Sunday, 4 December 2011

Portfolio video

My friends over at Wonderful Machine have a copy of my portfolio which they take around the US on their visits to ad and design agencies.


It's hard to put together a book for WM as they visit  whole range of clients, whereas normally I tailor the contents of my portfolio depending on who I'm going to see. If it's a hotel group for example then I put in lots of my interiors and lifestyle images, whereas If it's a travel magazine then it will be landscapes, food shots and environmental portraits. So for the book they hold in the US I have a bit of everything, and hope clients will come to my website to see more of the particular genre they like.


Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago they were visiting some agencies in Minneapolis and as part of the trip made a video of my portfolio, which you can see here:



You can read about their visit on the Wonderful Machine blog, here.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

What to do if your pictures are stolen

I'm sure many of you have found instances where your pictures have been used without your permission. Simon Crofts, a lawyer turned photographer, has given an excellent introduction to what to do if you find one of your images has been used without a license. Required reading for all UK photographers.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

London interiors

I shoot interiors quite frequently as part of my travel work. But over the last month I've been shooting quite a few for the peeps over at One Fine Stay, a luxury rental company here in London. I've blogged about how to approach shooting interiors before. Here are a few from the last month.








Monday, 5 September 2011

Lightroom workshop with Martin Evening

Friday was a gorgeous sunny day here in London but I managed to spend most of it locked inside a blacked out studio. Why? Because I spent the day on an Adobe Lightroom workshop with none other than Mr Photoshop himself, Martin Evening.
Martin is a London-based fashion and beauty photographer who was part of the first wave to embrace digital imaging back in the late 1980s. Having cut his teeth on Photoshop 2.5 (we're now on version 12!), Martin has become one of the world's leading experts on digital imaging. His books on Photoshop and Lightroom are bestsellers and have become the "go to" books for using these complex pieces of software.


I use Lightroom 3 almost every day to manage, edit and print my images - so I like to think I know my way around the program pretty well. But I knew there was probably a lot more I could get out of it, and I wasn't wrong. Spending a day with Martin and 4 other photographers was a great experience and I learned an enormous amount about how to get the most out of my images - I took 12 pages of notes!


I'll share a few of the most useful tips on the blog over the next few months.



Friday, 19 August 2011

Prague

Well I'm happy to say that Hollywood has nothing to worry about - I'm just back from spending 4 days in Prague being filmed for an instructional DVD for Canon, and my acting skills still need a bit of polish :-) We were working some crazy hours but director Alun Pughe and the rest of the crew were great. Look for the DVD in October / November.


I only had a couple of hours to walk around and take pictures - here are a few of my favourites, all taken on a Canon 5D2 and 50mm:




More after the jump:

Monday, 8 August 2011

Fuji X100 review

Two weeks ago I finally cracked and bought a Fuji X100.


As someone who has used SLRs for the last 20 years, why was I interested in a £1000 compact? Quite simply there are times when I'm just shooting casually and don't want to carry an SLR, but I find traditional compacts, with their slow lenses, poor ergonomics and low image quality too limiting.


For the last 18 months I've been using a Panasonic GF1 with a 20mm f/1.7 for casual shooting. While it is much better than a compact, it still handles like one and so can be frustrating to use. The Fuji X100 was appealing because:
- it has mechanical controls for aperture, shutter speed an exposure compensation
- it has a proper optical viewfinder


Initial reviews were very critical of the firmware, but since Fuji made a major update a month ago that appeared to solve many of the issues, I decided to take the plunge. 2 weeks in and what do I think?


More after the jump:

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Vivian Maier now in London

Back in January I wrote about the remarkable discovery of Vivian Maier, a Chicago nanny and amateur photographer whose archive has turned out to include some of the finest street photography of the mid-20th century.




I'm delighted to report that after a successful showing of her work at the Chicago Cultural Center, an exhibition of 48 of her prints, some of her silent films and a number of her personal possessions has now come to London.


See it this week at the German Gymnasium as part of the London Street Photography Festival and later in the month at Photofusion in Brixton. I'll be checking it out this weekend.


View her remarkable work and learn more about her here.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Roof Unit

I've recently moved offices and rejoined the gang at Roof Unit.


Roof Unit is a shared office space and studio for creatives in East London. Originally set up by Toby Smith in 2005, I was based there for a couple of years until spending the last year working alongside with my friend Richard Hadley


However when Roof Unit made the move to a gleaming new space in Bethnal Green with 20 desks, a photo studio and a sun-drenched roof terrace I decided it was time to rejoin my old friends, make some new ones, and settle back in. There's a great bunch of photographers working here so be sure to check out their excellent and diverse work.


And under the direction of Toby Smith and Alexa Montgomery there will be a program of events running throughout the year - so please drop in if you see something of interest.


Learn more about Roof Unit by reading the recent features about the space in the British Journal of Photography and spoonfed.



Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Scilly Isles extras

Inevitably when you shoot for magazines they can't always run all of your favourite images. For a 6 page feature, they might only be able to use 10 pictures, and those have to tie in with the storyline the writer has chosen. So here are some of my favourite images from the Scilly Isles shoot for Lonely Planet Magazine, only a few of which actually made it into the feature. You can see the whole set in much higher resolution in the recent work section of the website.




Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Scilly Isles with Lonely Planet Magazine

This month's Lonely Planet Magazine is their Islands special issue, and I'm pleased to say I shot the feature on the Scilly Isles. For those of you whose geography is a little rusty, the Scillies are the most westerly part of England - a small group of islands off the South West tip of Cornwall. And to give you some idea of the lead time involved in the magazine publishing business, I shot this assignment in August last year, over 9 months ago!


The job was great fun but not without it's challenges. Firstly, the writer and I flew there in the worlds smallest plane, which meant baggage was at a premium, so I had to pack as light as possible.


Secondly, the Scilly Isles at first seems quite pedestrian compared to the locations I typically shoot. However after a while the place really grew on me. Dramatic landscapes, interesting locals and thankfully some wonderful weather made the shoot a lot of fun and I came away with a set of pictures I was very pleased with.


Here's the layout for the magazine. I'll post some of my favourite outtakes soon. Big thanks to Art Director Hayley Ward and Features Editor and Writer Orla Thomas.










Tuesday, 12 April 2011

New work online - New York City

I've just posted some new work on the website from a recent shoot in New York. Head over to the Recent Work section to take a look.


Big thanks to models Malliha Ahmad, Christina Galioto and Tatiana Eva-Marie, stylist Angelina Scantlebury and assistants Tommy Evans and Chris LaPointe.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Ice Cave

I'm out in Verbier at the moment, one of Europe's biggest ski resorts, trying to shoot for one of my ski company clients. The only problem we have - which we share with most of the Alps - is that we have NO SNOW!

The last major dump was at Christmas, and since then we've only had about 3cm of fresh. The 45 consecutive days of sunshine we've been enjoying is the most ever recorded in Verbier.

So today I decided to do something a bit different and skinned up to a small tunnel in the mountain that a friend had told me about. The interesting thing about the tunnel is that it's filled with giant ice stalagmites - some of them over 3m tall. It's a rather spooky place and feels like something from the set of Aliens.

I went there first a couple of days ago, but the only camera I had with me was my iPhone. So today I went back and shot it with a 'real' camera... I rather like the results, and hope you do too.






Monday, 7 February 2011

Canon 200-400mm f/4 IS with built in 1.4x extender

Ever since I started using Canon cameras over a decade ago, one of the key attractions of the system was the huge variety of lenses available. Need a fast, wide prime? Pick a 24/1.4 or 35/1.4, or if budget doesn't allow get their cheaper f/2 or f/2.8 brethren. Need a telephoto zoom? Take your pick from the 70-200/2.8 IS, 70-200/4 IS, 70-300/5.6 DO and the cheap and cheerful 70-300/5.6 IS. If you need them there are also the speciality lenses such as the 24, 45 and 90mm TSE, the super-fast 50/1.2 and 85/1.2 and the full range of super telephotos all the way up to the monster 800/5.6.


Nikon have only recently updated their line to include a 24/1.4 and a full set of TSE lenses, and they still don't offer anything as fast as Canon's brace of f/1.2 primes. But if there is one lens that has caused some envy over last few years it is Nikon's well regarded 200-400 f/4 VR. It covers a very useful zoom range for sports and wildlife photographers with a reasonably fast aperture, and is pin sharp to boot. In fact Nikon released an updated version last year with better coatings and improved VR.




Canon have at last announced their own version of this lens - a 200-400 f/4 IS USM - but have upped the ante with a dedicated 1.4X teleconverter built in. The extender will allow the lens to act as a 280-560 f/5.6 when required. Many photographers are wary of using teleconverters as you do typically lose some sharpness - this is certainly the case with my 2X extender when used with my 70-200/4 IS. The advantage of having the extender built in is it can be optimised for that specific lens and so minimise the loss in sharpness.


We'll have to wait and see how successful Canon have been in achieving this, but if they pull it off I can see this being an extremely popular lens among sports and wildlife pros. I rarely need to shoot anything longer than 200mm, so I'll probably just stick to my 70-200 f/4 IS and pull out the teleconverter occasionally. But for people who a regularly working at these focal lengths I'm sure it will be a hit.



Sunday, 30 January 2011

New print promo going out

Wonderful Machine are using one of my shots for their latest print promo, going out to 2,000 art buyers across North America. Which is rather fab.


UPDATE - you can read about how it was made here.


Friday, 7 January 2011

Check out the new Facebook page

In my attempt to keep up with the times I've finally gotten around to setting up a Facebook page - click on the panel on the left to head there now.


The idea behind it is to have a way of sharing more day to day things about what I'm up to. More significant events will of course continue to get posts right here on the blog, but if you want to follow along on a more day to day way about what I'm up to, thoughts on photography, and the odd iphone photo, then please check out the new Facebook page. When I post on the blog I'll include a link to it on FB too, so you won't miss out on anything.


So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Facebook page and hit "Like"!



Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The extraordinary story of Vivian Maier

Once in a while an extraordinary discovery is made, such as Robert Capa's "Mexican Suitcase". Recently another great photographic masterwork has been uncovered, but the story could not be more intriguing.


In 2008 Chicago resident John Maloof bought a some boxes of old negatives at a clearance sale, and in the process stumbled upon what may in future become regarded as one of the great photographers of the 20th century.


He originally bought them thinking they might be useful for a book project he was working on, but as he began to scan them in he realised he was looking at street photography of the highest calibre, worthy of standing alongside mid-century greats such as Robert Frank and Walker Evans.


Although the 100,000 pictures included several self-portraits of a woman, her identity was a mystery until he finally found a document with her name on it hidden among the negative sleeves. Her name was Vivian Maier, she was completely unknown to the photographic community and and a google search revealed she had died just days before.


Watch this quick news segment to learn more about her, her work and her amazing story:





The first major exhibition of her work opens next month and the Chicago Cultural Centre. I only hope it makes it over to London some day. You can see more of her beautiful work at John Maloof's blog.


All images (c) Vivian Meier / John Maloof