Category: Assignments
2016 THROUGH THE LENS

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2016: One Year Through The Lens


 

The end of a year is always time to assess where we’ve come from.

And, of course, where we’re going.

And Wow! 2016. What a year it’s been for so many reasons. It will go down in history as having been one of the most polarising, hilarious, and shocking.

However, for myself as a freelancer, it has been about risk-taking. Pushing the boundaries of my comfort zones.

While our brains are great things, they often focus on the potential negatives of big decisions that have to be made whilst running a business. Even a business of just one person. Perhaps even more so. They often try to talk us out of making those decisions. After all they are always seeking out certainty and security. As a result, we become prone to fears which may or may not exist.

Therefore, the big question becomes: what’s the price of staying where I am?

I had come to a point in early 2016 when I had to answer that question myself. As a result I chose to shift my home and business. In  March I moved out of the London/M25 catchment area, where I’d lived and worked for more than a decade, and moved to Brighton on the UK’s South Coast.

I’m lucky enough to say that the move has paid off.

It’s opened up opportunities. And avenues of change. Plus, in addition to living by the sea (always a bonus), I’ve already met and worked with some incredible people. These include artists, entrepreneurs, DJs, press officers, and award-winning designers. And I’m giving some of them a ‘visual heads-up’ in the gallery above. They deserve it. They’re examples of risk-takers. Nearly all of them creating in some way.

I’ve spent 2016 deliberately maintaining a path of diversity.

Choosing not to pursue a specific single photographic niche. This goes against the received ‘wisdom’ of many business advisors. However, more important to me is my approach to my craft, my business, and to people in general. That’s what I’ve been concentrating on.

What does that look like?

Well, it includes the obvious things of being technically and creatively adept and versatile, and offering great service. Yet more than that it’s about being a problem solver, being responsive, focusing on engagement with people and clients. Aiming more and more to be myself.

Perhaps it’s my own A.D.D. but I like to keep things fresh and not stand still. Never resting on my laurels.

I’m happy to say that I’ve seen results from a slew of new clients, stronger working relationships with existing clients, and an upsurge in the range of what I shoot and offer. As a result, despite so many factors beyond my control, I’d say 2016 has been a truly exciting and challenging ride.

Ultimately, this is an opportunity to say a big thank you to my clients: the new ones, and those that I’ve been privileged to shoot for again and again.

Thanks for reading this and taking an interest in my work.

Whatever you do, wherever you are,  I wish you happy holidays, happy Christmas, and a prosperous and exciting New Year.
 


 

Gallery:

2016 through some of the images I shot during the past 12 months.

  1. ‘Of Riders & Running Horses’ performed by Still House at the National Theatre River Stage Festival.
  2. Actor Caroline O’Hara photographed in Brighton for her publicity portfolio.
  3. Handmade vegan apple crumble photographed for Brighton-based fitness and health expert Everfitt.
  4. Custom car photographed at the Furle Hill Climb 2016.
  5. Portrait of a Georgian re-enactor as part of my personal project ‘Artificial Bodies?’.
  6. Sola Akingbola performing at the National Theatre River Stage Festival.
  7. Burlesque performer Lady Marmaduke photographed for her publicity portfolio.
  8. A product lifestyle image for toys and games in the Glyndebourne Christmas catalogue.
  9. The Cunning Little Vixen in rehearsal, for Glyndebourne Productions Ltd.
  10. Connections at 21 performance at The National Theatre.
  11. Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) DJ’ing at baby Loves Disco for Brighton Fringe.
  12. Actor and singer Olivia Crow photographed for her publicity portfolio.
  13. Handmade chocolate truffles photographed for artisanal chocolatier Ilze’s Chocolat.
  14. The Glory performing at the National Theatre’s River Stage Festival.
  15. Portrait from my ongoing personal project ‘The Reveries Of Kitty Pridden’. 

All images © James Bellorini 2016. All rights reserved.

I’m a commercial and editorial photographer. I started shooting full-time in 2013. Subsequently I have worked with advertising agencies, design agencies, entrepreneurs, performers, musicians, DJ’s, singers, models, and culture and entertainment organizations/brands. Recent clients include: The National Theatre, Innovision, UKTI, Siren Design, Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, Stone Nest, The Old Vic etc. In September 2015 I joined the Redeye Network’s Lightbox programme for emerging photographers and I’m a founding member of the photography collective RISE. 


EMPIRE BURLESQUE: JOYS OF COLLABORATION

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COLLABORATING ON A PHOTOSHOOT.


If you’re anything like me – a freelancer working for yourself – then you probably don’t get to collaborate that often. I mean I spend about 80% of my time working on my own. That’s the nature of the game I guess. Photography is, in the main, a solo pursuit.

Sure, when I’m on a shoot I’m with my clients and subjects (which are mini-collaborations in themselves), but even then I’m often working alone before the shoot and then behind the camera (unless the budget allows for an assistant).

When I’m editing it’s hours (days more often) in front of the computer with just Photoshop, Deezer and coffee to keep me company.

The plus sides of working this way are that you just get on and work. There’s rarely anyone to wait for or delegate to. Any decisions that need to be made on the whole can be made in the time it takes to brew another cup of coffee then go ahead and take action.

The flip side is that often we can get overly used to regular ways of thinking and routines which can get stale, safe and comfortable. And over time that can lead to reduced energy and creativity.

As we all know, the best ways to learn and grow are to get outside our comfort zones and challenge those feelings of safety and comfort.

That’s why I jump at the chance to collaborate with people as often as I can.

It’s why when talented make-up artist and stylist Lucille Dee (www.lucilledee.com) asked me to work on a shoot with burlesque performer Lady Marmaduke (check out her Facebook page here) in order to showcase how Lucille uses Urban Decay cosmetics (www.urbandecay.co.uk) and get some publicity shots for Lady M, I said yes straight away.

And it was, as I anticipated, a breath of fresh air for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I was working with people engaged in their passions, what’s hugely important to them and, above all, they do it with dedication and always to the best of their abilities.

Secondly, I was called upon to work with minimal preparation. Lucille was organizing all the styling and looks, the props and the location (Patterns bar/club on Brighton seafront). Plus my schedule wouldn’t allow for a recce of the location in advance, so I’d have to make decisions about kit from what info I could glean from Lucille in advance and a quick search of the venue’s website. Then trust the equipment I had with me on the day, rather than carting every item of kit with me ‘just in case’.

Finally, I’d not worked with the subject/model Lady Marmaduke before – and that is always an immediate challenge: breaking the ice, making them feel confident and comfortable, and building trust and complicity between you.

There were a lot of potential pit-falls.

But one thing I find that when you dive in: things happen. You reinforce your skills and learn new ones.

And it’s one of the beauties of working with other creative people: there’s a freshness that comes from combined ideas and effort; working things out in real time with an idea or two in mind to kick start from, seeing where you are led along the way often influenced by unforeseen elements in the shoot.

Take for example the two wildly coloured images (above and right): these were shot in the ladies toilets and lit by three small overhead lights (a red, green and blue) that are part of the decor. It was actually very dark in there. However the light was so exciting to us that we had to try and find a way to make it work. To me they came out pretty good I think (with a bit of post-production work thrown in).

Or in the more ‘panoramic’ dressing room image below: actually a reflection photographed in a huge wall mounted mirror that gave a more of a wide-angle view than we could get if we’d tried shooting it in the normal, straight-on way.

And there’s other things to enjoy: other people’s ideas, their time-frames, what they propose in the moment all must be taken into account and worked with. So by remaining flexible and not ‘stuck’ to every one of your own ideas, then collaboration is ultimately challenging and fun.

That’s great.

And best of all it shows in the end results.

One of the additional benefits of collaboration of course is that you build your network and even start building potential teams that you could work with again and again. And who knows where that could lead?

So, if you’ve never collaborated on a project of any size, then have a go. It’s worth it.

And if like me you have, then do it again whenever you can. I know I will.

If you have experiences of collaborating I’d love to hear about them and what you’ve learnt.

The tech stuff:
All images shot on  Canon 5D MKIII with Canon 35mm, 50mm & 85mm lenses and a 110cm EXPRO hand held reflector. Edit & post-processing done in my usual mix (collaboration?) of Adobe Photoshop and Alien Skin Exposure 7.

All images © James Bellorini 2016. All rights reserved.

James is an editorial and documentary photographer working for the commercial and consumer markets. He started shooting professionally in 2013 and has since worked with advertising agencies, design agencies, entrepreneurs, performers, musicians, DJ’s, singers, models, and culture and entertainment organizations/brands. Recent clients include: Innovision, UKTI, Siren Design, Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, Stone Nest, The Old Vic etc. In September 2015 he joined the Redeye Network’s Lightbox programme for emerging photographers. 


FAMILY PORTRAIT – NEW WORK.

GANDHI FAMILY (lo-res)-27

CELEBRATING A NEW ADDITION TO A FAMILY.


The first few weeks of a child’s life are a precious time for a family. So it was a privilege to be booked to photograph this lovely family together at home a few weeks after their second daughter had been born.

That’s one of the things that I’m learning is great about being a working photographer: getting asked (and trusted) to contribute to people’s lives and memories.

I’m known more for my commercial and publicity portraiture of (mostly) single subjects, but I have been asked to capture a few families recently so I jumped at the chance to put to use what I’ve learnt from those shoots in order to keep pushing and strengthening my skills.

Shooting this way required a lot of energy, patience, focus and a willingness to put aside preconceived ideas and go with ‘the moment’. Often it’s a case of following what the family are doing between themselves and being aware that any moment is ripe for a potentially lovely image but that it will happen fleetingly. It was also a case of keeping things light and fun in order to keep everyone engaged.

In this way we were aiming to make a set of images that were natural, immediate and personal and made sure they captured the loving bond between the family. To underline this I chose to shoot using natural light and a single reflector as much as possible (although there were a few images made using flash).

The images here are a very small selection of the final output that the family chose.

As with a lot of my work, the images were chosen by the client from an online selection gallery and then  any retouching and post-processing was carried out in Lightroom and Photoshop, with the results provided in time for Christmas printing as well as in a bespoke online album (via Pixieset) that the clients could share with friends and family.

All images © James Bellorini 2016. All rights reserved.

James is an editorial and documentary photographer working for the commercial and consumer markets. He started shooting professionally in 2013 and has since worked with advertising agencies, design agencies, entrepreneurs, performers, musicians, DJ’s, singers, models, and culture and entertainment organizations/brands. Recent clients include: Innovision, UKTI, Siren Design, Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, Stone Nest, The Old Vic etc. In September 2015 he joined the Redeye Network’s Lightbox programme for emerging photographers. 


AN IMAGE ALMANAC: 2015

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2015 IN PICTURES.


 

So, 2015 marked the beginning of my third year as a working photographer and this post is a simple look back at some of the images I’ve created for clients (and some just for myself) in the past 12 months.

Thank you if you’ve been reading my posts and thank you even more if you’ve been commenting sand sharing them. It’s great having you along for the ride. I wish you bagloads of prosperity, creativity and joy in 2016.

Images (click on each for full image):

Top: Carmen in rehearsals photographed for Glyndebourne Productions Ltd; Actress Caroline O’Hara for her publicity portfolio; Chocolate dipped oranges – commercial advertising photography for Ilze’s Chocolat.

Middle: Lookbook photoshoot for Siren Design/Charter Place (model: Nina Sever); UK Prime Minister David Cameron and President Xi of China photographed at London’s Mansion House for innovision/UKTI; Detail from ‘A Soho Day’ for Siren Design.

Bottom: Commercial advertising photography for Ilze’s Chocolat; Record Shop Day, Soho; Portrait from SCT at 50 reportage.


All images © James Bellorini. All rights reserved (apart from innovision/UKTI images which are held under Crown Copyright).

James is an editorial and documentary photographer working for the commercial and consumer markets. He started shooting professionally in 2013 and has since worked with advertising agencies, design agencies, entrepreneurs, performers, musicians, DJ’s, singers, models, and culture and entertainment organizations/brands. Recent clients include: Innovision, UKTI, Siren Design, Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, Stone Nest, The Old Vic etc. In September 2015 he joined the Redeye Network’s Lightbox programme for emerging photographers.


UK CHINA BUSINESS SUMMIT 2015

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EVENT REPORTAGE AT THE UK/CHINA BUSINESS SUMMIT.


Last week I was commissioned by a UK events company to document the UK China Business Summit at Mansion House where the UK government deepened it’s trade links with China. This was alongside the state visit to the UK by the Chinese President Xi.

In the slideshow above and the images below you see speakers, delegates, as well as the more familiar faces of Professor Brian Cox, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and President Xi of China.

This was an unusual job as it crossed the line between events work (which I’ve photographed before) and press photojournalism (which I’m much less used to). Each have their own ways of working and it was a healthy challenge to be bridging both disciplines. It kept me on my toes that’s for sure and pushed me non-stop for six hours.

Whatever the politics involved in the day, it was good to be photographing an historic event and, on occasion, to be the sole photographer given access to certain parts of the summit (some of which are presented in the slideshow above).

I guess that’s what I love about photography: having a watchful eye and persevering enough to be in the right place at the right time.

All images James Bellorini © Crown Copyright 

For the tech heads: all images were shot using a Canon 5D MkIII or a Fuji X-T1

James is a commercial, editorial and documentary photographer. He started shooting professionally in 2013 and has since worked with advertising agencies, design agencies, entrepreneurs, performers, musicians, DJ’s, singers, models, and culture and entertainment organizations/brands. Recent clients include: Siren Design, Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, Sonisphere UK, Stone Nest, The Old Vic etc. In September 2015 he joined the Redeye Network’s Lightbox programme for emerging photographers. 


STUDIO PORTRAITS

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Images from recent studio portraits photoshoot of actress Caroline O’Hara photographed for her publicity portfolio at Venth Studios, London. More from this shoot on my website here.

All images © James Bellorini. All Rights Reserved.

James is an editorial and documentary photographer working for the commercial and consumer markets. He started shooting professionally in 2013 and has since worked with advertising agencies, design agencies, entrepreneurs, performers, musicians, DJ’s, singers, models, and culture and entertainment organizations/brands. Recent clients include: Innovision, UKTI, Siren Design, Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, Stone Nest, The Old Vic etc. In September 2015 he joined the Redeye Network’s Lightbox programme for emerging photographers. 


LIFESTYLE PHOTO SHOOT, UXBRIDGE

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LIFESTYLE PHOTOSHOOT FOR SIREN DESIGN.


Images from a recent lifestyle photo shoot. This was a commission for Soho based design agency Siren Design. From a brief to provide a series of lifestyle/lookbook images to market an Uxbridge-based client development. We shot in a number of locations around the town. The final images will appear in a Sunday supplement style magazine article. More from the shoot here on the website.

STYLIST: Anne Steggalls.
MODELS: Nina Sever and Ben Irish.
LOCATION: Uxbridge, London UK.

All images shot with Canon 5D MkIII and processed in Lightroom, VSCO, and Alien Skin Exposure 7.

All images © James Bellorini 2015. All Rights Reserved.

James is an editorial and documentary photographer working for the commercial and consumer markets. He started shooting professionally in 2013 and has since worked with advertising agencies, design agencies, entrepreneurs, performers, musicians, DJ’s, singers, models, and culture and entertainment organizations/brands. Recent clients include: Siren Design, Glyndebourne Productions Ltd, Stone Nest, The Old Vic etc.


BBC ARTS: GLYNDEBOURNE TOUR
Glyndebourne Opera Touring

Prop Boots from L’elisir d’amore (Glyndebourne Tour 2013).

BBC Arts – Wigs, wires and washing machines: Behind the scenes of a touring opera.


 
Glyndebourne Productions Ltd have just headed out on the road for their 2014 tour including productions of Verdi’s La traviata, and Mozart’s La finta giardiniera. They commissioned me to shoot a ‘day in the life’ of how they get their productions out for touring. A selection of images are now live on the BBC Arts website here.

 


STAGE TIME LAPSE: GLYNDEBOURNE

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Glyndebourne overnight set-change stage time lapse video.


This is a short time lapse video I shot for Glyndebourne to promote their forthcoming national tour.

Running at under 90 seconds, it shows the overnight process of stage crew changing the production sets. So you can see them dismantling the set from Mozart’s La Finta Gardiniere and building the set for Verdi’s La Traviata.

Everything was shot on one camera (Canon 5D MkIII and 50mm lens) running Magic Lantern software. The software’s intervalometer was set to take one image every 8 seconds for 6 hours. The resulting 2700 images were edited and rendered into the sequence you see here. Music (from La Traviata) and end titles were then added in-house by Glyndebourne’s own digital team.

This was the first ever time lapse sequence I’ve shot (the client did know this by the way!). I think it came out pretty good.