There are some shoot ideas that just hang around in your head for years and then one day, the opportunity arises to make them a reality. Such was the case with the forthcoming FOTO-CLUB “Gypsy Caravan Shoot With Ivory Flame“. Ever since I first worked with the wonderful Ivory Flame a few years ago, I’ve thought “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to do a gypsy-themed shoot with Ivory Flame and a traditional horse-drawn gypsy caravan…”.
And then, as if by magic, when looking around the beautiful house and gardens that were to be used for the “Luxury House Fashion Shoot” a few months back, there, at the end of the huge garden… was an original, authentic gypsy caravan. Suddenly it fell into place and I quickly asked the owner if it would be possible to use it for a shoot.
There was only ever one model I wanted for this. Ivory Flame. The epitome of ethereal and natural “English Rose” beauty with a bucket of Pre-Raphaelite influence and a hint of Celt thrown in.
I look forward to posting the images here soon, but there are still spaces if you’d like to join us. The venue’s address will be revealed once you’ve booked but it is near Lapworth, Solihull.
The FOTO-CLUB “Urban Ballet” shoot seems to have become something of an annual institution and happily, this year we’re continuing the tradition. However, we finally have our OWN perfect venue for this shoot – the new Strangetown studio and the many stairwells and corridors around the Telsen building.
As usual, the main dancer/model is the wonderful Emilie Walt, my “go to” model for dance-themed shoots, and Penny (a friend of Emilie’s). There are still a couple of spaces so get in touch if you fancy joining us.
I’m very proud to announce that I will be opening a second studio later in March which will be called Strangetown Studio and will provide an alternative shooting space for my bigger shoots (especially where more headroom is required) and workshops but will also be my first foray into studio hire since I left the Regent Parade Fotofilia premises a couple of years ago.
The studio is on the third floor of the wondrously industrial 1930’s Telsen building in Aston, Birmingham which is already home to several photography studios including River Studio, owned by my good friend, the top photographer Richard Battye.
Strangetown will be nowhere as big as some of the others but will provide hourly hires (minimum of 3 hours) for just £15/hour. It will feature everything you would expect of a professional photography studio but in addition, the building has a host of nicely grungy corridors, stairwells and old gated lifts that I’ve used for shoots in the past and can be used by Strangetown hirers too.
I was introduced to the building by Richard a couple of years ago when he moved in and I’ve been visiting regularly since as the band I play in – also called Telsen – have a rehearsal room there. Here are a couple of shots I took in the Telsen building about 18 months ago…
Savannah in the Telsen lift.
Ryan in one of the stairwells.
Ryan in one of the many corridors
I’ll post the website/booking details as soon as I have a moving-in date from the landlord (they’re sorting the electrics as I write).
I always look forward to my seasonal shoots for brilliant local designer “She by Sophie“. And there’s no better way to forget that it’s a cold February day in Birmingham than spending much of it photographing the beautiful Alex Shanks in Sophie’s swimwear collection.
Although this shot was taken about a year and a half ago, I noticed that film-maker Nigel is still using a shot from this photo-shoot for his social media and promo material which is always a lovely thing to see. This is my personal favourite from the shoot and a portrait that I feel captured some of the warmth of this charming fella.
Looking through old hard drives for individual images for a client is a tedious business but occasionally leads to rediscovery of images you’d almost forgotten. In this case, the lovely Hannah was photographed as part of one of my “Portfolio Booster” courses. The original image was very pleasant as it was but Hannah’s very “classical” look inspired me to re-edit it with a more “painterly” look.
And once I’d found one, I was on a roll and couldn’t resist doing a second along the same lines…
I first spoke to Matt Windle, the Boxer-Poet on (fellow poet) Emma Purshouse‘s recommendation when I was hoping he’d come to provide a poem for the launch of my “Pride of the Black Country” exhibition a few years ago. That never came to pass but our paths have crossed many times since, both in his capacity as poet (he’s currently Birmingham’s Poet Laureate) and as boxer (I’ve supplied many of his promotional images as well as documenting his professional fights).
I was very flattered when Matt chose to include me in “Poetry with Punch“, a brilliant initiative that involves providing creative workshops in schools including a combination of poetry, music, boxing/boxercise, dance, and photography. It mightn’t come as a surprise to you that I supplied the photography bit.
We’ve done a few of these so far and the kids who’ve taken part have clearly loved it. Matt’s team of poets, musicians, and choreographers do a wonderful job of engaging the kids and stimulating their interest in so many areas in such a short space of time. I was fortunate to have watched (and photographed) as the other specialists led their various sections of the course.