Video Killed the Radio Star… Will Netflix Kill the Cinema Star?

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It was 1980 and The Buggles burst into a verse of “Video killed the radio star”. It sounded like a warning, a premonition and a war cry all in one. Just one year later MTV launched and it would go onto become a phenomenon and video did indeed kill the radio star… Of course radio was still around and still relevant for that matter, it was just no longer necessary for an artist or band to “make it”. They had other outputs, other ways. The “look” and appearance of a band had never been more important. Flamboyancy took over. Whilst commercial radio continues to exist to this day, I would think a band or artist are more likely to be discovered on a podcast, or a Spotify playlist as far as audible measures are concerned. Of course the music video is possibly more important than ever with the runaway, commercial success of YouTube.

When I saw that the original Netflix film ‘Rome’ had been Oscar nominated it made me ask if the age of cinema is coming to an end. Perhaps with escalating prices, Hollywood embarrassments and scandals along with streaming service providers offering genuine content, it can now be said that streaming is going to kill the movie star. You have to believe people in Hollywood can see it themselves. There has recently been a host of what would be considered Hollywood golden A stars signing up to do movies and tv series on streaming services. What if this is their curve point? They tried 3D to make the cinema experience more interactive but in reality, it only had limited success – if you need glasses to watch a movie – try putting your specs, over your specs. Or maybe you could pay thirty bucks for you and your partner to sit in a room next to the annoying person who needs a toilet break every three minutes in between eating his nachos, checking his phone and talking to his partner… It’s not going to be an easy task for them is it? Can the Hollywood elite turn it around, when the tide seems to be ever changing against them?

£10 a month for Netflix is great value for money and the content is constantly updating and changing. It is actually their original content that has always been invaluable to gaining me as a customer (or consumer). In the last decade or so, I can’t help but think the movie industry has had ample chances to turn it around, but have largely failed every time. Similar plots, the same old tired actors been cast as the same old, tired characters. Sequel after sequel after sequel with little or no emphasis placed on either young film makers or female writers/directors?

Surely it stands to reason that the next and future generations of filmmakers don’t have a cinema release within their dreams, but a Netlfix release?

 

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Shoot what you love…

Shoot what you love… That’s what they tell you. Someone told me it when I first started shooting. I’m not sure who told me that, maybe it was one of my lecturers, maybe someone else. Come to think of it, maybe I just read it somewhere. I’m really not sure, but that’s not the point…

In my day to day life, throughout the years I have worked with hundreds of models and actors etc, capturing their portrait. But as much as I have enjoyed every single shoot, my very favourite person to photograph is my wife Emma. I think a lot of it is because, obviously, I now her so well. I already have a connection with and I already know what will work really well and what might not work so well. I think comfort comes into play here too. I’m comfortable enough to ask Emma to do anything for a shoot and she’s comfortable enough with me to do it. It instantly knocks down boundaries. She has seen, and lived with my frustration first hand when I haven’t quite got the “the shot”. She understands how much it plays on my mind, how much it bothers me. That’s why I think she’s always patient with me while I’m shooting her. She understands I have a vision for the aesthetic of the shot, and she’ll work tirelessly to make sure we achieve it.

I bet if I had to pick the favourite 50 portraits I’ve ever taken, at least half (and probably more) would be of Emma. She has soaked herself in fake blood, hung around town centres at 2.00am, got drunk and even pretended to murder me, all for the sake of my photography. The most recent shots I took of her, are the ones above – taken on a rare sunny afternoon. The ‘Model’ t shirt is really apt, as I’m pretty sure she’s probably been photographed a lot more than a lot of professional models.

I already can’t wait for our next shoot…

Hotel Nights.

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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.

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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…

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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/

Beebee 365

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I’ve finally decided to take the proverbial plunge and do the 365 challenge. Each day, for a year I’ll upload an image shot that day. I think it will mostly be stuff shot on my iPhone – some conceptual pieces, some portraits, some behind the scenes images and a host of randomness. I know this isn’t a new concept by any stretch of the imagination but hopefully I can do things a little differently… You can follow my 365 project by clicking here.

Also just a quick note to say my website has had a redesign so please feel free to check it out by visiting carlbeebee.com

That’s it for now… Stay safe…

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Trash Tuesday – The Film Stills

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As mentioned in my previous post; I’ve recently been working on a new project. ‘Trash Tuesday – The Film Stills’ is now all available to view on my website. There’s 25 images plus an artist statement. Please take a look if you get the chance by clicking here.

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Speaking of my website, it’s had a bit of a facelift. With a new landing and home page we’ve also added a ‘news’ page and updated the other pages. The site should now be faster and more accessible on mobile devices… Please view my site by clicking here.