An Autopsy of Rural England.

April 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

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**A new and ongoing photography project**

Come to Herefordshire and you’ll be surprised by its natural beauty, the green fields, untouched landscapes and the tranquility of the idyllic market towns and villages, where people try desperately to grasp onto a time and period that has all but passed. You will probably fall in love with Herefordshire and remark to your nearest and dearest how it’s such a wonderful place to visit. You may even want to retire here…

But dig a little deeper, cut it open and you might find a very different story. A very different county. You might find a story of the lowest wages in the West Midlands, a story of constant compromise, a story of a Tory seat that has largely been unopposed for the last two decades. Cut deeper and you will see a county that has placed all of its funding into one city centre. A failed regeneration that has left everywhere else behind it, in its murky shadow. You’ll find quiet streets – and I don’t mean in the tranquil way you may think of – but in a way where a lack of true investment, opportunity and a disposable income has emptied the streets until they look like a damaged Hopper painting.

This project is not about the people here. By large, the people here are good, honest and hard working. There are of course people who do not want change. They don’t understand it. There are also plenty of the “love it or leave it” brigade and there are people who undoubtedly deserve better. People who have been let down by a place where social injustice is being pushed into the very forefront.

Herefordshire is of course beautiful too. There are countless books and postcards to demonstrate that. There is an undeniable charm here, but the things and places that will be photographed for this project, unlike other counties, are not hidden. They are not relegated to the back streets, they are on our doorsteps, outside of our houses, in our town centres. Unhidden, unapologetic and in plain view. They are a constant reminder of an unbalanced county and an unbalanced economy. It is compromised and frequent, it is every part of our county. It is in equal measure to the beauty, the charm and the silence.

Look past the natural beauty and the over marketed history and you’ll see it. Clear as day. A political commentary? Perhaps. But it will be a definite and honest autopsy of the place I call home.

– Carl Beebee.

FATALE – an explanation?

March 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

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I’m currently working on my new photographic book ‘FATALE” which is set to be released and distributed in hard back format, internationally by the end of the year.

I’ve had a few questions asking what the book is, and it’s not an easy one to explain, but I’m going to try my best here…

FATALE will feature over 50 women in a studio and location environment. When you think of a Femme Fatale, your mind will likely wander to the women of the silver screen during the golden age of Hollywood. Whilst Ive definitely borrowed from that era, that’s not it. The women in the book are all strong women. Some are professional models, some are women that have never been photographed before, some are friends and some are strangers. These are the real fatale’s of 2017. The woman who lives next door, the woman who has three children, the woman who you innocently see walking down the street…

The images are sexy and cool but they have an angst to them. An edge. If I had to describe this book using only a few words, I would simply say it’s “fuck you Hollywood”. It’s anti advertising but just as sexy. It is the provocative nature of the unknown and the “ordinary”. It is seduction without compromise…

If you’re in the UK and interested in shooting and appearing in the FATALE book please contact me via my website at www.carlbeebee.com

– Carl.

Hotel Nights.

February 3, 2017 § Leave a comment

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Every New Year it gets me. Like clockwork, the creative slump drags me down every January. I know some people who enter the New Year full of life and hope. The gyms get busier and the bars get quieter, but historically January has always been a royal pain in the ass for me. I just get a complete block on any creative ideas. Much like authors can suffer for years with writers block, this grabs hold of me and seemingly never wants to let me go.

It’s not that I haven’t tried in the past, but every idea is met with a depressing “what’s the point” attitude. Or a feeling and thought that it wouldn’t be saying anything. It’s a hard chain to break and usually for this month I only ever use my camera for “work”.

This year I was determined to break the slump. I didn’t want to go big but I wanted to feel creative. I wanted to create something that I liked, that interested me, regardless of whether I eventually shared it with an audience.

I came to the conclusion that the best way to do this was to shoot something I’d enjoy, without necessarily worrying about its relevance, context or artistic merit. With that in mind I booked myself and my Wife two nights away in a city centre hotel in Birmingham. I stocked up on Fuji Instax film and decided I’d document our drunken fueled weekend getaway. As soon as we got there and I started I instantly felt good about the project. It was great shooting something for myself rather than a client.

In the end I did share 30 of the of the instant photographs and I’m quietly (or not so much now) pleased with them. (You can view the photos here) Not only are they a great reminder of our time away but they have a feel and a look to them I love. They look like part of a documentary photo essay. Are they saying anything? No. Does that matter? No. Because I returned and felt that the annual creative slump had this year passed me by. Which in fairness, with a book to get finished this year is pretty important.

If you’re creatively suffering, whether you’re a photographer, writer, painter or any other artist my advice would be just to create. Don’t worry about what it’s for or what the point is. Just create. Shoot, write, paint. Anything. The only way I have personally found to defeat the slump is to ‘do’…

Photography as a memory.

August 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

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11.08.2016. Fuji. VSCO.

When photography is your day to day “job” I think it becomes increasingly difficult at times to remember one of it’s most important uses; the ability to capture time and create a memory.

In a few short weeks myself and my girlfriend will be married, selfies aside I have very few (deliberate) pictures of us together that I really love, because after the completion of commissions, traveling and the general burden of day to day life, I often never get around to setting shots up. I get home and my camera is packed away until the next job.

I’m starting to make a real conscious effort to change this, because I want to remember this time in an artistic way. I want to look back in ten, twenty years time and remember what we looked like, what we wore, what our apartment was like etc. I want to remember the details. I want to have proof of them.

Although the photograph above is “staged” and stylized it is very ‘us’. This is how we hang out, this is what we do. This is our house. These are all of the details that I want printed in my memory.

I’ve tried these personal projects before, and honestly most of the time I have failed miserably, but I intend to start “creating” a photograph of the two of us once a week. Some of them I will post, some of them will remain private. But I’ll have them. To keep. To remember. To check. To look back on when tomorrow becomes yesterday.

Failed Projects and Creative Culls…

November 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Noir Hotel Portrait – Taken on iPhone – October 25th 2015.

I hate admitting defeat. I hate giving up. But as far as my work goes if I feel something isn’t working or that something’s having a negative impact on my work I’ll always pull the proverbial plug. And that’s what I have to do here… The 365 Project just wasn’t for me. It’s changed the way I shoot – I shoot more, undoubtedly, but it wasn’t working. It just didn’t sync with my own creative process.

I don’t “share” photographs easily. I think about it and probably overthink it – before I post anything. This was my trouble with the 365 project. I went to Birmingham for a few days last week. I came back and there was about 5 photographs on my iPhone that I really liked and wanted to share. The trouble? I had to dwindle it down to 1. But then, the next day (I took a day off) I didn’t really have anything so I had to settle for some half arsed snapshot I went out to take. That’s the part that will never work for me. I feel it degrades the integrity of the photography. It’s sharing for the sake of sharing.

Ive changed the website to better reflect what I want to achieve. I want it to be a kind of photographic journal. The same kind of imagery; iPhone shots of things I see, concepts and portraits etc. But now I no longer feel restrained by the ‘what’ and ‘when’ I post. I still plan on updating the site frequently – at least 4-5 times per week but I’ll be a little more methodical with it. It will hopefully now be a site that I feel reflects me and my work.

Anyway, I’d love to get your thoughts on this, so please take a look at the site at: http://beebee-see.tumblr.com/

Audience Isn’t Important.

October 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

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018/365 (Taken on iPhone) from Beebee365.

Blogging. I like blogging, I need to blog… But… I need to blog more…

I’ve always been someone that writes things down. I have kept a working journal of tech info and ideas since I first picked up a camera. I find it helps me. It helps me organize ideas in my mind, reflect on my work and helps with my creative workflow. But… I need to blog more…

Blogging… it’s important. But it’s difficult. Shoot, edit, meeting, shoot edit, meeting –  the days drift into weeks. As part of my 365 Project I’ve been keeping a journal each day. Just recording when and how I took the photograph and my feeling towards that days photograph. There’s every chance no one else will ever see these writings apart from me but they’ve been important. They’ve helped. They, at least for me, have given the project an extra significance.

On that note, I am very much enjoying the project and I’m experimenting a lot with it. It’s fun and it’s forcing me to think as I really don’t want to be repeating myself on there. I think it’s one of the few projects I’ve ever done where audience isn’t really important. If people want to look at the images and are interested in them, then great but it feels much more like a “self help” project. I needed it. I needed this project, and I needed it at this time. It’s a project about nothing else other than that “one” photograph. You take one and you really like it, but by the next day it’s already forgotten about. You have to move on, and you have to move on quickly. In contrast, you take one and you don’t like it, or feel you could have done something better. It’s okay because tomorrow is a new day. And with a new day comes a new photograph. It’s also quite possibly the only project I have ever done that has no end goal. None. Nothing. Just me and my camera. Usually I have to deliver a project to a client, a publisher a website or a magazine. With that comes added pressure. With this there are none of those things. No real pressure on anything other than to deliver one photograph each day – and surely that shouldn’t be a task for someone who lives and breaths to take photographs?

You can view the project here.

On a side note we have given the website Bro&Brew a face lift. I’m really proud of what the website has become. It’s now full of really talented and really amazing artists; Illustrators, photographers, musicians. It’s really cool so make sure you check it out and even submit some work if you fancy being a featured artist?

Blogging… I must blog more… I will blog more…

Previously on 365…

October 2, 2015 § Leave a comment

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011/365 – Geisha.

So I am only day 12 into my 365 project and I have to say I’m finding it more difficult than I first considered… Although, I guess it’s inevitable, I’m really trying to stay away from “point and shoot” images. I’m doing my best to work on the photographs each day; come up with an idea and concept and shoot it. For obvious reasons – the main one being time – this is much easier said than done.

The image above was taken on my Pentax DSLR yesterday and it’s one of my favorite images of the project so far. It’s deliberately under exposed and shot on RAW as I wanted a dark, grungey and grainy effect for the shoot. For this image I just used one flash light to the side of the model.

I’m trying to be very varied in the photographs I’m shooting for the project – mixing up iPhone shots and DSLR shots.

However, make no mistake, even so early on I can see the benefits of this project. Even on days where I am full up with meetings and editing etc I’m still “forced” to shoot, and enter the creative process. I remain pretty determined to see the project through. Already there are some photographs I prefer to others which I guess is natural. On the flip side of that there are photographs I’ve taken for it that have really grown on me. I’m also keeping a journal and entering information each evening about that days photograph; just things like how I shot it, how I feel about it. I’m finding this very handy as it helps me keep track of what I’ve shot and what I need to focus on. It will also be a real benefit if I decide to publish this in print at any point.

You can see my 365 project at: http://beebee365.tumblr.com/

Thanks for reading.

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