O2 & H2O

PHOTOGRAPHY AND TEXT BY bert stephani

It's been an interesting but very busy year for the whole family and we all needed some fresh air, some salt water and time together without any pressure. We found all that at a rough, almost deserted stretch of Portuguese coast. 

When surrounded by family, nature and friendly locals, it's surprising how little else you need. This was not just a vacation but a life lesson. 

To the Sunshine....

PHOTOGRAPHY AND TEXT BY KEVIN MULLINS

It's that time of year again, as I pen this, that I'm counting down the hours to my annual vacation.

I work hard throughout the year, and mostly I have one goal:  a month off in August.

My wedding photography colleagues liken this to Santa Claus taking December off.  But for me, it's always been tacit that August = summer & sun  (something that we did have in the UK back in 1977 (apparently)).

I'm always very conscious of the fact that I'm "into photography" for a better way of life.  As most of us are.  I chose to leave the rat-race and become a wedding photographer because I wanted to explore photography, but, putting it very bluntly, I wanted to make the life I have with my family.....well, just better.

I adore creating long lasting memories for other people, like the ones above.  I get a buzz when I'm looking back at pictures I've created and I'm pleased.  And proud.

But I can't wait to start creating more summer memories of my own, for my family like these ones:

Until the Autumn folks.....

All too brief moments of decompression

By Patrick La Roque

We’re not there yet: summer so far has mostly been work, work, work—with a few weekends and off days here and there to break up the frantic pace. The kids are still managing to be kids, to play with friends, to read and gaze at the clouds...but my mind is occupied by 10000 checkboxes. I’m eager to disconnect and revisit the wildlings, forge ahead through dark forests, blazing new trails.

These few images are from an impromptu family gathering.
There will be more...in time.

Barcelona Spin

PHOTOGRAPHY AND TEXT BY DEREK CLARK

I kinda see holidays as more of a personal assignment. A time to concentrate on photography and shoot pictures for me. We are there as a family and we do things for the kids, but I’m lucky that I get a good amount of me time too. One way I do this is by getting up at 6am and hitting the streets with my camera(s), catching the city or town coming alive on a typical working day. I love the subtle differences from one country to the next. New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, they’re all the same in some way, but different in so many ways of course.

Music plays a huge part in any sort of travelling for me. I’m old enough to remember the life changing invention of the Sony Walkman many years ago, a device that changed travel and music forever. Even at that young age, I was aware of how big a deal it was and happy to be alive at that point in time.
I don’t take my iPhone and bluetooth EarPods any less for granted though, even if a mobile phone is something most of us in the western world own. Pop in the tiny headphones hit play and my world is transformed. It literally is the soundtrack to my life. And what better to listen to but some actual movie soundtracks by composers like Hans Zimmer (Inception, The Dark Knight …etc) or Angelo Milli (Seven Pounds). Or it might be some real daydreaming stuff from the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto (check out Async or 1996) or violinist Daniel Hope (check out Spheres). Of course there are days that call for a bit of Snarky Puppy or John Coltrane. Whatever sets the mood to get the desired shots.

As a side project during a trip to Barcelona last year, I shot a few pictures on high speed bursts mode on my X-Pro2 and X100T (actually it was more like 1,500 than a few). I thought it would be a good idea to put them together in a short stop motion film for this piece. This is a very quick edit. To be honest, it’s the second edit as the first one crashed just as I was about to render it in DaVinci Resolve. Note to self - Remember to turn on auto-save when creating a new project.

I’ll be visiting Berlin later in the month, so who knows, maybe I’ll have something from that great city for your eyes next month??

7X015

THE GIRL FROM THE TRAIN Derek Clark | X100F, 1/125 sec at f2, ISO 250.

THE GIRL FROM THE TRAIN

Derek Clark | X100F, 1/125 sec at f2, ISO 250.

FUN IN THE SUN Kevin Mullins | GFX 50S 63mm Lens 1/1,250 sec at f2.8, ISO 100

FUN IN THE SUN

Kevin Mullins | GFX 50S 63mm Lens 1/1,250 sec at f2.8, ISO 100

FEET UP Bert Stephani | GFX50S 63mm, 1/200 sec at f2.8, ISO 400.

FEET UP

Bert Stephani | GFX50S 63mm, 1/200 sec at f2.8, ISO 400.

YACHT GIRLS

Patrick La Roque | X-Pro2, 1/2500 sec at f/1.4, ISO 200 (XF 35mm f/1.4 R)

THE NIGHT FERRY

Jonas Rask | 1/30 sec at f/2, ISO 400 (XF 35mm f/2 R WR)

Embodying The Light

PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT BY DEREK CLARK

I shot another album cover (above) for Tommy Smith recently and I just got my hands on a pre-release CD of the album. Nadja Von Moscow of Nadworks did the design and the recording is released on Tommy's own record label 'Spartacus Records'. I already did a lengthy 3 part post on the last CD cover I shot for Tommy, so I'll try to keep this one brief. You can find links to those other posts at the bottom of this piece, but in the meantime here's a beautiful version of Coltrane's Dear Lord from the CD to listen to while you read this and take in the pictures.

AT THE STUDIO

It was around the beginning of Febuary this year (2017) that Tommy Smith asked me to go along to the recording studio and photograph three different records being made over a single weekend. One with The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, another with a duo and the one you see here, The Tommy Smith Quartet

After having limited space to move on the first day while shooting the big band, the quartet setup was minimalist, but not without it's own set of problems. Tommy was recording his saxophone parts in the main room of the studio, while Pete Johnstone (piano), Calum Gourlay (double bass) and Sebastiaan De Krom (drums) recorded their parts in soundproof booths in each corner. Photographing through glass (especially without a polarising filter) is a big challenge, so I took it in turn to go inside each of the booths for a track or two.

Unlike the pop world where each musician records their parts separately, this was old school recording with everybody playing together as a band (i.e. at the same time), which means each musician needs to be on their game. I was mostly hearing one instrument at a time as I shot my pictures, but I knew the quartet were on form and sounding great. It wasn't until Tommy sent me the mixed audio files of each track that I realised just how good this album was. The CD is a dedication to the late great John Coltrane, who died at the same age as Tommy is now. The album is not out yet, but pre-release copies have gone out to the music press and the 5 star reviews are rolling in.

AT THE BBC

The quartet were booked to play at the BBC, which would go out on radio and internet as part of International Jazz Day. Tommy wanted it documented and thought it might be a good idea to shoot some pictures of the band outside the BBC building before the gig. The hope was that there would be something suitable for the CD cover. But the wind was too high and there would have been no point in trying to shoot four guys with hair blowing all over the place. So I opted to shoot inside the BBC building, which is an amazing place to photograph in.

We went beyond the public section and into a massive open plan area. There's a lot of glass, steel and concrete at the BBC and thankfully a good amount of light coming down from the ceiling. I didn't have any flash guns or modifiers with me, so the available light of the late afternoon Scottish sky would have to be enough (that and a higher ISO). Straight off, I decided to walk on the opposite side of the building from the band. I had a 16mm f1.4 and a 56mm f1.2 on my X-T2 and X-Pro2, which was just as well. I knew time was limited as the band would need to be backstage soon to get ready to play their spot. The gig was being recorded in front of a live audience, so there would be no chance of them being late.

I shot a few pictures of the band from across the building and then met up with them at the other side. I took more shots of them standing against a steel and glass railing with the epic backdrop of the BBC building in the background. Then we made good use of a metal staircase and connected corridor. But all too soon an assistant came looking for the band and the promo shoot was over (although I still had the gig to shoot). 

Four years into this one day project and great memories of interesting shoots just keep stacking up. Sometimes I don’t realise it till later, but quite often I am fully present in the moment and appreciate the varied and interesting things that appear in front of my lens. Last week I shot a gig with The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra and actor Tam Dean Burn performing the poetry of Tam McGrath over some classic jazz tunes. That one was part of the Edinburgh Film Festival. Who knows what will be next :o)

SKT HANS

BY JONAS RASK

There's a special tradition in the Scandinavian countries for celebrating midsummers eve. This traditional celebration doesn't coincide with the summer solstice itself. The dates differ from country to country.  In Denmark it's called the celebration of Skt. Hans, and it takes place on the evening of the 23rd of June. - It's quite customary in Denmark to celebrate on the evening before the actual holiday.  

We gather around the bond fire, sing songs, drink and feast. 

It's tradition. 

Welcome to Paradise

Welcome to Paradise

"Would the swimmers to the south," crackled the bored voice from the speaker above me, "please return to the shore. It is not safe to swim outside the flags. Please, come back to the shore and swim between the flags ONLY."

Anyone who's been to Florida (or seen Miami Vice) will be familiar with the collision of natural beauty, tourism, and commercial development. If Australia has an equivalent, it's here - Surfers Paradise, on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

A place once known for unending white sand stretching off into the distance has, in recent years, become better known for theme parks, marine animal shows, 'schoolies' (school holiday binge-drinking sessions), 'bikies' (motorcycle gangs), and gold-bikini-clad meter maids...

I Live To See Another Day

PHOTOGRAPHY AND TEXT BY STEVE SHIPMAN

I Live

I live with cancer. My life was turned upside down with that diagnosis five months ago. I struggled to get to grips with a life possibly curtailed to 12 months or so. Actually, I can't get to grips with that idea at all. It sits in my mind as a dark point in time, not that far ahead.

I am, or was, a reasonably successful photographer shooting mostly weddings - 30 a year or so. I made a painless transition to working with a brace of XPro2s, and a bevy of primes. I closed the business. I began the endurance test that is chemotherapy every three weeks - feeling crap, feeling ok, feeling good, then doing it all again. During the feeling good week, I am able to focus on my well-being a little more - enjoying my food, having more energy to see friends, and getting out with my camera, my beloved X100F. I live

To See

to see my two daughters growing into capable young women. To see my grandchildren one day. To see everything with more clarity, understanding and meaning and distil all of that into a photograph. My state of mind affects my image making profoundly, some days are better than others. Street photography isn't easy, and for a long time I avoided including people, not having the nerve, thinking it was too confrontational. I was simply looking for light, shapes, and textures. That's changing. The near invisibility of the X100F makes any shot possible. It all comes down to my own vision and reflexes.

Photographing on the street makes me happy. It's a brilliant distraction from the legal, financial and medical paperwork that needs my attention. It fulfils me creatively. The more I look the more I see. I'm getting bolder at including people in my images, and I complicate things further by seeking colour combinations and juxtapositions that I hope will lift the images to another level. To see

Another Day

another day is now a gift I seize with both hands and which I no longer take for granted. Cancer is an insidious disease, creeping malignantly and silently along its deadly course, robbing my life to feed its own. I have had four months of chemotherapy, along with the expected side effects (hair loss and fatigue) and some unexpected (a twice-torn retina and numb finger tips). I am very fortunate to now know that the treatment is working, and the tumours are shrinking. I have a temporary reprieve, and can relax a little. I have time to rebuild my body, and build on this body of work.

Yes, cancer has changed me. I'm more focussed. I try to cut through life's clutter more decisively. I make sure I have things planned and things to look forward to. I spend time with my family and friends, without whom I would have crumbled psychologically weeks ago. I have a joint exhibition next year to focus on, a couple of self-published books to plan, and a lot more images to create. I feel positive and excited and more conscious. Street photography is both rewarding and frustrating. That's its appeal - I never know what's round the corner. And if I don't get the shot this time, there's nearly always another day.

Editors note: Take a look at Steve's impressive celebrity portraits HERE and make sure to follow his personal blog HERE