Google doodle tribute to Sir Norman Parkinson, father of Modern Fashion Photography

by on Apr.21, 2013, under Fashion, Portraits

Sir Norman Parkinson CBE, was a celebrated English portrait and fashion photographer. Regarded by many as the father of modern fashion photography and major contributor to the images published by Vogue. Google have paid tribute to him with this lovely Google Doogle on what would have been his 100th Birthday. Rather than copy lots of text from other sites please read Sir Parkinson’s entry on Wikipedia if you’re not familiar with his work.

If you’re in London between now and May 12th and would like to see some of his great work get along to The National Theatre for Lifework: Norman Parkinson’s Century of Style. Admission free. 020 7452 3400.

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She brought a bit of colour to a grey London day

by on Feb.18, 2013, under Portraits, Street Photography

I’d gone up to London to photograph a number of streets for a business contact of mine. Having mapped out the exact locations to shoot on Google maps the night before I knew the next stop was within walking distance, no need for a bus or tube. But thanks to London buses a visitor to England was sat waiting. Like Zia, Claire, Annaliisa and a number of others that caught my eye she had attention grabbing hair, cropped short on one side and coloured and long the other. Not having used the ringflash for a quick Street Photography shot I didn’t know if I’d be able to get all the bits together in time. It’s quick to assemble, but would it be quick enough? As you can see, the answer is yes. And then there was her #11 bus and she and her mother were gone.
Welcome to the lineup miss, love the hair! :)

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MCM Expo | Comic Con October 2012 London Excel

by on Oct.28, 2012, under Portraits

Thanks to Lee Gray of the 501st UK Garrison, I visited MCMEXPO | London Comic Con Saturday 27th at London’s ExCel. Wow! There are some extremely talented costume makers putting outfits together. For example “Wibble Nut” (1st Image), a fantastic armourer working in metal and Tabitha Lyons of Artyfakes Action Props Ltd (6th Image) who uses foam and latex.

It was my first outing with the RoundFlash ringflash diffuser. The quality of light it gives is fantastic!  Like any diffuser the flash power drops a few stops so it’s best used close up. There are some issues that I’ll have to get used to with this device. The lens can’t be reached from the side as normal making it harder to change the focal length. Instead you have to reach around the front and into the RoundFlash. Easy enough with practice. With a short lens or lens zoomed wide I found keeping the front of the device out of view a challenge. There is a elasticated cord on the back that’s configured into a star shape that holds the lens in place, but no equivalent at the front as this would prevent accessing the lens to change focal length. Rather than be black I think I’d prefer the inside of the hole the lens sits in to be coloured a bright red to make it very obvious when it’s moved into the field of view.

(read the rest of the post…)

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Rain, rain, rain. Let it rain, I’m in the studio today :) Part II

by on Sep.23, 2012, under Portraits

I had a couple of fun shoots today. The second was with Dr Karen Lowton, Senior Lecturer in Ageing & Health at Kings’s College London. It all started with a few comments on Facebook after Karen posted a partial photo of her latest haircut.

Karen: Nipped out for the haircut – any more would break the camera.
Me: Break the camera? Don’t believe it, cameras are pretty tough these days sis, I know I’ve taken enough self portraits and had the camera survive to prove it ;)
Karen: Mark, I challenge you to take a photogenic photo of me – whenever you’re ready and have photoshop loaded…
Me: What’s your diary like 14:00 Sunday then?
Karen: It’s free – see you there. Crickey. X
Anne: Looking forward to seeing this Mark fella’s photo…
Sarah: Lovely hair, by the way and just look at your eyelashes too!

I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I set the soft box up with it’s top against the studio ceiling with me underneath, almost wearing it like a hat with the camera lens right up against the bottom. It’s a technique I’ve used before and I love the results. I used some of the jaw line advice from former model and ace photographer Peter Hurley. As Peter would say, Shebang! The shot was taken.

An the first comment on her photo once loaded onto Facebook this evening?

Sarah: Bloody stunning! Mark told you so!

Job Done :) I’m happy!

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Stand in front of the camera at one of my shoots..

by on Jul.08, 2012, under Portraits

Stella and her daughter Phoebe came along to the 3 person clone shoot with MOT Model Lucy Cates at the studio this afternoon. If I’ve ever had one of “Those Days” this was surely it! At home I’d gone through a check-list of all the things I needed to bring. “Mic and stand? In the car…“.  Then looking at all the other things I needed to bring, tripod, stands, beauty dish, electric guitar and saxophone, etc., I decided to take my wife’s car with it’s much bigger boot. I would normally have folded the rear seats down but today I’d be picking up Lucy from the station to help ensure she didn’t get soaked getting to the studio. My MUA had to cancel as her child minder had let her down, so Plan B had to be invoked – visiting the local Boots.

So there I was at the No. 7 make-up counter with Sophie and Lucy, the clock was ticking and I wasn’t setting up lights and the camera. My mind started thinking about what I’d set up first, props or equipment? Then it hit me, something was missing from the pile of things on the studio floor..  (read the rest of the post…)

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AARRRGHHHH!!! Stray Hairs!

by on May.28, 2012, under Portraits

This strong look from Miss P, was shot during our “All White” shoot just for the fun of it. There’d been a bit of sibling snapping going on with camera phones from the back of the studio, inspiring a punchy pose. It sums up how I feel when I’m away from the studio editing images, only to find a lot of stray hairs in shots. What is it about hair!? It’s forever on the move and getting where it isn’t wanted. (read the rest of the post…)

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Have a DONT list and get out there and do it!

by on Apr.05, 2012, under Portraits, Street Photography

I watched the tail end of a live Scott Kelby video tonight, his closing words were about people that complain that they don’t get the shots they’d like, partly because they don’t go out at the right time of day to get the best light [or bring it], or don’t find the interesting or photogenic subjects to shoot.  It reminded me of the evening I did a quick Street Photography shot of the lady you see here.

It had been a regular day in the city and I was moments from home.  Standing with my camera bag strapped to my back I was gazing out through the windows to the buildings on our side of the road.

(read the rest of the post…)

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The hair that launched a shoot idea

by on Mar.25, 2012, under Creative, Portraits

In the play The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus the abduction of Helen of Troy by Paris causes the launch of a thousand ships, starting the Trojan Wars.
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Bump to baby and family photography

by on Mar.18, 2012, under Portraits

I’m looking for couples about to become a family or give their current child a new sibling to help build my online portfolio at my other site Lifebookphotography.com. I’d been waiting for my Enhanced CRB check paperwork to come through before saying anything about it…
(read the rest of the post…)

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Back to where my 100Strangers started

by on Mar.15, 2012, under Portraits

Listening to a couple of Frederick’s Shut Up And Shoot audio casts on the train this morning I got thinking about how little I’ve used the camera outside the studio the last few months.

A beautiful sunny view out of the window inspired a walk up to St Paul’s for lunch. Expecting a call from a team mate I decided the walk, talk, lunch and taking in some Vitamin D was in order. Rather than do the normal pressured steam-in, steam-out I’d take the camera too and chill out, if only for a few minutes. (read the rest of the post…)

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