MULLINS

FOR THE LOVE OF THE STUFF

BY KEVIN MULLINS

I feel somewhat guilty that this project we are embarking on revolves around Consumerism.

It’s because of my post earlier in the year that we came up with this idea, as a collective, to explore consumerism…..but with a twist.

As you will have already gathered, by reading the other posts this month, we have tasked ourseves with shooting with our oldest available digital camera.

In my case, it’s the venerable original X100. A camera I adore, has a great place in my heart and recently I had it signed by Masa-san, the designer of the camera.

Over the last month, I’ve traveled a little. Probably not as much as Jonas, but I’ve been to places as consumer driven as you can get - namely Dubai and Bristol - where all these pictures are yielded from.

As I’m one of the last to go in this series, there isn’t much I can add to the words and thoughts of others with regards to the theme.

However, I’d be contite to exlaim that consumerism is bad. It’s not. It’s life and I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to have stuff that I probably don’t need.

However, when I look around and compare places like Dubai airport and then the less afluent areas of Bristol you can’t help but to consider the huge bend in the equilibirum.

Even though Dubai’s economy is not strong right now, there is no real outward sign of it. In Bristol, the shops are closing and the “Sales” are all year long.

Consumerism is, in part, to blame - I guess. But the economics of life, the beating heart that we all have, is partly to blame too.

I’m on a downsizing mission right now. I’ve sold a lot of gear, cancelled unecessary bills and am desperately trying to get my kids to eat all their food at dinner (not an easy battle!).

The world we inhabit is still beatuful. I’m proud of the human race. All races, creeds and colours. I feel we are starting to work together more as humankind. The cogs are turning, slowly, and the people are understanding more.

Less waste, more sense. 2019 +

All photographs taken with the original FujiFilm FinePix X100

Renewal 2019

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The end of 2018 was full of reflection for me and now, as we head into 2019, I feel I’ve had a certain amount of clarity over the festive period.

I spent a lot of time before Christmas out and about on workshops, shopping and socialising and something hit me like a brick.

Consumerism. Over indulgence. Ego. The need for immediate satisfaction. The need for acceptance. Technology. Noise. Boredom. Constant movement. Lack of space.

Lack of empathy.

And I include myself within some of those parameters.

“Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.” 
― Criss Jami

It’s an abundance of crisis. An ever essential need to get more “likes”, more stuff, better stuff, other stuff. Stuff. Just because it’s stuff. We must have….stuff.

On Christmas day, here in the UK, right after the kids watched a Christmas movie, the advert that came on straight after was for a loan company.

What kind of a message is that? What kind of empathy is there?

I feel like many of us are the people that never slows down.

Buy more stuff. Plug into more stuff. Eat more stuff. Never taking a break. Never slowing down.

For what?

There are a lot of messages in our daily existence. I love the artwork that Banksy puts out. His work has a deep sense of irony, humour but a very, very keen sense of observation of the world we live in.

Without sounding too much like Michael Jackson, for 2019, I’m looking at my children more.

I’m looking at the simple things. Things that make them laugh and smile, must, surely, be the things that can make us laugh and smile.

When I’m 95 I want to be walking down the road hand in hand with my wife - not thinking about “stuff” or worse, the time I wasted on “stuff”.

The most important stuff in life is not stuff. It’s life.

Well I think so, anyway.

Happy New Year, folks.

The People of Shibuya

BY KEVIN MULLINS

I’m just back from a whirlwind trip to Japan.

It’s the third time I’ve been to the Land of the Rising Sun and each time I’m amazed a little more by its quirkiness and sense of achievement.

Everything that happens in Japan, happens for a reason and it’s a beutiful thing to witness actually.

Whilst I couldn’t live in the hussle of Tokyo, there are many aspects of Japanese society that we could all learn from.

Here are a few shots from a period of time I spent at the pretty famous Shibuya crossing.

I only took my X100F on this trip, and I feel it was the perfect companion. Small, light, discreet and having not really used this camera much in 2018 it was a cathartic experience to get up close and personal with the people of Shibuya.

21 OCTOBER 2018 AT 08:46 AM (MALMESBURY, ENGLAND)

BY KEVIN MULLINS

So this is it, my friends.

Chronicle 90 is completed.

90 Days, 90 Posts and we did it.

It falls on me to wrap up this exercise in social photography and I have to say that I’m immensely proud to have been a part of it.

From my point of view, I found myself struggling to shoot for it or find images that I feel are remotely close to my colleagues here.

However, I guess, that’s the cathartic part of the exercise. For me, at least, it’s not been about perfectly edited images, but rather the mixed nature of seeing more, observing and forcing some kind of shooting situation.

I’ve found it hard on times and not always from a shooting point of view - sometimes from a logistical point of view, and even now, I’m writing this on somebody else’s kitchen table as we are technically homeless for three weeks whilst have some serious house renovations done.

My images today, as I say farewell to Chronicle (2018 - see what I did there? I’ve left the door open for a 2019 version, maybe…), are about people.

Simple people and different people - because for me, as much as I love the creativeness of photography, I’m only ever drawn to emotions and people. That’s the tick that makes my tock.

And so I’m summarising my journey through Chronicle with some images I shot that are very simple, but all shot within about 15 meters of each other. A study of the communion of races, the collection of souls all passing each other by and perhaps never even noticing the very breath in the bodies of the others.

The world is diverse, the world is beautiful and the people within it are the characters in the play that is eternally being performed.

Have a wonderful Sunday my friends.

14 OCTOBER 2018 AT 14:43 PM (MALMESBURY, ENGLAND)

BY KEVIN MULLINS

It’s Sunday.

I’m tired. Again.

Another long, but lovely wedding yesterday. This time, I had my good friend Neale James second shooting with me and it was a lot of fun.

But Sundays, I think I’ve mentioned before, when you shoot weddings regularly on Saturdays always feel a bit….well, strange.

It’s like an eighth day of the week. Everybody else is getting ready to go back to work, there is a quiet feeling to day, a sense of family and a sense of relaxation.

However, for me, it feels like Saturday and I often feel like I need to make up for the missed Saturday on the Sunday.

But it’s fine, you know. I make sure my business works for me from a family point of view but one thing I can’t shake after ten years of weddings, is the discombobulated feeling I get on Sundays.

And today, I’m prepping to head to London tomorrow to finish the last scenes of a film I’ve been making of an architect who is retiring and turning his hand to art.

So I’m in the studio, right now, for maybe an hour. I’m charging my microphones and gimbals and all that other stuff and whilst I’m doing it I’m editing a short family shoot that I did very recently.

In fact, these are good friends of ours - which I always find even more pressuring - but I love delivering images that other people will love.

And so, my friends, here are some of those images that I’m processing and sending to print.

I hope you enjoy them, but more importantly, I hope you have a wonderful Sunday with your loved ones.

Try not to feel as discombobulated as me.

7 October 2018 at 08:16 (Longshot, Surrey, England)

BY KEVIN MULLINS

Today, I’m very stuck.

When Sunday came up as day of selection for Chronicle, I leapt at the chance.

Knowing (thinking?) that I’d be shooting weddings and life stories on Saturdays and that would give plenty of scope to a Sunday story.

The fact is, that’s not the case. I mean, I am shooting on Saturdays but I’m also shooting this weekend on Sunday too.

This is the rock n roll life of a modern day wedding photographer:

Yesterday

07:00 Leave home

09:00 Arrive at wedding destination three hours early. Sit in car eating Pringles. No reception on phone.

22:00 Leave wedding venue to find I have a puncture on my driver side front wheel.

Today

03:30 Arrive at the Purple Palace (Premiere Inn) located next to Gatwick airport after a 5.5 hour journey that should have been one hour.

08:21 (now). Realism there is no 4G coverage nor does the WiFi work in the hotel.

08:21 (now). Realism that Chronicle is due.

08:21 (now). Hang out of window connecting to some 3G to post something. Anything.

Future: Today

11:00 Start of a 12 Hour Wedding.

23:00 Drive three hours.

02:00 Bed & Family

And so, my friends, this week, much like last if I think about it, I don’t have the beautifully curated images my colleagues create with such ease.

In fact, I have nothing, because I have access to nothing and my predictive text on my phone is driving me crazy.

I leave you, instead, with a wedding slideshow, which does have some relation to today - in that I published it today.

Happy Sunday everybody.

30 SEPTEMBER 2018 AT 15:37 PM (MALMESBURY, ENGLAND)

BY KEVIN MULLINS

This is very much a lame post today I’m afraid.

As you know, Chronicle is supposed to be about our “now” - not cherry picked images from our archive to rose tint the glasses.

And so, my friends, this is my now.

Exhausted.

As many of you know, Bert, Pat, Jonas and I have been at Photokina this last week.

Pat, Bert and Jonas were there for the whole time, while I had to leave on Friday to head to the South of France to shoot a wedding yesterday.

I won’t go into the long details, but my 48 hours since leaving Cologne have included;

A delayed trains
A delayed plane
A 14 Hour wedding shoot (lovely, by the way)
Another delayed plane.
An assault on a plane (I wasn’t involved, but we all got held up)
A delayed bus
A long traffic jam.

I’ve just waled in through the door and realised that Sunday is my day in terms of Chronicle.

I’ve done no more than download a few snaps from my X70 I’m afraid ….. hopefully normal service will resume next week …… though I have a double header wedding next week so I’ll have to think it through.

Have a great week everybody.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2018 AT 20:38PM (BRISTOL, ENGLAND)

BY KEVIN MULLINS

Today I found myself watching a different kind of humanity.

A set of people so driven, so focused and so together, that it made me wonder just how on earth do the terrible things in the world ever happen.

Today I was the “behind the scenes” photographer at a half marathon and my remit was to capture the emotion, the happiness, the sadness, the turmoil, the struggles, the pains of running twelve and a half miles.

I run myself - quite a bit, and I’ve run marathons before (though a long time ago). Before I started shooting I thought “I reckon I could do this again at my grand old age”.

Then, as the last of the runners crossed the START line, the ones that left first, crossed the FINISH line. Around an hour it took them.

The human body is an incredible thing and for all our failings, we seem to be able to forge a togetherness, a stoic attitude to completion.

Some of course found it easier than others. Some found it too much and would never finish.

Others, like tetraplegic Tom have much greater struggles in life yet still face every challenge with a smile.

People are ace.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2018 AT 12:49 PM (MALMESBURY, ENGLAND)

BY KEVIN MULLINS

Its been a funny old week.

I’ve been all over the place this week; a couple of weddings, a couple of workshops and also trying to find time to give the new X-T3 a bit of a test.

I picked the camera up and because it’s a prototype, and because I’m not able to edit any RAW files yet, I have used it only for some personal snapshots.

I have this weird thing in my life where, when I get a new camera, I take a very quick snap of whatever is in front of me and keep those snaps as a kind of memory of the day I picked it up.

I have the very first picture I ever took on every single camera I’ve ever owned. Most, of course are sample snaps of a wall, or a table or something.

In this case, I had my friend Neale with me and raised the camera and popped off a bit-to-close-to-be-comfortable portrait of him.

On the weekend I had a workshop in that there London Town and took the X-T3 out for a spin. As I mentioned, I can only shoot JPEG with it, and the theme I’d given the students was light and shadow (original, huh?).

Anyway, I’m sat here on this blustery Sunday morning preparing a presentation for Photokina (you now Me, Bert, Jonas and Pat are all giving talks at Photokina, right? You can find all the details here if you wish. If you are there, please come and say hello. We’d love to catch up with some of you) and have just downloaded some of the images.

So, this week. What’s happening? Well, I’ve another wedding, I’m shooting the Bristol Half Marathon and I’m making a Legacy Film for a retiring architect in London. Coupled with the hustle of album design, blogs, marketing, taking the kids to clubs, trying to get to the gym, school runs yada yada.

I love my job.

Have a happy week everybody. See you next Sunday.

9 SEPTEMBER 2018 AT 12:24 PM (MALMESBURY, ENGLAND)

BY KEVIN MULLINS

Sunday's are always peculiar to me.  If I've shot a wedding on Saturday, I feel like Sunday is my Saturday and as such I'm a bit discombobulated by them.

This weekend, I should have been in China, but the trip was cancelled so yesterday was also affecting my mind.  I spent the day in Bristol with the family shopping and constantly worrying that at any moment I would get a call from a groom asking me where the heck I was! 

The stresses of a wedding photographer, I tell you.

And therein we arrive on Sunday.  This whole Chronicle journey for me has been about openness and I know that on some days, the mediocre bubbles to the top but it's mediocre that interests me in other people's lives.

I'm a photographic voyeur and it's that reason why I love photojournalism with integrity and it's also that reason that Gemma, my wife, is always asking me to deal with the many photo-books I have scattered around the house.

And I have a fairly substantial collection now, I reckon over 300.  I've been meaning to inventory them for a long time and today, that has started.

My Sunday is gorgeous today.  I took a run, had a bit of a struggle with the new puppy (he didn't seem bothered), and started to inventory the books.

Kind of.

Actually, what happened, in reality, was, I pulled some of them off the shelf and started looking at them again.  They are back where they came from now, on the shelf.  Not inventoried and Gemma is giving me one of "those looks".

I think photography is such an important factor in my life. 

I'm not an artist, at least I don't see it that way, I like to just think of myself as a collector of memories (and I hope that doesn't sound pompous).  I photograph and I print.  Our house is full of those captured memories and in a very short period of time, we are having substantial work done on our house.

I'm already thinking about new frames and pictures.  I'd love to have all the walls floor to ceiling with pictures in old frames I find at junk sales.  I feel the frames themselves have memories too.  I can see my books in a big wall to wall shelf at one end of the room.  Maybe with a set of steps on wheels.  A nice tray of Scotch and some glasses at the bottom with a lovely leather armchair and lamp. 

Gemma, does not have the same vision.

PS - All images from the Fujifilm X-T3 Out of Camera JPEGs.