portraits

Meeting the photographer 2

When I started this blog I made reference in the very first blog post ‘Getting Started’ to just a couple of the photographers who have work that I like. Gavin Watson is one of those photographers and I had the pleasure of meeting him last Friday where he was giving a talk at a YouthClub Event showing/exploring subcultures.

Gavin started off letting us know that he was a nervous slightly built kid that suddenly found his identity & voice through his friends that he made through his “cool brother”.

Although he speaks of being a 14 stone teenage skinhead that wouldn’t take any crap from anyone, it was interesting to hear that he wouldn’t have gone up to strangers to take their photos. This is something a lot of photographers struggle with including myself.  Its this familiarity with his subject matter in his early images that makes them appear relaxed and natural.

I was curious what made him pick up a camera in the first place. For me I really think it was the motorcycle accident that made me slow right down. I also think about the talk by Dennis Morris where he explained that he was shown a dark room and was just blown away at “how amazing it was to see this image appear like magic” with this being the start of his photographic journey.

I asked Gavin if there was any particular photographers images he was struck by and what made him pick up a camera in the first place.

I half expected him to say that a parent or other close family member was a photographer and gave him an old camera but that was way off mark. He explained that the type of kid he was wanted to go to the shop and buy binoculars to look at the moon but when he arrived they had gone, so he bought the camera.

As with Dennis Morris, I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity of being a bit cheeky and asking Gavin to take my portrait!

So one of these images was taken by a legend (Well maybe not a legend but a “Noted photographer“) and the other was taken by Mr Gavin Watson.

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I have no idea why I took his portrait in landscape view?! Its been a while since I’ve taken any portraits so I’ll use that as my excuse.

If you happen to see this Gavin, thank you for the portrait.

As usual, thank you for stopping and reading my blog.

Constructive comments and return visits are welcome.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Interesting!

I’ve lots of projects on the go at the moment and they are currently very time consuming.

The Punk / Oi! singers project is coming to a close and I only have one more autograph to get in the book before one of these limited edition prints will go on raffle for a charity.

As someone without record label or magazine links it has been a long process and I only managed to get ten of the twenty portraits that I wanted.

That said, I didn’t cast my net too wide and only approached those that matter to me. Most of the vocalists that I didn’t’catch up with was purely and simply down to our diaries not matching up and most have agreed to be photographed in the future.

I enjoyed the project a huge amount. Its great to shoot something you have a deep care for.  Its probably a bit naff sounding but I’m glad my accidental falling into the genre of portraiture has given me the opportunity to photograph those that have had some influence on more than just my musical taste.

Its good to be busy and its good to be in a position to turn some stuff down but its also bloody frustrating when turning down shoots you really want to do.

The people I shot for this particular project have all worked with photographers through their careers and I wonder what their views are of those photographers. Who are the plonkers, the nice guys, the impatient, the slow, the fussy, the quick, the no mess……

Somewhere in the archives of this blog you will find one, two or more references to Nick Knight. I’ve never met him, I’m not convinced we would see eye to eye on world matters and politics but I do like his work and he does seem to have a way of getting the best from his subject matter.

I was given a link that I’m more than happy to share. Its Nick Knight interviewing models to get an idea of their perspective of shoots. Just click here to be taken to the its nice that link & Interviews.

Getting feedback from people you work with is a great way of learning what works and those things you might want to change. I’d be intrigued to know what people think of myself and where I fit on that ‘plonker – nice guy scale’ or ‘unprofessional – professional scale’ but I’m not entirely sure I’d want to hear it….. tough one… Interesting!

Until next time.

 

Jim Jimmy James

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.

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

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Luke Ahmet ©2016 Jim Jimmy James [Marr]

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©2016 Jim Jimmy James [Marr]

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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.

Getting to know the photographer..

You know those great photos that you see…. You know the ones that evoke an emotion, make you stop and think about the image, the story,  the one that just has something about it; that something you may not even be able to put a finger on the exact reason you like it… you know what I mean don’t you.

Well I am starting to look at some of those images a bit more deeply and getting to know the photographer. Not literally getting to know them! But rather getting to know their work.

I watched a short TV documentary shown by the BBC by filmmaker Marisa Murdoch about a photographer called Dennis Morris.

I spotted a number of images that I had seen before and researched a little further into his work.

Not for the first time, as I have looked at photographers other work in the past, I have realised that I have seen and like several images all from the same photographer but had never known it was that particular photographer that had taken any of those particular images that I liked. (I think that makes sense??).

So  in the future I will be making a point of taking a better look at photographers I like.

Dennis Morris had a small exhibition in London and was giving one of these question and answer sessions following an informal talk about his work as a photographer.

Interestingly he was brought up in my old manor where I was dragged up (I wonder if we’d ever passed each other in the street?). Living in sunny Hackney (pronounced ‘Ackney’ by all proper Londoners) might be the only thing we have in common.

Unlike me, Dennis had someone that sparked an interest and enthusiasm in photography. Luckily for him, he also gave him a camera and set him off on his career path.

My careers advisor at school looked at me aged fourteen or fifteen and said ‘Army’!

That was that!

No questions such as, what are you interested in, what are your exam grades predicted to be?

No question of what I might be interested in doing and advising me on the route I should take.

Army!

I ended up leaving school with no qualifications but got a trade, ended up going to night college and later went on to earn myself a degree.

Army! I went to the first school closed by OFSTED. Far too late in my opinion. It should have been closed many many years before OFSTED did the right thing.

Back on track……… As an adult starting off in photography I’m not sure the same opportunities are around today as they were in the 1970s and ’80s. The world is a very different place. London is a very different place.

When Dennis was starting off as a very young child, film was expensive, so I guess in that respect it is easier for people to access cameras and take more images now. But is it harder to get those iconic shots?

Is it harder to access people now?

The world doesn’t seem as exciting as it was thirty years ago, London does not seem as exciting. Its not derelict, its sanitised and people seem content with their lot. I’m not sure that anything exciting is going to happy anytime soon.

I don’t know if Dennis ever liked punk or if he was just in the right place at the right time? London was changing, there were various youth and subcultures. People had something to say and did things, people were out and about, people were being creative….. London was very different.

I went to his talk and asked whether or not he thought the opportunities are there for youngsters to start a career in photography.

As a 40+ individual this was just a general question,  I was interested to hear his opinion because I do think the world has moved on so much; especially with technology and it being more difficult to have your work stand out.

Its as easy as anything to get your work seen but not necessarily seen by the people that can change your hobby into a career.

I’m actually happy that his response was that he would just advise youngsters to shoot what they want in a way that they want.

At the end of the interview and Q&A people were invited to go up and have items signed. I didn’t have an old album cover or article so thought I’d push my luck….. I did have a camera with me and asked Mr. Morris to take my photo.

All I am going to say about the photo is that the circumstances were less than ideal, but hey, I had my photo taken by Dennis Morris….

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photo by jim jimmy james

Dennis Morris © 2016 Jim Jimmy James

Dennis said he wanted to be a war photographer and ended up within the music industry by chance. With tongue in cheek he likened his early music photography career in the mosh-pit as dangerous as being a war correspondent.

I wonder what his worst mosh pit injury was?

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© 2016

I’ve had a few bruises from the mosh-pit but this scratch was the first time I’ve had blood drawn. The joke of this is that it was a nurse that caused the injury. Well, a nurse wearing a studded leather jacket!

I recently got my hands on a canon powershot G5X and thought I would see how it coped with low lights found in many music venues.

Drummer of band called The Last Resort. Photo taken at punk & disorderly in Berlin. April 2016

Testing the Canon G5X in low light. © 2016 Jim Jimmy James

I’m fairly certain I could have got a cleaner / sharper shot if not in the mosh-pit. The image was shot at a high ISO and the only real issues I found were with auto focusing, which the camera had real problems with in this challenging light.

Thanks for stopping and reading.

If you have any low light or gig photos using a G5X that you wish to share please feel free to add a link in the comments.

Constructive critique is always welcome.

FAO Dennis Morris: If you happen to read this. Thank you for taking my birthday photo & if you are shooting in London and need a pair of hands from Ackney…. Jim Jimmy James 😉

No photos in this post…

So I popped into Rock ‘n’Roll Rescue for a pre arranged photoshoot with Knox and I now have four of the twenty images I hope to have for my college project.

I’m a little concerned about the time frame because I need to have the edited images ready to send for print in mid February to allow time for any re-edits and printing if needed.

Its going to be a bit of a push to get this done while working full time & that also being shift work…. I start a three week training course at work and that is either really gonna screw me over or work out very well by freeing me up in the evenings. Positive thoughts….

In reality I need ten portraits but twenty would allow me to produce the project in a way that if the results are as good as I hope, I might even be in a position to raise some money for two charities.

You might be wondering who I’d pick? Personally it would crisis but in this case maybe Jail Guitar Doors would be one. I hadn’t heard of them until I attended a gig & film screening in Camden earlier in the year; ‘I need a dodge’ They (the charity) recently started doing some work in the UK and I’m guessing it seems to be a worthy charity that the subjects I am photographing would all agree on.

The other that I assume would meet the subjects approval is Rock ‘n’ Roll Rescue.

As I said, I popped into the Camden shop on Wednesday to photograph Knox. I had an idea of how I wanted to shoot him but the shop does not offer much space. At the time I visited there was a lot of coming and going so the shoot was a bit quick with only eight frames being taken. My lecturer will have something to say about that.

I had a good chinwag with knox after and a great photo opportunity arose when he was sat on a small bench seat with a very friendly dog called “fatty” that he was dog-sitting.

Unfortunately I had already packed my kit away as I was heading off to see someone else. My lecturer don’t need to say anything about that! I didn’t even have my point ‘n’ shoot handy. Ahhrrggg!!

Disappointingly the later shoot fell through at the last minute.

It was an interesting visit to the shop. I met Johnny Deluxe not to be mistaken for the band with the same name. Mr JD would be an awesome voice over for my film noir images. I may well have to approach him about potentially doing a collaboration project. I think he’d also have some cracking stories to tell; some outrageously scandalous and some very very funny. An interesting character.

I also bumped into Sulo Karlsson (what a nice Fella) of The Crunch who incidentally played at the Camden gig mentioned above.

He told me about a project he has completed with Gary Johnson Punk/Oi! Poet who is on some of my old compilation albums. They put some of the work to music and I had a chance to listen to a couple of the tracks. I am under strict instruction to not reproduce any of the work here.

I have mixed opinions on what I heard. The reggae style tracks sound very polished and are not to my personal taste. I do like old ska, two tone and I guess what we might call third and fourth wave ska-core but there is something very European about what they have produced; its almost to well timed if that makes sense? That is not necessarily a bad thing and I can see a lot of people liking this very polished sound.

There are a couple of tracks that really stand out for me and I think the album will get the rightfully deserved attention from those that like this style of poetry (There are still some spoken word tracks) and the genres of music produced.

Sulo said he was meeting Garry Bushell in studio to produce a podcast. Garry is also on my list of people to photograph for this project and I would have loved to have been able to take a portrait in the studio environment.

I would guess that he will be reviewing the reworking of Gary Johnson’s work with Suol. I’m also very sure it will be a much more considered and in depth than mine. As you’d expect with him being the professional. You can follow the link to find out what he has to say.

I caught up with Garry prior to this blog post that failed to post so the title should be changed…

No photos in this post…. Okay maybe one.

This is not the photo of Garry that I will be using for the project but one I thought would be fun & thankfully he was up for the challenge of holding a guru style pose.

The location was cluttered so I had the challenge of removing Garry from one image and using another background. Easy! I can hear a huge number of photoshop, gimp, (other software brands are available) say… well yes if you use those tools frequently. My general photography is more honest and you tend to see what I shoot. So this was a challenge. A time consuming challenge when I have numerous email to fire off and a deadline that seems to be closing in faster than I imagined it would.

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Garry Bushell.  Oi! Oi! The Guru.

Garry is the man to ask about punk, oi!, ska & such related subjects. He is also the front man for The Gonads. Making him an obvious candidate for the project. I’m also very relieved to say that I can report to y’all that Garry is a sound bloke.

I am going to have a few busy weeks ahead of me… so may not be back for a couple of weeks. However, please feel free to comment or share any handy editing tips.
TTFN
Jim Jimmy James

Skipping class

In some professions illness and injury are just a hazard of the job.

For the first time in my 40+ years of life, I have caught the ‘dreaded lurgy’. Not man-flu or man-bola, I have won the battle of those harsh illness’ on a handful of occasions but this time its a chest infection; leaving me short of breath, pyrexic, lethargic and coughing up nasty thick green phlegm.

I’m not a sickly person but this time I have just had to go with it and give in. Two different lots of antibiotics and various over the counter medications with plenty of rest and use of my very rock ‘n’roll hot water bottle (it has a faux fur cover).

This also means that I have not been taking photos for a couple of weeks and this will be the second week I will show up at class without completing the homework assignments.

To be honest I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for myself and didn’t want to go in last week, nor do I want to go in this week. Problem is, the course feels very much more geared towards the commercial side of the industry and I already have a sense that I can not afford to skip any classes.

I still have a bronchial cough and feel fatigued but there is no more yucky stuff being expelled. I believe my infectious period is over so if I go into class I am confident I’m not going to be passing The Dreaded Lurgy onto my class mates.

Although I have been stuck indoors I have done some work towards planning my next two projects, purchased a .com domain name and had a little practice at some retouching images on photoshop.

Portraiture is going to be one of my topics and one of the genres I have started to really enjoy.

Sometime ago I was thinking about buying a mannequin so I can practice different lighting and really start to nail certain looks and moods.

Why a mannequin? Anyone that takes photos and has needed to practice portraiture will know that friends and family only have so much patience; mannequins don’t fidget, need to run to the loo, want a cigarette break and don’t give that ‘I’m bored now’ look. 😉

Using a mannequin would also give me freedom to take my time or break up the day with a stroll to the shops or to pop out for lunch. Something I might need to give more thought to. In the mean time here are a couple of mannequins from a trip to Barcelona earlier in the year.

Its possible I may have posted them before because they are so much more fun than what we tend to see in the UK. However, I have done some minor retouching as I think post capture processing is going to carry more importance this year.

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The retouching was very quick and intended to just familiarise myself with the functions rather than being a finished product.

Thanks for looking.

Jim Jimmy James

City & Guilds Photography, Level Two, Part Two.

So my first submission was based on portraits.

For part two we had the same options again, portraits, landscapes, still life and so on…….

I don’t like labels and am aware that the gig photography or portraits are my stronger areas.

Although portraiture was a complete accident and a total surprise to me that I enjoy it.

Anyway, I wanted to move away from these areas and try something a little different. I also wanted to really challenge myself to learn about lighting.

So we are in class and the teacher asks people what they want to do. So far he hasn’t really questioned anyones decisions and then he gets to me.

“How about you Jim, what are you thinking of doing?”

Really I want to do a mix of things, I am happy with my first submission and confident that whatever I pick, if I screw it up, the first images would be strong enough to at least guarantee a pass grade.

Being me (Apparently a typical Aries…If you believe in that stuff) I don’t want to do one thing…. My reply was more of a question; because with tutor approval you can step outside of the suggested genres.

“Can I do some landscape/cityscapes, portraits and still life?”

The poor teacher has had to put up with me for two terms and I can see him thinking to himself ‘where is he going with this’. He asks me how I plan on tying the different images together.

I suggest ‘Film Noir’. I get a smirk from the lecturer who says “Go on then, lets see what you can do”.

Instantly I think I have made a huge mistake. But I have to say I loved this project so much and had a massive learning cure.  Not only technically with the camera and lights but with UK firearms regulations, having to be creative and getting organised.

Due to time constrains I was unable to complete all the images I had planned. I was finding it difficult to find particular props and rather than rigidly sticking to the 1940s and 50s film noir props I had to improvise and settle for the overall mood and feel of those classic movies.

Due to the time of year I was unable to arrange for friends to get city scape shots. Yes cityscapes don’t need people but this is Film Noir, I need shadows, silhouettes and so on. I guess I could have taken some without people and they would have added an element of suspense and danger but I had my plans…… So the long days and light evenings defeated me with regards to that aspect of the planned cityscape submissions.

Budget also played a big factor. I would love to have time and a budget suitable to tackle this project again.

One or two of the still life images may have been posted earlier; prior to making my final submission. Some of the images didn’t make it into the final submission because I wasn’t happy with them or I had stronger images.

As with my portrait post I am going to post two examples of the work produced:

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The image above did not make it in to the final body of work. I do like it and think it has all the right touches of Le Femme Fatale from the era. The silhouette of legs going up the stairs only add some mystery and intrigue to the image.

I was torn between this and another image, my C&G photography peers helped me select a couple of images.

You can see the stronger image that was chosen from this shoot on my flickr page.

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As you can see from image one and two (Along with other images taken in the series) lighting was an important element for the project. I learned a huge amount and feel like I have only just scratched the surface of how to sculpt an image with light.

I hope you like these enough to visit flickr and see the other images.

If you are wondering what grades I got; it was a distinction for submission one and…….. distinction for submission two.

I’m not really sure how the grades work to be honest. I have seen some people call it a ‘double distinction’ but I think the overall grade is just a distinction. Thats good enough for me.

One last thank you to everyone that modelled & provided props. Without you it would not have gone so well. Thanks also to everyone that provided feed back and encouragement. Especially Mrs.M. PJ. & my working photographer friends, Teacher & Classmates whose blogs and work and be found by clicking the links: PJ, Caz, Seb, Ian, Tim, Matt, Hannah, Paul & Sara.

As always, thanks for looking. Constructive feed back and your thoughts on my photographs are welcome.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

City and guilds Photography, Level Two, Part One.

I have finished my city and guilds in photography.

This had two main submissions. In each case there were topic areas such as still life, landscape and portraiture.

There were no set in stone rules so landscapes could be the more traditional mountains and fields or could be city-scapes. The only stipulation was that the topic area and theme had to be agreed by the tutor.

For theme one I opted for portraiture of people in the age range of forty-plus years but specifically those with a strong visual identity relating to street styles, youth cultures and sub-cultures that I grew up with through the 1970’s into the 1990s.

The vast majority of the people I photographed were strangers and it took a bit of effort on my part to approach them.

Only one person declined which surprised me. The remainder seemed either bemused or flattered.

Although most were happy for me to use the images in any way I wanted, some have stipulated that they would be happy for me to take their portrait and use prints for my course work but they did not want them published in any public forum.

I was able to photograph some Punks, Skinheads, Mods, Scooterists, Rockabillies and Rudies but didn’t find the full range of street cultures that I wanted to.

This was partly because of the time of year and there being no major events that would bring large numbers of particular groups together. I also had some issues around time management; primarily having a full time job that involves some rather unsocial shift patterns.

The dark nights and poor weather meant that when I did spot someone I wanted to photograph it was in poor outdoor lighting or inside pub/club/concert venues.

I found that this restricted me a little as I did not have a good working knowledge of using small off camera flash or lighting modifiers. Going to some of the venues I wanted to travel light and not be weighted down by having lots of kit.

The following two portraits are examples of the work I submitted.

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Biker at The Ace Cafe in London.

I suspected I would find one or two bikers at The Ace but did not expect to get any portraits. The only person to decline was a Hells Angel patch wearer. I have limited knowledge of this group but know they keep themselves to themselves and for that reason I suspected he would say no. No harm in asking and his refusal was never going to be any skin of my nose.

Its a shame he declined but I fully unerstand his reluctance and distrust.

So, I was at The Ace and was actually looking for people with a classic 1940s 1950s rockabilly look.

This biker arrived and looked like he would fit with exactly what I was looking for and fortunately he agreed to be photographed. Once we chatted for a little while it turned out that we had mutual friends in the past and that I may have even been at a couple of venues that his sister occasionally frequented.

The problems I had taking this portrait were the strong contrasting light, I wanted to hint at our location without making the location as equally important as my subject, The Biker.

The location was getting busy and I was limited with composition options and didn’t want to capture people in the background wearing more routinely accepted clothing. That would have ruined the aesthetic of my shoot and removed the impact of my models style and genre.

My next subject is a Mod.

I had been to a number of locations where they are known to meet but again due to the time of year and weather, not very much was going on.

I had met and spoken to several people from the Mod scene but many were a kind of oasis style brit pop hybrid of the real McCoy. Some had the right jacket but the wrong shirt, the clothes but not the right attitude and so on.

To be honest I was struggling until I met David and his good lady who agreed to be photographed.

They both looked the part, not only in what they were wearing but also their confidence and demeanour.

I opted to submit this portrait as I felt it was the strongest of the images that I took with them.

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I was very lucky to have meet some really nice people and everyone that modelled for me were simply awesome, relaxed easy going, a dream to direct and just made my job effortless.

Each person that agreed to be photographed were sent jpegs and it is my intention to invite them all to a private showing so they can see the collection in its entirety as well as have a glass or two of wine.

If anyone of the people modelling for me happen to see this, I’d just like to say thank you again. Without you there would have been no project. What ever your genre……. Keep The Faith.

My second project theme was Film Noir. If you’d like a quick preview of some of those images before I make my diary entry, a handful have been uploaded to flickr.

Thanks for visiting and as always your opinions are always welcome.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Rejected image

Please take a look at this image.

Take your time and critique it (to yourself for now).

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This is one of my rejected images that I wrote up for my city & guilds submissions.

If you have finished having a look at the photograph I will tell you why I rejected the image………

Firstly I will say that when I first looked at this image on my computer I loved it. I felt I had caught a really nice portrait and I was really pleased. Actually I was chuffed!

  • The model is slightly off when using the rule of thirds. That was intentional but as other images were not slightly offset, would the examiner really know the intent of the composition. Probably not.

If I had three or four images slightly offset this would show intent and the composition would be perfectly acceptable.

Naturally rules are there to be broken. However, not when I don’t want little things to distract from the image and my grades.

  • The wall paper has damage or creases.

Obviously this is something that can be easily rectified.

  • The chair rail is not totally straight.

To be fair I could live with that and again, it is an easy fix.

  • Some loss of detail in the black areas but hey, its supposed to be in the mood of film noir so thats okay and not really a problem.
  • The image was taken in landscape view and not in portrait view.

Well, every image was shot in landscape to show intent.

Many were also shot around the 30-40mm range. Again to show intent.

Unfortunately only once the image was printed did I notice the false perspective of the models left hand.

That was the point that I felt the image had to be discarded from the final selection.

I suspect you spotted all of those and perhaps one or two or three or more others.

I like the light, the depth of field, the composition, the catch light in my models eyes; generally speaking I like the pose and her playing with the pearls but I kept seeing the hand and feeling negative about the image.

Please feel free to take another look and critique it openly this time (constructive comments are always welcome).

You could also head over to my flickr page to see more images.

Thanks for visiting.

Jim Jimmy James

Getting close up.

I had a little feedback at college the other evening.

I was told that the work I show in class is good but I don’t take enough shots.

The teacher then went on to say that although I achieve what I’ve set out to get within a few frames he is not sure whether to complement or criticise me.

Friends that have been persuaded to model for me have been surprised at the time and effort that had gone into setting up my latest project (I will show these in a couple of weeks) but they have also voiced their surprise at how few shots I take and how quickly I have wrapped up the shoots.

I have been liked to someone shooting expensive film that doesn’t want to waste it.

I think that was also the teachers point. With digital I can play around and explore the different compositions without extra cost……. Experiment!

So in class we were asked to set up some lights and they had a model show up for a couple of hours; Actor: Mr Robin George.

I think this was to get us used to working with people we do not know and to start directing our subject.

I took some safe shots then took on board what I had been told about taking more frames.

I decided to go for the shots I don’t think my friends would be so keen on……. getting up close.

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Feel free to leave comments on the blog page or the ‘contact me’ page.

Thanks for visiting.

Jim Jimmy James