Articles Tagged with: Brighton

Photography Resolutions 2017

 

So a new year. No doubt you’re thinking about what you want to develop and experience in 2017.

I’ve never been a stickler for the usual resolutions of diet and detox, but I do make a check list of things that are going to keep expanding my creativity and craft across the next 12 months.

Even so, I hold these things lightly. If they don’t all happen, that’s ok – the important ones will rise to the surface.

Maybe some of these will chime with you.

Keep A Lighting Notebook/Scrapbook.

The more I photograph, the more aware I become of the beauty and complexity of light. It is after all the basic ‘building block’ of photography. Thing is, there’s always room to learn more about it. Both natural light and the artificial variety. It’s an infinitely endless subject: how light changes through a given time and across different surfaces, how to manipulate it to best effect both indoors and out. This year it’s time to delve even deeper into light through natural observation, lighting diagrams and practical experiments. So I’m keeping a lighting notebook where I can collect my observations, and the observations of other photographers and artists, through notes, cuttings and ‘sketch’ photo’s. And translate that learning to my photography.

Exhibit.

There’s probably lots of you out there who have physically exhibited your work in some way. I’ve never done it. But it’s one way to get out of the comfort zone. For a start it will mean printing much more of my photo output than I normally do. I usually only see my work in print when it’s been shot for client use. Plus we all know how easy it is these days to only see photographs on a screen of some kind. And it has to be said that a physical print is so much more satisfying. Indeed, it will make me more conscious of the techniques I’m using to make and  develop images. There’s also the gift of meeting an audience/community face-to-face and having the opportunity to observe the response to your images: are they are speaking to people or not? Something that’s impossible to truly gauge via social media ‘likes’.

Give away more.

It’s not always about the bottom line. There’s always room to give something away. It’s important. I’ve always done it and 2017 will be the year I do more of it. Over deliver. Offer skills and learning to someone for free. Give away a shoot every so often. I’ve noticed that whenever I do give something away something else comes along that gives back to me – a new opportunity, a booking, whatever! Funny how that works. So, give it away in 2017 – your time, your skills, whatever you’re comfortable with . . .

Draw, paint and collage more.

This is about experimentation. Throwing out any notion of a ‘final’ product and instead going with the unexpected. Playing. Following what is suggested and being open to it. Especially by putting unrelated things together or combining differing types of media. In the long run I find it helps generate ideas, and develops my image-making in unexpected ways. Often I’m using prints of my own work to cut-up or alter in some way. Other sources are magazines and newspapers, things found on the street, and random bits of text or notes that come to mind.

Travel more.

I’ve just come back from a flying visit to Berlin in Germany. And it made me realise something: when you’re a sole trader/freelancer travel for travel’s sake often gets forgotten. Sure we get to do it for work from time to time, but that’s not the same. Deliberately heading out on a journey is good for the mind, body and emotions. Deliberately setting out with an eye to embrace the new and unknown is also part and parcel of photographic and creative learning. Exposure to diversity, difference and change. Paramount experiences for this photographer.

Develop personal projects.

In 2016, I started developing a number of projects in collaboration with other photographers and crafts-people. The process has been a wonderful thing: challenging, inspiring etc. It expands critical skills as we look at our own work in the context of working alongside fellow practitioners. It improves technical and organisational skills. When you drill down into a project theme it’s surprising what that process fulfils in terms of expanding the creative ideas you have, the subjects you’re interested in, and altering the approach to the way you work. It also reduces the sense of isolation we can often feel as photographers.

Get to know local people and  businesses.

Since moving to Brighton in early 2016, I’ve made an effort to devote time to getting to know local people and businesses. Their experiences, likes and dislikes. Seeking out where we chime together and where we differ. Not necessarily because they might become clients, but because relationship development is one of the key strengths of being a photographer. Especially in such divisive times. Maybe it’s part of the natural curiosity photographers have? Also, on a personal level, I’m an introvert so it’s a good way for me to challenge how that affects my relationships. Making a concerted effort to get out and meet people locally in 2017 will, I hope, make it a less divisive and more relational year. One that is likely to reap benefits that aren’t only about the bottom line.

Choose Yourself.

Authenticity. Being yourself. Not doing what other people are doing or following a ‘formula’. It’s the only way to keep us away from the distinct move toward homogeneity that we see in the world in various forms at the moment. I’m a huge fan of James Altucher’s book Choose Yourself. It got me through the early years of my calling as a photographer when I was floundering in the dark. It taught me to keep putting one foot in front of the other and listen to my instinct. Not that the need for that ever fully stops. I find myself going back to Altucher’s book regularly to keep me inspired and motivated about who I am and what I’m doing. If you’ve never heard of James Altucher, check him out here or better still read the book.

Replace a certain four-letter word.

What word is that? W-O-R-K. This resolution is one that I’m really conscious of and already practising. Partly because it’s a promise that both my wife and I made to each other on New Years Day. But mainly because we want to re-frame what we do in our businesses as forms of exploration or play. And as words are powerful things, especially the word ‘work’ with all it’s connotations of duty, routine and drudgery, it’s an empowering thing to challenge. So words like craft, calling, skill, practice, and activity are going to replace that four letter word.

So those are my little declarations to the self as the year begins. Be great to hear what yours are.

Happy New Year…


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 organisations/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. 


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. 


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