The fusions and confusions of a curious mind

Learning from the heart outwards, by kempspace

Tag: Canon

The Green Room with Fraser

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Fraser and I stood in the middle of the Green Room at The Bedford and cast our eyes over a treasure trove of band and rigging paraphernalia, temporarily put to one side. Well to all sides. Scribbled walls stacked with lighting heads, gels, mixers, cables, benches and chairs. A piano leaning dormant in the corner, a thick green glased bottle of gin under it’s stool – still standing stoic as if utterly assured of it’s sense of belonging here, it was soaking in years of musical wizardry and a last swig remained.

Perfect. We got elbows deep in it and set up for the photographs.

Here are the photos

For further information please see:

Fraser Churchill

The Bedford

Gordons Gin

 

 

 

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Being A Roadie Photographer…

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…gives me an intimate view on the nuts and bolts of a band’s workings. I’ve followed Honey Ryder since the band began, and over the past year have had my camera to hand whilst doing so and happily lugged a few things as well.

I love the different photography skills I have to develop and draw on to do band photography. In live gigs, the ‘delights’ of having to calculate correct exposures in darkness with randomly flashing lights, trying flash and drowning in flat light, keeping ISO low for better quality and the scene not appearing at all…then which lens? Wide angle to take in the full band, but loose close up wrenched expressions of loss in a love song? Closing in on too many a mouth by microphone, pouted lip or glassy eye, and risk the sense that there ever was a whole band making the gig come to life? Phew…

So I ditched the flash, learnt to switch fast between lenses, fired off semi-automatic to let the camera manage some of the exposure calculations, and kept the ISO high accepting some grain is part of the live atmosphere. Sorted.

Or not quite. Then switch photography to candid backstage style and aim to ninja about (less seen) in the green room to capture nuance and interaction. Oh I forgot the initial rigging and sound check shots for the band at the beginning! I love it, and half the time I turn the photos over to black and white to keep a journalistic feel, because its a story.  Its a story of a band’s hard work, talent, creativity, dedication and relationships blooming in syncrony for the big moments on stage, and then deepening their experience together after it. It’s also a story of how I learn to interpret that in my images and my relationship with the band over the years. I’m a keen, close visual narrator.

More of my gig photography can be found at my kempspace photography gallery here

More about the band Honey Ryder here

Honey Ryder Fan Page here

 

Shooting Weddings: Being Present But Less Seen

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I was delighted to join Dale Stephens in photographing the wedding of Aaron and Terry at Northcote House in Ascot. The setting was the grand Grade II listed Neo-Georgian mansion, the excitement of the wedding party infectious, and our hosts at Northcote House professional to the last.

My role was to focus on reportage shots of the party during the course of the day, a style of photography that I love. Being present but less seen, I skirt the edges to capture people’s expressions in interaction with others, and moments when they become the observers, standing on the sidelines taking it all in. Wedding days are special days, precious moments flying swiftly by; our job to try and still those for just a second so they can be looked back on, taken in and loved again.

With many thanks to Dale Stephens and Aaron and Terry for allowing me to be a part of this and share their very important day. All the very best for your future x

 

 

Who is the portrait really of?

This was an interesting experiment for the photographers involved. The video shows how different contextual information about the person to be photographed may prime each photographer to produce quite different representations of the same person. Of course we know little of the usual style of each photographer and could expect differences between them, but it’s the photographer’s own reflections that are interesting. They respond to the direction to get to the ‘essence’ of the person, then seek to understand the person in the context of his (given) background to create the portrait. How they represented the person seemed unsteadying to them and revealing about how we work with information we are primed with.

As a psychologist in photography I want to think about how the knowledge I bring makes me see this. In cognitive terms, our perceptions and assumptions colour how we interpret information about others and the world outside of us. In psychoanalytic terms, our reading of the intentions and actions of others can often be skewed by our own unconscious projections. It becomes important to know that we interpret the outside world through our own internal world, without knowing this, we deny ourselves the hope of changing how we could see things differently when life gets difficult (by changing the bias behind our interpretations). How is this relevant in portrait photography? Who are we really seeing through our lens? Who is the portrait really of?

I believe that what we ‘see’ down the lens, and the image we create, is a blend of ourselves and the other. In a similar way, the therapeutic relationship and work is created of two minds in concert, that of the psychologist and the client. Whatever is created, whether a relationship or a portrait, is a meeting of the internal worlds of both involved. In the case of the photography experiment, much of the internal world of the person to be portrayed may have been assumed by the photographer due to the context given. How this influenced the image may have shown more about the associated concepts in the photographer’s mind than the ‘essence’ of the sitter.

I’ve learned that what moderates the extent to which we recognise the individuality or ‘essence’ of the other, is the extent to which we know ourselves. The more we know ourselves, the more we are able to partial out our ‘essence’ or associations and more clearly ‘see’ or portray the other’s. I wonder if these photographers felt quite exposed, but hopefully only insomuch as understanding that these processes are normal to us all.

Red Carpet Wood

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Under the shady trees rushing by to my left, a red carpet of leaves set fire to the woods. I pulled over to stare hard, it was stunning, but moments of light were eeking away into the dusk and I’ve never pulled my camera and Jack out of the car so fast. He ran around my feet while I tried my best to find the exposure that would work  – frustrated – I don’t want to have to pull this up so much in Post! Trying to keep my brain thoughtful in a fizz of excitement is a feat I’ve rarely managed. Figuring through the magic triangle of ISO, aperture and shutter speed, I found that very small part of my brain that deals with numbers threatening to bolt out the stables. C’mon… work it through…breathe (meditation helps in surprisingly diverse moments). Clicking through the stops I realise this one’s got to go manual to try to get what I see. I rotate the clicks to big scary ‘M’ in the hope I’ll get something before the sun says sayonara.

I still needed some of the magic dust of Post courtesy of Photoshop, but it was much less than before, but a light sprinkling of it. When I look through the frames, I can see I’m getting there.

Red carpet woods

With thanks…

There have been people over the last few months who have gone out of their way to help me with photography: connecting me with others who can help, encouraging me to find my own style and story, sharing experience of putting an exhibition together and hanging it, learning more Photoshop retouching skills, and thinking about the market out there! I would like to say thank you to them. As any beginner knows, things can seem like a tangled rush of information unless others with experience can shelter you for a moment, and point out the woods from the trees.

I realise there is only so much I can learn alone, and after 3 years of exploring and making connections, I’m now enrolling in courses at West Herts College to get some formal teaching and I couldn’t be more excited. For me, this beckons a potential life change and I know that I can check in with those I’ve met along the way, I wanted to thank them today.

I’m not sure what the future holds (it can’t be known), but I know I’m not ready to stop, the image ideas are coming thick and fast and invading my dreams, and I need to know how to realise them. This is somewhere I didn’t imagine I would be when I picked up my first Canon IXUS 60, or my Canon G12 bridge, my interest really caught grip when I held my first DSLR (Canon 60D) in my hands. Training my eye through the viewfinder on anything from the landscape glory of the Gower coastline to the cropped, close focus grit of Hoxton. I learned slowly from many mistakes and still managed to enjoy the frustration!

For all those wishing to take things further, I cannot recommend enough seeking out others who share your interest, who have two good ears to listen to your questions, a mind that is generous in sharing experience and a heart which reaches out and gives encouragement along the way.

Thank you…

Jason Arber

John Vaughan

Richard Kalina

Chris Shelley: Hertfordshire photographer and exhibitor

Suzanne Grala

Louise Paige

Syd Nadim

Lukasz Warzecha

Related links:

Bureau of Freelance Photographers

Alamy Stock Photography has a strong philanthropic agenda.

Canon

West Herts College

Photoshop

The Gower Coast

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