School boy error!

I have two projects on the go at the moment. One is a 365 day project, a photo a day for one year. Sounds easy but its not. Well taking a photo a day would be but taking something interesting every day is pretty tough. Tomorrow is day 14.

The 365 album can be seen on flickr.

This is one of the images I was really disappointed with today:

dscf6401

While I wanted to use a bokeh technique to get a image of the London Eye, Westminster Bridge & Elizabeth Tower, I didn’t intend on cutting off the top of the wheel.

The photo still works but it really was a case a school boy error!

Thanks for viewing,

Jim Jimmy James

 

BT Tower

There is loads of stuff I could look up about the BT Tower and tell you. I can tell you about threats & concerns someone would bomb it. In fact I vaguely remember something about a bomb going of in the tower and that being the reason for the restaurant being closed. I guess I should add that it was actually The Post Office Tower at the time and this occurred long before I was ever aware of such things. I think it was in the very early 1970’s so I was either a baby or just a very young lad.

I could tell you facts like when it was built, how tall it is and lots more but I’m hoping you’re here to look at my photos rather than learn about the post office / telecom tower.

Okay, now I’ve mentioned those things I feel obliged to fill you in with at least the details from above.

The 33rd floor was bombed and it did result in the restaurant being closed. It has opened and closed a couple of times and was recently opened for a charity event.

The tower started to be built in 1961 and is 620ft.

dscf6350

dscf6355

The images were taken on the Fuji XT2 © 2016 Jim Jimmy James

Thanks for stopping and looking.

 

10 of 365photo project.

To see the album please follow the link: My 365 photo project on Flickr.

These following images are just three random photos taken on the way home.

dscf6307-edit

dscf6312

dscf6324

Images all taken on a Fuji XT2. Thanks for stopping and looking.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Fuji XT2… Scratching the surface!

I’m only just scratching the surface with my Fuji XT2 but I’ve gotta say that I am finding the XT2 a great camera to carry around and I’m looking forward to seeing just what I can get out of this camera.

Here are a couple of images taken today while looking for an image to add to my 365 day photo challenge that can be seen here on flickr.

dscf6262-edit

Westminster trip hazard! ©2016 Jim Jimmy James (Marr)

dscf6263

©2016 Jim Jimmy James (Marr)

dscf6277

Lemmy by Martin Häusler http://www.martinhausler.com

This portrait of Lemmy by Martin Häusler is fantastic and should be seen in a setting where you can see the original. Currently on display at The Sanctum Hotel in Soho.

I also post images on Instagram & Tumbler.

Thanks for viewing, Jim Jimmy James.

A stroll along the canal(Two)

I went in the opposite direction today but still remained within the Paddington basin & little venice area. Today I was just really wanting to concentrate on composition.

I’ve committed myself to a 365 day photo challenge. I’m only five days into it and I’m finding it challenging. The good thing is I’m taking more photos which I’m sure will be good for my photography and I’m fairly sure my photography tutors Paul Kemp & Charlotte Asworth from Morley college will finally be saying “about bloody time”.

The only problem I find with this is the problem selecting an image to use.

dscf6207-edit

Fuji XT2 ©2016 Jim Jimmy James (Marr)

dscf6220-hdr-edit

Fuji XT2 ©2016 Jim Jimmy James (Marr)

These images were not selected for use in the project. If you’d like to see the photographs used so far, the album is on Flickr.

If you’re doing your own Project-365-photos, why not share the link to your album.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these images.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Strolling along the canal

There are two houses that I pass every so often during my irregular walks from home to camden. I stroll along the canal because its a nicer walk than being near the busy roads. Although some cyclists think its a bloody speedway and they have absolute right of way.

Anyhow, one of these houses near to camden has a garden that looks a bit grim during the winter months but always looks really inviting during hot days. It looks like it has just enough shade and light to be a perfect hang out with friends on hot days; yet I have never seen it used.

The other is near park road and the entrance is on the outer circle of regents park. Its huge and well kept, yet again I have never seen it used; I’ve never even seen a gardener.

While I’d love to have a garden space to relax  (not likely on my wages) it does make me wonder if I did have a garden would I have the time to use it?

DSCF3012.jpg

Fuji XT2 © 2016 jim jimmy james 

dscf3004

Fuji XT2 ©2016 jim jimmy james

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Whats art & what ain’t?

As a photographer I still find myself questioning what is art and what ain’t. I say ain’t cos thats the way I talk. It should in fact be ‘isn’t’ & it should also be ‘speak’ instead of talk… thats the English lesson over.

That was early for one of my slightly distracting rambles!

So, I sometimes; actually often find the question of art difficult. Who decides what art is?

Why is it that one person can pile up a load of broken disused plastic dolls limbs and it is classed as art selling for thousands of pounds and yet another person presenting the same concept is just some bod that has piled up a load of discarded plastic limbs.

Don’t get me wrong, I see art and think that is art. Its art but I might not want it in my home but I also see things and think ‘how is that art?’.

I struggle with photography being art. I get how some photography is classed as art but can not for the life of me get my head around it all being considered art.

Take this photo:

dscf2002

Image taken on Fuji XT2 ©2016 Jim Jimmy James

I decided to leave the dust on the tuning nuts, not to reposition the tuning head with the reflection and on other aspects of the composition such as the depth of field and so on. However, is it just a photo of my bass guitar with lots of depth of field or is it art?

Artistic, yes! Art? I don’t know. What do you think?

A friend of mine, artist Gal Marin has an exhibition at the 1963 Gallery in London I took a number of photographs for him to use as part of his very complex self portrait project. This closes on the 11th September 2016.

Gal has photography, sculpture, ink drawings, chalk artwork and other items. Its art, its obviously art and it is interesting. It has taken him a long time to put the project together and I’m very flattered to have been part of this project that only Gal knew where it was going and had visualised the final presentation.

But what makes my images and the other photographers images art? Again they are artistic but I really struggle seeing my photos as art.

What has prompted me to write this blog post, well I read a tweet about an article on Nicholas Serota by  Charlotte Higgins via the photographers gallery and it makes me think that actually, modern artists, including photographers are very lucky to have people fighting their corner.

What are your thoughts?

 

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Carnival Escape!

I have personal and professional experience of the Notting Hill Carnival. If you do a search for this event you will find all manor of opinions and perhaps even statisticle breakdowns.

I’m not going to say much more than that. I live close enough to the Notting Hill Carnival for it to have an impact on my day to day life. This year we decided to get away. Not far, just across the river to south London.

A couple of my mates laughed when they found out how close I still was to home but to be honest a break is a break and it is nice to see different parts of London that I wouldn’t usually visit. One thing that was immediately notable was hearing London accents!

That might sound odd to those outside of London but the MLE that you often hear is not a traditional London accent. What is MLE? Multi Cultural London English.

London accents where as different as British regional accents but now MLE is wide spread. I’m not a fan so it was nice to be surrounded by people talking proper English like wot I does. (I suspect it will mainly be Londoners that get that).

Its a photo blog so here are a couple of photos taken on my little point & shoot Canon S100.

IMG_0025

Canon S100:  ISO 100  f/8 hand held at 1/15 sec.

IMG_0073

IMG_0083

Canon S100:  ISO 100  f/8  1/125 sec.

IMG_0089

IMG_0101

It would have been nice to take a better camera out but the Canon S100 is just so small and convenient to carry.

I had a nice break and I think a Notting Hill Carnival Escape may well become an annual thing. Carnival is not for me, it isn’t what it was when it started out in the 1960s but if you did go, I hope you had a good time.

Thanks for stopping and having a look at my images.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

 

Book Review #10

Well I wasn’t expecting to do a single book review so its a bit of a surprise to be sitting here typing review number 10.

The New Street Photographer’s Manifesto by Tanya Nagar: ILEX Publishing. Okay its not a new book. It was first published in 2012 but I’ve only just discovered it as I plan a street photography project.

This little book is small enough to almost be a field guide. Very handy size for reading on the tube (London Underground) and also just sitting in a little coffee shop. That might sound obvious but some photography books are just a bit too big and bulky when commuting.

The book is well laid out in bite sized sections with good advice that some will say is just common sense but to the more novice photographer and those inexperienced with the genre of street photography, this book is really informative and is going to give you the-heads-up.

There are good examples on composition as well as other hints and tips along with a handful of suggested street photographers for the reader to review. In doing so, Nagar introduces the reader to the serious nature of street photography and photojournalism as-well-as the odd and humorous.

After reading this book I’ve felt inspired in ways that I wasn’t expecting and have ideas for a couple of additional projects. (Bonus!).

Was it worth the £9.99 that it cost me? Yes & it is one of those books that I will keep for future reference.

I do have one criticism & I hope, if the author sees this review, they take note for any reprints….

There is a suggestion that you, the photographer may want to wear headphones as this might make people less likely to approach or confront you when they suspect you have taken photos of them. This may well be true and it may well give you some confidence to take those awkward shots that everyone starting out feels uncomfortable taking. However, this is not necessarily the best thing to do in London.

We Brits drive on the correct side of the road, while much of the world thinks they are in the right because the drive on the right, they’re wrong! (But thats for another blog or conversation).

Our roads are busy and it is my personal opinion that driving standards are not what they used to be. Vehicles are also quieter than they used to be and many collisions between buses and pedestrians involve tourists that have looked in the wrong direction before they go stepping out into the road… Best not to stick headphones over or in your ears because even without playing music, they will reduce your awareness of your surroundings.

Now we are talking about your surroundings, as a Londoner I am going to tell you that I live in a fantastic city. I would love to visit London as a tourist. Its beautiful and it has so so so much to see and do.

In London we have a lot of CCTV to help solve crime but unfortunately this does not necessarily prevent crime!

The metropolitan police service does a great job at keeping Londoners and visitors safe but the police officers cannot be everywhere.

In busy tourist areas there will be a number of undercover officers looking pickpockets, distraction thefts and old fashioned muggers but as I said, they cannot be everywhere.

That said, London is a safe city; its a very safe city. Really, you should feel comfortable walking around any part of London BUT I want you to be aware of this: If you are walking around with headphones on, you may well look distracted. As with any city a distracted person is more likely to be a victim of crime compared to someone who appears alert to their surroundings. Common sense?! But sometimes the obvious needs to be pointed out.

If you are planning a street photography project buy this book but scrub the suggestion of wearing headphones. Even somewhere as safe as London.

If you’re a street photographer why not share some hints and tips or even feel free to post a link to your site in the comments.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Ps. The usual disclaimer: I have nothing to do with the publishers or Author Tanya Nagar.

 

The Crème de la Crème this year….

In my last post I mentioned my punk singers portrait & interview project. One copy will be auctioned for charity once it is signed by the artists. I had great fun with that project and it was really good to be working on something that meant a lot to me personally.

I also mentioned The Crème de la Crème this year….

As photographers we find genres that we enjoy. Personally I’ve always liked to look at concert & photojournalist images. I’ve also enjoyed the challenges of live performance photography.

I like the challenge of changing light and movement. If you think its easy to take concert or performance photographs, go try it; especially in smaller venues.

Along with gig photography I have somehow fallen into the genre of portraiture. This is something I did not expect when I started out and thankfully I can say there isn’t anyone I have not enjoyed photographing. I’ve had a couple of shoots where it has felt awkward and uncomfortable, even hard work but the results have made it all worth while.

I’ve even dabbled a little with photo-journalism and been published.

So, that is a little background for those that are new to my page and hopefully explains why I got excited about my latest shoot and why for me, it is The Crème de la Crème so far this year….

I was introduced to someone at The Rambert Dance Company and contacted them with regards to a college project that would include editorial style photography with some portraiture and I was hoping to include full dress rehearsal with stage lighting.

Pretty much giving me the chance to indulge in everything I’ve come to enjoy about being a photographer.

I had a tour of Rambert’s home on the Southbank; clean, organised, minimalist, modern and functional. The few people I met seemed passionate about their work and the performers were being put through their paces.

While I was walking around I could easily visualise the project I wanted to shoot.

Unfortunately they were already mid way through a production and for a number of other reasons the project had to be temporarily put on hold.

Disappointed but with no intention of abandoning the hope of shooting a project with Rambert, I had planned on approaching them later in the year to seek permissions to shoot a project.

Move forward a couple of months…. I have a few days off and I’m getting some equipment ready to shoot a gig. Two cameras cleaned, lenses cleaned and numerous batteries being charged. Then I get a text followed by a phone call and I’ve agreed to a very very short notice shoot. A shoot that ties in with the type of thing I want to do; the type of shoot I thoroughly enjoy. The type of opportunity that only a complete baffon would turn down.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out but just in case you’ve not kept up, it is The Rambert Dance Company looking for a photographer to shoot their performers and senior artists from Mac Cosmetics Creative Team.

I would love to tell you that they had always planned to use me because they liked my work, were aware that I was featured as a canon showcase photographer or that a photograph taken at Illamasqua received over 10.000 hits on the internet within a few days. However, thats not the case. Yes one of the Rambert team was aware of me, they needed a photographer at short notice and I happened to be available.

I’m not going to pretend to be über cool and blasé about the call; I was very excited about it. Come on, how could I not be?!

If they like me I might get the chance to shoot a production from start to finish. If they like my work I might get the opportunity to work with them again. If Mac Cosmetics like what they see, they might even contact me at a future date.

Then the slight panic that I don’t have much of a brief, I have an idea but I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to need because I’ve had no time to plan.

Like I said, I’d like to say that it was my style and my work that made me the first person they thought of but it was actually more to do with being local and available. Yes it really was that short notice!

Right, a fixed 50mm, fixed 85mm and a 24mm – 70mm… do I take a 70-200? I didn’t but I would have used one if I had it with me. [Note to self: take the 70-200mm]

Lighting stands and modifiers; what am I going to need? There is going to be a cosmetics company so I guess they will have decent lights…. what if they don’t?

Okay, I decide I will take two flash guns and a couple of lighting mods but I’m feeling a little anxious because I’m not 100% sure what to expect when I arrive. However, I’ve got cameras, I’ve got flashes, I know what I’m doing and my job that provides my main income has taught me to be level headed and pragmatic (apparently that is also an Aries trait). I also felt quietly reassured because I know there is a local hire company that could deliver if I needed anything.

I arrive at Rambert and was greeted as warmly and friendly as the day I was shown around. I’m introduced to their team and given more of a brief.

I ask a little about the production to get an idea about lighting, they are filming so I ask if I can use flash photography and I get the go-ahead.

Due to the make up demonstration within the area I was working there was no room for light stands and modifiers so I had a couple of options with regards to lights. Thats something I have learned and something you will always read, no matter how limited you are with space, kit and options, you do have options and that is why it is important to know what and how to get the best from your equipment.

For me, shadows were going to be an issue but looking at the make up design and the fact the dancers will be under stage lighting I opted for some direct hard light and bounced light; shadows were going to be an issue so it would be best to use them and make a feature of them. Provided the client has clean well lit photographs of the performers, their photo editors would be able to easily deal with back ground shadows if they were not happy with them.

IMG_0074-Edit

Joshua Barwick & Dominic Skinner  ©2016 Jim Jimmy James [Marr]

IMG_0001-Edit

Luke Ahmet ©2016 Jim Jimmy James [Marr]

IMG_7213

©2016 Jim Jimmy James [Marr]

IMG_0003-Edit-2

Lucy Balfour ©2016 Jim Jimmy James [Marr]

I hope Rambert, Mac & the artists like the images. I guess I’ll only ever really know if I get invited back. I hope you like the images too.

Anyhow, I’ve seen them working hard and as professionals they made it incredibly easy work photographing them. So it seems right I should book some tickets and see the final performance to judge for myself if the lighting aesthetic of the images works with the performance & stage lights.

My night shifts start again tomorrow so tonight is my weekend. Think I might have a wee dram from The Glengoyne Distillery  and catch up with those blogs I’ve missed over the last few weeks.

As always, thank you for visiting my page & have a great weekend.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James.