A home for the things I think are worthy of sharing. Will largely be photography based.

Posts tagged “personal project

James Dean + Dennis Stock – by New York Times

Used to watch New York Times [Lens] videos on a regular basis. But as they’re no longer on Vimeo it seems I’ve missed them – but they’re on their own website.

Here’s a really interesting one I thought I’d share – on James Dean and Dennis Stock – the photographer who took “the” photo of James Dean – the one of him n Times Square in the rain. Rather than a quick snap – seems that there was a two month run up to it. Would be great to do something like this! If only I had the time. Maybe I should make it happen rather than hoping always.

I tried to embedd the video but as wordpress.com doesn’t allow iFrames – here’s a standard link:


Friends Photo Project : Jess De Wahls – Artist

Jess De Wahls Art

A continuation of my personal photo project of friends with interesting jobs or past times – Jess de Wahls – again…

I’ve already photographed my friend Jess for this project but as mentioned then – that was for her hair stylist work. This time it’s for her artist side.

Jess has used several different media – including a fair bit of Acrylic on canvas but of late she has moved to using fabrics a lot. A lot of these have been recycled from garments etc in the past.  A recent project of hers has been Monsters and Ink where she would make custom made creatures from recycled (or up-cycled) clothing – so that each piece would be unique and tailored to the customer or person donating the clothing. Recently she has moved towards making art pieces to hang but out of fabric and made to be 3D – she calls this process Retex-Sculpting.

Jess has recently launched an IndieGoGo campaign called #BigSwingingOvaries which is  “an exhibition, exploring and incorporating art, feminism and recycling“. Her goals and inspiration for the show are:

I want to inspire people to overcome preconceptions about what it means to be a feminist.

I want to open conversation, not just between the genders but with everybody ho still believes that the notion of feminism is redundant.

I  want to show, that something valuable can be created from things that others think are worthless

that something valuable can be created from things that others think are worthless

And most importantly,……………

I want to support a remarkable project called #techmums , lead and initiated by my friend Dr. Sue Black. An organisation, empowering women through tech.

Half of the proceeds from the pieces sold at the show will go to the #techmums cause.

In order to produce promotion material for the campaign and exhibition Jess needed some new images of her and her art and knowing I was keen to do a shoot along these lines, gave me a call. So we’ve just done a shoot this Monday and here are some of the results. You may see some on London underground posters soon!

As time was of the essence we had minimal time to plan and do the shoot and so maybe not as diverse a collection of images as we may otherwise have done – but generally happy with them. I had a bit of an issue with flash triggers as I’d only brought one receiver with me – having left the other plugged in at home – however after a bit of fiddling I was able to get the second speedlight to act as a slave/remote to the first with the radio receiver.

Techie bits: Nikon D800, 2x SB-800 on manual, Elinchrom Skyport trigger

Images are below.

Jess’ art websites




Big Swinging Ovaries




Project: Friends with Interesting jobs and hobbies : Jess de Wahls

Jess De Wahls

Continuing my newish personal project of doing location or environmental portraits of my friends with interesting jobs or hobbies – here’s the second.

This is my lovely friend Jess De Wahls – she’s both an artist and a hair stylist. My intention is to do two shoots with her – this first one at her salon at Soho Theatre in London and then the second will be in her art studio. I have a couple of friends who I might do two shoots with – I know an interesting bunch of people and love it.

We did this shoot after decorating her studio with artwork from various friends of hers after it was newly decorated. There are even two prints of mine there amongst the others. It’s certainly worth a look.

Because of the space available and travelling on public transport I used speedlights on this occasion. One significant challenge was the mirrors and pictures in the studio – was quite a job to take photos without having too much reflection of the lights – or even myself in the mirrors or glass. Would have liked to do different angles and sides of the salon and maybe even her at work doing someone’s hair but unfortunately it wasn’t possible at the time.

You can contact Jess for a haircut (or art) via:

Website: http://www.jessdewahls.com

Facebook: JessWahlsAtSohoTheatre

Facebook: JessWahlsArt

Twitter: @SalonDeWahls

One extra tidbit of information – Jess and I share a birthday! We’ve joined forces on birthday celebrations more than once. Oh and yes Jess has cut my hair 🙂


Personal work + the creative spark

Both on this blog and in person I’ve been thinking and discussing personal projects a lot. As you may have seen – my last blog post I’ve started along the path of doing a personal project myself, the first that I can truly call a “project”.

Part of this also ties into my admiration for freelancers – having never gone it out alone I find the whole prospect rather daunting – not that I’m thinking about it seriously – but it is a consideration from time to time. E.g. A Retoucher friend, Hazel Nelson, has recently gone freelance. If you need any work done – go ask her.

So when I happened across this video just now it struck a chord – it shows someone wanting to move to doing different work but in the same industry and how he went about it – with passion – and investing time in it. If you really have the passion for it and want to do something it’s worth giving it a damn good go. Thought I’d post the video to share.

Just subscribed to the lynda vimeo channel.

Project: Friends with Interesting jobs and past times : Margot Magpie

A topic common amongst photography and photographers both online and in magazines is that of personal projects.

As yet I’ve not really had one or worked on one and so I thought it about time.

Various ideas crossed my mind such as low-light London, however I realised that because I’ve essentially become a people photographer (I wouldn’t say portrait as that doesn’t really cover events) it would be more fitting if I did a project on people. An obvious choice was the weird and wonderful people that I know…. I use the term “weird” as a complement by the way, and an alternative to “interesting”. In addition I wanted to do more photography away from the studio environment and so I’m looking to do environmental portraits of friends who have interesting jobs or hobbies in the environment in which they do these. An inspiration for this has been reading several of Joe McNally’s books which I’ve found to be very interesting and inspirational.


So first up is my friend Margot Magpie.

Margot is a friend of mine who does taxidermy. Starting as a hobby she now gives taxidermy classes throughout the UK and is a member of the UK Guild of taxidermists.  Her classes are primarily mouse taxidermy and are called “anthropomorphic mouse courses” as the mice are often given props and posed in ways in human like scenarios. Classes are often put on in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. In addition to classes she also produces taxidermy related items for sale and various other commission pieces such as for museums (e.g. London Science Museum) and theatrical productions.

Our shoot was at Hackney City Farm where Margot usually holds her London classes. As we had sufficient space I went for the option of using studio lights rather than small speedlights. It was shortly before one of Margot’s classes,  stuffing a young rat which had been found dead a few days prior. Unfortunately we ran out of time for Margot to complete the piece but it was most of the way there.

Margot and I have worked together a few times – I’ve photographed some of her items for PR uses and her etsy shop. Since this shoot – we’ve also had another to document the whole mouse taxidermy process in detail for a project of hers which hopefully will be out soon.








Updates: http://ofcorpsetaxidermy.wordpress.com/upcoming-courses-and-demonstrations/

London: http://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org/mousetaxidermy.html

Manchester : http://madlab.org.uk/courses/


Remixing or Copying

Of late I’ve started to think that I should work on a “Project” again (again as in thinking I should, not having done one before) as I don’t seem to be photographing much for myself but more for other people. I enjoy this and sometimes it brings in a few pennies but all too often the editing can take weeks of my free time evenings which on occasion can be fulfilling but when it continues for many evenings can drag on.

One issue I’ve had with thinking of topics to cover is that they all seem to have been done already or are too obvious e.g. the view out of windows in my life (home, office, bus etc). Reading through photography blogs and magazines pro-photographers seem to start personal projects for two reasons A. Just as a creative output for themselves, but also B. to create something interesting and (arguably) innovative so that it can show their prospective clients or peers something new and a reason to pay attention to them. So it’s this later point which I find troublesome.

I am rather averse to doing work (photography) that is too similar to to others or making use of other people’s work – it’s for this reason I generally don’t photograph statues or graffiti. If I took such photographs I wouldn’t consider myself the major contributor to the end piece and so not really my work. I would of course be happy to photograph such things for the purpose of documenting them – but not to present it as my own “art”.

This also leads on to one of my pet hates – such projects that are every repeating. Reading many photography articles and blogs as I do all TOO OFTEN you se the same thing coming up time and again. Often presented as being quirky, different or innovative – but since I’ve seen it all before – not in my mind. Common examples would be levitation photographs (where people seem to be hanging in mid air, either vertical or unusual poses) – my most hated, Fashion shoots using powder, under water fashion shoots, etc I could go on.

HOWEVER I recently watched this TED talk by Kirby Ferguson – he was the person who made the Remix videos that made the rounds a while ago but the Ted talk encapsulates some of those areas. It’s interesting – take a look:


And it’s started me thinking – is it too bad if I do something that’s been done before ? It might even be really hard to actually find something that someone somewhere hasn’t done before with photography in terms of projects. As long as I choose something without being influenced by someone else to omuch (i.e. doing something because X person has, or I’ve seen another person’s effort),  and that I make it my own, not copying others too much – then it might not be too bad. E.g. there has been quite a strong resurgence in light painting photography recently – and even though it’s not a new thing (See Picasso doing some) I appreciate it as  some of the recent results have been fantastic – check out Dennis Calvert.

So – maybe time to let go of the hangup of doing something that may have been done before…..

Let’s see what I choose.

I’m still not touching “levitation” photography though 😉

Here are the rest of the Remix videos from http://www.everythingisaremix.info/