Workshop with Paul Burgess at Burrswood

Last weekend, 27-Oc-2018, I assisted Paul Burgess on his Autumn Colours Workshop at Burrswood. There was a very enthusiastic group of 13 photographers who spent the day out in the grounds taking photographs and back in the warmth to watch us demonstrate how we would process some of their images in Lightroom. I think it’s safe to say that those who were skeptical of Lightroom have become converts, Paul and I offer Lightroom tuition on a 1-2-1 or group basis if you are interested.

Here are a few images I took of the grounds with some before and after shots. Obviously the Gunnera Leaves are not a before and after shot.

Enjoy

Black & White Magazine UK

In the November 2018 Issue of Black & White Magazine there is a feature on my current Platinum Work.

If you are interested in learning more about Platinum printing I am doing a workshop in January 2019, more dates will be announced soon, please sign up to my mailing list if you would like to be kept upto date with all my workshop and special print offers.

I am also selling 10x8 inch platinum prints, please email for details.

Bnw-mag.jpg

If you’re into B&W photography and don’t already subscribe then please do so, to make it easy for you here’s the link

https://www.gmcsubscriptions.com/product/blackwhite-photography/

Workshops 2015

I am running a couple of workshops again this year when my Dahlias are in bloom, late August early September. If you are interested please email me for final dates. Till then here are a few images from last years workshops. All images are copyright of their respective owners.

The workshop starts at 10 and aims to finish by 4 but if we run late then so be it. We start with me showing you my normal setup and some of the images created using it. I show some prints  on different types of papers which you can print on at the end of the workshop ensuring that you leave with some finished work. We then discuss what you are expecting from the workshop and any technical questions you may have before I get you taking photos. If flowers aren't your thing I have a very large selection of sea shells and skulls, which you are more than welcome to use. We will look at using daylight (both indoor and outdoor) and flash. To end the workshop we spend about an hour looking at your images on the computer and we select 2 of your images to finish off in Lightroom and then we print these out on my large format printer. The 2 A3 prints are included in the workshop fee of £100, which also covers all flowers, drinks and lunch.

Here are a few images from the day, Sarah brought some dried flowers/fruit/veg to use, to great effect.

Copyright Sarah Dow

The workshops is designed for 3 people but if you want to come in a larger group then let me know and I will see what I can do.

Here we are shooting in direct sunlight.

Copyright Fran Boys

Enjoying lunch, please ensure you let me know of any specific dietary requirements you may have.

Students find interesting places to take pictures.

Going Macro.

Copyright Lianne Daly

Attempting that Old Master look.

Copyright Neil Buchanan

I hope some of  you can join me this summer.

Be well and enjoy.

Seamus

Back to Ikea


Very happy to return to Ikea recently to see 2 of my B&W images for sale, no it didn't come as a surprise I knew they were there, just nice to see them for real. Not sure what the other shoppers thought of the guy having his pic taken while holding onto some art, but do I care I had my beautiful daughter there with me.






For those who have seen the previous entry look how my baby has grown.


Enjoy and be well

Seamus

White Roses

Here is the original image, as opposed to the cropped version Ikea have. The thing I love about this image is that it reminds me of scrolls or rolls of old fabric just seen end on. 


Roses

Back when we lived in London I would regularly make an early morning run to the New Covent Garden flower market and buy bunches upon bunches of flowers to be photographed over the following week or more. Anyway this particular morning I had already bought more than enough when I spotted these Roses looking quite forlorn and discarded. I asked the stall holder how much, bracing myself to haggle him down to a tenner when he said, in his best barrow boy voice, "Have 'em, they're done".  So home they came with everything else and were dutifully put in the nearest bucket of water to await some inspiration, I didn't even unwrap them. 

Several days later I finally got round to them and liking how they appeared scrunched up like this I lay them down on the edge of the table and captured the above shot. Happy with that I undid the wrapping and the whole bunch literally fell apart,  petals everywhere, not a single usable rose among them. I suppose the barrow boy knew what he was talking about.

Be well and enjoy
Seamus


Fame at last

Here's a phone grab of the lovely Es and I in the furniture store from Sweden (IKEA for those too young to know better) with a copy of my print Roses, I will do another post soon with the original and a little story about the taking of the image.


For those that labour under the false notion that artists (whether they be musician, writer, photographer etc) have it made once their work is being bought by their adoring public think again. Obviously if you are in the top one percent. e.g a Beatle, a Hirst or a Rowling, where your volumes are so massive that every penny earned quickly adds up, then yes you have made it. Take the above image as an example, it retails for £5 here in the UK, I assume something similar in the other territories where it is sold (if you are in one of the other territories I'd love to hear what it is selling for and where, thanks) I think that the only person who makes less than me is probably the printing company that does the actual production but as I only make 10 pence (2% maths fans) per print I could be wrong.

Hope this doesn't come across as too much of a rant, it's not meant to be, just thought it would be nice to give a specific example as opposed to the usual anecdotal stories littering the web.

Be well and enjoy

Seamus

You must have a fabulous studio....

From time to time (ok most of the time)  the first thing I am asked  about my images is "what kind of studio do you have?" or "you must have great lights" or "I wish I had your equipment", you get the idea. So I've decided to show you exactly what I use.

  White Tulip 2011

This is an image from my latest series, and if you've been following the blog so far (what do you mean you haven't, man you've missed so much, go check it out now... go on...) you will have seen several others from this new series, including the write up on the coloured dahlia I did.

So what equipment do I use, well starting with the most important and working through to the least it goes something like this.

The light that God, Allah or who ever gives us on a daily basis, some days being better than others.

A flower/object that inspires me.

A black cloth, actually a black shiny piece of fabric, go figure. I still don't know how or why it comes up so black in my images and to be honest with you I don't either need to know or care, it just does, thank you very much.

Black and/or white pieces of stiff card to use as reflectors.

A sturdy tripod.

A computer, we've just recently moved from PC to iMac, that was hell but I keep telling myself it is worth it in the long run, running Photoshop and Lightroom.

An Epson 7800 printer and Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 306 for making lovely prints.

And last and least, a camera. When I shot exclusively on 5x4 inch Polaroid Type 55 I used a Horseman LX with a single lens (it's so unimportant to me that I've forgotten what lens). Now I shoot digitally using a Sony A350 with a single lens (50mm Macro, thanks for asking). Why a Sony and not a Canon/Nikon whatever, well because I have Minolta 35mm film cameras and associated lens and couldn't afford to change systems. Personally I find that having too many choices of equipment just gets in the way of taking the picture, hence the one camera/one lens/one film (those days sadly behind me now)/one paper mantra.

Don't believe me, well have a look at this.


That is my setup for shooting the above white tulip. In the background is one of my prints shot on the  Polaroid 20x24 camera  and some other tulips waiting their turn.

Oh crap, I forgot to mention my trusty dining room table and my daughters toy storage boxes.

Hope this helps, feel free to post comments, questions etc.

Enjoy and be well

Seamus

Christmas present

As Christmas is fast approaching I thought it would be nice to offer a discount on my book "Involuntary Sculptures", so for a limited time it is £30 (plus p&p) instead of £50 (plus p&p)


If you are interested please Email me

I also have a limited selection of 10x8 silver gelatin images from the book printed on Kodak Ektalure Paper which I am offering for £30 each (+p&p), please send me a copy of the image off my website and I will tell you if it is still available. If you would like the book and a print together they are £50 (+ p&p)

Enjoy

Seamus

Living with your subject

Obviously for the likes of Bailey or Penn this would be a post about the other half but for me it's about how the flowers I photograph live and die in the time it takes me to get a good image. Mostly I am delighted when I achieve a good picture from a bunch of flowers but just once in a while I manage to capture several, here is an example.


This is a Ranunculus in full bloom, which I really like, happy days. So I worked it up in Photoshop, gave it a bit of a crop, squared off the image which is my preferred framing these days, took the background to black, tweaked the contrast and that's pretty much it. 2 days later it's now past it's prime, aren't we all, and I'm thinking better throw them out before I'm instructed to and what do I see but this.....



All of the petals are starting to drag down and the outer (bottom most) petals are showing signs of decay, out comes the camera and we're off again trying to catch that illusive image. This particular one is shot sitting directly on the black cloth which tends to suck a lot of the light out of the bottom of the image conversely making the rest of the image appear to glow. To me the resulting image brings to mind a type of organic pagoda. Back into photoshop I go, blah blah blah, oh and just to clarify, I haven't added that warm glow from the inside that was there. So I've now wangled another reprieve for the flowers and they will be with me for another day or two. Then this presents itself....


At this point the petals have fully opened and are now seemingly curling back in on themselves, the head is barely hanging onto the top of it's stem, hence the downward hanging pose. Once again it is shot on the black cloth sucking the light out of the bottom of the image and making the upper areas glow. Now it really is time to allow them to join the compost heap but not before some of the petals fell off and I tried photographing those. Let's just say those images have, metaphorically, also joined the compost heap.

If you enjoyed this or have any questions please do not hesitate to add a comment or contact me directly

Be well

Seamus

The fabulous Les Edwards

Having just updated this blog with a portrait of myself, see my profile, taken many years ago by my sister Anne I thought I'd use this opportunity to  include this painting by the incomparable Les Edwards/Edward Miller (check out his fab websites and all will become clear).

Image copyright Les Edwards

Long before there were flowers and fruit, shells and skulls there were portraits. Back in the mid 80's when I first arrived in London I was fortunate enough to be welcomed by the guys and gals of  the British Fantasy Society and became for several years a sort of in-house photographer for them, shooting portraits  of the likes of Clive Barker, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Kim Newman, Nicholas Royle, Stephen Jones, Mark Morris, Conrad Williams, Michael Marshall (Smith) and of course Les. I became friends with many, more than just passing acquaintances with many more but it is Les and his lovely wife Val, hostess extrodinaire, that I became closest to. Les was very kind to do the above portrait  in return for what I  consider a lesser (photographic) portrait of him by myself. It's actually a little freaky sitting here typing this as the original canvas is hanging on the wall to my left, reflected in a huge mirror and in front of me here on the screen, and yes the eyes do follow you.

If any of the above names are new to you I can only suggest you check them out at your earliest convenience, tell 'em I sent you.

Be well and enjoy

Creating an image

For those of you that know me you know I won't do any more than I have to to get an image, so here is probably one of the longest jobs I've done working up an image in photoshop.

The finished image first.


Now how it looked straight from the camera, quite a huge difference, don't you think.


So I cropped it, lifted it from it's background and got rid of the stem, giving me this

Then I dropped in a black back ground.


Then I applied a massive curve change which caused the colours to shift dramatically but not to seem fake, obviously that cat is out of the bag now.


But unfortunately I felt this was too dark so I applied a small adjustment in levels giving us the finished image (again)


I hope this has been of interest, if so do let me know and I might show you another some time

Until then, be well and enjoy

Seamus

Coming full circle

The first question I am usually asked by aspiring photographers is "What sort of studio/lights/equipment do I use?". I've been thinking about it a lot recently having just started teaching 2 adult education classes in photography. In the good/bad old days of film I used one camera (Horseman LX), one lens (Schneider 135), one film (Polaroid Type 55) and one paper (Kodak Ektalure).

Mushroom (Doh!)

Now I find that I use one camera (Sony Alpha 350), one lens (Sony 50mm Macro), one film (digital) and one paper (Hahnemuhle PhotoRag 308). So no matter how much things change they also stay the same (relatively speaking of course).

Golden Tulip

Oh yeah, the one thing I forgot from that list is my fabulous lighting setup, natural diffuse daylight from my kitchen window.

Be well and enjoy

John Blakemore

Most of the time this blog is about my work but once in a while I will include something that means a lot to me and boy does John Blakemore mean a lot to me.


I first came across John's work in a pair of books, The Still Gaze and Inscape. To say the work blew me away is an understatement. It opened my eyes to a complete new way of seeing what a BLACK & WHITE image could be. The reason for the CAPS, well when I looked at John's work I was struck by the idea that the image didn't necessarily need either Black or White. I am fortunate to have been on 2 courses down at Duckspool with John where I learned so much..... oh enough from me check his new book out at Amazon or at the publishers website Dewi Lewis

Enjoy

What's in a name

After deciding what your work is worth, i.e. putting a price on it, the second most difficult thing for me is the title of an image. Do you go for the unhelpful "untitled" to the really unhelpful descriptive title "shell", "flower" etc. Well for me unless an image presents itself with a title I tend to stick to unhelpful.

So here are a couple of images whose titles presented themselves fully formed, some will say "how obvious" but I think they work very well.


 Dangerous Nipple

Poppy Love

 Dancing Tulips

So there we have it, when a gallery say we've sold another "Dancing Tulip" and need another I know exactly what they are talking about, when they say we've sold "Rose #5" or their even more helpful "Rose" I have to do some digging to fill the order. Ho hum a problem of my own making I hear you say.........

Poppy #1

Having just returned from a lovely weekend at my mothers house in Ireland, with all of our family, I was struck by how rarely I see my old work as I am so wrapped up in what I am currently working on, I have decided that every once in a while I will feature a golden oldie or two.


I suppose you would call this my first "best seller",  it was featured in the review section of the Times for my first exhibition in Shepherd's Market in London. They didn't actually review my show but they did review  Rankin's latest show. Fortunately for me they ran my image instead of anything from his show, the result of which was that I had seven people turn up over the weekend clutching a copy of the newspaper  wanting to buy the print. At the time it was £200 for a 20x16 inch silver gelatin print, now it retails via the galleries that represent my work for £2000 as there are only 3 left in the original edition of 25 silver gelatin prints. I've heard Rankin recovered from this set back and is doing ok, so I don't feel too bad.

Welcome to my blog

As this is all new to me I thought I'd share some of my latest images of plants which we grew in our own garden (like bloggin, gardening is new to me too)



I would love to hear your thoughts on my work and for all those that follow me here I will be giving away books and things from time to time just to say thanks.

Be well and enjoy, Seamus