Monday, 22 March 2010

Recycle Revolution

I've had a lot on my mind the last few weeks. You know how it goes; someone shows you an example of someone else's work, and you covet it, or find yourself pinned to being one thing when you want to be another; one moment you're saving up for expensive jewellery for someone, the next you're wondering how to spend your summer; one day you've a hundred plans coming to fruition, and the next they're in ruins; for all the joys of work, the pains of chasing those invoices; for all the pains of raising funds for exhibition, the next you're getting a good review in the newspapers and all the stress is forgotten. It is hard as a self-employed person to always be thinking three steps ahead, especially when what you do is something that necessarily requires total focus on what's happening right now. My modus operandi has always been - say yes to everything! You never know when there'll be another chance/you'll go blind/get found out/get bored. Recently though I've been wondering about the benefits of concentrating on one sort of photography. The truth is, I don't think I could change the way I operate unless I had something else to take my mind off life in all the spare time I'd have when not shooting. When a camera is all that lies between me and a dive from a fifth floor window in the middle of the night (well not quite but you know), shooting stop being a job and becomes an escape.

Anyway. Here's some shots from the Suede comeback show at the 100 club (that's Brett dancing away at the top of this post).

Before I got there I ran into my housemate, who'd just won the league with her hockey team. Go girls.

Saturday daytime I'd been down in Barnes, taking some pictures of a short movie being filmed. It was out of interest more than anything; the photos might prove useful to them, and I know the producer, I thought it'd be something interesting to try..

To sound less morbid; all of this thinking has led me to thoughts about how photography is, right now. The better you get at something, the more clearly you see your own failings and the brilliance of others. Within the fields of photography I operate in, there is a clear divide between photographers who publish raw, gritty, beautiful photographs which, with no meddling, depict the world almost as you could see it yourself, if you could catch things in that frame and instant with a blink of your eyes. In particular, Dan Wilton and David Richardson fall into this category - both excellent photographers, capable of showing you what's before your eyes with an honesty that will suck you in. I mention them only because I've met them; there are others, and if you wanted to go up to the top end you could point out similarities with Terry Richardson etc. and it's part of a wider creative movement towards a home-made look to things, I think.

On the other side of the great divide, you have me, and any other photographer who manipulates with light, software, processing etc. in a way to lend a certain fantasy of their own to their subjects. I never made a choice to be one or the other; my style of photography comes from my background of learning through assisting rather than studying; although I started out shooting with 1600 film and no flash, it didn't take much time of me being in a studio to realise that knowing light was the most important thing for any photographer. Of course, each photographer might say something different is the most important thing, but for me, telling pictures with light and shadow became a big part of what the art of it is. Now I find myself at a place where the other style is becoming prevalent; for many years, high-production high-gloss photography rules the pages of magazines, and in the last five or six years, it has swung the other way. It is not a good thing or a bad thing; neither style is better than the other, and I cannot change how I have learnt and nor do I really want to. It is a little frustrating to get less work than other folks on account of style, but really, if I chased the pack I'd be no good at what I do.







I am in the middle of a crisis of confidence; puppies help immensely. The difficulty is the difficulty of it all. I want to chase horses around the New Forest at night with a flash gun; I want giant softboxes hoisted up on cranes to shoot beauty portraits of trees. I want a hundred people in a studio, all performing for me, to make something of it greater than the sum of its parts. For me, these are the stories I want to tell, beyond what is just in front of me. That makes me pretentious, arrogant, ambitious..

Friday I was back at Cafe Oto for The Wire, shooting Carbon Cafe featuring The Gluts. Here they are, and some people speaking.

I like live stuff, and I want to have it all under control; my ultimate shoots involve performers in settings of my choices with perfect lights set up and an army of assistants. I'm doing it on the cheap; just the £5k of kit not £500k. The figures stagger me; to be as good as I want to be, I'd have to spend a lot of money, but the payback should be equal to it. I want to be able to shoot anything and everything. Here's A Rebours last thursday.

Not exactly live performance, but it's hard-shootin and I wasn't thinking straight; earlier in the day I'd been to see Syban;

Before Syban I had been in the scooter cafe with Dusty Limits, shooting his portrait for Le Cool.

Earlier in the week I'd shot some pictures of the Hennginham Family Press, another Le Cool interview you can read here:

Skipping back all the way to Friday, some pictures of Rollergirls for Shirley mag.

I'll try to post more regularly on here as these entries are getting a bit long. I hope you have a nice week and do interesting things.

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