2014 ANI Coup de Coeur Nomination

Last week I was delighted to receive a Coup de Coeur nomination for the 2014 ANI – Pix Palace photography prize at this year’s VISA Pour L’Image photojournalism Festival for my photo story Bachanal Mas’s Liquid Gold.

ANI Pix Palace Photography Prize

Each year ANI (Association Nationale d’Iconographes) run open portfolio reviews at VISA Pour L’Image, which is now an integral part of the professional week and one that which many of the attending photographers take advantage of. Based on the work they see, the ANI photo editors will then award ‘Coup de Coeurs’ nominations for the best work and small selections of each nominated story are printed by Canon and exhibited at La Palais de Congrès in Perpignan. Each of the nominated stories then are further analysed in their entirety and whittled to down to a selection of three stories with the final ANI – Pix Palace Award winner being announced at the following year’s VISA Pour L’Image festival. The quality of the feedback on these reviews makes the trip to Perpignan worthwhile on its own and really helps by informing you on what to consider and concentrate on next in moving forward with your work.

This nomination was especially memorable for the fact that a selection of these images are currently on display in London (Sept-Dec) using a special direct-to-media printing process with ultra violet light. By using this technique the images have been printed directly onto sheet metal and use the base colour of the metal (in this case, gold) through the image itself. A huge thanks must go out to Frederic and Christelle at Canon France for the great work they did at this year’s VISA Pour L’Image in printing the images from this series and approximating the colour we’ve achieved on metal using photo paper. It’s not an easy task to do but it is one they pulled off beautifully.

All in all it was great week this year with many fantastic images in display throughout the town’s galleries and shops. If you have never been to VISA Pour L’Image then I would say that you should definitely add it to your list for 2015. Hopefully see you there.

September 2014

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Ziv Koren’s low light workshop

On Friday night I had the pleasure of taking part in a low-light photography workshop with Canon Ambassador and World Press Photo award  winner Ziv Koren. Beforehand there was an initial presentation of Ziv Koren’s work with the Israeli military done in near complete darkness. Many of the techniques discussed and strategies shown were a real revelation to me as to what can be achieved in available light and pushing ISO speeds into previously uncharted territories.

Ziv Koren's Low-Light Photography Workshop at Visa Pour L'ImageAs part of the workshop there would be an overnight assignment to document Perpignan in only 3 images using Canon 1-DX‘s to be filed the next morning at 9:30. Roaming through the streets of Perpignan (a city I’ve already documented) with a Canon 1-DX on overnight loan from Canon CPS turned out to be a real challenge. That said, I have to say it was one of the most rewarding and insightful aspects of this VISA trip – although a little stressful with me finishing shooting at 5am in typical style.

Narrowly making the 9.30 deadline, the review, the subsequent analysis and feed back from both Ziv and Getty Images Creative Director Anthony Holland Parkin was both insightful and revealing.

Here’s my three: a scrawny street dog, a guy summoning up the courage to hit on a large lady in a bar and motorcycle kids racing through the town centre at night. If you would like to see the three as a gallery just click the photo above or here.

Whilst the open nature of the brief and time frame was a bit daunting, it proved to be an invaluable lesson about what could be achieved in low-ight and persistence. If find out that Canon are running another of these events at a festival you’re attending, then do it. The experience and feedback are well worth it.

September 2013

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2013 ANI Coup de Coeur Nomination

I’m very pleased to find out that I have been given a Coup de Coeur nomination for the 2013 ANI Pix Palace prize at this year’s VISA Pour L’Image photojournalism Festival for my photo story ‘Repton’s Rules‘.

Repton's Rules, 2013 ANI Coup de Coeur Nomination

ANI (Association Nationale d’Iconographes) do sterling work each year with their open portfolio reviews at VISA and the quality of the feedback makes the trip to Perpignan worthwhile on its own. A lot of the time you find yourself working in isolation in developing stories and it can be hard to find a perspective from which to judge your work. It’s so helpful then to get constructive and professional feedback from portfolio reviews with working photo editors who can inform you on how you are progressing and highlighting any areas that that need tightening up or particular attention.

I’ve been going to VISA Pour L’Image professional week for four years now and each year it just keeps giving back so much more in terms of the friendships you make, the networking possibilities it affords you and the feedback you receive – and this year wasn’t any different. It was so good to see friends like Niklas Meltio (VISA D’Or Daily News Award) and Magda Rakita (Ian Parry Scholarship, Highly Commended) who are now getting the recognition they deserve and taking their careers to the next level.

If you haven’t been to VISA Pour L’Image I would strongly recommend you do, both for the amazing images you will see and experiences you will have.

September 2013

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Back To The Future

I Am Bachanal Mas. 13.jpgWelcome to the new web site. After a long time in the coming I’ve decided to act upon all the bits of advice that has been offered over the last four years (i.e. be on twitter, be on facebook and so on.) So now that it’s here, what’s different?

For those of you that can remember my last web site, it was mainly just photographs; a big long strip of them with very little text to speak of. What I wanted to do with this one was make it more engaging – because that seems to be at the heart of todays’s social media revolution – the ability to share engaging content. Sharing is great but it asks for something more than just “here’s a nice photograph, have a look”. It asks for something deeper. The story behind the photograph, the point it’s trying to make and a glimpse into the photographer’s thinking. So that’s meant lots of writing – which for me was something of a joyful re-union. Despite having spent a lot of my time avoiding it, particularly at school where it felt like an obligation, writing is now something else; the ability to use words and adjectives to compliment the tone, colour and composition of my photographs. I can’t guarantee the writing will always be good – that’s for you to decide – but it will be there.

Raising the dead

Whenever I set out editing photographs – of which I knew there was going to be a lot to do in the making of this site – I also knew it was going be painful. There are always going to be lots of casualties as your darlings are piled up and killed off in the name of quicker download times, and more importantly, holding onto a viewer’s interest. However this editing process also forced me to confront my back catalogue. Photographs that have laid dormant on various hard drives waiting for a day when they could come out into the sun. The ‘Liquid Gold‘ photo story about the Bachanal Mas carnival band is a case in point. Shot on the day before I made my first pilgrimage to VISA Pour L’Image, it’s been nagging me ever since. I had suffocated it like some many other photo stories for fear that it might not be as good as it had initially felt. Years pass, more shots get taken and for the most part what you’d previously thought was great generally suffers with the passing of time. However I always thought those dancers smeared in gold might look great printed in black and gold (as opposed to black and white). As it turns out they do so it’s case of new work found in old clothes. As a result I’ve been back-to-the future a fair bit in making this web site and brought out some other previously forgotten photo stories into the sunlight.

Sharing projects in development

After looking at a lot of other photographer’s sites I decided I wanted to do something different: I wanted to create a discussion. It really feels like the internet has brought the world closer in a very short space of time. Now photographers can now show their work online, 24/7, 365 days a year to what was a previously unattainable, global audience. That’s great but what about using the internet to work together instead of working in isolation? Photography could be justly described as a spectator sport and you can feel pretty isolated developing a story so I thought I’d take a chance. Normally photographer’s web galleries only show finished work but I’ve decided to publish a ‘Work In Progress‘ one as well.

Photo stories can sometimes be months (even years) in the making and during that time nobody knows what you’re doing -which can be a good thing if you are breaking a new story – but also a bad thing if at the expense of not gaining other people’s help. So I thought I’d put some stories out there that are still in mid development. Maybe a writer, journalist, editor or even print collector might be interested. Maybe not. -Who knows? But to my way of thinking, too many images sat on a hard drive can easily go sour whilst waiting for the bottle to be poured. So let’s see.

And finally

Before I wrap up this first post a huge thanks must go out to Kieron Jansch, Chris Vika, Daniel Hubbert, Christel Stol and Magdalena Bak-Maier for all their help and advice during the building of this web site. I’m not a born coder and regularly struggled putting this together but fortunately I had their talents to fall back on.

Thanks for reading and I hope you like what you see. If you want to get in touch by all means contact me here through the web site or a leave a comment on the blog posts.

All the best,

April 2013

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