Tag Archives: portrait

File Formats: RAW v JPEG

RAW & JPEG are two different types of electronic file

The principal differences between the two types are:

  • RAW files are literally the raw data as produced by the camera at the moment of pressing the shutter
  • They have no ‘built in’ file format
  • You are then free to adjust this data through Photoshop or a similar application on a computer
  • You can change; exposure, white balance, contrast, brightness, etc
  • You can return all settings to the start point and begin again
  • A RAW file is, in effect, a digital negative

 

  • JPEG’s are generated by the camera after exposure & are written onto the memory card
  • Preset data for exposure, white balance, etc will be embedded in the file & can never be removed
  • The parameters are decided by you in advance
  • Your latitude to change & make alterations afterwards are very limited
  • The file will be compressed & this is achieved by discarding information that can never be retrieved

 

If you are working digitally then having a camera that will allow you to shoot in RAW format as well as JPEG can be an advantage.
However a JPEG that is produced by the camera at the same time as a RAW is not as satisfactory as one that you generate yourself from the RAW file during post-production.
Many DSLR’s will do both RAW & JPEG at the same time but this will reduce storage capacity.

 

Why shoot RAW?

  • When creating digital prints of the highest exhibition quality & size
  • Shooting high ISO values in low light
  • When you want to make high quality monochrome conversions
  • Photographing a subject with a high dynamic range
  • When you are uncertain about the colour temperature of the subject

 

Why shoot JPEG?

  • When the end result is for small scale or low quality output
  • If you need fast workflow
  • When you need low res images for web or onscreen use
  • When you need to shoot quickly
  • When the end result requires minimal post-production

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Borough Market, Jan 2014 – Take 2

Paul Shelley took part in the Borough Market street photography workshop last month and shot with a Nikon D300. Afterwards he edited his shots then cropped and resized them to fit into the picture boxes on the PDF layout. He and I did a final session remotely so that we could discuss and feedback before making a final PDF with his final selection of shots in place, and here they are….

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In Paul’s words, ‘I loved the day at the Borough. Thanks for your coaching and guidance. I have been working on the selection of pictures and have just weeded them so that I have now got the three sets.’

All photographs © Paul Shelley 2014

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Borough Market – January 2014

The first Shadows and Light workshop for 2014was shooting street photography at Borough Market, London, SE1 on January 18th.
To make this as realistic as possible to a commissioned photo shoot participants are invited to shoot their images to the specific requirements of an editorial brief, on the premise that a magazine has asked you to shoot a photo story about what makes the market vibrant and thriving.

On this occasion I decided to set myself a slightly different assignment, something that has grown out of a couple of recent conversations with Ed Kashi and his coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in NYC and commissions from Time Magazine and NBC.

Whilst the clients busied themselves with the task at hand I used whatever spare moments I had to shoot the same brief but just using my iPhone with the 645pro and Snapseed apps. Then I placed the my selected files into the In Design file & saved as pdf’s, as you can see below…

B_M_spread

Three spreads and a cover.
As part of the ‘homework’ with this workshop participants go away and edit 3 selections in Lightroom (or similar) then mail the jpegs across so that we can generate pdf’s, thus giving them the opportunity to see their images in the context of the finished magazine spread.

There will be another Borough Market workshop at the end of 2014 so why not come along?

All pictures © Julian Hawkins 2014

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The Interview – Guglielmo Galvin, getting behind the mask (Part 2)

This picks up where the first instalment left off.

S&L. OK Gil, what I’d like you to do now is explore the stories behind some of the portraits we have here. Let’s start with these two women in the shopping mall.

Gloria Hunniford

Gloria Hunniford, TN presenter

GG. (to himself) How did I get her like that?

S&L. Well don’t ask me because I wasn’t there.

GG. Gloria Hunniford is the one in grey and she and her friend are at a shopping centre. The poor friend looks ridiculous. But I think I love that picture and I’m glad that we’re using it. I can’t remember what it was for, I can’t even remember who it was for and I certainly can’t remember where it was. Yet what I like about it is that Gloria is responding to my performance with her own and the the friend just doesn’t know how to take it all.

S&L. Now earlier you explained that you used to just glance at the Polaroid, not dismissing them but at the same time not letting them interfere with your creative process. However you certainly looked at the Polaroid sufficiently to know that your exposures were accurate.

GG. That’s all  I did. I then reserved my actual production – which was really a performance – for achieving the end result for the connection between me and the sitter. That would be me kind of whipping things up into a frenzy. (smiles mischievously)

S&L. I’d like you to tell me more about that connection that you had to make with the subject in order to come away with the type of shots that made your pictures so memorable. Because in truth you and I both know that that doesn’t just ‘happen’.

GG. I whipped the person up, the faster I went the more I got from them.

If I had a person who had big doubts about posing by the time I got to frame 10 on a roll of 12 I had them in such a state, ‘Oh, yes! Oh, yes! You can do it!’ It was embarrassing for me and I used to walk away dripping in sweat.

S&L. I remember.

GG. And with Gloria Hunniford I wasn’t feeling very good about myself in that moment, not very erudite. But someone like Gloria wanted to do that, she wanted an exciting picture so that made my job easier.

S&L. So there’s passion in there as well purpose and technique?

Keith and Richard Allen

Keith and Richard Allen

GG. Yes, yes. With me I just loved the whole picture taking process. I used a tripod, Multiblitz lights, a Norman battery flash. I would only buy lights on the basis that they recycled quickly. At that time I was shooting just on Kodak Ektachrome 64 ISO film.

Quite often the actual shot that was used was not anything that had been anticipated by me or the client. An example of this is this guy, Mark King from Level 42. That was taken in between shoots. He wanted to look cool and I was taking a picture with the intention to show how posh his surroundings were. He was supposed to be a rock ‘n’ roller so what was he doing in such a posh room? So I wheeled the drinks trolley in to show off his opulent surroundings.

Mark King, Level 42

Mark King, bass player with Level 42

GG. It’s the same with the picture of the guy from The Who… you know the one I mean, it’s the picture I have of him with the fish?

S&L. Roger Daltrey?

GG. I put that hat on him because I thought he looked someone out of The Archers.

Roger Daltrey

Roger Daltrey, rock vocalist

Later on he did an ad for Barclaycard and for part of it they had him wearing that hat. I don’t know whether it was significant or if they had seen my shot in The Sunday Times. Anyway I found it extraordinary that a man I’d imagined to be a hard bitten rock ‘n’ roller wanted to wear that hat. I’d considered people in that game were all head-bangers but they weren’t, they weren’t. Really they were just nice little boys. Just goes to show how stereotypes can catch you out!

S&L. Let’s look at the photo of PD James holding the dagger.

P D James, crime writer

P D James, crime writer

GG. She hated it!

The dagger was an award she’d received so I lit it to get the shine in the metal but she thought it was too posed. My view was, come on, you write thrillers that are no more affected than what I’m doing as a photographer. But she didn’t know how to refuse me.

I would always play on the positive aspects of what I was which was a mystery to many of the people I came into contact with. They didn’t expect someone like me and whereas they could accept David Bailey with his Cockney accent. Nobody had told them there was a rascal out there with an Irish accent who would take a powerful images of them.

GG. Now if we look at the portrait I did of Lord Rothschild, an image that I love, I’ll explain a little more about my process. I did this for The Field and I’ve always been particularly proud of the shoots that I did for them.

Lord Jacob Rothschild

Lord Jacob Rothschild

This was at a time when I’d decided to take a less complex approach to my shots. It was to illustrate an article about him as an art collector so I used the papier mâché dogs because there was nothing else available.

S&L. Well you should be proud of that shot, Gil, it’s fantastic and works so well.

GG. Working for that client always involved a tight brief whereas with The Obs and The ST the page would often be laid out depending on the picture I delivered. With The Field I was always having to look for shots that happened in just three quarters of the frame.

S&L. Was this because they were running them as a DPS (double page spread)?

GG. No, they ran as a page and a column so I always had to leave space for the gutter. For this reason I kept a mark on the Hasselblad focusing screen to show me where the gutter was going to sit. I picked that up from watching the way that Pearce (Marchbank) used to tape overlays on the camera screen when shooting Time Out covers. You must remember him doing that?

S&L. Yes, I do. I never saw anyone else do it but him yet it was so simple and obvious.

GG. I don’t want you to think that it was always plain sailing. Every now and then I made a mess of my shoot and the Bishop of Bath & Wells is one of those. He and I  just didn’t get along and I got quite angry. What’s more we drove all the way out there to photograph him and he didn’t even offer us a cup of tea. Can you believe that?

S&L. I sure can, some people can be like that.

GG. Incidentally I never judged people on their social status at all but rather on whether they offered me a cup of tea. I know is may sound bourgeois to say this but hospitality was so important and I would be a little nicer to those who offered that.

Hugh Cutsem, landowner

Hugh Cutsem, landowner

On that thought we’ll end part 2 of this interview and come back with the final piece shortly.

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The Interview – Guglielmo Galvin, getting behind the mask (Part 1)

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Peter Fluck & Roger Law, creators of Spitting Image

Guglielmo ‘Gil’ Galvin had an illustrious career extending over some 30 years as an editorial portrait photographer based in London. One of very few photographers to work for both The Observer and The Sunday Times Magazines at the same time, some of his many other clients included; The Independent, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, ES, Hello, The Field and more besides.

We did this interview together in August 2012 but pressure of work has delayed it’s publication until now. Sadly in the intervening period Gil unexpectedly yet peacefully died in February 2013. He was an absolute master of what is now referred to as the environmental portrait and observing his wild, anarchic work process is something I can only equate with imagining The Ramones on amphetamine sulphate. He and I conducted this interview over a number of late night Skype calls and I hope that you enjoy reading it and that his unquenchable passion comes across.

All images © Guglielmo Galvin

Bowie

David Bowie, musician

S&L. The thing that strikes me about your style of working is that you have an ability to engage with the people and get behind the masks that some of us tend to project when being photographed.

GG. Let me give you some background first. Although I have an Italian name, I’m Irish. I left Ireland at 15 and found myself, an Irish republican, in England. I had no respect and I wasn’t afraid of the set up here, it didn’t effect me and I wasn’t humbled by it. This allowed me to approach people as an equal no matter who they were including members of the royal family.

I wasn’t bothered by who they were and quite often I didn’t know who anybody was anyway. I took a delight in that, in dismissing the social aspect of English society. However it occasionally bit me on the bum by turning on me when I became conscious of it.

So this together with the technique I used, the use of Polaroids which I only kind of glanced at. Other photographers  perused them at length, I only ever really glanced at them because I was in a hurry to get on and achieve a picture that I had in my head. And to do that it was essential for me to keep contact with the subject by repartee. What I would do was pass the Polaroid to the sitter to see their reaction. I knew full well that I could manipulate them by either drawing their attention to something that in turn would take their attention away from something else that they may not have been comfortable with. The only time that this failed was with Anthony Hopkins. He very carefully looked at the Polaroid and then emphatically said, ‘no’.

S&L. How come?

GG. I wanted to get him to eat a packet of Smarties. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know. It was for Colin Jacobson at The Observer, I was doing awards and they brought all these people in to me. I was required to do a completely different picture of each person. I tried with him but he was so self preserving that I completely failed, I got the most boring picture which I got rid of afterwards, I just wasn’t interested in it.

Le Bon Brothers

The Le Bon Brothers, film-makers

S&L.What other aspects of your practice do you feel helped you create such memorable images?

GG. My actual technique and my way of relating quite simply comes down to the fact that I love people! In addition I love my job, I love communicating and it didn’t seem to bother me who the people were. I’ve always been conscious of the fact that I was very, kind of, lucky to be an editorial photographer and I just loved it. Truly!

What I didn’t want to become was a studio photographer in the way that you did. You jumped into that arena, it was what you learnt as an assistant and you loved shooting 5×4 and all that. I hated it! I got a great buzz going out, finding places, driving all over the country and then achieving this….(pauses). Well you know what it’s like Julian, achieving a result out of nothing.

And all of that in 10 mins!

S&L. Yep, I know that feeling so well. Even now it gives me an adrenalin rush.

GG. You get 10 minutes. You don’t know what you’re going to do. And that’s the best way to do what we did because that way whatever happens, happens.

When I began I remember going to a shoot, I don’t remember who I had to photograph but I over prepared. When I arrived I tried to achieve a portrait that related to my preparation and to my pre-conceived idea of what I ought to be doing. It was only afterwards that I realised that the man was 70 years old and had a 23 year old wife. And I missed that! It was staring me in the face but I’d over prepared so never saw what was directly in front of me.

So I learnt that when arriving at a location the image I was there to make would be staring me in the face, I just had to learn to be open to it….

Over-preparation would spoil my spontaneity. I preferred to let things happen. That’s why I couldn’t look at the Polaroids because it killed the immediacy.

Mel Smith, comedian

I learnt to play on my own natural attributes; my very Irishness because Guglielmo Galvin from the Sunday Times had to be a suave Italian (laughs). So when an Irish fellow with a thick Dublin accent showed up they were caught off balance and I used that to my advantage. People did as I told them because they thought that if I was trusted by the Sunday Times I had to be OK.

S&L. And that needs to be placed in the context of the period and the political situation and tensions that existed between Ireland and Britain.

GG. Absolutely and for some reason many have a lot of sympathy for Irish people.

Early on my approach had been to try and intimidate people with power rather than engage with them in a natural manner. I would walk away from those shoots knowing that I wasn’t doing them in my open, natural manner and I believe that I failed as a result.

S&L. I remember us all sitting together drinking tea at Rembrandt Bros and the approach towards the subject was one of the topics that used to get debated regularly.

GG. My nature is to laugh, to be a bit panicky. It was kind of messy, being photographed by me wasn’t a cool event.

Paul Raymond

Paul Raymond

S&L. I remember the way you used to operate. It was gloriously chaotic and wild.

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Buskers

To be continued….

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Making contact sheets in Capture One

Generating contact sheets using Capture One Pro 7 is a straightforward process. Follow these simple steps:

1. Begin by selecting all the frames you want to include followed by File > Print  (keyboard shortcut = ⌘P)

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2. In the dialogue box that opens:

Use the Page Setup button to select the paper size – A4 or A3

3. Open the Templates Tab and…

From the pop menu scroll down to Contact Sheets – Auto Fit before choosing the configuration that suits your needs.

Then click Print.

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4. In the subsequent print dialogue box choose the number of copies and on the PDF drop down (bottom left) click Save as PDF.

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5. Give it a name and a location before finally clicking Save.

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That’s all there is to it!

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(Another) 48 Hour Photo Project – 2013 – Post 2

This time around we’ve got help in the form of loan equipment, advice, support, etc from the following partners:

The Flash CentreElinchrom flash, Go Pro‘s

Vemotion – video streaming over low bandwidth mobile phone network. Here’s the link to the stream:

http://www.vemotion.com/live/

Phase One – additional cameras to augment our existing kit, IQ 180’s & IQ 160’s

Eizo – a selection of high end FlexScan & ColorEdge 24 & 27 inch monitors for post-production

CJBS_24-06-13_022

© María Sotelo

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Jordi Valls at the Centre Pompidou

Appearing as his performance artist alter ego, Vagina Dentata Organ, the Catalan surrealist Jordi Valls will make a one off appearance at the Centre Pompidou on 17 April 2013. This is to coincide with the presentation of Albert Serra’s latest feature film, “Els Tres Porquets” (The Three Little Piggies) that is more than 100 hours long and deals with the themes of Hitler, Goethe and Fassbinder.

X-process Neg Scan Test

I’ve had a long and fruitful personal and professional relationship with Jordi going back many years. we have collaborated photographically more than once producing visually striking images in both colour and black & white. In between times we’ve shared food, wine and dry Martinis at the American Bar of the Savoy Hotel.

This image was made by shooting on transparency film then processing it as if it where a negative to give false colour rendition before hand printing it onto photographic paper. The unpredictability of the method means that the final result can only be ascertained from a modicum previous experience, the rest is down to chance. This image was made entirely in camera, processed by Metro Imaging, printed by my Galician friend Carlos.

Details: Hasselblad Flex Body, 50mm Distagon, 1/60sec, f4. Kodak Ektachrome E100VS X-Processed in C41

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Photographic Exposure – a simple guide

This is a post intended for my BA students but others may find it useful too.

PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPOSURE

This is controlled by 3 different though inter-related methods:

1. ISO

2. Shutter speed

3. Aperture

Finger

ISO

This is the speed or sensitivity of the camera’s sensor & is selected by the photographer. Formally it was the sensitivity of the film that you chose to load into the camera.

At the time of writing (Sep 2012) most Nikon DSLR’s use 200 ISO as their base position whereas Canon’s begin at 100 ISO (though higher spec models have a greater range).

The lower the ISO value that is selected the less the sensitivity to light that the sensor will have and the less the electronic noise/interference that will result.

As a general rule you choose a low ISO when you have a lot of light to work with and you increase the ISO to higher values as lighting conditions become darker.

The progression of ISO values you can expect to find on a DSLR are:

100   200   400   800   1600   3200   6400 +

Each time the ISO value doubles or halves this is referred to as making an adjustment that is equivalent to 1 f-stop (more on this later).

On film the common ISO progressions are:

50   100   200   400   800   1600   3200   6400 +

Offerings at San Andrés

SHUTTER SPEED

This is the time for which the shutter is open and the sensor or  film is exposed to light.

Shutter speeds are referred to as being either slow (when the sutter is open for a longer time) and fast (when the shutter is open for a short time).

You select the speed to suit what you are wanting to achieve as well as for the conditions under which you are working.

As a general rule:

Slow speeds may result in camera shake so think about using a tripod.

Fast speeds for action photography where a clear, concise image is needed.

The progression is:

< 15sec  8 sec  4 sec  2 sec  1sec  1/2   1/4   1/8   1/15   1/30   1/60   1/125   1/250  1/500   1/1000   1/2000 >

There will also be a ‘B’ (bulb) setting. This allows you to open the shutter and it will remain open until you release it.

Some cameras &/or lenses have a ‘T’ (time) setting where you press once to open and again to close the shutter.

Both ‘B’ and ‘T’ as well as speeds slower than 1/8 sec should be used in conjunction with a cable release.

Jazz for Sax

APERTURE

This is the third (and sometimes most confusing) method for controlling exposure.

This refers to the diameter of the aperture formed by the iris diaphragm, which is a series mechanical blades built into the camera lens.

The diameter of this aperture is expressed as an f-number (f-no).

There is a set progression of f-no’s & each time you change this number you increase or decrease the amount of exposure by 1 f-stop. Thus the photographic convention of expressing exposure in f-stops. This is the inverse square law in action.

The size of the lens aperture influences both overall exposure AND the amount of subject that is in ‘acceptably’ sharp  focus – referred to as ‘Depth of Field’.

As photographers we need to consider how much depth of field we require in order to be able to achieve a given result. This in turn will influence the f-no we will want to select.

When the lens is fully open to it’s widest aperture there will be very little depth of field, when stopped down to a narrow (or small) aperture you will achieve greater depth of field.

Yet more confusion comes about because a wide aperture has a low numerical value (f1.4 or 2.8) whereas a small aperture has a high numeric value (f22).

Older, non auto-fucus lenses, will have their range of f-no’s inscribed on the barrel and sometimes also the intermediate positions which may be half of third f-stops. Thus you will hear people talk in terms of fractions of a stop when considering exposure.

The standard f-no progression is:

< f1.4   f2   f2.8   f4   f5.6   f8   f11   f16   f22   f32   f45   f64   f90   >

Beware though when using a DSLR. These cameras express the intervening fractional values as f-stops & this causes added confusion. On your cameras you will see f-no’s such as f9, f14, etc. But you will not see these marked on a lens barrel or a lightmeter.

In fact modern light/flahmeters will read a full f-stop followed by fractional units in tenths. So it just got more confusing!

An example of a lightmeter reading: 1/125 sec   f5.6 9

This translates as a shutter speed of 1/125th second with an aperture that is f5.6 & 9/10.

Your camera doesn’t work in tenths (yet!) so you have to be prepared to compromise & rounding up or down to the nearest full f-stop which, in this case, is f8 or the third of an f-stop interval if that is closest.

In actual fact a 1/10th of an f-stop is not going to make a huge difference to your exposure & if necessary can be adjusted in post.

Nighttime on the M11 motorway

Use these notes as a general guide, read around the subject for yourself & experiment so that this becomes familiar.

Further reading:

Diprose, G & Robbins, J (2012) Photography: The New Basics, Thames & Hudson

A first class read, thorough, easy to follow

Adams, A (1981) The Camera, New York Graphics Society

Old school and very technical, the best there is on the subject

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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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