Single Use is No Use.

In recent years, consumers have become ever increasingly conscious about the effect that their habits have on the environment. Possibly none more than the use of single use plastics. A hot topic of the moment.

Plastic bags and straws have provided large talking points, and pressure has been put on businesses to make small changes to help protect the environment.

Things as small as changing plastic straws to paper ones. It’s crazy to think that the plastic in a black straw is non recyclable, and here have been a few videos circulate on social media to highlight the damage done from such a small and seeminglessly harmless product. The one that sticks in my mind was the turtle that had a black straw lodged deep into its nostril. A distressing watch which provoked thoughts that this could easily be prevented.

I've wanted to do a project that looked at these single use plastics for a while now, but I wanted it to be more than just plastic bags. I popped into a few shops and managed to find a whole host of cheap, single use plastic objects, most costing less than £1 for a whole pack of things. I couldn’t believe how readily available and unnecessarily cheap it all was which makes it even worse. 30 plastic forks, spoons or knives that cost just £1 would be around for the next few hundred, if not thousands of years.

Single use plastic is becoming a huge accumulative problem.

Here are the range of things I managed to pick up in about 20 minutes in various high street stores.

Pour us A Double

Here are a couple of test images from over the summer months when I decided to shoot some Whisky. Both based around a pour, one a more clean cut studio image, and then the other a more lifestyle based image.

Both came with some challenges, the pour into the glass being the most difficult. Getting the pour to meet the glass in the exact spot I wanted proved testing, but with some patience and persistence we got there in the end. Thats what still life imagery is all about!!

Throwing It Together

When I was younger, I remember my mum saying things like "I've just thrown a cake together." I'm not sure what it was that jogged my memory about that, but it got me thinking about how that could be bought to life in a visual way. Maybe I should have started with throwing a cake together, or, maybe thats something for another time. I thought about the idea for a few weeks and then threw myself into it. 

After I'd sat on the idea for a bit, in December 2017 I started to shoot what would turn out to be a long and testing body of personal work.

Starting with breakfast. A full English to be exact. This image would set the framework for the project and how I would execute more of these thrown together images. The trouble was, at this point I wasn't sure how many I wanted to do, or what was going to be next. Things seem to work nicely in three's, but I've got a bit of a habit of shooting series of work that always come out with three final images so I wanted to go further with it than that.

The first image took me two days to shoot. There was a lot of tinkering as you can imagine, but I wanted to make sure that this could be an elaborate and real talking point within my portfolio. As is always the way with the first step of a series or new body of work, you have to find the best ways of doing things. A bit of trail and error, probably lots of swearing as things didn't quiet work out and a bunch of patience goes a long way with this kind of thing. Everything had to be shot near enough where it is positioned in the frame in the final image. Perspectively things wouldn't line up otherwise, something might just look odd about the images, but it would be difficult for the viewer to figure out what if they weren't "visually trained". It was the perfect challenge for me, offered up plenty of problems to solve, which in turn appeals to my precise way of doing things. I guess thats what really makes still life photographers tick.

I can't remember which image I shot next, but after doing so it started to become clear to me that I could do a whole days worth of food. Maybe an indulgent day, but that seemed like a logical way to go with and it would give me a natural order for the images. Now not only did I want to do the dishes, but I wanted to throw in a drink for each stage too. This obviously started with the brew on the breakfast which I didn't really have to think about with a fry up, the rest went from there.

After about 6 months I'd ended up with the images you see below. A little bit of an epic, but worth all the tinkering and eating all the food afterwards!

Sometimes the best work just seems to grow organically.

Full English Breakfast

Smoothie

Cheese Toastie with Tomato Soup (very American)

Surf and Turf

Trifle

Cheese and Biscuits.

Under Cover

A personal series of cars under cover on the streets and drive ways in and around Palm Springs in California.

Drinks For The Savoy

Recently we've been shooting some drinks work for the Savoy. Using the Kinghts Bar which is located above Simpsons Restaurant and looks out onto the Strand. The bar has a Art Deco feel to it and they serve a host of there own signature cocktails such as "Put the Kettle on" inspired by tea and "Don't make a fuss" where the glass has a lipstick lips style glaze added.

An Interview With: We Made This Work

Some time ago now the guys at We Made This Work got in touch asking if I would mind answering some questions for the blog they had made aimed at undergraduate photography student. Heres the interview below (sorry it might seem long and boring):

How did you get started in photography?

I went to college to study graphic design. There was a module of photography and I’ve not put a camera down since.

Where did study photography?

I initially studied a BTEC national diploma at Hereford College of Arts and then went on to study commercial photography at the University of Derby.

How did you start your career out of university?

I started my photography career while I was at university. I had already shot my first commercial jobs by the time I had left and had grown a fairly long list of photographers I was assisting. 

Who (if) were you assisting and what were you shooting? 

I was assisting James King, Matt Standfield, Jonathan Beer and a whole bunch of others regularly when I started my career. I was shooting still life bits on a personal level too.

Why did you choose product and portrait photography?

I liked the challenge of making everyday objects become appealing and I like geeking out about lighting, so still life is perfectly suited to that. I treat portraits much like still life, lighting a space and then getting the subject to occupy that.

What three personal qualities have really helped you to become successful in your craft and business?

I’m not sure. Probably my drive, because you’ll get knocked back so many times you need to be able to keep getting up. You also need to be fairly thick skinned and resilient.

How would you describe your style?

Colourful and punchy maybe…

Can you describe your digital work-flow and the software you use? Does your post processing contribute heavily to your style?

I shoot on a Phase One, so I have to use Capture one. Its also great for organizing and making fine adjustments to RAW files. I shoot tethered 99% of the time which helps you to see the finer details and refine things. I shoot a lot of plates that get put together in photoshop  mainly to give you options on things and make removing unwanted objects like stands easier.

What are your favorite types of projects to work on, and why?

My favorite projects are where you have the freedom to be fairly creative. I think the more open minded you can be in the approach and planning, then the better the final outcome will be

What is most challenging about shooting portraits?

I think its capturing someone’s personality. A good portraits shouldn’t just be a picture of someone, it should be a reflection of who they are.

Do you work alone or do you hire assistants, work with other photographers, collaborations? 

I work alone a fair bit, but also hire in assistants when I need to. I’m always on the look out for collaborations with other artists/ set designers etc too.

Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?

At the moment, probably Guy Martin.

Do you ever face "creativity blocks"?

Inevitably yes. Its difficult not to get bogged down sometimes. You need to ride the waves with creative things.

What kit do you use?

I shoot primarily on a Phase One medium format system. I’ve got a bunch of profoto lighting too.

How much post production goes into your final images?

That’s dependent on the project. Sometimes things can be pretty much straight out of camera, other times there can be 30+ elements to a photograph.

The first photographer that comes to your mind and why?

Gregory Crewdson. His work is like huge still life stuff, everything has been carefully considered, lit and placed. The level of detail that goes into the work is immense.

Who are your inspirations both photographically and in general?

Take inspiration from every day things. The way the sun refracts on things, watching the world go by from a café window. Sometimes it’s the mundane things. Photographically, Gursky, Crewdson, McCurry and then commercial photographers like Louisa Parry, Chris Turner etc.

Is there a certain shoot you have completed in the past, or perhaps a collection of your images that are your personal favourites? For what reasons?

That’s difficult because I have a personal attachment to them all. But I tend to go for the more technically demanding images because they required more craft.

What quick advice do you have for photographers just starting out?

Never underestimate or undervalue your craft and the power of photography.

Favourite two photos you have taken recently?

I’ve been doing a fair bit of trainer work recently, so probably those.

What do you most love about photography?

The lighting challenges. Building the lighting on a scene and making it come to life. Photography is all about the light.

Most memorable shoot?

One I assisting on in LA. It was a huge privilege to be flown out and paid to be there.

Any personal projects your working on?

I’ve got a few things in the pipeline. Nothing that I really want to give away just yet – so you’ll have to keep checking back

What are your ambitions for the future?

Keep growing as a photographer, gaining experience, picking up new clients, building new relationships, move forward in creative knowledge, embrace abstract ideas.

Shooting at The Savoy, London

Premium Food & Drinks Photography

Back in the Autumn we were asked to put together a shoot that helped Simpson's In The Strand restaurant, which is part of The Savoy hotel in London. The client's brief was to show the craft that goes into the food and drink at the restaurant. We shot both food and drinks photography as well as video to really show off the talent and the restaurant's processes.

Ominous Art Direction

The art direction required a dark and moody feel to the images with some extreme close up's too. It was a pleasure to work with head chef Will Hemming and his brilliant team. The food, as you would expect, was incredible.

Take a look below to see a selection of the stills and a cut of one of the videos. Just be warned: don't look if you're hungry...

We also had some help form DOP Mark Pullon on the day to help create some moving images of the processes we shot stills of. All in all, a very satisfying day with some beautiful food.

Looking back at 2017 and forward to 2018.

2017 was a great year. I was lucky enough to work with some great people and some pretty awesome projects throughout the year. So thank you to everyone who put there trust in me to get the job done! Here are a few little personal highlights from the year, sorry I can't put everything up here, theres just way to much of it and you'd still be looking at this in March.

Better By Bike.

I was commissioned at the start of the year to shoot a campaign for, Bath, Bristol and North Somerset councils for their Better by Bike initiative, the council want to get people to commute to work using cycle paths in the area and its also a great way of keeping fit. Picking up with a similar feel to how we shot for them last time back in 2015, 6 days on location was a fairly chunky project, the weather was mostly kind to us too which is a bonus!

 

Burts Chips

It was a bit of a strange job when I was approached about shooting some cocktails that were inspired by flavours of crisps for Burts Chips. Even stranger was a Martini with cheese instead of an olive but anything goes in the 21st centuary. We shot them on location in Bristol and there was lots of product on set, which is only a good thing. Super fun job and all of the cocktails looked stunning.

Personal Work

I was lucky enough to find a bit of time to shoot some personal work and tinker on things. Much of 2017 was about drinks on a personal level. I love how technical you can get with these images, spending time refining the lighting and then once the drink is poured it's all done in a matter of seconds. Different story with the bottle images however where you can tinker for an age... Love shooting this kind of thing and want to do lots more so if you've just rebranded something liquid/ booze based, lets talk about creating some awesome imagery for it.

Reach Robotics: MEKAMON

I shot product, lifestyle and campaign images for Reach Robotics new augmented reality based product MEKAMON. These are now available from the apple stores.

Winkworth Sherwood

I spent 3 days in Winkworth Sherwood's office on the bank of the Thames shooting portraits of fee earners for the rebrand. Art Direction wise we wanted it to feel editorial, New York Times kind of relaxed interview. I think we managed that despite spending only a short amount of time with each sitter. Always a pleasure to work with art director Anthony Mullinder.

Strasbourg Christmas Markets

I was commissioned to shoot a large scale paper model of Strasbourg, created by the super talented Sam Pierpoint. It came in at something like 1.6m x 1.6m, pretty big for something so delicate. A whole lot of patience and skill had gone into crafting it. A day in the studio to assemble the model and then a day of shooting all the elements to bring the city to life. There's also a version where the smoke moves and shooting stars ping across the sky. The model is now actually in Strasbourg for all to see and scratch their heads about how it's all put together. Loved this one - heaps more of this kind of thing please!

The Gift Of Cake

The Gift of Cake is a brilliant start up based in the South West. Send cake to loved ones to say a little something, instead of the predictable flowers. There was an awful lot of cake on this shoot, I tired it all and it was all delicious! Very much looking forward to working with their team on some more of this next year as they produce seasonal ideas. Check out there website, all the photography work on there is from yours truly. www.thegiftogcake.com

The Savoy

I've been lucky enough to start shooting for The Savoy. These drinks were shot over a couple of occasions in the Knights bar, which is part of Simpson's In The Strand restaurant. I'm looking forward to going back this year and shooting some new signature cocktails that they may have up their sleeves. Back in 2017, The American Bar, which is part of the Savoy won the coveted title of best bar in the world. A little goal for myself this year is to try and shoot some cocktails for them too! Though the greatest shame is that every time I've been driving, so I can't even sample these...

 

Its been a hectic and colourful year. Again, thanks for the love and trust. Can't wait to work with you all in 2018. Lets make it even better, brighter and crazier than the year just passed.

Moor Beer

Myself and Braddan at Skylark agency recently got together to shoot for Bristol based beer powerhouse, Moor Beer.

We wanted to give each beer it's own distinctive 'location' to help show the variety of beers that Moor brew. We chose a select few beers that showed the range of beers that Moor produce and varied up the environments that we shot them in. A mix of pale ales, IPA's and stout was a concise enough selection to show just a snippet of the 22 beers that they offer.

We changed each set as well each glass used to help distinguish the beer's differences.

Each beer was carefully lit with a stunt glass until I was happy with my overall lighting. Once we were there with the lighting it was time for a few little tricks to get our hero beers ready whilst in situ.

Here are some of my personal favourites.

Ice Cream Stop Motions

I was approached by Bath based creative agency Realityhouse to help them create some unique imagery for a rebrand that they were going through.

The brief was fairly wide open, almost anti agency. We decided to go down a route poking at other agencies and the bland way in which they present themselves. Sometimes it's really difficult to actually define what an agency actually do and Ant, the creative director was keen to move away from that and do something totally different. Hence the “Vanilla”  and “Look at me” stop motions.

Possibly a bold and risky move when sometimes clients like to know they are in safe and reliable hands, but it was a great idea to be brought in to work on.

And yes, we did actually make the lettering out of ice cream and shoot it all for real. That was the difficult part. Summer didn’t help our cause in some ways with this one, but we got the results all the same! Check them out below.

Troo Studio | Beautiful Handmade Furniture

I was asked to photography some beautiful handmade furniture made by Sam and Freya at Troo Studio. I was more than happy to help them out showing there pieces in there best light!

Zest Imgery

The guys at Stuff Advertising got in touch last year with a lovely little brief to shoot some food details for a client of theres. Of course I was delighted to help and here are some of the results.

Beasts Of Balance

The guys behind this new, cool game, Sensible Object came to me needing a hero imagery that was going to grace the box of the game as well as a set of other images that would form assets for other parts of the game packaging and marketing.

The brief was that they wanted to show what the game was about in one single image that would sit on the box. The game is played with a tablet, and the game pieces are stacked on the plinth until they eventually fall. A more modern and technical jenga. Maybe.

It seemed pretty obvious that we needed to show the tablet and then the stack falling as that would help encompass the game in a single image.

A super technical and fun couple of days in the studio and we managed to create a pretty killer image for the box alongside a full set of hero images of the characters in the game too.

Looking forward to hopefully seeing some of these boxes on toy shop shelves soon.

There are a few behind the scene's images from the shoot too!

Check out there website at www.beastsofbalance.com

2016: A Year in Review

2016 has been a year of highs and lows. A strange year. One to remember for many reasons, but also one to forget for a variety of things too.

Looking back at the year at the photographic highlights of the year as we prepare to move into 2017. Hope you enjoy looking back as much as I have.

Excited to see what the new years going to hold for us all!

TRON

A Personal project using Perspex, mirrors, gelled lights and a precise placement of the lighting to create a series of images that reminded me of the film Tron. I coupled up complimentary colours to help the effect and to accent the refraction through the blocks.

3 days were spent in the studio creating the images. The perspex blocks had to all be as clean as possible, which is a difficult task within itself because of there static nature, and then arranged onto the mirrored surface to create the set. Lighting was then brought in with gels to show the refractive nature of the blocks. A timely, and pretty testing few days in the studio, but really pleased with the results.

Shouts must go out to Sophie Morrison (http://creativepool.com/SophieMorrison/projects) who retouched the images and added the final gloss to them!

 

GLITCH - AN EXPLORATION OF REFRACTION.

I recently had an idea about taking the conventional, painterly kind of still life stuff and trying to turn it on its head a little bit. Flowers have been painted and photographed for years. Karl Blossfeldt's early photographic studies of flowers and fauna stand out, but almost every photographer has done something with flowers along the way.

I wanted to try and see if I could do something a little different. Glitch like as it were. Perspex blocks make for a perfect way to achieve that as what they "see" on the ends can be pretty strange at time. 

A lot of careful placing and waving a tape measure around helped determine what would be seen through the blocks, here are some results. Retouched by Darek Szwedo (szwedo.co.uk).

HIPPIES IN BARSTOW

Met these guys in a petrol station car park in Barstow, California as we headed along Route 66 back at the start of March. Mars and her friends were road tripping as well, but heading to San Fransisco. Her road trip had been 5 years without any obvious destination beyond San Fransisco in the short term and moving from festival to festival after that. 

We filled up a Jerry can of fuel for them to help them along the way and stood chatting and snapping the odd frame here and there for a good 20/30 minutes. They had no cares in the world other than getting to the next destination or festival, via a few stops at garages to rely on others to help them put the fuel in their van.

BETTER BY BIKE

Back in the Autumn I shot a new campaign for Bristol City Councils Better by Bike initiative (with Stuff Advertising) where they want to encourage people to cycle around the city to help reduce congestion and make Bristol a greener place to live.
We shot on various locations around the city for a couple of days using people who actually live and cycle around the city as our subjects. Using real people who cycle around Bristol was an integral part of the shoot as opposed to using models.
The campaign was launched with a door drop targeting households around the Bristol to Bath cycle track and is now live on the Better by Bike website - www.betterbybike.info/.

VENICE BEACH SKATEPARK

Earlier this year I found myself out in the States and on Venice beach on a perfect Californian evening. 20 or so minute of shooting these dudes at the skatepark and I walked away with the below images.

I'd love to go back and spend more time there, doing the skaters there some more justice or finding something a little more obscure to photograph. Either way, its somewhere that I'll definitely be going back to sooner or later...

VALENTINES DAY

At the start of Feburary I went in and shot this typographic made from love hearts for the Green Chameleon guys. A giggle working with them as ever. Looking forward to the next time we shoot together!