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Saturday Girls

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I will be holding a workshop on portrait photography, here in Bristol with local photography organisation IC – Visual Lab. It’s a whole day event aiming to simplify the process of making portraits. The first practical session will be broken down into: people, backgrounds and lighting.

The afternoon session will try to help participants become more confident at approaching and photographing strangers.  We will also look at how to make people feel at ease in front of your camera and how you can get  the best out of the people you photograph.

There are still places left. Here is the link to sign up http://icvl.co.uk/portraitworkshop/

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Sometimes a project takes time. These photographs were taken over the past 10 years. They are from an ongoing series of street portraits titled ‘Not Here Long‘. I was asked to submit two series of my work to Ffotogallery’s European Prospects website. After recently working with Sarah Amy Fishlock on the Gooseflesh zine and exhibition at Street Level last month. I was able to see my work in a different light. Sarah curated work that I had taken in different places, for separate projects, over the years and put them together. Thinking about why I take these portraits helped me to see the common thread between them.

The title comes from one of Ken Grant’s photo book reviews and the accompanying text was influenced by a talk by Peter Mitchel. And things start to fall into place.

Here is my description of the work..

‘Not Here Long’ is a series of portraits, taken over a decade. They were conceived through the frustration of not having access to a studio. Streets, buildings, shop fronts, walls and doors are used as backdrops. Each sitter is directed, allowing me to work with natural light. “I think of the set up as I would a studio. I create a space for someone to be themselves. I spend a few minutes with each person taking three frames.” 

“There is an appreciation that I am capturing that person, as they are now; with the light that has travelled from the sun, reflected from each person, as they stand in front of me, their feet firmly planted on the face of the earth, through my camera, through me onto the permanency film.” 

The work is a celebration of the human being. It is unlike a photo booth image; as it takes another human being to see and bring out the qualities that make us human. “I look at people and want to record this moment in time; how gentle, intense, awkward, fragile, tender, lonely, beautiful or alive they seem to be – because we are not here long. 

 You can see the complete series on the European Prospects website here.

 

 

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This is the start of a new project for me, titled ‘Saturday Girls’. I want to create a series of portraits that capture  that feeling of freedom that Saturdays can bring. The choice to wear whatever you like, and be whoever it is you really want to be. On the one day of the week, ( Sundays don’t count – no one is going to see you on a Sunday), for many of us, we are not bound by work clothes or school uniforms.

For a lot of young people and girls in particular. Saturday is about dressing up (or down), meeting up with your mates and going into town. To shop, if you have some money or to hang out. I have started to work on a series of portraits of girls and young women out and about on Saturdays. Free and easy and dressed how they want to be, being able to express their growing and developing identity, through their clothes, accessories and attitude.

This is Fen and Flo who I met last Saturday outside Primark ( a popular spot), in Bristol city centre. I particularly like how they have posed for the camera. It is very posed and self aware. These girls know what they are doing with their legs. For a while I tried to get my subjects to stand very plainly, but have  learned that a picture gives more away if you allow someone to present themselves as they wish others to see them.