Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Post Bunker Shoot Blog

The bunker shoot took months of prep and suddenly its been and gone, and its into post bunker blues, so what happened....

First of all it was an exciting event from an organisers point of view as it was the first one we'd organised outside of net-model...good move! and almost all the models hadnt been here before.

I'd always found it a bit of a problem recruiting models from outside of net-model as they usually treated it like any other group shoot and it was fifty fifty that they would turn up, they didnt see the build up and planning and didnt really appreciate what it was all about. This time it worked, and we had a 100% turn out on the day. The nuke bunker group on facebook worked very well, and it did seem that we'd formed our own little community over the months.

Ok so  what was good what was crap?

 For me it was bunker weekend rather than just the evening event. I had Violet Raven and Crimson Raine coming down to stay Saturday night after the bunker, and they agreed to come down Friday night to be able to  shoot on the Saturday, as well as at the bunker. They are both stunners and exceptional models, and more than up for any of my weirdo ideas. So I wrapped them up in plastic sheeting, covered them in glop and stuck a hot light in there for good measure....awesome! whatever I do, when I shoot with those two always seems to work.

Agnieszka Hexer-ai also came over on the Saturday, and started work on the prosthetics for the evening. She kept us in stitches most of the evening and amazed us with her fx work.

So in the evening it was into Bunkerland....and what a buzz! Practically all the models had not been before, so it was a new adventure for them and also lots hadnt met each other before, so it was great to see models that I'd shot with before having fun with each other.

My first shoot was with Sharon FiresSecret and Araneae. Into fetish gear and stuff them into a secret place I know of in the plant room (still not telling) they had to use me to climb on to get into position (hah that ploy worked, next time I'll tell them they have to wrestle me to get in). That shoot went past very quickly, its my fave spot at the bunker so I could have done with a few more hours just there.

Next was Adele and (oh crap I just remembered I didnt burn her shorts!) who I'd been looking forward to meeting after all the ideas we've been tossing around. I was after a very basic swordswoman image which was difficult to get with all the clutter in the bunker, but we eventually found a room with a white tiled wall that worked, despite the horrible green carpet, and basically got some very female assassin looks.

 Then into the corrugated exit tunnel to shoot with Exhayle, Asteria and Sharon. I cant recall what exactly we intended to shoot but it immediately turned into Hayley and Sharon torturing poor Asteria with everything from chainsaw and machine gun to axe and victorian vibrator. Hayley I hadnt met before and again great to meet someone new and find they kickass.

After that it was the V-Team of Pretty Pink, Lara Leach, Exhayle and Chixy Dynamo (who came as a last minute stand in). So I got my four badass babes with guns. I think by this time I was flagging having already shot all day, and trying to get everything I'd planned out from the bunker shoots. Maybe I was too ambitious to get as much as I wanted out of so many short shoots. The V-team shots came out well, and it was fun working with four crazy models (yes I'm greedy). Its something that needs to be re-visited in its own right to get the full effect of everything I wanted to try out on the day. V-Team babes sign up now!

Whilst all this was going on, Sophie (Crimson Raine) and Agnieszka had quietly been working away in the surgery on a Ghost in the Shell theme, so by slot 5 I was able to have a break and see what the progress was. Agnieszkas work on prosthetics and makeup was brilliant, and by Slot 6 we had Sophie as Major Kusanagi with cables attached looking awesome for the final shoot of the evening which worked brilliantly.

By hometime, I think everyone had used up all their adrenalin and for us it was, lets get home, fill the oven with pizzas and open more wine!

Next morning...zombie! I think I managed to get downstairs with the aid of gravity after rediscovering where my limbs were. A busy day of helping my guests pack and get away, taking my daughter to her ballet group in Chelmsford and in the evening taking a copy of Thor round to Johns and watch it with a curry whilst TK was still down.

Definitely a satisfying weekend with lots of fun and great images.

There is one thing I find about the bunker though, not really a negative, but the shoots are tight and hectic and you rush to your next location and set up, usually not in earshot of anyone else, so you dont get that cross shoot banter that you get say at Laredo where even if you are at opposite ends you can still hear TK. Its very much heads down get on with your shoots, no I cant stop to say hello I have my 7.20 to get to. One day we wont bring cameras, we can just play with YFNAD's toys and chase each other around the bunker....oooo now I have ideas!

For me alot of the shoots I did gave me a taster of ideas I want to develop and also a couple of models that I hadnt worked with before that I now know I will be working with in future.

Whats next?

Well quite a few possibilities.....another Wild West at Laredo, Bombers and Jets at Gatwick, Tanks up in Diss, another Bunker, and quite a few possibile Urbex shoots (all top secret!!)

Just a thought what our shoots are about

1. Achieving  great images

2. Taking the piss out of everyone including ourselves

If you cant do both, give up now.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Year So Far

Its not exactly half way through the year but after just coming out of an awful three weeks bout of lurgy, it has provided a natural 'enforced' break.
So whats the story so far? Well by this time last year I'd had three times as many shoots, and a huge backlog of artwork/editing. This year I didnt want that to happen again. I had too much to do in too little time and moans from models that I was taking too long didn't help...have you any idea how long some of those images can take? As one model fired a blast at those impatiently waiting should have done your homework, isnt this why you've shot with him! Forcing out images as fast as possible just does not do anyone any justice, and to be quite honest had I not been getting hassle I think I could have turned out better images.
This year I feel that the images have improved as I've had more time in a couple of cases to experiment and delve into what can be done as well as allow myself time to be inspired by the process of working on these images. I could happily shoot every other day and edit on the days between, but thats not what I do, its not what I want to produce. I still see images with gorgeous models, great makeup and styling and then nooooo  grey background..wrooooong! Its NOT complete....does it matter, everyone still seems to fawn over the results.
Although cutting down on shoots has given me more time to work on images, I did realise that it wasn't really the answer as to why I'd actually cut down. I think its more about dissatisfaction with where its all going or not going. I dont want to churn out more of the same, there has to be a constant evolution and boldly going where no tog has bla bla bla. Its also about producing or creating something that you consider an achievement, but that people look at and it really doesnt seem to do very much for them..... maybe I should just get a grey background.
Or when you think you've produced a great set of images and the model doesnt even acknowledge the results let alone thank you for the time and effort put in.
Last year I had so many discussions where the models mysteriously vanished ( I think they'll probably be deposited back on Earth in 2012 when the aliens arrive). So in an attempt to prevent that happening this year any model that I havent shot with before I've said that I'm adopting a policy of not working with them to avoid the timewasting discussions.  Actually I haven't adopted that policy at all, but its interesting to see what the reaction is. Some have just accepted this and others have been adamant that it will not happen with them, and continued to want to arrange a shoot. The ones that have accepted my new 'policy' can't have been that interested in the first place, so maybe its working to an extent.
Its still disappointing though when you answer models that you DO know, say on facebook, who have an idea for a shoot and your replies are blanked. Then they'll rant later about online manners. I wonder if you even know who you are.
In October we've got the Secret Nuclear Bunker shoot 7 lined up. The first one for two years, with almost all bunker newby models, and arranged away from the farce that NetModel has become...exciting times ahead....but we also came up with two other groupshoots. One at a privately owned Aviation museum, and one at privately owned Tank and Military vehicle collection where we could have climbed in and out of a variety of tanks and vehicles (unlike most tank museums), they were even going to fuel up the massive Centurion and drive it out for us! The response to the tank collection, was quite pathetic and I would even say bordering on rude or ignorant. That event was cancelled and as a result I cancelled the Aviation museum shoot too. We've done so much for the Alt Photography & Modelling community in the UK that I feel a bit better support from some of you people out there would not go amiss. It does reinforce the idea of just going for locations with a very small invite only bunch of photographers and models.
On top of that I've already had a previous blog ranting about the interest or lack of, from magazines for events which should be treated as being at the forefront of the alternative scene. 
Well for one thing I've had enough of waiting for scraps of exposure to drop from the table of publications (poetic or what!) and to be grateful for a tiny poorly reproduced and cropped image. Wow I've been published, quick stick the magazine under a microscope so I can see which image it was!
I also had enough of Net-Model. A site that when I first joined back in 2006, was a great community and despite arguments all over the place, it was a vibrant site that always had something happening, and carried on like that for a few its like an old wounded animal, shoot it for Gods sake, put it out of its misery. I look in there out of habit, theres usually about 12 models logged in, and the same blinkered togs, locked in there out of habit, maybe not daring to admit to themselves that the site and maybe themselves have outlived their usefulness, maybe they should all shoot themselves as well. Or maybe I should join PureShit or is it MingerStorm...oooo Harsh! (but true)
Hah! well a jolly, positive and uplifting blog this is!
Well in a way it is. Once you decide what really matters, what you want to avoid, what needs to be flushed down the toilet of mediocrity, then you can start to move forward and cast off everything that you feel is dragging you down.
So plans! Well lots of themes and projects coming up, I'd list them here but I'm not sharing ideas.
Collaboration with a very talented model/writer on photostories and possible graphic novels.
Producing magazines or one off publications of the events that we are involved in. I can already see it 'Tales from the Bunker', 'The Book of Bunker 7', 'The Bitch in the Bunker', 'Bunker 7 this time its personal', 'The Guinea Pig Breeders Gazette'....(they have guinea pigs at the bunker, as well as turkeys and a llama)
My Mum bought me my first proper comic when I was 6, it was Metal Men No.3 which incidentally I managed to get hold of a copy a few years ago. Then at 8 I got into Marvel comics, they were being reprinted in the UK as black and white weeklies,  so it meant that my introduction to comics was at an early age with the very first stories of Thor, X-Men, Iron Man, Avengers, Dr. Strange amongst others. That must have had quite an effect on an impressionable 8 year old, in the days when there were two black and white channels on a crappy TV, no vids or DVD's , no satellite, no computers, no phones, and you basically had to rub two sticks together to get anything to work.
So 5 years later as I'm now 13 and thousands of comics later, I can see a few projects that will involve writing, graphic novels and using a real cast.
....I dont suppose anyone wants to be in a graphic novel?
'Look Mum I've been published!'
'Oh very nice dear, is it another little picture that I cant show to Auntie Doris?'


Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A Brief History of the Secret Nuclear Bunker Shoots

The secret nuclear bunker shoots came about as a result of John Henry and myself living in Brentwood only a ten minute drive from the bunker itself. Its one of those  places you are always aware of as there are signs in the centre of Brentwood pointing to the place, and everyone would laugh.. 'Hey  someones given away the secret' 
I never actually visited it until around 2004, despite living in Brentwood since 1986. I turned up with my kids, switched on my camera and it wouldnt work. 'Right everyone home' I wasnt going in without my camera.
In 2006 shortly after joining (when it was a great site) I saw that an Essex model was trying to organise a social/groupshoot. She was asking for possible locations. A day later I was driving past the bunker so I popped in to see if it could be a possible venue,  and was allowed a free tour. It was empty and spooky and I jumped a few times, nobody told me I would bump into mannequins strategically positioned to make you have a heart attack.
After my visit I thought this is the place! I let the model know, and she asked my to organise the shoot as she was only 16 and unable to do so on her own. Now I'd only been to a couple of poorly attended groupshoots and both were weekdays, so I assumed this was the norm. I tried to organise a date, got very little interest from all the people that had been clamouring for somewhere unusual to shoot and promptly threw my camera out of the pram! ( I think at the time I just told everyone to Fuck Off!)
At that stage I hadnt met John I just knew that there was another Brentwood photographer called GothX that had joined NetModel around the same time.
It was then that John had his first go at organising the nuke bunker shoots, and quite sensibly picked a weekend date. (duuurh suddenly people can make it!) I sent over links to what I'd already found out about the place and also went round to Johns to actually meet him. John was the organiser and put in a tremendous amount of work to get this to become a viable and successful event. I did lots of sexy bits like get in touch with models and beg them to come. Once we'd got some well known names aboard, more people got interested. We were very much the new kids on the block at NetModel and I'm sure everyone looked on waiting for this non-event that was doomed to fail...  but It didnt. It was a great event.
It was a fantastic venue, lots of mods and togs, and lots and lots of socialising. I can still remember the look of frustration on Johns face when we had models coming out of the changing room in some great outfits waiting to be shot while some togs hadn't even got their cameras out by half way through the evening...jabber jabber jabber, whatabout some photography? I wasnt frustrated I was loving it, heads down no nonsense, shoot those models get those images!
Bunker 2, in June 2007, once announced was quickly snapped up, the first one had really stormed in as a great new event, and now lots of people were interested, coming from all parts of the country. Bunker 2 showed that this wasnt a flash in the pan, and again a great success. I'm sure it pissed off quite a few old hands on net-model as neither of us were interested or swayed by some of the 'bigger' names out there, and the new kids were actually showing the old hands how its done.
It was about the time of Bunker 3 in Oct 2007, that I was organising a shoot with a model based on computer game warriors as in games like Soulcaliber. This escalated into a groupshoot, and whilst I was organising that, John suggested offically combining forces and using the land around the bunker for the fantasy warrior shoot and then head off into the bunker for the evening. So Bunker 3 became a Mega Shoot.
Bunker 4 in April 2008 was the same Mega format , but there was a big difference. There were alot of new faces, and all these new faces were very excited and were planning their individual shoots months ahead. This was more like it, we were finally getting through to people that the combination of unique location and the bringing together of all this modelling and photographic talent could lead to some great and unique results. Results that were not possible in any other way.
By the time of Bunker 5 in Oct 2008, the demand for places was amazing, and we decided to bring in something to boost the quality of the shoots further. We introduced vetting.  Just as you would put up a casting and choose who you want to work with based on your own criteria, so too this was applied to the bunker shoots. Too many of the people that lived on net-model always got in first while others that didnt hear about the shoots until later, would go onto waiting lists. This meant that models and togs that you really wanted to attend might not get in because they didnt spend every minute scouring the latest news on net-model. So we had to narrow over 200 people down to 50 (how to lose friends!).
Not only did we introduce vetting but also started to invite people that we wanted to attend that we thought could bring in something new. I spent so much time corresponding with models selling them why they should come. I had two models that were coming from Scandinavia. I'd shot with Festival of Sins for their promo material and invited a whole bunch from that shoot with a view to opening out a whole new set of events in partnership with them.
The amount of work that went into Bunker 5 was huge, it really felt we needed a secretary just to keep up on all the admin...the results were very bipolar. I dont think we've ever had a shoot where we had so much great feedback. Not just the usual 'Thanks' 'What a great day' etc, we received so many very personal messages where people said that they had found their lost mojo, they had gained a new boost, they had suddenly got lots of work, it was almost as if we'd provided a photography therapy session.  But I felt very let down personally. The Scandinavian models both got ill (genuine illnesses which I followed on Myspace) a couple of models that I'd shot with a few times dropped out but I only heard via a friend of a friend, they hadn't bothered to tell me, and a few of the models that I'd met through Festival of Sins no showed or gave incredibly pathetic last minute excuses . All that recruitment work had basically backfired, and made me question was it all worth it?
The next shoot at the bunker wasnt an 'offical' bunker shoot. It was a collaboration of John with  Pamperd (Pam Hughes) she wanted to run a fetish shoot as the bunker. Pam uses a website with a dancecard system to book individual slots during the day. It worked very well and on the night I loved the fact that I could set up in a prearranged spot with prearranged model, shoot  and then pack up and set up again in another spot with another model. It does make you get organised and focussed. We'd invited Festival of Sins and given them quite a few slots for people to be models. Their own togs didnt make the grade during vetting and their very poor attempts at getting involved in booking up dancecards lead them to pull out under the excuse that it wasn't a fetish shoot it was just a shoot with alternative models. How short sighted, we had great fetish togs and models and even one of the countries leading riggers, the results spoke for themselves. Yes how very shortsighted!
Also in the fields surrounding the bunker we had a shoot with Classic Cars. This time a model called Verity that was involved with classic car collectors had approached John to co-organise a shoot. Unlike classic car meets we had alot of space for each car, enough to make each car look completely by itself . The cars were fantastic , the day was brilliant fun and the results could have been published as a book in its own right. What it did show was that the nuclear bunker shoots arent a success by virtue of a unique location, but also by hard work and organisation.
In October 2009 we had our last bunker shoot - bunker 6. It was back to evenings only as many people had found that a full day completely drained them (lightweights!). It was an 'efficient' shoot. Everyone knew what where when  and how, we'd continued to use the dancecard system.  It was abit strange though, bumping into people you hadnt seen in ages, saying Hello and then having to move on 'Cant stop got my 7.30 to setup in the surgery'. I think we actually had a 100% turn out for this one. In fact the population increased by one as we had the birth of an alien baby courtesy of MUA Sammm Agnew and model Franka as the Mum in childbirth and model Lex Dublinski as the midwife.
There were no bunker shoots in 2010, instead we had two amazing shoots at Laredo wild west town in Kent. The bunker needed a rest. Whenever a bunker shoot had finished and we'd all been posting our results, the next one would be anounced and so there has always been one running in the background. Unfortunately the better organised and more efficient that we got and whatever extra we could provide became very much taken for granted. The shoots were never money making ventures for ourselves. The costs were purely to  pay for the venue. We were never providing a paid for service, but many times peoples reactions were as if they were attending by some kind of right and John and myself were the paid custodians of a public event.
Bunker 7 we advertised on NetModel as we had done with all the previous ones. However even after vetting etc we decided to pull the plug on using Netmodel, its no longer a site that we want to have associated with these shoots. I think we are both quite disgusted with what it has become.   
So in October this year we have Bunker 7, the first bunker shoot for two years., and organised using facebook. As far as I can see only two models have been before, so its all new faces and new excitement. If you've managed to read this far without falling asleep or slitting your wrists, then you may have realised that these are not like other groupshoots. They are only called groupshoots because of the numbers of people involved, they are a full shoot that you have commited to as an individual. If you have any doubts as to your commitment to this then let us know now. We will be expecting a 100% turn out.
As this has turned into such a long spiel I'll have to write another about the October shoot, as there is lots to discuss, about how to get the most out of the day.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Alternative Magazines

Last month in Alt.Fashion magazine I had an article published about the two Wild west shoots that took place last year at Laredo. Whoop! Whoop! we all say, but do we? What should have been a multi-image, multi-page article for which around 100 images were provided by various photographers, ended up as being quite a small article, and even that was hi-jacked without me knowing, very unprofessionally by a model that wanted her full page image to be changed to one of her choice.
In all fairness to Alt.Fashion magazine, this is a fashion magazine (clue is in the title), and as such, priority no doubt goes to fashion articles and printing constraints. A wild west shoot is hardly going to interest followers of alternative fashion. Another magazine 'Nocturnal' which is an online, downloadable, printable magazine which had been many years in coming, also was expected to run an article, but it seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth.
I've always been totally bemused by the sheer lack of interest of all the other alternative magazines, publications out there.
So why do I have high expectations about the interest in these events? By these events, I mean the 'Secret Nuclear Bunker Shoots' (currently organising our official 7th one), the Classic Car Shoot, the Wild West shoots etc.
When you have a shoot you are bringing together two or more 'disciplines'. Photographer and model, then add in Make up artist, Clothes designer, stylist, prop supplier, location, retouching, digital art etc It can build up into a team of different skills all coming together to create an end image. That in itself can be quite something....but lets take it a step further with groupshoots. Groupshoots were mainly about getting together, models, photographers etc, and having a social gathering around taking photographs, networking, havingfun, meeting lots of people, and any good images that resulted from this were a bonus. The shoots we've been organising, in particular the nuclear bunker shoots have changed deliberately from this, to events where we are trying to realise the potential of having all these skilled people together in a unique location.
Its not a celebration of what we do by getting together with like minded people. Its about bringing all these people and their skills and vision together to create something potentially new and unique. Without blowing our own trumpet, these are unique events.  Even events such as Whitby Goth weekend are really only celebrations of an interest, and not a coming together to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
So we have a handpicked bunch of Photographers and Models, we have makeup artists, stylists, designer clothing and accessories , props and equipment, all thrown into an amazing location be it a nuclear bunker, a wild west town, a field full of classic cars.  All the 'disciplines' that we are interested in coming together to create something new and unique, that cannot be achieved anywhere else.
So why is there such a sheer lack of interest. I've approached plenty of magazines ,  Bizarre initially showed some interest especially once I told them that we actually would have a number of Bizarre UltraVixens there, but their interest soon disappeared, after all how can we compete with articles on custard wrestling or quite a few other equally banal and pointless subjects.
It does make me ask, are there actually any magazines out there that are about what we do, about the bringing together of different types of people to create something. I look at a numberof magazines and quite honestly it does seem they are scraping the barrel in many cases just to fill the magazine with 'interesting' articles. Yes thats a subjective statement, but one I feel is justified in the light of what is available to them out there.  
In October we have the 7th Nuclear Bunker shoot. It will be an exciting event as by that time  it will be the first one for two years. It will also be the first one that is being organised and promoted outside of net-model, mainly via facebook. So far apart from two models, the rest have never been to the bunker and therefore alot of new faces.  Now will any magazines be interested?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Casting Blog!

Last year I had alot of shoots which were planned individually for outfits, looks etc but not many that were planned for specific themes, and in most cases my digital editing was based on looking at the images once they were on my pc and then seeing what they inspired me to add. With the numbers of shoots I did I ended up with a huge backlog of editing, which meant that I was constantly trying to play catch up. Trying to hurry each set of images from each shoot - not really the ideal situation.
So this year I'm looking to work differently. If I want to get what I'm after I need to shoot less but increase the quality through structured planning and themes, and alot less arranging shoots where I dont seem to get much out of it. Its too much work unless you are going to throw money and gifts at me.
I know that I've already said to people that I will work with them this year once my editing backlog is cleared, but I have to take the more selfish stance of shooting with people that fit in with my themes/visions etc. that doesnt mean you cant get in touch anyway, sometimes a models unique look can be the inspiration for a theme.
So without further ado here are a few ideas ....
1. The Apocalypse - from the book of Revelations in the Bible. If you are not familar with it, its basically a vision of the end of the world, but if you saw something two thousand years into the future how would you describe it, e.g. how would someone two thousand years ago describe a fleet of modern day jet fighters...
'...The locusts looked like horses ready for battle, on their heads they had what seemed to be crowns of gold, and their faces were like human faces. Their hair was like womens hair , their teeth were like lions teeth. Their chests were covered with what looked like iron breastplates, and the sound made by their wings was like the noise of many horse drawn chariots rushing into battle. They have tails and stings like those of a scorpion....'
There is lots of amazing imagery like that......oh and where do I get four horses  for the four horsemen!
2. While we are on the subject of ancient and modern technology, wouldnt  there be alot of potential in trying to create images based on the 'ancient visitors ' that seem to appear in all ancient cultures, Egyptian, Inca, Aztec, Maya etc.
3. I've been a fan of Norse mythology ever since I read my first Thor comic back when I was about 8 years old, straight down the local library and got all the books I could find. Yes its basically a bunch of Vikings with abit extra thrown in, or is it? Norse Gods a thousand years later, would they still be Viking barbarians or would they have progressed technologically. Wouldnt Thor now have a nuclear powered plasma Hammer and wouldnt they all be wearing a mixture of ancient and new.....abit like steampunk but with an extremely wide timeline gap, vikings with state of the art technology. I did put a forum about this up on NetModel about a year ago, but nobody got it, everyone replied with 'I got a helmet' 'I got an axe' I got a drinking horn' 'doooh can we rape and pillage'
4. Fetish - Ok cool always into lots of shiny fetish wear in strange locations, but actual fetish I rarely see anything that works for me. Ropes and shibari and rigging.....sorry I'd rather shoot bellybutton fluff, just does nothing for me, yes I've done suspension but only as a means to an end not as the end in itself. and as for self mutilation? do me a favour! Anyway mustn't delve too much here, only to say that there has to be a way of doing something thats got more to it.
5. Terrible beauty - you know, that balance between the scary sorceress that makes you want to run away, but you want to stay as shes just too hot.
As Lady Galadriel said when Frodo offered her the ring
'...beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!   
6. Fire, Fire! I want more fire and smoke and sparks, but real fire. Check out Rob Mackellars pics using a secret formula that lets you set yourself on fire.
Its all fun until you burn your head off!
7. Alien beauty - I'm a fan of HR Giger, I love the way he can produce something incredibly strange and alien yet there is still something of beauty there. Sometimes its the violent juxtapostion of bodies and faces with machinery, and sometimes there is an incredible images 'Giger Brain Salad surgery' that should explain it better.
8. Vampires - groan you say as its been done to death! There are aspects that I've wanted to do. The style brought in by Anne Rice and also in Underworld, the idea that vampires that have been around for hundreds of years know each other and every now and again get together for the banquet of vampires, decadent, opulent, sensual, pyschotic? bored? Or maybe the more animalistic side...remember the part in Bram Stokers Dracula where the female vampire that is caught in her coffin sprays blood from her mouth at everyone. Or what about  Lestat thats had enough of it all 'Why cant I die!'
9. Think of the film not rippling muscles and shouting Spartans...the scene in Xerxes court, isnt that an amazing fetish fest
What you're still reading! Well thats enough ideas, although I still have lots more - post apocalyptic, space troopers, Lady Gaga-ish oTT fashion.
Anyway let me know if anything there sparks your interest, some of the above will need a cast of thousands (well maybe a handful).

Sunday, 16 January 2011

2010 my year in Photography

So 2010 has been and gone, and it was definitely my most full and hectic year....but was that a good thing?
I had a lot more shoots this year than in previous years, a lot of that was due to my new strategy - if you want to have 10 shoots you have to start discussions with 20 models as half of them will mysteriously disappear. That worked but it did mean that at times I was shooting quite a few times a week when the disappearances didn't always happen....but I still find it very disappointing that the 41 disappearances this year happened in the first place.
The number of shoots isn't a problem, its the sort of images I want to produce and in the quantities that I want to produce that causes a massive backlog.
There are two things that I seem to do that many photographers don't. One is that with studio photography I never feel an image is finished unless its placed into some sort of context. I've seen so many images where a model looks fantastic, great pose, great makeup, styling, outfit, lighting....and then its left unfinished, a blank wall. So I'm constantly going through my own images after a shoot and trying to find some way of 'completing' the image. I know that for many models any distraction in the background is a distraction from themselves or from a photographers point of view a distraction from the main subject...but that doesnt work for me, anyway thats just me, its what feels right for me, although having said that I do like black backgrounds with the model half hidden in shadows.  The other thing is that I treat models as partners so if they want X images they get X images, all edited. I dont do you can only have 5 edited images, and by edited I mean abit more than touching up etc.....but both are a rod for my own back, as they both mean alot of time.
 The first few months of this year were very hectic. At the end of 2009 I had a few covers published for the LateXtra magazine from Skin Two, and was the photographer for their cover competition. The editor asked me to provide a disk full of images for wall projection at the Skin Two North ball in Leeds in the spring of 2010, so I decided to use existing images, but also alot of new ones. I had my 'Mad Fetish' week in February. Roze Thorn came down and stayed the week and brought with her a mobile dungeon and hundreds of devices, half of which I still havent a clue what they are for. I had a week of shooting different models using all the equipment. The following week a mini-group fetish shoot up at Karenzas place and eventually finishing a very hectic period by Easter.
In comparison the rest of Spring and most of the Summer was much quieter. We had the first Wild West group shoot at Laredo in Kent, an authentic wild west town built by wild west enthusiasts who more or less live there in authentic fashion. Authentic is what the place is all about, its like stepping back in time to the wild west frontier. The shoot was a brilliant success both on the day and also with the resulting images and feedback.  Due to popular demand we had a second one at the end of the summer which again was a great success. No nuke bunker shoots this year. I think both John (John Henry/GothX)and myself needed a break from them as they have always been running, one finishes and the next one is being planned. I also think we've both had a bellyfull of some of the twats we've had to deal with. We've provided what are without doubt the most creative quality groupshoots in the UK, we've proved that groupshoots can be used as a viable alternative to obtain great and unique photos rather than just fun and networking. This has all been non-profit , the money paid has been for the hire of locations nothing else, not for our work, not for our running the events, not for providing everything to make the day run smoothly...yet the attitude of some twats is that they have paid therefore they demand a service!  
Mini-groupshoots may now be the way forward. I had two shoots this year arranged with Karenza, a fantasy fetish at her home studio and a Sin City inspired shoot at a Northants studio. Then in December there was the shoot at Murdermile studios with four togs and 5 models. These all worked so well without all the hassle of the big shoots. A couple of great Urbex expeditions with John Henry and Peter Sawyer have opened up a few more possibilities.
 In September I had the Texan model Dora Miller fly over from Texas and stay in a London hotel all paid for by herself just for a TF shoot with me! So models, no excuses that you couldn't make the train or get out of bed. I have to admit I didnt think it was going to happen up until I phoned her in her London hotel!
September, October and November were again very hectic, lots of shoots and this meant lots of editing. In the end by December 5th I had to put down my camera and stop shooting just so that I could make some progress with my editing. Then all that snow happened, then xmas happened, then lurgy I'm still editing.
I still have images to complete for Lucie (PrettyPink) and Dora Miller, and also have whole shoots to start on for, Laura Marquick, Alexiel, and the MurderMile mini-groupshoot. Thats a much smaller list than in my last blog, but no picking up my camera until they are done.
I shot with many great models this year. I could list them and go on about what was special about each shoot, but its best to just go through the albums on facebook and see the results for yourselves.
Modelmayhem and facebook have continued to provide me with most of my shoots. Modelmayhem for new models and facebook for the ones that I already know or for new models that I meet via people I already know. Modelmayhem is a great site for the selection of models available it has over half a million members worldwide, but full of ignorant and arrogant twats in the forums, so its purely a model sourcing site for me. I gave Fetlife a try this year, I'd been a member for sometime mainly because models had directed me that way to see other images, but this year I tried to use the site. Its not a photographer/modelling site, thats only one side of it, but a side that for me just hasn't worked at all. Lots of timewasters and lots of awful images that people rave about. 'Oh what a wonderful image' why because they've used a camera phone to snap a hoover attachment shoved up their arse? I also finally gave up on NetModel and cancelled my subscription, how that site has fallen! I still pop in out of habit and find such banal topics, petty squabbles, and fawning over models and togs that seem so unimaginative, visionless and repetitive. It seems nothing more than a social site for a clique that dares not admit to itself how blinkered and boring it has become.
I already did a blog earlier about what were the disappointments of last year, and a few have crept into this one. Although I didnt mention a few models that I've already shot with that have become great disappointments.
 I think the whole way I work has got problems simply because I love to shoot as much as possible but the sort of images I want  to produce doesn't go with quantity. I have never had the opportunity to shoot and then start work on the images when they are still fresh. Usually I get to send out the unedited cd's for models to choose from, but actually working on them I've been many shoots behind, which then makes me want to rush the images I'm working on and that doesn't do anyone justice.
So 2011 I have to do things differently, to get the quality I want I have to cut down on quantity. To cut down on quantity I will have to say NO to many requests (unless you want to lavish gifts and money upon me). Basically I have to take a much more selfish attitude. Decide what projects I want to do and decide who fits the bill to get those projects completed.
In the next episode!......will he reveal what he wants to shoot? Will we actually get to see a few projects that have been sat there chained in the depths for years? Will he become an awkward fucker and turn models away? Will he set them on fire and drown them and hurl them off mountainsides and strand them in space while their brains are sucked out by aliens?....stay tuned!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Editing list

As some of you may already be aware I've put my camera away now  so that I can concentrate on my editing, as I have a mountain to get through. Most of you will also be aware that my editing doesn't consist of tidying up images and skin smoothing etc. and anyone that has tried to have a go at anything reasonably elaborate in terms of digital art will know that one image can take quite a few hours if not longer....and as you also know I do not put limits on the numbers of edits that you request.

So for those of you waiting for images, here is the list of shoots I've had in chronological order, for which I have outstanding editing to do.

Pretty Pink
Sin City - mini group shoot
Dora Miller
Violet Raven & Crimson Raine
Monika Wozynska
Laura Marquick
Alexiel Sama
Michelle DeFeo
Anna-Marie Trzebinski
MurderMile - mini groupshoot

Yes thats tons!!
I wont necessarily be working on them in this order, as some I'm waiting for edit requests (no rush for them!) and one or two have got deadlines.

I'll come back to this and edit out any that are completed if you want to see what progress has been made or how many more years you have to wait for the final images.

Much as I'm addicted to shoots I wont be doing anymore until this lot is cleared. I'm not going to rush them as this doesnt do justice to you or to me if I'm just trying to get images finished asap. One or two will be quite elaborate and may need all kinds of additional work doing on them. The sooner someone invents a device that can plug straight into my head  the quicker I'll be able to churn stuff out.