop
http://www.madcowmodels.co.uk/FlashBangWallop
http://www.flashbangwallop.com'


I'd like to thank Doug 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


Additional image created by Robert Alvarado, used with consent.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Travelling Creative Tuesday - Wellie Boots & Knee Pads

As someone within the photography world, travelling somewhere you don't really know is likely to happen at some point. With that in mind, and with a deep love for food....so deep my wife worries I love pizza more than I love her...I came up with 'Travelling Creative Tuesday'. In 'Travelling Creative Tuesday' I, and guest writers will be sharing useful tips and amenities for travelling creatives, be they places to get food, studios, locations, accommodation...if it's useful, or supplies food, we'll be sharing it.

In today's 'Travelling Creative Tuesday' Lucifera, whom you may remember from her interview back in June, shares with you some tips she's picked up along her modelling journey.


The other day I got an email from Ian asking me to submit a blog about places to eat or stay while traveling for shoots. I was thrilled he thought of me but what could I offer? I rarely go on tours so rarely stay in in B&B's and any of my long journeys for shoots would often result in the only thing I was eating was obtained through a vending machine on numerous station platforms, no this would never do.

Then I thought, perhaps I can contribute something else, little gems of common sense that are so simple could be overlooked, but could make a tremendous difference on shoots, especially for location shoots.

So here goes...

No1) Wellie Boots: Laugh all you want but I swear by wellies, a good pair of wellie boots might not look sexy but can make shoots less unpleasant if shooting in woods, meadows and even Urbex. I have found my wellies great for shooting this past summer when shooting in a near by river. The long floaty gowns hid the boots and made things far more comfortable and less problematic. Same for walking along the river bank and in long grassy meadows.  if you're shooting portrait or 3 quarter lengths, you're feet are rarely in shot so why not be practical about it? Here is a shot caught by StephenJ of me proudly in my wellies...


Image courtesy of StephenJ

...we both laughed over the shot but those wellies saved my feet from mud and Lord only knows what else. This isn't restricted to the model either, I think if you're both wearing wellies on location it can really open up your creative opportunities! Ever seen an area that would make a great shot but you're not wearing the right footwear???

No2) Another one that might make you laugh and say in jest "oh what a load of nonsense" is getting yourself a gardening knee pad/rest... 


Image courtesy of Burgon & Ball

...Scoff all you like but I have one and it's great. I used it to sit on when getting ready, kneeling or sitting for shots, and a few photographers have made good use of it too. Granted it's one extra thing to carry but it's lightweight and has a handle, it's usefulness far outweighs the burden of carrying one.

No3) one for us models. Those little compact mirrors get right on my nerves, so get yourself a little mirror on a stand. I badly need a new one but I really miss my old one that had a handle on it, I would often hang it off a tree branch, or prop it on a wall to touch up my make up.

No4) as the cold weather sets in a lot of us might be opting for studio shoots only, but for those of us that will brave the weather conditions a hot drink can make all the difference. Invest in a thermos flask and share a nice hot tea,coffee or hot chocolate ;)

There are tons of other useful tips we can add to this list, a warm dry towel, insect repellent and anti bacterial hand cleanser. I bet all of you have your own suggestions and I think it would be a great idea if you all contributed to this.

Hope you found some of this useful and Thankyou Ian for giving me he chance to share a few thoughts


I'd like to thank Lucifera for taking the time to share some tips with you all. Be sure to check out her portfolio and show her Facebook page some love.


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