Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Where When How Wednesday - Holmax

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 Hull based photographer, Richard...known on Purpleport and other parts of the net as Holmax.

Model - Madison Horn

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

'I've always been a bit obsessed with taking pictures right from being a kid shooting endless blurry pictures of ducks. I was sick of poor quality out of focus shots, admittedly probably more my fault than the cameras, so for my 18th birthday I asked my parents for a nice Olympus bridge camera that I'd seen advertised.

Once I got it, I thought I'd better learn how to use it properly, so I bought a couple of magazines. Within a fortnight I'd quickly realised it wasn't what I wanted at all and went and swapped it for a Canon EOS600 film slr. My parents weren't very chuffed, but for me it was a revelation. It went everywhere with me. At the time (late eighties), I was on a yts training scheme and was on £35 a week. At least £10 of that went on film and processing every week. All the pictures were pretty poor, but at least they were sharp!'

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

'I wouldn't say I have a particular style, although I do tend to shoot a lot of lingerie, nudes and portraiture. The main thing I aim for is to make it classy looking and actively avoid 'cheesy glamour'. I generally shoot things for my own and the models satisfaction rather than to chase 'likes', but as it turns out, the styles I do seem to be quite popular. I do however have quite a few shots that I love and think "that's got to be worth an fpi", only to find people obviously don't share my point of view. But to me that doesn't matter. It's all about producing shots that both myself and the model like.'

Model - Mischkah

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?

'19 years ago, I had an accident at work which left me paralysed from the upper chest down with no feelings below my nipples and worst of all, no stomach muscles to keep myself upright unless I have a hand on my knee to support myself. When I first had my accident I had to give up photography. Trying to use the viewfinder while flopped forwards with my head virtually between my legs was impossible. Then around 8 years ago came the Panasonic g1 with a flip out screen and fairly fast live view autofocus.

That, along with a tripod enabled me to take up a much loved hobby again. My main problems nowadays is moving equipment around as being in a wheelchair puts a lot of things out of reach such as if I want my lighting set up high. Every model I've worked with has usually doubled up as being my lighting assistant, passing me bits and pieces, lifting lights up to the height I require etc. Nobody seems to mind though and we often have a joke about them being there as an assistant first and a model second.

I'd love to shoot outdoors more, but it's very awkward with the gear I have to carry, but I intend to do a lot more this year. I have quite a few friends who have volunteered their services. I think it's more of a case of they'd like to be in the company of a beautiful model and will carry my camera gear if they must, lol. On the odd occasion I have shot outdoors or on location, I've generally taken another fellow photographer with me to assist.

I'm sure my non photographer mates would do a fine job, but having a fellow photographer assist me is far easier as they tend to know what they are doing and often come up with great ideas during the shoot.'

When we've chatted in the past we've talked about your disability, and you mentioned it just then. As the carer for a disabled wife we've had to find workarounds for things people take for granted. Have you found your disability has made many aspects of photography particularly difficult, or impossible, and have you come up with workarounds for them?

'Probably the biggest problem I have is moving gear around the house and studio. I have every tripod, light stand, reflector etc on wheels which certainly makes life a lot easier. The other issue is lifting lights up to the height I want them, but the models I work with are very understanding and are always happy to help.

Recently I had an epileptic fit which has unfortunately resulted in a driving ban which has made things a bit awkward lately due to the fact I live out in the sticks so a model getting a taxi from Hull station to mine along with a train fare (I always pay travel costs) is unrealistically expensive. Consequently, at the moment I'm restricted to only working with models that can drive or get a lift to my place.'

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?

'I don't advertise the fact I'm in a wheelchair for fear of it putting people off working with me, but I always make sure they are aware of it before they agree to a shoot just so there are no shocks for them.

Perception wise, I think most people are surprised at how well I cope and wouldn't have ever realised I am in a wheelchair from just looking at my pictures. I must be doing something right as I get lots of models coming back for second, third or even a forth shoot. Although that's probably out of necessity as I spend so much time talking I tend to forget to take any pictures'

Model - Madison Horn

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?

'Gavin Prest who is also on purpleport and a good mate of mine is a huge inspiration for me. We often shoot together, sharing the cost of a model for the day. While he's setting up in one room I'll be shooting in another. He has such an imagination and his pictures always tell a story. He's also full of great advice and has been very helpful. It really helps me to up my game when shooting with him. The worst thing is that I think I've got some great shots until I look at the back of his camera and find myself slightly envious at what he's produced in the same location with the same model. But as a model recently said to me "envy is the killer of joy". She really hit the nail on the head with that one. I never try to emulate Gavin, we both have very different styles. I just wish I had his attention to detail and half his imagination.

Photographically wise, I have a huge collection of playboy magazines and I love the style and highly polished look. It's probably the style I find myself trying to emulate above all others. Glamourous but very tasteful.

Another photographer I admire hugely is Miss Aniela Her pictures are out of this world and her photoshop skills are insane. I just wish I had a tenth of her budget and access to the locations she shoots in.'

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 took a shot of my son when he was a couple of weeks old being held up Lion King style by my ex wife which hangs proudly in my office on a four foot square canvas. I honestly don't think I'll ever better it. It says to me "this is my son and heir, the very best, my life's work. He is the future, the boy that will become a man. The person that will carry my name into the future".

The funny thing is, while making this shot, he decided to do a pee all over my ex wife!'

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?

'One that particularly springs to mind is a shoot I did with Madison Horn, a great model and a great friend of mine.

The story goes something like this:

"I know, let's do a bath shoot" she says.
"Good idea" I say.
So after what seemed like an age setting a tripod up just right over the bath and sorting the lighting out we begin. We get some great shots.
"Wouldn't it be great if we tried it with the jacuzzi on" I say.
"Fab idea" she says....

Now the jacuzzi feature hasn't been used for at least five years as I always get showers. After lots of messing we finally figure out how to turn it on. Now I don't know if we got the settings wrong, or if the thing was just exited at being used again, but it started off slowly, then without warning I'm pretty sure it had an orgasm.
I was soaked, my camera was soaked, I nearly had a heart attack, Madison couldn't do anything for fits of giggles which went on for at least the next two hours, and god only knows what the neighbours thought when they heard me yelling "turn it off" multiple times at the top of my voice. They're already very suspicious of the comings and goings of some very beautiful women from my house at all hours.

I learnt from that to never work with jacuzzi baths again... And, for the love of god, never listen to Madison's bright ideas again!!!

Pretty thrilled with the results though.'

Model - Rachelle Emily

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?

'I'm hoping to do a lot more outdoor shoots this year and try some different things. I'm currently planning a shoot with a dancer in some old abandoned farm buildings. It's not something I've ever done before and am really looking forward to it.

Long term, I really just want to continue to improve in all areas of photography and editing. I've always said to myself that I'll know I've made it when the likes of Carla Monaco, Tillie, Mischkah Scott, Ivory Flame etc want to come and shoot tf with me. Thankfully I have some outstanding models who are happy to come and collaborate with me for which I'm very grateful, and I've also had the honour of shooting with the above models I've mentioned, but if they ever want to come do tf, that's when I'll finally think "I must be half decent".

I've no desire whatsoever to turn professional. Having to do it day in day out would very quickly drive me insane. I just enjoy doing the odd shoot every three or four weeks and trying to improve with every shoot I do.'

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 pair of Sony a99 mk2's and my go to lenses are my 50 and 85mm f1.4's.

Lighting wise I have four Elinchrom elc pro hd's that I use in my studio and around the house. I've recently bought three Lupolux continuos Fresnel lights that I'm hugely impressed with. They allow me to focus the light from a broad spread or down to a very tight spotlight. I can also alter the colour temperature of them with the push of a button which is so much easier than using gels on my studio lights.

I wouldn't be without my trusty Gitzo and Manfrotto tripods. They make life so much easier for me in my situation.

Other lenses I have/use are 16-35mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4, 100mm f2.8 macro, 135mm f1.8 and a 70-200 f2.8. All great lenses and bloody expensive, but the 50 and 85 spend more time on the cameras than all the others combined.

I'm also lucky enough to live in a huge bungalow which is great for shooting in although I do tend to decorate it according to what it'll look like in a photo rather than what it's like to actually live with!

I also have a good size studio at my home which I'm giving serious thought to extending as I'm starting to run out of room with all the gear I have. I really should sell some of the hardly used stuff but can't bear to part with it.'

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

'You can find my purpleport portfolio here:
Or my website:
Or on facebook:'

Once again, I'd like to thank Richard 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.



  1. Just met Richard who has and is kind enough to give me tips and advice on photography needles to say what an amazing man not only as a photographer but a person.