I made a decision a few days ago… For years now I’ve been shooting models, not just for standard portraiture work but for my conceptual work too. I’ve decided recently, that rather than models I’m now going to try and shoot my conceptual work with actors and actresses.
My favourite work to produce is work that has a narrative. Images that offer a glimpse of a story. For me that’s why it makes complete sense to work with actors. Because that’s exactly what they want to achieve. They are natural born story tellers. They will understand what I mean by emotion. By fear, sadness or confusion. They’ll get it immediately because it’s something that is asked of them every day.
I have a few ideas for new shots I want to create, and they are very much what I’d describe as “narrative shots”. Where as I’d normally work with a model I know or have worked with before, or post a casting call on Model Mayhem, I have this time decided to post the casting call on ‘Star Now’ and specifically seek out male and female actors. So far I’ve had lots of casting submissions from people, so I can’t wait to get started! As part of this series we are also going to be creating some YouTube exclusive, behind the scenes videos, which will include interviews with everyone involved as well as footage of the actual shoot.
I’m really hoping this will start a new chapter in my creative work, and I hope you all enjoy the images as I come to share them…
Thanks for reading. Fade to black…
When I started taking photographs (all those years ago) I used to take a lot of band portraits and live sets. It made sense, I had friends who had good reputations in the music industry, so bands were the very people that were accessible to me. For years, this is what I specialized in, picking up commissions from music magazines such as NME, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer and Rock Sound etc. I loved the work, as at the time I felt it allowed a creativeness that you didn’t really see in more commercial photography. I loved doing the promo shoots on locations and I loved that the gigs took me all around the country and into parties, that quite honestly I’d never make it into under normal circumstances…
After a few years something changed and I stopped. It no longer felt that creative, I felt repetition was seeping into my work and I hated it. That along with the fact that, in the internet age many music publications were either falling under or losing all of their budget, seemed to make it a difficult career to maintain. That’s not to mention the endless list of photographers who are prepared to shoot their idols free of charge. (I don’t blame them by the way, that’s how I started).
Every now again I’ll get offered to shoot a live band, and if it’s something that interests me it’s something I’ll do. Simple as that. When I start to shoot the right band (for me) it does something to me. It takes me back. It reminds me of why I love music so much, and sometimes it even gives me the “bug” to do it all again. That “bug” is usually met the following morning with a hangover and the realization that a life spent in London depresses me more than anything at this current time.
Still, those times, those gigs and those bands remind me of something bigger. Something better. They make photography exciting. The same way it was all of those years ago. Music and photography are two of the most important parts of my life. They are so incredibly ingrained in my personality and my culture.
Sometimes the music industry as a whole depresses me. I look and listen to new bands and they just don’t talk to me. They don’t reach out to me. I’m very aware that this is absolutely because I’m getting older, and typically these bands aren’t meant to speak to me. But when you hear a band you love (new or old) and you’re front row ready to capture that moment, there’s simply nothing better.
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.
Bro&Brew has now launched – if you’re an artist or writer please head to the site and go to the SUBMIT page if you’d like to have your work featured…
For my part – I’m going to be shooting a new model each month for the online version of the magazine. Above is 2 images from my first shoot with model Phoenix Ra.
Please go check out the site – it’s still a work in progress but any feedback would be greatly received.
Recently, I had to back up all of my work and Lightroom catalogues so I decided to use the opportunity to re-edit some older images…
It’s strange I’ve been working on photographs from shoots that perhaps originally I ignored or skimmed past.
I didn’t just want these new edits stuck in a folder on my MAC so I made the decision to post one per day on my Instagram profile: http://www.instagram.com/carlbeebee ( @carlbeebee )
The shot above is from a home studio session with model Jo Fry I shot a couple of years ago. There’s a fair few images from that shoot that I’ve used in various portfolios and marketing etc – but to my knowledge this is the first time this particular shot has been edited and uploaded anywhere online…
I hope you like some of the images and hopefully it will inspire others to actually have a proper look through some of their older images – it may just surprise you!
Thanks for reading…
Double Exposed Polaroid 600 – Circa. 2000.
Nearly everything I shoot these days is in digital because let’s face it; it’s easier, cheaper, quicker and often (usually) more commercially viable. Bridge cameras, DSLR’s and iPhones have all helped bring the digital revolution to the forefront of photography. It’s nothing new. But it leaves me cold. More people than ever now take photographs. This is a good thing I realise but I think it takes away the love of it all. I realise I’m probably not explaining this too well but there is something so unique, and so special about shooting with a film or Polaroid camera.
I’ve recently moved house, and this gave me a great excuse and to sort through boxes and boxes of 35mm negatives and exposed Polaroids. I looked through them all, and they just seem to hold so much more substance. They are real. Printed in front of me. There is in my opinion an art to them which will forever elude digital photography.
I’m aware there are many photographers that still shoot in film, but in truth it’s not something I do enough of and I need to change that. I need to feel like a “photographer” again and in my humble opinion shooting with film is such a large part of that.
I decided that I needed some personal projects to work with to use film again so I started to look through the internet to gather some inspiration. I came across a great article on fstoppers.com by David Geffin titled ‘Why I’ve gone back to shooting film, and why you should too’ It essentially told me what I already felt and I found myself nodding in agreement as he suggested that our DSLR’s have “turned us into the equivalent of photographic sloths”
I then watched a film which I had been meaning to watch for a while called ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ who was a Nanny in America but had a somewhat secretive life as a street photographer. I’d urge anyone with an interest in film photography to watch this film.
For me, I’ve decided that for the first time in years, next month I will shoot a model completely on Impossible Project Polaroid 600 film. I’m looking forward to this shoot more than any other I have done in a serious amount of time. I have also been wondering for some time how I could make my 2nd California book different to the first. I am now starting to consider shooting a large portion of the book on Medium Format film as well as Impossible Project…
Thinking about film, and how I can implement it has kind of taken me back to where I started and in all honesty it has helped me regain my love for the art form which is photography.
Apologies for the complete lack of blog updates recently – been crazy busy and I can get really bad at remembering/finding time too blog…
So, a few updates… The piece of above is from a new collection of conceptual portraits I’m creating. The series is entitled ‘Desire’ and aims to create emotionally driven portraiture…
This photograph above is from a vintage, fashion shoot I did with my friend Esme – still lots more of these to edit and hopefully I’ll add some more to the blog very soon…
In other news the great folks at VSCO invited me to start a grid of my iPhone work on their site – there’s only a few images there at the moment (including the one below) but I intend to add many more of the coming weeks. BTW if you haven’t already got it I highly suggest you download the VSCOcam app for your iPhone – it’s my favourite photography app and has some truly unique effects… You can take a look at my VSCO grid here: http://carlbeebee.vsco.co
And finally there is the news regarding my small trip to California…
In November I will be travelling to LA with three of my closest friends – during the trip – as well as several fashion shoots I will be documenting the towns, landscapes and the adventures of our trip for my forthcoming book ‘California Calling’ which will be internationally released at the beginning of 2014… This is a trip I’m really excited about and I really think I’m going to create something truly unique and very, very cool… What could possibly go wrong?
On this note – the casting is still open for these shoots – so if you’re a model in California and are interested please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
The View – 2012 – Taken on iPhone
One of the biggest problems I’ve always had with my website, is settling on a way to organise my online galleries. Recently I’ve had a page with links to different galleries; portraits, conceptual, places, polaroids etc. but I found that all a bit tiresome… It can also be difficult when you have a image that could fit into more than one category – where do you put it then? Just in one or in both galleries?
I’ve spent the last few hours taking lots of photographs down (and adding a few new ones) and I’ve “bundled” them all into one gallery. At the moment I like it and it seems to be easier, but I’ll likely change my mind soon.
Please check it out if you get a chance here: www.carlbeebee.com
What do you find the best way for organising your online galleries?
Those that have been reading my blog for a while know that I have a bit of a love, hate relationship with Instagram.
Just recently however, I’ve tried to use it a little more purposefully, and I have to say I’m really enjoying it.
I only upload images that have actually been taken on the iPhone but I do try and mix things up a little bit by uploading “proper” photographs (portraits, places etc.) as well as shooting some behind the scenes images from photo shoots along with just completely random photos (see above).
If you use Instagram please follow me on @carlbeebee – and leave a comment in the comment section below with your username so I can follow you back.
The photo above is from my iPhone shoot which was exclusively for ‘Snap My Life’ – taken on a iPhone 4S.
The studio shoot, using only the built in camera app on the iPhone had it’s up and downs… Because there is no manual metering mode on the iPhone camera it it can be increasingly difficult to get an exposure (and focus) that you’re happy with.
I found if I used too much light then the camera gave the skin tones a highly saturated yellow temperature but if the light wasn’t significant enough this allowed for unsharp images and noise – so finding the right balance was essential.
The only editing I gave the photographs is the same editing that I’d give any studio portraiture if it had been shot on my DSLR; brightness, contrast, clarity, saturation etc.
I have to say considering these were taken on a phone camera I’m very pleased with some of the results – as with any shoot there are some images better than others but I do feel, overall that the images are of a high quality… In fact there are at least 5 images that I would happily use in a portfolio of my work – this is a testament to the camera.
This shoot would of been near on impossible just a few short years ago and it is a credit to modern technology just how far these “camera phones” have come along – who knows, maybe in future editions of the iPhone the camera app will be able to deal with manual controls of the exposure and white balance etc.
The whole experience of shooting with a phone in a studio was very unique – and so different to using a pro DSLR – but the results are there for all to see – it is possible to get good, high quality studio portraits using a camera phone.
To see all of the photos from the iPhone shoot please go here.
There is also a behind the scenes video from the shoot on YouTube here.
I don’t often use ‘Instagram’ anymore. I don’t really have anything against it I just generally prefer to build Lightroom Presets that I think suit individual photographs.
Having said that, I took the photograph above a couple of days ago on my iPhone and tried a few different presets, but I couldn’t get it how I wanted. I got frustrated and bored so decided to whack it into Instagram.
As it turned out I really love the look of it with it’s current filter so I was pleasantly surprised… Maybe I should give Instagram a little more thought in the future…
The last few days I’ve been working in Adobe Lightroom and creating some new presets – the shot above of model Jodi Lakin is one of my new presets which I have titled (boringly) Silver01. Creating presets is a great way of time saving when mass editing hundreds of images… It’s also useful, if like me, you create a really good print in Lightroom and can never remember which filters and settings etc you used to create it! I’ve got about 30 presets ready made now and if I get time I’ll probably upload them for free download…
A few months ago I purchased an iPhone 4S. I always thought that I wouldn’t really bother with the camera too much – it just seemed a bit lazy somehow… Anyway I started fiddling about with a little and I’ve been really enjoying it. You can see samples of my ‘iPhoneography’ on Snap My Life here.
Thanks for reading…