Underwater…

Here’s a little shot I managed to get at the end of a shoot the other day…

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A company I was working for had hired a pool to do a fashion shoot there. The pool had really been hired to shoot around it, but once we’d finished we still had over half hour left on the clock. I grabbed my GoPro, asked one of the models to put a floaty dress on and began to hold my breath and shoot underwater… Considering the lack of available light I’m really pleased with the shot. In fact, I think there’s something quite haunting about it.

Amazing what you can do with a little free time, a small amount of light and an undertsanding model… Here’s a few behind the scenes iPhone pics from the shoot.

 

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Saal Digital Review – Photobook.

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I’ve been looking for somewhere to print a small run of photo books for a while now – with the idea of self publishing a small book to sell exclusively at exhibitions etc. After seeing a featured add from Saal Digital on Instagram I decided to check them out…

I downloaded their software and eventually decided on a glossy 19 x 19 book with approximately 30 pages…

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The software was really simple to use, but much more importantly it was effective. A simple case of ‘drag and drop’ for the files you want to use – all embedded into the software at high resolution. There are many templates available within the program but I opted for either their ‘blank’ or ‘double’ pages. A note here: the double pages look incredible! No loss of image within the fold or crease at all, which means your images are seen how they are meant to be!

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Once completed you simply upload your final design, choose your shipping method and pay. The book took about a week to arrive, and I have to say I was so impressed. The quality of the product is exceptional. All too often as a photographer, I’ve uploaded images to print, only to be left disappointed with the quality. That’s certainly not the case with these photo books. They look and feel great. Thick pages with a high gloss finish really make the book stand out.

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Over the years (too many to mention) I’ve tried and used many publishing tools to create books to self publish, but Saal Digital are definitely the best for ease of use, quality of the product and delivery/shipping times.

For more information on their products head on over to www.saal-digital.co.uk

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Live Music Photography

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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. Workflows.

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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.

Photography as a memory.

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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.

My Portrait Philosophy

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The following is a recent article I wrote for Bro&Brew

My Philosophy of a Portrait.

These days I frequently lecture on photography and truth be told for a man that hated being educated I actually quite enjoy it… But lets keep that between us bro’s.

At the end of my lectures I always open it up for any questions. One of the questions I often get is ‘What’s your favourite portrait you’ve taken?‘ It of course, isn’t an easy question to answer because my favourite portrait is usually my most recent one so it obviously changes on a regular basis.

Like in all art, I like my portraits to have some narrative and context. As of 9th July my favourite portrait is this one on the top of this article of my partner Emma…

Lets face facts, it can’t be easy going out with a photographer and having the constant threat of a camera being waved in your face – or being woken up at ridiculous AM with the words “wake up, I’ve got an idea”.

Anyway… back to narrative… My girlfriend, Emma went on a night out with some friends. The theme was  ‘cheerleaders’. To say Emma didn’t have a good night would be an understatement. But that’s not my story to tell so I won’t. The next day the cheerleader outfit was dumped unceremoniously in the bin. I looked at it and thought it needed a portrait. Something that would portray not just the outfit but the destruction of it. The photograph is real – it was her outfit, my girlfriend – stood in her bedroom. None of the surroundings were fabricated – that is something that has always been of great importance to me. Why try and recreate something that’s already there?

I want to be clear, there was no blood spilt that night but I wanted the image to show the inevitable hurt of a girls night out gone wrong. A night that ends in drama, disappointment, and an argument alongside a 3.00am “please come and get me” phone call.

I guess this gives it a personal touch. Apart from those of you fine people who have read this – most people will look at it and simply see a photograph of a woman covered in blood. I look at it and I see a memory. An evening. A real thing. Something that lives with or without photography. It’s that word I always speak of. I ramble on about. Yes, it’s that word: context.

Carl Beebee. (Photographer, Lecturer, Co-founder of Bro&Brew.

Fade To Black…

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‘Fade To Black’ by Carl Beebee. Click on image for high res version.

Fade To Black is a series of self portraits that explore and recreates the initial, early days of separation and divorce.

The depression, loneliness, confusion and drinking that engulfs your life to a point where you feel like an outsider staring in at your own world – your own movie…

These images (others added to carlbeebee.com soon) portray the moments in the darkness – the time where reflection is essential.

They portray an ending. A final scene. The fade to black moments.