Behind the scenes – A week in the life (ish)

Sometimes everything gets a little too work, work, work, pretty picture, good looking people around here. So I thought I’d go for a real “Behind the scenes” post, aka frames from the road, for this weeks post.

So there you go, a glimpse behind the curtain, the general crap one sees during a week traversing the country.

Lenszine Interview

Interview on Lenszine

Interview with myself on Lenszine website

The good people over at Lenszine have posted an article from a little interview with me lately. If ever you’ve wondered what may be going on in my head then swing on over and have a read. Let me know what you think but I’m pretty sure my fortune is just around the corner thanks to such fame 🙂

It’s all about the photograph people.



Yazi Second Set

Yazi, originally uploaded by bang*.

web | blog | facebook

I don’t usually make a habit of blogging over the weekend but seeing as I’m prepping for a rather busy one tomorrow I figured I’d put a little post together.
Also for those who haven’t made the jump there yet I’ve finally got myself a bang photography facebook page. Why not swing on over when you’re finished here and give me a little like love, thanks.
Plus if you’re wanting to see a little more of my recent work swing over the newly tarted up bang | Photography website and let me know your thoughts

A few more as promised from the portfolio shoot with Yazi.

Model : Yazi van Bathory
MUA / Hair : Yazi
Cleaver : Models own . . . . .
Photographer : Mark Ivkovic (That would be me again)




The rare post without a photograph – Thoughts on gear, GAS, and all that.

So I’ve been bombarding you all with a lot of photographs lately, I figured I’d take the weekend to put down some words for a change. After all, I know how you love a rant every now and then. Plus  something has been welling up inside me of late, especially with all the new camera announcements. So if you’re ready to ride this one out with me, grab a seat, maybe a hot beverage and perhaps by the end I’ll have figured out what I’m trying to say.

Firstly for those not of a geeky camera leaning GAS is photo-nerd speak for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. This is the usual follow up of spending too much time online looking at photographs, seeing what camera was used to take said photographs and then heading over to eBay to try and find one cheap. One of the problems with being a photographer is that we all have an inner gadget geek which drives part of our brain. The artist part is happy with whatever creative tool it is given, often it is happiest with the most limiting of kit. The geek side however, that side wants new stuff, new (old) stuff, different stuff. It wants all this as it feels that somehow by having it magically the photographs the photographer creates will be better. Now I’m fairly sure most will agree that in the modern digital arena this problem has become amplified with all the manufacturers telling us about the super dooper new features and mega high iso capabilities etc etc. People get really hung up on this stuff and one quick glance over some of the nauseating internet forums will reveal just how strongly some folk feel about how important it all is. I guess it’s human nature to want to have better “stuff” than the others and to try and claim some higher standing by having said “stuff”. However photography has a great leveller of the playing field in it’s bag of tricks. The end product. I see many self proclaimed “pros” shooting with the latest and greatest camera gear producing very mundane and somewhat dead photographs. On the flip side I see many modest “hobbiests” shooting beautiful, heart wrenching work on cameras aimed at the entry level, or on cameras manufactured 30 years ago. So what does this tell me, does this mean we should shed ourselves of out megapixel beasts and go grab a point and shoot? no. Does it mean we should all go and shoot film just because this one guy on the internet said it was cool? no. Should we maybe just stop and think about what it is that new bit of kit we’re lusting after is going to grant us? maybe.

I feel one of the things we’ve lost in this digital age is time. Time to truly acquaint ourselves with our tools, to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of each piece of kit we own. The only way to get this is through spending time with our equipment, shoot with it, feel how it works, or if you like “become at one with your camera”. In the olden days (man I feel old typing that) we’d have one camera for years, the only thing which would make a huge difference would be the film you ran through it. Now you’re lucky if the fancy new DSLR you bought will last two years. Less if you spend time reading photo magazines and review sites. A lot of the photo industry is about trying to part you from your hard earned money, to be fair I’m part part of that crowd in that I’d like my clients to part with hard earned money in return for some beautiful photographs. However much of the industry would have you believe it’s more important to have the latest camera and lens than it is to truly understand how to create those beautiful photographs. I’ve seen many a person on photography workshops and training sessions not really know how to use their cameras and I don’t mean how to use the camera to take photographs I mean the basic stuff like change iso, format a CF card, that kind of stuff. You know read the manual stuff. I’ve seen the “Photography basics 101 : how to take great photographs”  courses end up with people lining up to ask how to set the camera up. I’ve even worked with “pros” who seemingly lack those same skills much to my dismay. As Mr Canlas tweeted yesterday “if you accept money for shoots, you should know how to meter.” Pretty much sums it up

Know your gear.

Now I’m not claiming to be immune from said GAS, after all some may recall my acquisition of a Canon 85mm f1.2 last year. A lens which is rather highly regarded. Do I still own said lens? I do not. Why not? it spent far too much time sat on the shelf than it did in my bag. At that time last year I was all hung up on the gear I had and on what I wanted to be able to shoot the kind of photographs I thought I wanted to shoot. I was all about the geek rather than the artist. Looking back If I’d just concentrated on going out and shooting those photographs I’d have learnt a whole lot more than I did photographically. Sure I learnt that the 85L is a great lens (in optical and bulk terms), however it just wasn’t for me. Would I buy one now if I had the spare cash floating around? probably not, there are a number of other things I’d invest that cash into before another 85L.

So what is it that I’m really going on about?

Well I guess I’d be nice if people started to rebalance their inner battle between the nerd and the artist. Let’s all just step back from the latest press releases about magical new cameras and concentrate on actual photography. You can lust after cameras and lenses that’s perfectly fine, just don’t let that be your overriding pull to photography. If you’re not out there creating new work, new work that you are proud of, then who the hell cares how many megapixels you have. Or that the photograph you took of your cat last night in the kitchen without the lights on at iso 1000000 with your 12-1000mm f1.4 lens and at 30 frames per second has next to zero noise in it at 100%. Seriously unless you just got a commission to photograph really fast black cats in a coal mine under ambient lighting conditions it really isn’t that important.

So to re apply the Baz Lurhman line “Don’t read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly”, don’t spend all your time reading photography magazines they will only make you poor. The reward from going out and taking a great photograph that you are proud of is much longer lasting than that momentary joy you get from buying a new camera.


Just saying. . . . . . . .

2011 looking back in twelve photographs.

I figured I owe some kind of reflection post on the year gone as I’m still being coy on what I have planned for 2012. So here we go a short twelve shot review of 2011, some you’ve seen some you haven’t.
Oh yeah if you’re done with the emails the blog sends out when I post here now the 365 is over then just follow the subscriptions options at the bottom of the email.
So then, to the reflection of the year just gone –

Polaroid pro pack camera

The 365 project begins

Jan – New beginnings and old kit, the 365 begins and my head fills with possibilities of photographs to make.

Converse trainers holding hands

One of my favourite shots of the year probably

Feb – I enjoy the freedom of personal projects, I start experimenting with my kit selection, bike week seems to be a rather busy week for the blog.

Spring is in the air

Mar – I start to find my feet with some street photography as I play around with my camera of choice for personal work. I finally get some new prints made up for exhibition and sale.

Cragside house

Apr – I find myself enjoying the little Olympus PEN e-pl2 more and more. I begin my Rider Portraits series and really enjoy producing a personal series of shots.

A little Fixed gear evening ride.

May – Seems to be all about family, friends, bikes and a jump to the Fuji X100.

Motion and colour in Budapest

Motion and colour in Budapest

June – Vacation time with a great trip to Budapest, new print series, all about colour and form thanks to the X100

Feeling a little lost
July – Start to feel I’m losing my way with the business and the 365 is taking over all my creative energy. Time for a good long look at things and the future.

My emergency exit from everything.

Aug – Needing more time and space to think so more time on the bike. Got really mad with the Fuji X100 so traded back to an Olympus PEN . . . . . plus started playing with more film again.

Finally getting my game face back on and the hustle begins again.

Sep – Everything gets busy but I find my groove and get back to shooting commissions that I really want to shoot.

Oct – Making my time count, getting the business headed where I want it to be. Hustling more than ever and loving every second of it, long hours but sooo much fun.

Nov – Taking more of a reinvention to my portrait work rather than the refining I’d initially considered. Shooting stacks of film in various formats for personal stuff.

Dec – The completion of the 365 brings time for reflection and the realisation that 2011 has been a pretty great year for me. Feeling great about 2012 and all the possibilities it holds for me and my business.

So that’s just the barebones of my quick look back. The good, the bad, the navel gazing, the mistakes, the joy. Despite my previous postings about feeling a little lost in where to take the business, one of the big things 2011 has brought me is clarity in that respect. 2012 is about using that clarity, simplification and going a little more niche. Is that going to mean I decline work that I may have shot previously? possibly yes, but it also means I’m so much more into what I’m shooting and that will show in the work I produce.

All Star Entrance

All Star Entrance, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 151 / 365

What a weekend that was!
Many thanks to those who joined in the debate on originality, your thoughts and opinions have made me think a great deal more on the subject. It has also confirmed to me that this is quite a common subject artists wrangle with.

So to a new week (Monday was a holiday here, as it has been elsewhere in the world). I’ve just pulled the on switch for my online sales, the available prints are limited at the moment and I plan on bulking the galleries out a little more on a monthly basis. Anyone with any favourites they would like that I haven’t included drop me a line and i’ll see if it can be added for you. Oh check the sticky post about the online sales for a thank you 30% discount code.

Also this week is the beginning of me overhauling my lifestyle portraits book (portfolio). Those following my blog a little may remember me saying this year was the year for me to work through and refine my vision and direction. The 365 project has actually taught me a lot so far about the kind of images and the look that I enjoy shooting and which come almost naturally to me. Combined with that are the jobs I’ve been booking and shooting. It can be a strange affair to look at your own work and try to read into your motivations.
I badly needed focus as this year started, I had projects pulling me in all directions and was trying to win too many races all at the same time without wanting to start one for fear of losing the others. If Zack Arias was going a hundred miles an hour down a dead end track, I’d got to the crossroads and sat down.

So I guess that is what todays photograph is about, I know where I’m headed now, all I need do now is step through the door, and guess what? I already have.

Day 109 / 365

Day 109 / 365, originally uploaded by bang*.

Carrying on with my little side project / theme.
Back to the black & white as to me that’s how I saw these when I took them. I just love the layers that are created in these shots hence why I’m spending a week exploring the subject.

On another note, I have another project I’ve wanted to do for a while that keeps bubbling up in my mind (it’s nothing to do with shop windows though). I guess that it really is a true personal project, yet it’s one that I’ve never really dared approach. I guess the fear of failure is always with me on these kinds of things, maybe the fear of rejection too. Maybe these fears are manifest from the fact I’m not 100% clear in my mind as to why I want to shoot the project, we’ll see.
So why am I writing this on my blog, why tell you I have something I want to do but am too fearful to do it? I guess my thinking is that once the idea is out, I have to act. By sharing the fact this is something I want to do, I in turn create an expectation in myself to do it. So you see the reason I’m telling you is because the only way to develop in this craft is to push your boundaries, get out of your comfort zone, take risks. I have a vision and I guess the fact it keeps bugging me is a sign that this is something I must do. Not for financial gain, not for recognition but for personal growth, to explore my photographic vision and tell a story I feel deserves to be told.

So todays lesson is just that, listen to that voice in your head, the one telling you that something is worth doing. Take risks, get out of your comfort zone.
So what if we fail, as Susan Jeffers said ”You’re not a failure because you didn’t make it. You’re a success because you tried.”

If you have a project or simply one shot you are just dying to take but can’t bring yourself to “Feel the fear but do it anyway”. Why not take that leap of faith, trust in yourself and your abilities.
Let me know if you do, we all need the support of others, we don’t have to know what you want to do, just that you’ve made the decision to do it.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get back to photography rather than trying to start a self help group. It’s just that working and living as a photographer is so much more than lenses, f stops and shutter speeds.



The PEN, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 94 / 365

Quick and easy was the order of the day for this shot.
I still have a number of outstanding items on the todo list for today. So it’s a quick camera shot of the lovely retro stylin’ Olympus E-PL2, sporting the Lumix 20mm f1.7 pancake lens and VF-1 viewfinder for ultimate classic looks. The thin black leather lomo strap with metal details finishes up the old school package (well for me anyway).

Shot on the 5D mkii / Sigma 50mm f1.4

I seem to have developed a cream border thing over the last few days, not sure what that’s all about (probably from me mounting & framing up a load of my work for show / sale.)

Day at the desk

Day at the desk

Originally uploaded by bang*

4 / 365

Busy day today, first day back after the festive break with a head full of new ideas & a pretty serious (self imposed) to-do list for the week.
Accounts to get up to date, tax return to do, invoices to raise, people to call, miles to run, books to read . . . . . .
Anyway, todays shot kind of signifies the fact that not everyday in a photographers life involves being out there shooting. We spend plenty of days sat at a desk too you know (it’s just a lot easier to wander out for a coffee, or fit in a run).

Shot on the iPhone;
Lens: Roboto Glitter
Flash: Laser Lemon Gel
Film: BlacKeys B+W

(It tells me all this when I email it, handy eh?)

Todays theme tune – Beggin’, Madcon (got me through a chilly run)