Doing very well in the cinemas – very good use of AB images!
WOW! Real Tear Jerker …. Opens June 3rd … photo credit: Alex Bailey
So far only Emilia Clarke’s mother has reached out to comment to the star on the new trailer for Me Before You, which has sent Internet audiences worldwide grabbing for their tissues. She thought it “looked great,” as most mothers would. But it’s Clarke’s friends that have already screened the film that are having the greatest effect on the woman best known as Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen. Apparently, exiting the theater red-eyed and puffy is just what she’s looking for.
“I haven’t done a very sad movie before,” says Clarke, calling from Los Angeles where she is doing some press for her upcoming film. “And now I’ve had friends that have seen the movie, are in tears, crying and I’m like, ‘Yay, good, I’m glad, I’m so happy that I’ve made you break down in tears.’ That’s a good sign. We are affecting people! But what a bizarre concept? I wouldn’t normally wish for people to cry.”
So… I am in my office with my very active yet relatively easy to engage 3-year-old son. Usual attention span 10-15 mins. Which I understand is about average for children of that age. We have done the crazy running about, The endless firing of staples, slightly irritating that one, on the basis when I need to actually use the staple gun it WILL be empty and of course we no doubt will have run out of fresh staples so I will be attempting that most useless of practises: Loading a single staple into a staple gun. Ever tried it? Utter waste of time – never works. So what next to occupy the young Bailey? Give the child choices. That is what I’m told. So I ask him. Read a book daddy comes the reply. One of your picture books. By that he means one of my treasured Photography books. Avoiding War, threat and the totally avante garde. I settle on an appropriate publication: Through a Childs eye. A collection of some 100 or so images taken by children under the age of 11 – on film cameras – (when such things existed!). He poured over the book for upwards of an hour. Minutely studying details in the pictures. Not only the subject but interesting what engaged him the most was all the back ground detail, Tyres, buildings, onlookers half a dog a cat on a fence. On and on he went examining not only the subject but all the information contained within the image as a hole. Fascinating truly fascinating. This is a child that does look at images on an ipad and on phones and like most people whizzes through looking for instant gratification in an image as many of us do in life. And yet these still images with all the information they contained about a moment in a persons life and what was gong on in that persons environment totally absorbed him. I spend a huge proportion of my working life scanning through tens / hundreds of images in moments. Chewing up information like candy. But I also take time to sit still and contemplate my images and the images of others. Recently I have been studying the work of Bill Brandt. Rather re-studying his work – the considered contemplation, the abstract feel, so many admirable qualities. My advise: Take time to consider the details. Look deeper there is often a lot more you can discover.
Whilst looking through a magazines at mums yesterday evening, this small top of column photo of the master photographer: Cecil Beaton, caught my eye. Why? Because for several days I have been wondering whether the era of the ‘Considered Photo’ is nearly over. I would certainly suggest it is in deep decline. I was bought up on a diet of photographers who produced “considered” very well constructed photographs: Cecil Beaton for one, Angus McBean, Cartier Bresson, Bill Brandt, Richard Avedon, Herb Rits to name but a very few. I can not say that I am aware now of so many photographers that produce single images that where planned, thought out and executed with such construction and pre-meditation as the likes of Cecil etc. Nowadays we are mass image producers and I would certainly say that includes me. Stills photography has always been quite volumess by its very nature, but where once I produced may be 10k images now its often 20k – so many photos – I do try very hard to consider every frame but I admit I get drawn into the shoot, shoot, shoot policy that so many ad and marketing agencies encourage. I genuinely believe – and know for a fact – that this amount of imagery is indigestible, how do I know? Because of the inability of the vast majority of those handling all this photography to actually be discerning, edit and chose images for circulation that are definitive and conform to basic compositional attributes, many unfortunately would not know what a compositional attribute is any way! and if you don’t know please don’t ask me – search it on the net – So I’ve decided the next assignment I get I am going to Produce one image, and one Definitive, very well considered and extremely well thought out image only. I’m going to work on the basis that the client is hiring me for my experience, knowledgeable and ability to produce imagery that sells their product – just in this case it will be ONE PHOTO ONLY.
Hmmm it is an interesting debate! That’s what makes the difference in any strand of photographic discipline, that is when the technical crosses over into the creative, or to put it another way commercially creative. So you can sell your skills based on their technical merit but appreciated for their creative content. That’s the camp I like to think I subscribe to. Take for example: On set stills photography – if all one does is stand next to the Camera and shoot the same frame on a same or similar lens to the movie camera: Are you just a technician? In the same way a wedding photographer might stand and shoot a group shot of Guests – its a technical reference – If however you stop and consider: What is the point of this photo? What can I do to enhance and make it engaging so it becomes a useable image for marketing and captures the audiences imagination in the same way the creative wedding photographer specifically aims to capture magical moments from an assignment. Is this not a better approach? A more developed concept of our medium? Are we then not more complete with a Ying Yang of technical and creative. This is what I have always strived for. I achieve it by dedication to the technical and a keen interest in the artistic which I try to draw across into my work. Another key element is motivation and / or maintaing interest in what I do, not that is… to become complacent or visually tired which inevitably leads to a lack of inspiration in turn resulting in tired, dull images that fail to engage. So my best advise: Step back, take another look, be lateral and look for the unusual, the ethereal, something that will engage or make a thought provoking image draw on your vast technical knowledge and your imagination with the aim to combine the two. And give the client what they really want or more to the point what they didn’t know they wanted!
I regularly get asked about the impact digital has had on my working practise, something I have spoken about before on my blog. But there is no harm in underlining the point. Without doubt now that the cameras and the technology has truly come of age and by this I mean in practical terms that the ability of the cameras … in my case: Nikon D4 and D4s, are able to image capture superbly in lowlight situations at a high resolution and the workflow after image capture is fairly seamless with in my case NX2 software with all the benefits that tweaking in post production can bring. My overall conclusion is that digital has creatively liberated me from the restraints of film. For example the opportunity to experiment and explore various angles and lighting scenarios when shooting on set without the concern of colour balance – (being able to adjust as I go along rather than be locked in on a roll of film) or running out of frames (I now often use 32GB cards giving me 800 + shots!!!! Totally mad) this has freed up my creative mind to a vast range of possibilities.
Am I glad though that I learnt on film first? Some 20 years of exclusively working on film! Endless worry about exposure… Now I am reassured by the monitor…. Constant metering on hand held meters… Exposure, Composition…. has the lab got it right??? Thank you digital! I feel truly creatively liberated from the restraints of the technical by digital. Ironic really when you consider how much technology I am utilising. When once I just used a light tight box that allowed a controlled amount of light to fall on a light sensitive material. Does any one remember Fox Talbot?