Time to Refocus

January and February is that time of year as a self employed artist where it can be very quiet, so quiet at times that it can be hard not to feel a little down. However, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and reevaluate and focus on art as a business. It’s the time to reset your aims for the year ahead, in order to make your business successful for another year. 

Let’s all cheer to a new year and new business goals to keep the arts and small businesses thriving.

Even the Wicked Rest

As far as being self-employed goes, people think you can take time of whenever you want, which I suppose is technically true, as many of you may know that’s rarely the case. However, the end of the year is the most important time or year to take a break and just let go a little. Don’t forget to take a break yourself and give yourself a bit of healing time, to relax, to gather your thoughts and think about your goals for the year ahead.

Here are images from the last photo shoot of this year and no matter what/if you celebrate, have a safe and wonderful end of year and a successful new one.

 

Beautifully Bonkers

I don’t know if anyone notices this but as soon as it hits half way through the year everything comes flying at you at 150mph. With everything going on (work & life), it can be hard to do something artistic for yourself. With that in mind, me and a friend have decided to have a bit of fun with the little spare time we have. We’re both fans of digital manipulation so we put our slightly ‘quirky’ heads together to create a little experimental show. A small budget and a small day out has become a very big idea. Our show is about our day trip to Burton and how we may have seen the same places but we certainly saw them from two perspectives. We want to stretch people’s thoughts and opinions on what people can see and create with their imagination even from a simple day trip to Burton.

Beautifully Odd

If it’s to see family or a work trip or for any other matter, the one thing these journeys all have in common is the motorway or country roads. I’m the passenger in the car as I don’t drive and it is a wonderful thing. I love being the passenger because it’s often you often find the most unexpectedly stunning views while on the road. Surely there’s an irony of being stuck in a car on a huge tarmacked surface while seeing nothing but beautiful green and intriguing land. It makes me appreciate the view we have in the UK along with how hard it can be being a driver and trying not to look at the incredible view at the same time. In addition to this, it’s also quite bizarre how different the world looks through a front seat compared to a back seat window, despite it being the same car and a similar place. Here’s a look into what interesting landscapes I’ve seen and that you might have even gone passed at some point yourself. Where was the strangest place you found beauty?

 

Digital Manipulation

Here’s a popular question among photographers. What is your opinion on digital manipulation? There are people out there who believe a photograph is only a photograph if it is completely untouched and straight from camera, even though images have been manipulated since the invention of dark rooms with dodging and burning. However, that is their opinion, do you share that opinion? If so, that’s fine because what kind of world would it be if we all had the same opinions? As you may have noticed by now, I’m not that kind of person. I really enjoy experimenting with all sorts of manipulation, in-camera, digital or on the print itself. This year has been a time when I’ve been learning more about Photoshop and the things you can do with it. Manipulations can bring your image to life in a way you never thought about and can really make you think about taking it to the next level. It’s very early days yet with Photoshop and all the bizarre things it has to offer but that’s the joy of experimenting. Here is just a small variety of different manipulations that have been made this year.

 

Routine

 

Do you ever find that yourself going to work (or studio) and find yourself doing the same thing day in day out? Me too. Recently I found myself questioning my routine of a working day, being self-employed, it’s quite easy getting hooked on the ‘importance’ of certain things such as a website and sticking to a working day. Not only have I written a list of things that I’m going to be changing over the coming weeks but I’d thought I’d try something completely new. I treated myself to a Hoya Infrared filter and it’s wonderfully bizarre. Sometimes you have to remember to really step out of your comfort zone and try something brand new (within or outside of your craft). There are so many little things you need to do to create a strong infrared image from making sure there aren’t any light spots and a working with a new way of editing, it’s a really fun challenge to change things a bit. Sometimes trying something new can really make a difference to your routine and change your mentality towards a normal working day.

Below are a few images I’ve created, I know they are far from perfect but that’s the joy of starting something new.

New Project: East, West

In Hanley, Stoke-On-Trent, there is a derelict site called the East-West Precinct that was once a bright, thriving and colourful shopping centre and bus station that had cafes, music shops, restaurants and so on. Unfortunately over the decades, this once grand centre has become nothing but reminders of a bright part smothered in rot and decay. It was officially abandoned around 2013 (this was when the new Hanley bus station officially opened) and has remained standing as a local eye sore. Fortunately for local residents, it is being demolished this year and myself and another photographer (and friend) have been granted permission to document the deconstruction of this grand dismal site. We hope to create something interesting from it, so that the local community can access the images that we produce and will be able to see progress from how it use to look to being an empty piece of land in one place.

Below are a few images of what the old shopping centre currently looks like before demolition

 

New Year, New Designs

This year is going to be one of those where I start as I mean to go on (hopefully), meaning to do something meaningful and productive each day, in terms of marketing and photography in general. So far the main task has been to create mock ups and select images that could be sold digitally to those who would like something a little different to spruce up their desktop or android. This is because the world we live in is surrounded by all things digital and there are infinite ways to access anything online (especially images) so it’s all about experimenting and pushing myself into the digital world in hopes something good will come of it.

Do you guys have the same problem when it comes to your own work? If you’re feeling confident enough to share a few tips then don’t be afraid to comment below.

 

 

 

It’s the Little Things

It has been a year that became manic very suddenly, for better and worse but there are always ups and downs with everyone’s year. Sometimes you find that it’s the small things that make you happy and just breathe that bit easier and feel like you’ve achieved something. We always say things like “I don’t have time” or “I’ll do it later”, this is my favourite but even though there many things that I’ve made excuses for, there’s one thing that’s made me proud this year and that’s sticking to my monthly challenge; doing an unplanned photo shoot at least once a month. This may not seem like a lot but when you’re trying to run a business, have a personal life and try to make some money with different jobs here and there, it can be tricky to fit in time for yourself. It’s important to remind yourself of the reason why you love something and doing this challenge has done just that. Next year, I’m going to do the same but with more planned and challenging photo shoots, to keep pushing and keep learning.

 

what did you do this year that made you feel just a little bit proud, no matter how big or small it is.
Here is an image from every photo shoot this year during this challenge

Milestones

This month was the final shoot for a two-year documentary a small group of us have been involved in. It was a cold and dark ending but also magnificent and inspiring one. The last location we visited were docklands; during the day are slightly haunting and interesting but at night, they’re so magnificent and bright.
The shooting of the last day was relaxed and pleasant, I think we were all at peace (and grateful) knowing this was the last time. Our adventure has had us traveling from Swiss Cottage to Greenwich, the West End to random little back roads that hold precious memories relevant to the project.  Also, this documentary seriously challenges and forces you to improve your photography skills, especially when about 70% of your images are taken out of a back seat car window, it creates some odd looking work sometimes and I love it.