location photography

March or Die.

It can sometimes be hard to decide what images to share with people. As a photographer it seems natural to want to show ones best images but sometimes the best technical or aesthetically pleasing isn’t the best for the text and story.

That kind of sounds like I’m making excuses for images that people might look at and think the composition and other aspects should or could’ve been done differently.

Yes they could but its about the story… March or Die is the title for a movie about the French Foreign Legion that I have seen but remember pretty much nothing of.

I have just returned from a trip to Fuerteventura and when I spied the landscape ahead of me it was the title of that movie that immediately sprung to mind. The wife didn’t find that very reassuring when I blurted that out as we strolled off into the hills.





I very nearly signed up to the French Foreign Legion when I was a lot younger. I think at 16/17 years old I was stubborn enough to have been mentally strong enough to cope and I’d like to think at that age I would have managed the physical demands but I was talked out of it. The whys, wheres, and hows are far too long winded for this ‘photo diary/blog’ but I do sometimes wonder how things might have panned out if that was the route I ended up following.

It would be great to have an opportunity to enrol on the training without having to commit time following that training but even if that was possible, I’m a lot older, heavier and most definitely not fit enough; I’d probably end up in hospital after day two. Thats if I’d managed to survive day 1!!!

Anyhow, back to the photos. All taken handheld with a Fuji XT2 and prime 35mm lens.

Thanks for stopping and looking at the images. Constructive comments always welcome.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy or James.

Book review #9

Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous. Author: Brian Smith.

I was very happy to be given this book as a christmas present. Not only is it about  photography, its about portrait photography; a genre of photography that I am developing a growing interest in.

The book ties in with a very personal project that I am also shooting for my level three city and guilds course.

A quick nosey at the back sleeve ‘about the author’ informed me that he is a photographer with a considerable pedigree.

Reading this book is fast & easy. It is almost as if the author is sat in front of you chatting about his work. Its relaxed and very readable.

The first few pages offer some insight into Brian Smith’s influences, his journey as a photographer and what we, as viewers might expect to get from this book.

I read on and at one point, I can’t remember exactly where, it started to feel a little boastful… ‘ I’ve shot this person, that person, been here and there! ‘ At this point I wasn’t so sure what, if anything was going to be learned from continuing with this book.

However, that was very short lived. There are great portraits in this book along with some information about the shoot and actually, what is being pointed out is not ‘I photographed this person here‘ in a showing off sort of way but more of a subtle nudge of inspiration; that with hard work, a bit of drive and determination, shooting interesting people in awesome locations is achievable to those that keep pushing doors open.

Throughout the book it is clear that the author has a passion for his photography.

As a reader you’ll find enthusiasm, humour and a number of very useful tips in this book.

I found the book extremely useful for my current project, where people are so busy, I literally have fifteen to twenty minutes of their time to get in, get set up and get my shot within only a few frames.

Location portrait photography is challenging enough without the added pressure of working super fast.

Reading Brian Smith’s Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous. certainly prepared me psychologically for the assignment I was undertaking.

I’m definitely going to be looking up more of Brian Smith’s work and would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in portrait photography.

For the record, I do not know the author and do not have links with anyone from the publishing company.

Thanks for reading this review.

Jim Jimmy James