The Dressmaker

There is a little used function on my DSLR and it is called VIDEO.  When my wife Chris Walker said she wanted to get her old sewing machine out and make herself a dress, I thought it would be an interesting topic for a short video and I might learn a new skill in the process.

Here was my chance to try out Amateur Photographer (06.02.16) magazine’s “Tripod Tricks”, in which it attempted to explain how you can use a cheap tripod to produce high quality looking footage. They highlighted techniques such as The Crane Shot, The Stabilised Shot, The Low Angle Tracking shot and The Slider Shot. You won’t see all these successfully achieved in the final edit as I struggled with panning and focussing, (no auto focus on an 1100D) but happily the machine and The Dressmaker take centre stage..

I love to get your feedback on my video, so please complete the Comment form below, many thanks!

A Perfect Voice anticipated

For once I find myself with a minor ailment and ordered to rest.  Now I have my head around the idea, I wander along to the local library in search of the book I can read from cover to cover in one day and do nothing else.

They say Madame Bovary is the perfect novel. It’s impact on writing style unquestioned.  And so I settle down to immerse myself, test match cricket playing gently in the background.  This notion of resting and doing nothing but read, whilst sounding idyllic.. I’m fidgety .. My photos from the Maidstone Fringe Festival have been released, I could do with circulating them. 

Here’s one.. Father and daughter singing in harmony at The Devil’s Interval workshop..  

Got to be a unique moment for them  ..

 
Ok they may be amateurs but they can sing. This group of “ordinary” people coming together in song and harmony.. Their voices glorious yet unheard outside of the Bower House Venue.. And so to the as yet unheard voice (by me)  of Flaubert..will it be a perfect voice?

 

Praising the Original

I’m waiting on a couple of photo shoots to be released and in the meantime find myself toying with various effects in Lightroom/photoshop.

It’s never been easier to see at a touch of a button the immediate effect of putting on a vignette, bringing out shadows or increasing contrast. I may be wrong but I do find that I dance across the buttons choosing the f sharp of Lightroom or the c flat of photoshop but end up sticking with the original version as shot. To me that is success. What do you think ?

First off here is the original ( ef-s18-55mm f/3.5-5.6ISII) shot at 49mm, f5.6 iso1600 ! 1/60 sec

Do you think anything is added as a result of changing the effects..


Classic black and white beloved of film makers.. Or..


This is the cinematic effect.. I always check how it would look but very rarely do I actually use it. I’m happy if the original stands the test, after all the challenge is to get the shot right first time..

Winning

It’s been a while since I wrote anything and yet so much has been happening. Fringe festivals:-

trips to Bonn and



Nairobi..

But to top it all off, I have won Clapham studios Portrait competition for my off-camera flash study of Sharon Lawrence, actress 



I am delighted of course, and I’m now considering how best to use my prize, 8 hours free studio time.  I like the idea of attempting to get a magazine involved and a camera supplier to lend me some fancy new lens to review ..wishful thinking perhaps, but keep reading you never know you could be involved ..

Vanity Fair?

It’s been a very rewarding week for my photography, not in the financial sense although that may come later, but I’ve had a lot of positive reaction to my images from the latest film shoot.

In addition, in an attempt to build impetus on a Facebook page I manage, I have been promoting my own and others work, with the result that my social media friends are getting very familiar with my images and I supect are starting to think I’m a little vain!

When the producer of the film your working on chooses your work and creates such a wonderful poster image from them, it’s hard for it not to go to your head.

On Sunday we were at the BFI for a screening of Up&Up Productions “Chance” starring our good friend Clifford Hume.  http://www.bfi.org.uk/flare

Did I mention leading photojournalism agency VIIPhoto are looking for new members ? I think I’ll apply….

Rock Genius

The joy of killing time in London before going to an event, besides finding a bar that is, is being able to pop into somewhere like the Natural History Museum. You know, the sort of place that we might have been lucky to be taken to on a school trip , but found utterly boring compared to the adolescent excitement of being both out of school and away from parents.

Avoiding the crowds taking selfies with a replica dinosaur  we wandered into the Mineral collection room.

There we were, stepped back in time to see the Museum as it was in 1881 with its original oak cabinets faithfully retaining Alfred Waterhouse’s original architectural vision. Here lay vast arrays of every type of rock and mineral.  Yes there are enormous emeralds and glittering gold, but most of all there were low cabinets of what appeared to me to be rocks and more rocks.   Not a place for art here!  No diamond encrusted Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin bed .. This is geology 🙂  Doubt we will be here long! Cracking building though !

Oh hang on … What’s this amongst the giants of rock ? 

The legend that is Mr John Berger. His is the only book of art criticsm I’ve ever read and understood 🙂 So much so, that after being recommended it back in the early 1980’s, I always quote John whenever I’m trying to impress in an art gallery!  Well, there are “Ways of Seeing, Ways of Seeing my friend”.

An inspiration on International Women’s Day

Master Photographer Eve Arnold OBE Hon. FRPS.  As is my way, I was rummaging through the library shelves for my next read, when I stumbled upon Eve’s classic 2002 Film Journal. The journal presents a collection of her most iconic images of Hollywood stars spanning 50 years from Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe to Isabella Rossellini and Anjelica Huston.

From the early fifties, Eve was a full-time member of Magnum Photos. This meant invites from such high liners as Life Magazine to do picture stories of the stars which involved spending sometimes weeks shadowing the ageing or the no longer glamourous.

It’s compelling reading.  In my small way, I recognise the situational problems she needed to deal with.  Trying to avoid taking a shot when the camera is rolling, not getting in the line of sight of actors or the anxious review of work to see if the shot worked.

Most of all though, what I get from this book is her sense of integrity. She gave Joan Crawford original negatives of shots that would not have flattered her when she could have sold them for a packet. They were brilliant photos but she knew it was more beneficial to give Joan full editorial control without her knowledge , rather than take advantage. It’s an inspirational  model for me. I’ve carried the book with me all week, it’s my new bible.

It’s motivated  me to re:approach producers. This is sooo the style of photography I want to pursue.  To be immersed in the film, the production and photo the stars honestly.

I’m delighted to say that  Enrico Tessarin Producer of The Habit of Beauty , directed by Mirko Pincelli has invited me to join his crew on the 16th.  How cool is that !

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Habit-of-Beauty/1549356952011413