Saturday, 26 November 2011

I absolutely love it!

Every once in a while, there is a shot that makes you stop in your tracks. I've been staring at this image for a while. Taking it in. Breaking it down. Absorbing it whole. I absolutely love it.

On Thursday 20th of October this year, the Metro, a free paper here in London ran a story about a long running dispute and the eventual eviction of "Britain's biggest illegal traveller site at Dale Farm." Emotions flared. Violence decended like an inevitability of moths to a bulb. Sharp tactical police crashed against the hard determination of the protestesters. The mist descended. Rage. Tears. Sparks. Fire.

In the carnage, this shot emerged.

Image: Associated Press

I really don't think my words could add  any more drama to this image than what it already has. When people talk about Photoshop, remember images like this.


The correct moment in time, the correct viewpoint, the background and foreground creating an atmosphere so rich you can smell the air, sweat and intesity. If you ever were wondering about essense, this shot has huge amounts of essense frozen perfectly in time for your senses to imagine, feel, and put you right there.

Every shot should put you right there.

Angus D.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Bringing Out the Essence

"Great innovations are born, not out of love, but out of hate."
Penn Jillette. I think.

Branding. Marketing. Mindshare. Lobbying. They can be some seriously dull stuff. On the other hand, get them right, and they are infectious.

When I started photography, I didn't have some paternally inspired story of "my father handed me a camera when I was just a day old and I've slept with a camera beside me ever since while sucking on flash batteries as a dummy." No, my story was a lot more... typical me. I didn't like most of what I saw. I didn't like pictures of me. I didn't like holiday "snaps" that I was shown. And I really didn't like pictures of people with darker skin tones. The darker, the less I liked. It was the flash effect in dark environments creating big white spots on the forehead and cheeks. Oh I hated the balance in those images!

"Well do something about it then" one of the voices in my head said to me.

So I set about learning. Reading. Testing. Feeling. Understanding. Sleeping with a camera beside me. Sucking on my thumb or batteries. ... Seriously, please don't be silly enough to suck on batteries. The result will not be soothing in the slightest.

I really did want to understand why some things work and some things don't. Now, I can't tell a Jimmy Choo from a Louboutin (did I even spell that correctly), but I focused on seeing a smooth pleasing, interesting image. One that doesn't jar the visual senses like the visual version of eating slightly off food - some will notice at first bite, some will chew away thinking it's fine at first, and slowly but surely...

Then I started learning about balance. From the lightest of the vanilla skin tones to the darkest of the dark chocolate skin tones, I began to understand why I didn't like what I saw. I began to understand the balance that was missing. I also began to understand why some shots are bloody difficult!!! I studied the Grand Wizards of the art form. (Studied? Still studying. Still inspired by.) I thought about I and I likes and dislikes and why I wanted more. If that makes sense.

Up until this point, it was essentially broad strokes of life and art. Then came the finesse. The essence. 

Do you ever have that thing that you like to do where it's not really done till you can look back on it and get a certain vibe, a contentedness, a bond that it is somehow more. If you really appreciate music you will know that feeling of being touched by the chords of a certain track. There is a certain energy that I always wanted to pull from a moment in life. Something like a truth.

It's not easy.

My computer is littered with ideas that I couldn't quite get to the level I wanted them. Which is why I love planning some portrait set pieces. In my mind, if I know how to do everything to get the result I want, I'm not trying enough.

One image where I really managed to get my imagination out was done on a recent wedding shoot. The energy is there. The smoothness. The emotional connection. So I made it my new front page. Check it out. Let me know what you think.

Angus D