Revisiting old photos

Re-editing old photos can produce spectacular results.

During a walk near Dymock in the Forest of Dean this tree shone out from all the others but the image I captured didn't seem to do it justice as the image just looked flat and uninteresting. However by carefully analysing why the image didn't initially work and then making some careful edits (cropping, some dodging and burning, and some increased colour in the reds and greens) I have created a representation of what I saw and not what the camera recorded for me.


Understanding the subject and story

Stuck inside my narrowboat during heavy rain storm my eye was caught by this leaf floating by and the contrasting colour. However the image never really worked for me.

The image lacks impact, but why? I think it's because there are two focal points (the leaf and the drop of water) so the eye flits between them and there is no clear subject or story. But what if the subject is the intense rain falling on the canal, could the image be reinterpreted to convey the story of a summer storm?

Well I think this conveys the story of a heavy rainstorm. By simplifying the image to a degree that almost makes it abstract it creates a much more powerful image.

One never stops learning and I'm currently working through a book on Advanced Composition by Kent DuFault from Photzy. By applying these new skills to some old, somewhat mediocre, photos I really feel that I have created something artistic and with much greater impact.

Gingerbread Wellington Arch

As part of the run up to Christmas my daughter, a structural engineer, creates a gingerbread scale model of an historic building they have worked on. Unsurprisingly there were several videos of its 'destructive testing' in the office which gave me a good excuse to practice my video editing skills.

Considering the entire thing is edible and there are no hidden supports or frames you will be amazed how much weight it can support!


Destruction testing of gingerbread model

That Grace Kelly look

"I've absolutely no idea if Grace Kelly could sing"

"Well given how stunning she looked it would be unfair if she had a world-class singing voice as well"

"Well you're an opera singer and I bet I could take a picture of you that looks like her"

My photoshoot with the mezzo soprano Alison Cripps was off to a flying start! Of course I wasn't really suggesting I could make Alison look identical to Grace Kelly - why would I want to do that? Portraits should try to show the underlying character of the person and certainly not make them into something they are not. In my mind it was more that the photographic style of the period portrayed by those iconic Hollywood pictures would suit Alison and portray her as the glamorous opera singer that she is.

So did I succeed?  Well that's for you to judge ...

Alison Cripps black and white portrait smiling and looking at cameraAlison CrippsMezzo soprano

Would I photograph you like this? Well possibly, but only after we had discussed what style would best tell your story. Everyone is different and every photoshoot is unique, only that way can we create an image that is 'really you'. Would you like to work with me to tell your story through an image - then please do get in touch.

Judging a book by its cover

Judging a book by its cover or, in this case the circumstances in which it is turned into an audio book, is fraught with danger. Audiobooks read by Matt Addis such as 'Servant of Death' and 'Ordeal by Fire' have been a real tour de force and I jumped at the opportunity this week to witness him recording 'The Devil You Know' at Isis Publishing in Oxford.

Paperback Devil You Know resting on a sound deck with a pair of headphonesAudiobook recording of The Devil You Know Influenced perhaps by visions of the Abbey Road music studios my anticipation of a brightly lit studio and control room with loads of space was very far from the mark. The reality was a small cupboard like studio barely big enough to fit a chair in and a control room where sound decks and computer monitors vied for what little desk space there was with heavily marked up scripts.

Matt Addis sat recording The Devil You Know facing a large microphoneMatt Addis recording The Devil You Know

But just as great photographs don't require the very latest equipment to create them neither does a great audio book require an expansive studio. The only thing that matters is the people and their dedication to creating great art. Whether it is the author, Sophia Holloway writing a fantastic book; the actor, Matt Addis giving voices to the characters; the sound engineer, 'Wolfie' using his technical wizardry; or all the other staff at Isis Publishing - each has a part to play in creating a successful book.

Matt Addis looking at camera seated in front of microphone with script on iPad Matt AddisMatt Addis sat in recording studio at Isis Publishing during the recording of The Devil You Know If the laughter, from the recording engineer, at some of the scenes in the book are anything to go by this audiobook should be a great success. The Devil You Know is currently available as an e-book and paperback and the audio book version will be published in November 2018 by Isis Audio.

The Beast from the East

The importance of always carrying a camera was brought home to me this week when I got caught up in a blizzard in London - The Beast from the East as the papers are calling it. On this occasion it was short lived and, within half an hour had  given way to bright sunshine with glorious opportunities for some great images. Rather than be content with a straightforward picture I did quite a lot of work on it to achieve a more artistic and impressionistic look that I think suits the atmosphere and conveys the experience better.

  Black and white impressionist style image of street scene in the snow with a postbox and a woman walking. 55 Broadway LondonArt deco building in the snow rendered in an impressionist style

The wonderful Art Deco building in the background is 55 Broadway that was built as the Headquarters for London Underground.

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