Thursday, 24 March 2011

East Somerset Railway

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A short while ago Somerset Life gave me the opportunity to head over to the East Somerset Railway and take photos of the volunteers who work there.

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I didn't really know what to expect and thought that the job would probably take me an hour or so. However, when I turned up I found a great bunch of guys who are totally engrossed in a passion and love spending their time mending and shaping old trains into tip-top working condition. Of course as a photographer I also found many wonderful characters, faces and hands to take photos of. So four and a bit hours later I had just about finished and was packing up to head home.

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Whilst I was there I had the chance to add a few more images to my hands project - lovely dirty railway worker's hands covered in oil and soot.

Young Railway Engineer's Hands
Railway worker's hands

To find out more about the East Somerset Railway check out this months Somerset Life magazine or head over to their website.

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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Sebastian Smith

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The nice thing about being out and about in interesting places is that you often bump into interesting people. I was recently down in the gallery of the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol and bumped into a really interesting man named Sebastian Smith We went there because there was a big photography exhibition on, but on the way out I spotted an interesting poster advertising an exhibition of abstract paintings. So we thought why not check it out.

The exhibition was by Sebastian and he was sitting in the room and happy for a chat. As always in situations like this I end up having a chat, I can't resist a conversation with someone who looks interesting. So after a good natter about anything and everything Olga and I left the gallery and started to walk down the road on our way to another photography show.

The thing was, all the time I was chatting with Sebastian I kept thinking what an awesome face he has and what a great character he would be to photograph. So about 20 meters down the road from the gallery I stopped and told Olga that I had to take his photo. I turned around, run back to the gallery and asked him if I can do so. He said "sure", so we arranged a time.
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A couple of days later I arrived at the gallery with my camera gear. I had an awesome time taking portraits of and having a chat with Sebastian. 

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The moral of the story is, if you want to take a photo of someone, always ask. The worst thing that could happen is that they say "no" and the best thing that can happen is that you get to spend a little bit of time taking photos of a fascinating person.

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Please check out Sebastian's website, he's a fantastic artist, amusing writer and a really nice bloke.
www.sebastianjsmith.com


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Gambling around

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I'm continuing to push myself by shooting self funded work with a team of individuals in Bristol who all want to expand their portfolios. This is an awesome way to shoot as it means I have total creative freedom plus help and inspiration from others as well.

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Most recently I planned a shoot based around a 50's gambling theme. We shot this in Bristol over the course of half a day. What with a pretty stressful time when we thought none of the wardrobe would show up plus being unable to get any models until a few days before it all ended up being quite a stressful shoot. However, with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work it all came out great in the end.

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I like to push my models out of their normal comfort zone and stop them throwing their standard poses if I can. I find that this way you often capture much more genuine moments. In this shoot that meant getting Charlotte and Sal to act as the characters I had outlined for them. They both got really into it, shouting at each other, throwing playing cards around and giving cheeky smiles all at the same time.

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I have to say a huge thanks to everyone who enabled this shoot to be pulled off.Robert Baker did all the hairstyling in exchange for some photographs that we took in the afternoon for a competition he's entering. Ashley Cover sorted us out with some great outfits that really set the scene beautifully and made my character ideas come to life. And Christelle Pellecuer created stunning make up that really helped give that 50's feel. Also thanks to Mustard modelling agency for finding us such great models at the last minute.

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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

L'Oreal hair styling competition

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A friend of mine Robert Baker is a top class hair stylist, and all round good bloke. He contacted me to ask if I would shoot some photographs to enter into a hair styling competition run by L'Oreal. It sounded like  great fun to me so we went ahead and started arranging the shoot. About a month later with many changes of the plans all was set to go. We shot an idea of mine (post to come soon) in the morning and then concentrated on Rob's hair shoot in the afternoon.

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I had a great team for the shoot, which meant a lovely atmosphere in the room. This really helped relaxed first time model Lily who seemed a bit nervous when she arrived but soon got really into it.

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It took us a little while to find the best lighting for the style, I tried with a couple of warm rim lights and a light grey background, but as is so often the case we ended up using the simplest light possible. Just one big light with a pretty hard feel to it (made by putting a bare bulb through a softbox without any baffles in it).


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A huge thanks to the team involved who all gave their time for free to aid their portfolios:
Hair styling: Robert Baker
Fashion styling: Ashley Cover
Make-up: Christelle Pellecuer

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