April 28, 2017 § Leave a comment
If I spoke to ten different photographers from ten different backgrounds, working within ten different areas of the field, I would hazard a guess that at least eight of them would have a love for the instant photograph. Whether it be the age-old chemical process of the Polaroid or the (relatively) new electronic mechanism of the Instax. They probably wouldn’t be able to explain their love or fully understand it themselves. Like a married person in the heat of an affair. Unable to comprehend it, or explain it but fascinated by it. Drawn to it.
For me, I think it’s the physical attribute of the process. It is the anti-digital but with the same immediate result. Look through the viewfinder, release the shutter, and seconds later you are holding a physical print. Something to keep, to frame, to use as a bookmark or prop up on a shelf. It gives you an instant sense of ownership, something that will live with you. In a similar way that the 12” records from the 60s and 70s look like they have been lived with – they look like they could tell a story. Every crease and coffee stain revealing something else. Put this in comparison to shooting 35mm film and it’s easy to understand the love of the instant. For most people – or at least those like me who don’t own darkrooms, you can shoot a roll of film and wait up to a week for the prints to arrive with you. It’s somehow just not the same for me. It doesn’t have the same substance. I feel a little withdrawn from the process of it.
A few months ago I went away for a weekend with my Wife, I decided to document the trip on the Fuji Instax Mini (discussed in this blog post). I took approximately 40 exposures, and those photographs have already been looked at dozens more times that the equivalent would have been – ten to twenty photographs lurking in a gallery on my iPhone. Pushed further and further down the gallery with each click of the shutter and with each screenshot.
I like things in my life that are unpredictable. Nights out, late nights, work projects. Unpredictability fascinates me. That’s what instant film offers. It’s like the unplanned “quick pint” with your friend that ends with a 4.00 am drinking session and an almighty hangover. You’ll never know what you’re going to get with instant film. You can do your best to create the “perfect” shot. Check your lighting, stage your subject, but I can almost guarantee you won’t get the same results twice. With limited to no control over exposure, ISO, and shutter speed, and without the ability to look through a single lens, every image will be different. Each will have it’s own personality. It’s own failings and equally it’s own brilliance.
This is nothing new, photographers have been fascinated with instant film since it came to light. Professionals used it, families used it. There would have been countless nude photographs taken of partners, hidden at the bottom of drawers during a time where instant photography was the only private photography.
Maybe all of that is part of it’s charm. Today there are artists who only shoot on instant film. I truly admire that but have to admit it’s not something I could do. After a week or so I’m always pretty happy to go back to the comfort of my DSLR, like the cheating partner walking back through the door of his house. It feels like going home.
When you think of instant film it’s hard not to think of the resurgence of analogue. Vinyl is back in record stores and outselling physical CD’s. It’s a throwback to a simpler time, a time when “things” meant something. A time where things weren’t thrown away. A time where not everything was considered disposable.
– Carl Beebee.
April 2, 2017 § Leave a comment
FATALE test shoot – 03/2017
Blogging, you have to blog right? (Is this ‘blogging’ on here?). Everyone tells me I have to blog. My agents tell me, my publicist tells me, so do my clients, friends and everybody else. I have to blog. I enjoy blogging I’m just not great at finding the time to do it, and I don’t pretend I’m actually any good at it. But I’m not bothered about that. I think I’m meant to blog about work and life but ironically those are the two things that seem to get in the way of me blogging. Let’s face it, there’s things I’d rather do than blog; spending time with my family, visiting galleries, drinking, fucking, shooting. All of the things that fill my life and generally make me happy. As I mentioned, I enjoy blogging, just generally not as much as the other things I’ve mentioned. I guess I need to find a way around this, but for now I’m going to tell you a little about what I’ve been working on because that seems as good as reason as any to blog.
Most of my time at the moment is taken up by working on my new book ‘FATALE’. My agents want this released in November of this year but that means a really tight schedule. I’m photographing approximately 50 women for the book. A mixture of professional models, friends, people I’ve known for a few years and people I’ve never met. It is a portrait of the real FATALE’s of 2017. The girl who lives next door, the woman you see down the street, the Mother dropping her kids off at school. It’s cool, sexy, seductive and different. I was recently asked to sum the book up in one line. My answer was “it’s a fuck you Hollywood” — and it is. There’s another slice of irony there considering I got this book deal on the back of my previous book ‘California Calling’. That leads me onto something else I’m working on… In the next couple of months I’m releasing a new version of ‘California Calling’ exclusively to the iBookstore — hopefully there will be more news on that very soon.
I’ve also been working on a short documentary filming a duo who are in the UK from the States to record an EP. Actually, this is something I’d like to blog about but I’m contracted to keep my mouth shut until the release. That’s irony biting me firmly on my ass again.
Those are the things that are currently filling up my schedule along with the things I mentioned earlier. I’m going to try and blog more but I must admit that this is something I’ve said before. The intention is there. The will is there. If there was a school report for it, it would simply read “must try harder”.
Thanks for reading… See you in the pub.
March 1, 2017 § Leave a comment
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
February 3, 2017 § Leave a comment
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’…
August 22, 2016 § Leave a comment
iPad Collaboration with Emma-Louise Gibbons.
So, I made somewhat of a big switch recently. After watching hours of YouTube videos and reading everything I could find I purchased an iPad Pro and Apple pencil with the intention of completely changing my workflow so I could constantly have my “editing suite” with me.
Installed on my iPad from Adobe CC I have Adobe Fix, Adobe PS and Adobe Mix as well as third party programs such as VCSO and Enlight.
The shot above was actually shot on the iPad, edited on the iPad and then “drawn on” using Adobe Sketch on the device…
It took a while. It was a huge learning curve for me but I’m delighted with the results. I absolutely love editing images on the iPad, and in truth, I’ve barely used my MAC since.
There are downfalls. The file handling is somewhat frustrating as you’re restricted to the built in Camera Roll. So for example, if I take an image into Adobe Fix, work on it then it exports the image to Camera Roll. I then want to edit in VSCO, so I do just that it, save it and it exports to Camera Roll. All of a sudden I have 3 varied images all on my machine. Not so much of a problem if you’re just handling 1 image at a time, but for larger shoots with 100+ photographs it can become somewhat confusing. I almost wish there was a way to overwrite previous versions of the image on saved to the Camera Roll. Despite all of this though I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I love the handling, and the precision the Apple Pencil gives you and having it on the rad with me, at every shoot, on every train etc has been a massive time saver.
With news that the next OS update will give the option to handle true RAW files (not through a conversion in Lightroom mobile) I only see it becoming more and more of a “must have” tool for professional photographers.
November 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
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/
October 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
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.