Tag Archives: black & white

Riding On…..From Here To Eternity

Why was I drawn to become a portrait photographer? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked myself this question.

Bryonie Porter

In part I chose this career because deep down I know that I’ve a strong voyeuristic streak. I like the lives of others, I want to get on the inside, to be nosey, to stand within someone else’s skin and feel their life. And this has been the profession that allows me a way into those spaces and experiences that may prove difficult to achieve in other ways.

Noel Richardson

Some time ago I decided to embark on a very long personal project to document the UK motorcycle community as it was at that time. So I spent three long years photographing as many bikers as I could manage to persuade into my studio to pose with their machines. I had a connection to this world because I, too, had ridden for many years until my driving was curtailed by the onset of epilepsy in my twenties.

Joelle & Calypso (after Jean Cocteau)

I chose to work all of these as a studio series with a standard lighting set-up and background throughout. I was particularly inspired by the work of August Sander’s series of photographs, ‘People of the 20th Century’.

Dan Tze

My starting point was a background and lighting plan. I commissioned a large, painted, mottled canvas which dropped the full height of the studio and then ran out onto the floor and had sufficient slack to allow me to add folds & still fill the picture frame when working on a wide angle lens. It is 7 x 4 meters.

Two Kevs

The lighting consisted of an Elinchrom A2 head with 60cm softbox high above the camera and running from an Elinchrom 202 pack. A large ‘V’ reflector made from two 8ft x 4ft flats on the left out of which runs an Elinchrom 50 head and finally a large 8ft x 4ft polyboard reflector beneath and in front of the camera. I needed something that was simple, easy to repeat, quick to assemble and would work successfully for both individuals and small groups.

Ani Bhana & Edward

The shots were made using either a Hasselblad 500C/M usually with a 50mm lens but sometimes an 80mm. With this camera I shot Ilford FP4 Plus black and white negative. My other approach was to occasionally use a Horseman monorail camera and a 150mm lens to make black and white Polaroid negatives from either Type 55 or Type 665 film. In actual fact I used this method as much as the medium format approach.

Deno with a ‘ratted’ Honda CX500

The great advantage of the Polaroid pos/neg material was that I was able to solarise the negative. I did this by cutting the standard processing time in half, peeling the film, re-expossing the resulting under-processed negative using a speedlight on low power, then leaving the negative in a dark box to continue developing. After another 2 minutes I’d clear it using a bath of sodium sulphite to find an image with properly exposed highlights but re-exposed and thus negative shadow areas.

Vic Dickens with ‘The Mod Machine’

Finding people was the fun part. Understanding that all magazines are always on the lookout for free material I began by shooting a small number of friends and with these initial shots  put together a press-pack for the bike & scootering press. All the magazines published my images and contact details and the phone didn’t stop ringing.  This was done when the internet was in it’s infancy so social media was still just a dream.

Nikki Thomson & Rebecca Stevenson

The beauty of it was that the people just kept coming and the project developed a life of it’s own. The stories of peoples lives, events, journeys, near death experiences, love, loss, sorrow, sadness and joy were a pleasure to listen to and mirrored many of my own experiences. I lost count of the number of cups of tea that were consumed during this process but I do know that film and processing cost me close to £10,000 (€15,000 at the time) and that was without print costs.

Hairy, Scary, Ball-Buggering Bob from Barnet

In retrospect I have no regrets. I never succeeded in publishing it as a book yet I learnt an invaluable amount about my own creative process and the images that found there way into my portfolios generated interest from clients and thus additional commissioned work.

After almost 500 individuals had posed I called it a day.

All images © Julian Hawkins

Details:

Hasselblad 500C/M, 50mm or 80mm, Ilford FP4 Plus @ 125 ISO, 1/125sec, f11 1/2

Horseman 450LE monorail, 150mm, Polaroid T55 @ 50 ISO or Polaroid T665 @ 75 ISO, 1/125 sec, f11 1/2 (flash power increased to compensate for slower speed)

Ref: Adams A, (1963), Polaroid Land Photography Manual, Morgan & Morgan (out of print)

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Monumental London – photography by Adrian Ensor

The Framers Gallery are hosting an exhibition of black and white images created by photographer and award wining black and white printer Adrian Ensor. ‘Monumental London’ runs from 16 July to 12 August at 36 Windmill Street. London, W1T 2JT.  It’s well worth a visit for anyone with even just a passing interest if not an absolute passion for quality black and white silver-based photography.

Tower Bridge © Adrian Ensor

Choosing as the subject for this series, great landmarks of London, Adrian prowled the streets in the early hours looking for different and unusual takes on these well known locations. Shooting square on medium format to create 6x6cm images he would later return to his Fitzrovia darkroom in order to process and then print.

St Paul’s © Adrian Ensor

Having twice won the coveted Ilford Printer of the Year Award and with an intimate and extensive knowledge of both chemistry, emulsions and papers Adrian is able to have a clear pre-visualisation of how he wanted his final picture to look. As a result he has made a unique take on a number of sites familiar to millions yet now observed in a different yet refreshing manner.

For anyone with a wish to experience working with Adrian first hand then watch the Shadows and Light 2013 programme. Julian and Adrian intend to team up next year in order to offer a one day black and white photography and darkroom workshop. Expect the unusual!

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Clerkenwell Design Festival

This evening I will deliver a presentation at Clerkenwell Design Week in central London as the guest of the City of London & Cripplegate Photographic Society in the upstairs room of The Horseshoe Inn, 7 – 9pm.

The theme is how to light portraits on location using both flash as well as mixed lighting technique, an ever popular approach which gets tackled every year in my workshops.

Bust!

Bust! was shot on the top floor of Alaska Works in south east London, a former fur warehouse converted into smart apartments that was caught up in the financial crisis. Oddly enough I opted to use a Fuji 617, 90mm using Ilford FP4, 1/8sec, f11 2/3. The model (actually Steve Devane, my art director on this occasion) holds a portable flash that came from The Flash Centre. Proessing and printing by Adrian Ensor.

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Gered Mankowitz: A Retrospective – Side B

Here’s just a small selection of shots from Gered’s current show at Snap Galleries.

Perhaps this preview is enough to entice you into the heart of London to see the full show before it concludes on June 16?

All images are copyright of Gered Mankowitz.

PP Arnold: The First Lady of Immediate

Mason’s Yard Studio, London, 1967

Eurythmics

Dave Stewart & Annie Lennox, Old Chapel Studio, London, 1981

The Spencer Davis Group

Mason’s Yard Studio, London, 1966

The Jam

Modern World – under The Westway, London, 1977

Free

Mason’s Yard Studio, London, 1969

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Mixed Lighting – Hoxton

© Indi Petrucci 2012

Details: Canon  EOS 5D MkII, EF 24-105mm at 24mm, 1/60 sec, f5, 800ISO

Indi Petrucci’s recent black and white street fashion shoot in and around Hoxton Square shows the versatility of the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra portable flash equipment and it’s suitability for mixed lighting technique. In her own words, “Easy to use, efficient and simple. The perfect kit for a photographer on the go on London’s streets.”

© Indi Petrucci 2012

Details: Canon  EOS 5D MkII, EF 24-105mm at 28mm, 1/125 sec, f5, 500ISO

When practicing mixed lighting to create strong visual images with a single flash head the Ranger is an ideal tool. To achieve these particular shots Indi chose to use a ring flash attachment hand held by her assistant either as the principle light source or as a discreet fill-in bounced off a Lastolite. Having scouted locations in advance as part of the pre-production process the whole shoot was completed in just under 3 hours and the results speak for themselves.

© Indi Petrucci 2012

Details: Canon  EOS 5D MkII, EF 24-105mm at 55mm, 1/125 sec, f5, 500ISO

The Flash Centre at their various UK locations are the principle supplier of Elinchrom. I’ve used this brand for more than 20 years suppled by TFC and can’t recommend them enough. I find them sturdy, reliable, built to last and able to copy with the worst of the British weather. The guys to talk to are Alex and Sav in London or Kevin in Birmingham.

If you’re keen to learn about implementing the mixed lighting technique then come and join one of our Mixed Lighting workshops. It’s not as complex as it may at first appear.

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Neville Brody

Telly Addict

The V&A’s examination of postmodernism in style, design, graphics, photography, etc comes to an end this week.

It’s given me the opportunity to reflect on a shot I did of Neville Brody for Design Magazine at his Tottenham Court Road studio. The art director who commissioned me, Neil Braidwood, has written about it elsewhere… The nice thing with Neil’s blog is that it allows you to see the image in context.

At the time I naturally knew Neville Brody’s work and yet he was rumoured to be a very difficult subject. However he took to the concept that Neil & I had in mind of shooting him from inside a TV set whilst eating popcorn and wielding a remote control. The rest took care of itself.

Details: Hasselblad 500c, 50mm, 1/4 sec, f11, Ilford FP4 @ 125 ISO

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