A day of Firsts

•October 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So we attended the Photomonth Fair and had a really good time . We had no idea what to expect as we’d never done anything like this before so what did we think, why did we do it  . To answer those questions here’s a Q & A

GM: Why did you decide to attend Photomonth?

CM: Well we thought it would be fun. I’d still be doing ‘Sligital’ work anyway so it’s not like I had to do anything different apart from producing more prints than I normally would ( we only have so much wall space at home). We’d attended a local Art Fair which prompted us to go ahead as we thought it looked fun. I really wanted to engage with people to find out what they really thought of my work.

GM: Er but why Photomonth?

CM: Well I went looking for  an appropriate outlet and Photomonth sounded as if it might be a good one. That together with the fact we both hail from that part of London ( or very close by anyway) helped make up our mind.

GM: So what were your expectations of the day?

CM: To enjoy it and to actually hear what people thought of my work . The selling of the prints was very low down on the list  to be honest . I had no idea what to expect so experiencing something new was up there as well. Oh and to have a look around as if I wasn’t manning a stall myself I’d have gone anyway 🙂

GM: So were your expectations met then?

CM: Absolutely and we even managed to sell some prints as well which was  a nice bonus to the day. I had some great conversations with a wonderful cross section of people who stopped by to mostly admire my work and to discuss  how  it was done.

GM: Mostly admire?

CM: Yes most of the people who passed by appreciated the work and the words ‘Cool’, ‘Innovative’ , ‘Clever’ , ‘Well done’, ‘Good’  were appreciated but the other feedback was equally as appreciated. ‘Very strange, very uncomfortable’ ‘I’m not sure how I feel about these’. One of my favourites was from a  passing Dermatologist who said what’s the theme skin diseases

GM (interrupting): I know what he means about the ones he was obviously referring to as  they make me squirm too

CM: Anyway  he went onto explain he was fascinated by the work but his work and his simple tastes meant not really for him… So it was nice to know from the few  not so as positive comments that I was producing challenging work.

GM: So how did you find the organisation and setting up of our stand  at Photomonth?

CM: The organisers were great . We appreciated them coming round  a couple of times to ask us if we were having a good day which was nice. The obvious time and energy  that had gone into organising it was evident as well. Next time we’ll have some idea of how to set up a stand though  as our newbie credentials were on display for all to see ( Thanks to the couple opposite though for giving us confidence that it looked okay eventually) we  definitely need more stands for the display photos, maybe some meat hook type hangers would be useful as well. We did have a complete change of plan when we got there as to how we would set it up but it all seemed to work as the limited editions  did stand out and pulled people down to look at the standard prints and to talk to us.

GM: We seemed to do a lot of explaining of the technique do you think  perhaps some info on explaining how it’s done would have been useful?

CM: Actually no as it was good opener for having conversations with people I think if we’d had some sort of flyer or something explaining we wouldn’t have spoken to many of the passers bye.  I have explained in more detail on the website  as well though and one of my earlier blog posts. In fact I had a nice conversation with someone about what cameras would be good for a beginner .It  as an excuse to talk to fellow enthusiasts .

GM: So what part of the day did you find nerve wracking

CM: The first few hours were very quiet and although selling prints wasn’t the main reason we were there for some reason we both wanted to break that duck. So the wait to sell our first print was very surreal but once we’d got over that we really didn’t care if we didn’t sell another one although when we did it was a  nice feeling as somewhere we know that someone will have a copy of my work and we sold it to them personally not via impersonal clicks via our website .

GM: Were you surprised at the prints that were the most popular?  The ‘Money shot’ seemed particular popular and we sold out of those

CM: Well I think it was the humour in that shot so it was easier to get into than some of my other prints which do tend to have an edgier feel. So on reflection perhaps not

GM: Was there anything particular about photomonth you really liked

CM: The fact there was so many film cameras around . My love of film which is reflected in what I do anyway but I’ve never seen so many film cameras in one place

GM ( interrupting again): Apart from home obviously!

GM:  So big question would you do something like this again?

CM: Definitely. It was like having a mini exhibit with people actually being able to engage with Me. It was tiring though although time did fly past once the first print went and the fair came to life for us. In fact if Photomonth will have me next year I’d definitely do it again .


The Journey

•October 2, 2010 • 1 Comment

Colin is too busy getting ready for Photomonth and has agreed that as I like to blog/talk that I could guest at his neglected blog so that’s what I’m doing.

So we’ll be at the 2010 Photomonth fair on the 9th October. The journey here was an interesting one for us it’s not what I anticipated doing this October.

We decided this year that as Colin is really enjoying his photography and as he’d received some pretty good feedback about his unique approach that maybe we should do something about getting it out to a wider public.

So although we both use flickr (and still do for our other photos) we decided it was time for a dedicated website to showcase the ‘Sligital’ photos.

We sorted out the website and the admin aspects around that and then Colin started wading through his photos to populate it. That done we sat back for a while. He carried on doing his studio work even managing to persuade me to go along to a session. I enjoyed the session much to my surprise as I’d never done any studio photography before. Admittedly ‘Sligital’ photography is not your standard studio work. It was far too much like hard work and the model was great at putting me at ease as I was very nervous not knowing what to expect really.  Here’s one of the photos from that session.

I think it was to get me to really understand why he always seemed knackered after a session!

Anyway after a visit to a local fine art fair we thought that looks fun why don’t we do something like that and next thing we know after sending in our application we’d bagged a stall at Photomonth and the preparations began. I wasn’t sure we’d get a stall as they’d asked for samples of our work so I assume there was some sort of vetting process to see what the applicants had to offer . So it wasn’t necessarily first come first served

Colin decided that he wanted to do something special for the fair and that meant a special shoot using some of his film cameras and the subsequent creation of ‘Extremely limited editions’ . Why extremely limited’? Well there will only be 1 of each one we bring along. Each edition is unique in that it will be the only copy of the framed print and the slide that goes with it so no way for us to exactly reproduce even in this age of digitisation. We’ll only have 4 of these available as well.

We’ll also bring some other work which you can also see at the Photomonth gallery on our website. The Photomonth photos will be up on our site till the end of November.

We’ll be selling other prints at a discount at the Fair itself (I know it’s like the royal we but I do have to live through the creation process). I’m afraid we can’t preview the limited editions though you’ll have to come along to see those.

We have no expectations other than enjoying ourselves it’ll be a day of firsts. Please come and see us and say hello if you’re there on Saturday.

Now I need to find somewhere else to be while Colin finishes of framing & preparing the Limited Editions….

See you Saturday 9th October 2010 at the Photomonth fair at Spitalfields market if you can make it  .


•April 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

People occasionally say to me: ‘what’s the most difficult part of creating your marvelous images?’ (ok, ‘marvelous’ was just wishful thinking).

The only really difficult thing apart from coming up the ideas, is handling the low light conditions. While low light photography is probably most often associated with location shoots, parties, concerts and the like, for me it has become a mainstay of my studio work and I’ve found it provides an unique set of challenges and opportunities.

Using projections forces me to use relative high ISO setting, wide apertures and slow shutter speeds. I can minimise the impact of the high ISO noise in post processing (Topaz DeNoise http://www.topazlabs.com/denoise/). I use a tripod and a remote release rather than try to hand hold at low shutter speeds. I find manual focus and depth of field tables help me to guarantee sharpness in the right places.

The only thing I’ve yet to workout it how to communicate with a model that’s blinded by my projectors and deafened by the studio fan.

“That’s good but could you turn your head towards me …”

“Not your leg, your HEAD”

“Errr… no I’m over here… to your left”

“No your other left”

“Ok forget it, must be about time for a cup of tea”


•April 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I have just been looking at “Shoku” by Frauke Eigen, it is a book of black and white images taken by her in Japan between 2006 and 2008.

The pictures are mainly sections of building cropped so closely as to turn them into simple abstracts.

The whole book has a strange anonymity to it even in the few people pictured faces are seldom visible.

I find her work incredibly beautiful and strangely hypnotic she has a feel for texture that I really envy and admire.


•April 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My next photo session is planned for the end of April, in my head I’ve titled this shoot “mental bonds” it was going to be “mental chains” but actual chain was too expensive (yes even mental ones).

As usual it will involve a model some white wall and very little else, well ok a bank of projector and a bunch of slides but without that it wouldn’t be me.

I really don’t like giving away too much about a shoot before hand, I feel a bit like the detective in a novel, he never discusses his deductions until the criminal is in the bag at which point everything seems so simple and obvious.

I too like to preserve the mystery until I’ve finally captured the image.

Too many ideas too little time

•April 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I seem to have accumulated a whole head full of ideas for new images unfortunately I doubt I’ll live to be 500.