Sometimes a shoot just comes together. I found Artemis from looking at another photographers work online, I dropped her a line just to say well done and what would you know she was only going to be in York a few days later.
A few phone calls later I’d acquired my space and everything was set.
See it really isn’t that hard to get yourself creating new work, you just need to get off your behind.
A quick note on the space used. Bar Lane Studios, one of Yorks more creative venues. Gallery, artists in residence with studios, little cafe plus an event list packed to the gills. The basement was a recent find for me and figured it was worth a punt at using for this shoot. It worked really rather well, a couple of things could be done to help out some but all in all really nice (bit chilly mind but what can one expect in a basement mid February). Checkout the Bar Lane gang and if you’re ever in York why not pop in for some culture –
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.
Been meaning to do some more of these away from the rider portraits, finally got around to one during a shoot.
Very early edits from todays portfolio shoot with Jamie. A little modern twist on a Teddy boy style.
Model : Jamie Wands-Murray (Maverick Models)
Photographer : Mark Ivkovic (moi!)
The snow is sticking around making some of my city locations either look odd or be really too slippery to shoot at. Having said that it’s nice to have the ground be a huge reflector no matter where I go. Some you win some you lose right?
We both managed not to freeze thanks to a mid session hot beverage, plus we put some leather down crossing the city.
PRobably more from this session later in the week too, not to mention more from Yazi and some from Sundays shoot with Ashley. Told you I was hustling this year.
Model : Ashlee VS
MUA & Hair : Vicki Suddaby
Photographer : Mark Ivkovic (Me again!)
One for the Film26 group, which is an ongoing project for me this year. This time around it’s “B”. Took the ‘B’ronica along for the ride on my last shoot, loaded with some Kodak (‘B’ankruptcy) for some ‘B’lank & white. I reckon I covered my ‘B’ases with this. The odd mark bottom left is on the neg, looks like this roll fogged a little as this was the final frame.
So then, Kodak . . . . . . . . that’s going to be springing crazy internet based fear mongering if ever anything has. It’s the end of the world!?!
No it’s just the end of a chapter, the story has a long way to go yet, with many a twist and turn remaining I’d predict.
The industry isn’t dying, it’s in a state of change and an exciting change at that. Stop looking back and thinking all the best times are behind us. This is the best shot you’ve ever got, step up and make it count or go and make room for somebody else.
Just another from the other day which I’m really happy with. Sure for a “true” beauty shot the hair isn’t right, but that isn’t really my thing. I’m about the face, the person behind the mask, the lyrics that waltz in your head whilst the world spins around. That unguarded moment, a feeling of peace, of vulnerability, a softness of step.
Wow where did that come from? I’m thinking that this Olafur Arnalds album is have quite an effect on me.
Model : Becca
MUA & Hair : Vicki Suddaby
Photographer : Mark Ivkovic (Who else right)
The final shot of 365 and I figured what better way to finish out the year and the project than with a little thanks to the man who kind of planted the seed to start the thing 365 days ago.
He’ll know who he is from this shot 😉
I needed some kind of personal project for the year and figured if we both set about with a 365 we’d at least be able to moan to each other about it at various parts of the year.
So thanks for hanging in there to the end with me ninja, this beers for you fella.
A Happy New Year flickrinos, i’ll be quiet for a little while whilst I get going on planning out my personal projects for 2012. The blog should keep on ticking in the meantime though.
Olympus PEN e-p2, 20mm
PS – Getting Lego for Christmas at the grand old age of 33 is awesome!
I know, I know, how many more times am I going to photograph this window during this 365. It’s just a good subject late in the evening as the light fades.
Looking into the beauty that is the focusing screen of my Yashica Mat 124G. Mmmmmmm 3D focusing goodness.
Hoorah, as promised here’s the review of the 365 project for January. Sure I know it’s nearly March but I didn’t really get into the swing of this until February anyway.
I’m going to try and break down the review into; which shots I like most & least, what I’ve learnt, how I’m planning on proceeding.
My overall impression to the work I’ve created so far is that I’m pretty happy with it, some of the shots sat well within my “safety zone” others pushed my boundaries beyond my “normal” look. I wouldn’t say there’s a theme or even a encompassing style that ties all of the months shots together. This is probably partly due to using different cameras and not fully appreciating how much time can be required some days. The shots taken with my Canons are united in style, the iphone shots are united in style and the Leica shots are too. So maybe that’s something to take forward, maybe anything not shot on the Canons should be black & white from now on in an attempt to tie everything together more.
So on to which shot/s I prefer; that’s a tricky one for me as the artist to decide. As when I look at the photographs I’m reminded by the circumstances in which they were taken, the effort / time / skill needed to create the image. This comes down to my ability to be self critical and objective about the work, something which I luckily learnt early in my career (although sometimes I can be known to take the self criticism too far). I’d probably say I’m happiest with the shots of the Red leaf (that’s the magic floaty leaf to some) they just have something about them which confirms what this project is all about to me. They’re photographs which I wouldn’t have otherwise created, yet they have a commercial value. I highly enjoyed the process of creating them and was honestly really happy with the results. Everything clicked, from initial conception to final image. I ventured along creative pathways which otherwise would have gone unexplored and that Is probably what pleased me the most.
As to the photograph I’m least happy with, well the Rock Jock shot on day three was a clanger, Forkeh (although marvelously named) is a nothing shot really and Riding Dirty didn’t tell the story it was meant to. Of the three Riding Dirty should have been much more so I guess it’s the one I’m least happy with.
So what have I learnt so far along this self prescribed road?
Well there are a number of good photographic blogs out there for anyone wanting some inspiration (or distraction). I’ll probably link to some in future posts.
Flickr has a “look”, I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, It just has. Maybe I’ll expand on this in the future or maybe I’ll just keep it to myself.
Having ideas and lists of ideas is good but don’t forget to execute those ideas otherwise what use are they.
It’s not as simple as just “taking an photograph everyday”. Well to me it isn’t. I have a standard and style of shooting which I strive to maintain and evolve, by just grabbing a quick shot I’m damaging my own integrity. So to further this point, this project is taking up more time than I originally envisaged.
There are good days and bad days, you never know what kind of day it’s going to be.
How am I planning on proceeding?
Well February has been a rollercoaster month for the project so far, more client jobs has meant a busier schedule and it’s only going to get harder as the year progresses. I’m enjoying that part of it though, it’s a nice timeout. So planning and scheduling are going to be more important.
I guess I’d like to try and tie the work together more so that If indeed I do put a book together at the end of the year it will flow a little easier.
Also I may start to look into some themed weeks, like colours or portraits or something.
I’d like to thank those who have commented, given feedback or said they’re enjoying the project so far. It means a lot. I’m working along the Create, Share, Sustain ethos. Sure it’s a personal project and I only really have myself to impress, it’s about creative growth but if in the sharing others gain something then that makes it all the more worthwhile. As for the sustaining, well lets just say some of the photographs will be appearing on more than just flickr.
So two weeks down.
Really got into the spirit of the 365 today after a little wander around the city picking up a few interesting bit & bobs to use in this project. After shooting a few different things I remembered my old propack and thought it’d look pretty retro against the funky paper I’d bought.
Even better, I discovered it still has some unused film it it. Polaroid 667 no less. Now seeing as this film has been discontinued for a good few years these could be the last two remaining unexposed sheets of the stuff . . . . . . . . . I’m feeling I need something special to shoot with it now (if it is still even usable as it’s been loaded for over 4 fours)
Also found I can still get film for the camera now made by fuji at around £15 a pack, so that’s £1.50 a shot. Not bad for iso3000 B&W instant.
Hmmm more to come in the future on this discovery I think.
Meanwhile for those needing more Polaroid fixings this should feed your appetite.
Canon 5D mkII (not much of a tech difference there eh?)
EF 50 1.8 (I think I’m liking this more than the sigma 50 . . . . .)
Natural window light.
A brief break of the cold snap today had me over hear a client asking if Spring was here.
Well judging by the amount of mud and road grime accumulated by my bike and me whilst riding around the city sorting print orders and delivering proofs, I’d say it probably isn’t Spring just yet.
Taken with the little Leica during a peaceful coffee stop in the park.