Working with Beam Editions at the Los Angeles Art Book Fair 2019 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA over the weekend before we begin visiting artist studios and archives next week for upcoming projects they are working on (camera in tow of course!) Expect more from our ‘In the Studio’ series very soon.
Back with Areté for another collection shoot, we seem to outdo ourselves every time that owes itself to a solid team all channeling the same direction and aesthetic.
The palette here is the star of the show, shooting in The Hockley Arts Club’s various rooms that created this 80’s party-esque tone.
The guys at Areté welcomed and trusted my experiment of shooting vertically in camera (9:16) for more screen real estate on social media when viewed on phones, which is obviously how most people experience the world now. It’s a very different framing to work with but I think it’s perfect for this where the main focus is all on the models and hair. I imagine this can easily be done when shooting 4K horizontally and reframing in post, but unfortunately the Sony A7Riii doesn’t do that at 60p for slow-mo. Hey-ho.
I was mainly striving for a sharper video on Instagram and experimenting on ways of how to avoid it’s muddy compression that loves to make a mockery of my Sony’s amazing video quality. According to various blogs, keeping the video under 15MB at 1080x1350 (4:5) is the sweet spot to avoid compression and have the largest post size in feed, It’s seemed to work better but still it’s not perfect, I saw a video by Givenchy that was incredibly sharp for Instagram that made me question why everyone else’s videos don’t look like that. I imagine in reality it’s based in a monetary backhand to Facebook to allow this quality that us general public don’t get access to.
Regardless, I think I’ll be doing a lot more video fo 4:5 vertical video that just as easily can be used 9:16 for a gorgeous screen-filling Instagram story.
The work is a wax rubbing of Ian Curtis’s (Joy Division) old house in Macclesfield where he lived with his family, wrote his music and tragically committed suicide in 1980.
The work being the size of the side of a terrace house (563 x 504 cm) paired with being mostly white and shooting on a white wall as a typical gallery backdrop obviously bought it’s challenges in achieving balanced lighting. A mixture of bouncing large spot lights from the surrounding gallery walls and using smaller LED panels to fill in the gaps did the trick after some experimentation. I have a feeling the Sony A7RIII’s dynamic range and pixel shift mode also helped.
‘77 Barton Street’ was commissioned by Deichtorhallen Hamburg and curator Max Dax. the work is in ‘Hyper! A Journey Into Art and Music’ at Deichtorhallen Hamburg: 1 March – 11 August 2019.
There will also be a publication available with the exhibition available through Deichtorhallen.
The beginning of a new series from Beam Editions: In the Studio that will be exploring artist’s lives and practices.
We visited artist John Newling at his home and studio in Nottingham for conversations about the artist’s expansive career, growing plants for his work in his garden as well as ideas of new economies.
I’m often asked where my documentation photographs go, well here is an example of their use in the arts.
Primary’s Programme Notes are a self-published bi-annual comprehensive guide to all things Primary that look forward to upcoming exhibitions and events as well as critically discussing past shows and programmes.
They are a great ongoing accompaniment to Primary’s already rich and vast output. You can pick up all issues (now at #8) at Primary and other art venues around the city of Nottingham.
Areté and Black Cactus have come together for a collection combining each salons’ expertise - Areté’s pursuit for excellence in male grooming and Black Cactus’s Californian inspired beachy looks and Balayage colouring.
Balayage is a technique developed in the 1970’s in France, rather than using traditional foiling or cap highlighting techniques, this method sees hair precisely coloured by the hairdresser’s hand.
The long winter sunset casted a golden hue over the city of Sheffield during this shoot that made the in-redevelopment old factory location shine.
For the video’s direction, I started with the usual lifestyle feel from working with Areté previously but tried to get under what Black Cactus was (as this was our first meeting) and implement that into my choice of framing and movement. After all, this is a collaboration.
Still unbelievable results from 4K out the A7RII (Super 35) downscaled to 1080p, working with hair really makes this stand out.
Check out the BTS below to see a window into the process of a collaboration like this. Also see more from Areté over in the portfolio.
Presented by In-situ - Five Verses on Six Sacks of Earth is a micro-opera by Nastassja Simensky and Rebecca Lee. The live performances were made in response to an archaeological dig at Malkin Tower Farm, Pendle.
I spent the weekend with the artists travelling around venues to document the performances and costumes in the beautiful settings surrounding Pendle Hill.
Article on Corridor8.
Folk Punk band Ferocious Dog at Rough Trade Nottingham as part of Nottingham’s best music festival Hockley Hustle.
Another energetic one, ending up off my feet and on stage a few times, shoutout to one of the roadies in the crowd that picked me up off the floor all night (and threw me in the mosh pit at one point).
This was the first job done in my new studio based at Backlit in Nottingham. Capturing the physicality of the book was my main focus, using soft shadows to add subtle depth and keeping things clean and consistent.
I’ve also recently bought some tools for accurate colour representation from Datacolor’s Spyder series to speed up my workflow and guarantee perfect colours that is obviously quite important in arts documentation and product photography.
The book is available to purchase here.
The publication accompanies Parker Ito - PII exhibition at Primary, Nottingham: 28th September — 17th November 2018.
It is a task that would seem relatively straight-forward but once considering all the factors that feed into representing the work as true and precise as possible, it becomes an operation.
Firstly is creating a lighting environment that evenly lights the work as naturally as possible but avoids all reflections, while also giving depth to the frames. Using my trusty Rotolight Aeos set up I was able to achieve a soft spread of light. Positioning the lights at a 45 degree angle towards the work eliminated most reflections, joined with making sure no other light was entering the space (god bless gaff tape). Got really nice shadows too, bonus!
Secondly, and most importantly is colour-matching the works to the actual photographs because as smart as modern mirrorless cameras are they don’t always reproduce colours completely accurately.
Thirdly is careful getting rid of any dust or foreign objects on the photographs or behind the glass with a bit of gentle retouch.
Lastly is exporting the images large and detailed enough (TIFFs) that they can be archived to then be used in a multitude of applications for the future.
And there you have it, some sweet documentation of some great photographs.
Promoting their new album 'Joy as an Act of Resistance' the five-piece played their hearts out in the most perfect packed out venue, even with a setlist formed live of audience requests: 'What's your name? Where'd you come from?', 'Do you know any Idles songs?'
I was definitely part of the action in more ways than one for this shoot. Idles have a tenancy to enter the crowd, and not just frontman Joe Talbot, we are talking guitarists Mark Bowen and Lee Kiernan crowd surfing and passing the mics around the mosh pit, if the crowd could lift drummer Jon Beavis still playing I'm sure they would have.
Still buzzing from it to be honest. Oh and go buy the album, it's mint.
High shutter, high ISO and high frames per second to capture the pure energy from the whole band, I commend Sony on their stella autofocus from the A7RII, makes me want an 'RIII even more!
The new Summer campaign from Areté can finally be revealed!
It was important for us to take more of a focus on developing the brand this time round as the Barbers enters its second year in business.
It was all about the vision, the hair, the looks and the feel of what Areté is and represents.