With 2014 fast approaching, it is probably a suitable time to finally tell you about a calendar shoot I did quite a few months ago. I was asked by Kate Ross-Kellam, the lady behind the West Midlands' March of The Mods charity campaign on behalf of the Teenage Cancer Trust, to create some images for a charity calendar.
In the months spent looking for the new studio space, we looked around some awesome – that’s awesome in a photographic sense rather than the “suitable for Fotofilia” sense- buildings in various parts of Birmingham city.
To help the decision process, I took quite a few photographs along the way on the iphone and ipad and couldn’t resist playing around with them. So here are a few potential studios that got away… And the weird stuff found inside…
I’ve long held the belief that it’s possible to spot the difference between the pros and the amateurs (I can almost hear you groaning “not the Pros Vs Amateurs stuff again”) on social media simply by the notes that they post along with their images. For instance, in the case of photographers who work with models, a professional photographer (or at least most of the ones I know) will name-check the model, the make-up artist, the hair stylist, and any designers or stylists that have been involved in the creation of that image. The amateurs… don’t. Usually (thankfully, there are exceptions – those with a more professional attitude probably).
I’m not sure what to put this down to – perhaps amateurs are in more of a rush to get their images “out there”, or pros are more appreciative of the contributions made by others, or pros realise the value of maintaining good working relationships with the team they work with, or amateurs are more prepared to take credit for the work of others… I don’t really know.
But I do know that if you look at the work of Claire Seville, Tanneke Peetoom, Andy Watson etc, credit is given where it’s due. But, sadly, I could equally point you to the websites of MANY amateurs or new pros who never even mention the model by name.
And since I’ve climbed up here onto this here high horse, this basic etiquette should also, I would suggest, extend to mentioning whether your picture was taken as part of a training event or workshop (even if the details of the course aren’t mentioned). I’ve seen so many pictures published on photographer’s profiles and websites where no mention has been made of the fact that the image was taken as part of a group shoot, even when…
- The model was selected and styled by someone else
- The “theme” was someone else’s idea
- The hair and make-up were done by a third party
- The location was selected or even hired by someone else
- Lighting was provided and set up by someone else
- Camera settings were as instructed by someone else
- And sometimes, when someone else is DIRECTING the model!
In some cases, all the photographer has done is to point the camera in the general direction of the subject and press the shutter, and then sat back and lapped up any resulting internet adoration without acknowledging ANY of the input of the other people who have played such a vital role in the production of that image. I have seen websites of photography businesses where a substantial percentage of the images chosen as representing the skills of the photographer – the pictures that potential clients may use to determine whether this photographer is capable of producing a particular look – were actually taken as part of a group course or workshop (mine, in some instances).
I’ll admit that I do find this a bit rude. A little bit of courtesy here costs nothing. And what of the potential clients who are looking at their work assuming that they’re responsible for the whole look of the images when they’re not? Surely, this is misleading at best, almost fraudulent at worst. After all, they’re selling something that they didn’t actually create, something that they almost certainly wouldn’t have produced without the considerable input of others.
If everyone behaved with the kind of professional courtesy of the likes of Andy Watson (et al), the industry would be a much more civilised place.
Right, can someone let me down off this high horse? Anyone…?
Never one to do things the obvious, predictable, right-way-round kinda way, after showing you a “behind the scenes” shot in the last post, here’s a couple of iphone pictures of model Dean Smith from last week’s Fotofilia “Night Photo Safari”.
We’ve been running our Night Photo Safari events for quite a few years now and you may have seen images from past events here on these pages. But this is a first: one of our attendees, Kevin Harper, took this shot of the group photographing our model Dean Smith in one of our regular locations. The pillock kneeling down in the parka and back-to-front hat is yours truly.
I’ve lost count of the number of these events we’ve run over the years, and the number of people who’ve taken part, but the idea has been copied many times (one company even copied the name “Night Photo Safari” – cheeky!). For obvious reasons we run most Night Safaris during Autumn and Winter so attendees are warned to dress up warmly. Sadly, the models bear the brunt of the near-polar conditions and this particular occasion was no exception – poor Dean was visibly shivering and sporting a red nose before long. But so far, we have only cancelled one event because of the weather – and that was because the snow was falling too rapidly to justify driving to the studio. Snow underfoot? No problem. In fact we laugh in the face of light precipitation. We tweak the nipples of freezing fog. Hardcore, that’s our Night Photo Safari clients.
Thanks again for the photo, Kevin!
Forgive me, reader. It has been weeks since my last post and all I can say in my defence is that it has been a busy and very varied time. Not least, we have been working towards moving into our new studio. I went along to the new premises to take some photographs for the architects who will be transforming it from long-empty and fairly run-down 3 storey unit in Birmingham city centre into the exciting hub for Midlands photography that we know it will become.
Until now, I haven’t been able to say very much about the space and I’m still not going to tell you everything, but Fotofilia will be occupying the basement of this huge unit. The rest of the unit will contain… well, you’ll just have to wait and see. For now, here’s a couple of images of the basement as it is now…
I’ll share more details in the fullness of time but it looks likely that we’ll be moving in early in 2014. And yes, we’ll be hanging onto the Regent Parade premises too (I’ll have some news about that very soon).
Here are a few iphone pics from the recent Fotofilia CLUB/f2 trip to Sarehole Mill, Hall Green, Birmingham. We were only there for a couple of hours and at least part of that was spent in the cosy little cafe (fresh coffee cake that morning). But it’s a nice little place to toddle around with your camera. As usual, I took both my DSLR and my iphone, and as usual, I still haven’t edited the DSLR images as yet.
Apparently, a certain young man by the name of Tolkien played around the mill as a child and it was thought to have inspired locations in his books. I can certainly see how the cake might be hobbit-forming. Yes, I know. It’s been a long day.