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 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…
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.
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.
Ok, ok, ok… So first off I need to apologise for the recent absence of my blog. I seem to spend all my time either too busy to blog or simply not motivated enough to. Hence – blogging ain’t easy.
I have, however, been working on a couple of projects recently. ‘Trash Tuesday – The Film Stills’ will go live on my website within the next couple of weeks. There’s a taster image above but in total there will be approximately 20 images in the collection. I wanted to something a little different, and I have to say I’m really pleased with the results. Each image represents a single frame from a film – It is not the intention of the images to offer any answers. I am much more concerned with the questions.
Starting next month I’ll be writing a fortnightly column for a magazine – although each column will be about photography don’t expect any tech info or testing etc. The column will completely be the philosophy of photography, my experiences within the industry and other rants and rumblings. They’re not going to be to everybody’s taste and I don’t mind that – but I’ll be posting them on here anyway. I hope some of you enjoy them and partake in the conversation via the comments section…
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!
Image from the series ‘Fade To Black’ by Carl Beebee. 2014.
I recently read an article on the popular photography website fstoppers.com called “Censorship is Good for Photography. Seriously” The article explains, or rather argues, why censorship in photography is a good thing. It is of course the writers opinion and he offers valid points. But to me it is not a good thing. It is something that restricts creativity, opinion and thoughts. It simply holds artists back!
I want to make it clear here; i’m not in anyway supporting illegal images – only images that fall within the law. I’m also not talking about classification – where it is important to fall within age restrictions etc.If an image is “not safe for work” does that make it wrong? If it’s labelled “not safe for work” or ‘NSFW’ then to me it is fair game. It is after all, at the heart of it, personal preference. If someone wants to put the word “fuck” across their image is it inappropriate? Should it be censored?
I think we live in a world where we should all be able to offer our opinion with freedom and creativity. Surely, it’s a simple rule? – if you don’t like what you see then look away. Galleries, curators and the press already put so many restrictions on artists I feel that at times it prevents said artists from creating the work they actually want to create. As soon as that happens then they have lost their voice.
It’s so important to believe in your work, regardless of others opinions or thoughts. It has to have an honesty and an integrity to it in order for the artist to be themselves – not just as an artist but as a person. It is this trait that will blends personality into the work.
How will history view the censorship of photography? Well, look back in time at Hollywood – films such as ‘The Exorcist’, ‘Clockwork Orange’ and ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ were all banned in certain regions and countries. Today they have been re-introduced and are widely available – but perhaps more importantly, each in their own form is considered ground breaking and important. That is perhaps the biggest lesson to be learnt and the reason why I will always say “Censorship is bad for photography. Seriously.”
This is an image from circa 2004 – it’s a Polaroid of a nude woman (Jenni Knight) taken on extremely expired film.
The high quality digital scan at 30 x 30 cm is now available on Saatchi Online (limited edition of 10)
The California trip is now just a few weeks away – so to keep everything in one place I have opened up a tumblr blog for the trip. So far it has images and interviews about all of the preperation etc. Whilst I’m away I’ll keep it updated daily with new photographs etc – which I’ll continue to do up until the book launch.
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 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.