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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Musical Musings

Recently, I've been noticing that listening to music has been influencing my workflow.  When I'm editing, I'll always choose music that seems to fit the shoot somehow.  For weddings, I'll sometimes choose albums that have the track a bride walked in to, or when the happy couple walk back down the aisle together.  The music I've been listening to whilst editing then makes it to the viewings I have with clients.  I find it incredibly emotive - beautiful moments being played out to a soundtrack. 

Music has always been a big part of my life.  I love the emotions it can evoke and the memories it can jolt.  At family parties, when I was growing up, the table would be cleared, washing up would be done and the music would start.  Whether it was all of us round the piano, or being thrust under the tree at Christmas to sing Away In A Manger, a get together was never complete without a bit of music at the end.

The 80's came and went in a flurry of fashion blunders.  I never really got the Duran vs Spandau thing.  I was listening to Kate Bush and Blondie and electronic stuff.  Then, off to college, and along came lots of gigs.  I loved seeing live music.  Something inside me clicked, and I decided I wanted to sing in a band.  I was in a couple in Liverpool & London with varying success stories.  We didn't reach super-stardom, but I loved it.

 For the last couple of shoots I've done, I found myself listening to music whilst I was in the planning stage.  I was choosing music in my office and for my iPod when I was out and about.  Both shoots had an ethereal dreamlike quality to them in my head.  Ideas for images started racing, listening to Euan Atkinson (more of this young chap in a bit), and Jo Hamilton.  I stumbled on her beautiful music by chance.  She was brought up in the Scottish highlands and just seems to magically connect with this landscape.  The description of her music on her website "Björk and Sarah McLachlan singing Robbie Burns, backed by Sigur Rós” - works for me.

To Euan - so musically accomplished for his years.  He writes big, powerful, yet tender and emotive pieces of music, each one an individual soundtrack.    Think Michael Nyman, Thomas Newman (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) or Rob Dougan's contribution to The Matrix.  His tunes are so thoughtful and atmospheric (just take a listen to Neon Scope), they really struck a chord with me.  So much so, I've commissioned him to write a tune to accompany a promo piece for my launch.  I had a little listen to it in progress the other day and to say I'm chuffed is an understatement!  If you've been thinking about music for your website or a promo video, he is your chap.  After hearing my track progressing, I then had the pleasure of taking some promo shots for him. 

 I do believe we'll be seeing his name on many a film credit in the future.

And so to my own musical adventures.  The guitar stares at me, willing me to give it another try, as do the borrowed ukuleles.  But I think I'm quite happy to keep listening to those far more accomplished than me!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Holiday Inspiration

The Easter weekend was a lovely mixture of seeing family, walking, and copious amounts of chocolate consumption.  I also wanted to give myself some time to just sit back and relax a little, read, and watch those films I've had on my list for a while!  I have a table in my office where I keep a selection of books and magazines that have inspired me, or I'm saving to read on a rainy day.  One of these is 'A Book Of Britain' by Johnny Scott.  It's a beautiful hardback about the countryside, the people that live in it, their customs, and traditions.

 I've realised more and more that nature and the seasons inspire my work. This is a book I can dip in and out of, and I always see or read something new.  The book comes to life through Cristian Barnett's photography.

 Along with the Easter eggs, the big kid in me also needed feeding!  I bought 'The Boy In The Oak' a few months ago.  It literally fell onto my foot in a bookshop and when I picked it up,  I loved the cover and the images inside.  It's both written and illustrated by Jessica Albarn.  It's a fantasy about a boy who discovers an oak tree in his family's back garden and how his world collides with the enchanted one the fairies inhabit, who protect the natural world.  I only recently found out that it's also been made into a short film starring Jude Law. 

I've had the DVD of 'Where The Wild Things Are' for a while, just waiting for the right moment to watch it, and I wasn't disappointed.  The photography is stunning and use of light is beautiful.  For an hour and a half, I was completely enthralled as the film follows the adventures of a young boy named Max as he enters the world of the Wild Things.  If you haven't already seen it, I'd highly recommend it!

Whatever you were doing over Easter, I hope you had a lovely, and inspiring time.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Amy & the Teddy Bears' Picnic

I've been lucky enough to have taken photographs of Amy over the past few years, ever since she was a baby.  I love seeing personalities and characters forming and growing, and documenting these through my images.

For this year's shoot, I asked Amy what she'd like to do, and she told me she'd love a teddy bears' tea party in the woods, so we started planning!  As a location photographer, I'm always on the lookout for new, interesting backdrops.  Formby Point seemed to be the perfect place, with those amazing trees straight out of a storybook!  In the late afternoon sunshine, we laid out everything we would need for the picnic, waited for the teddy bears, and this is what happened....

We couldn't believe that the clearing we had chosen was equipped with a ready made den - perfect for a bit of reading!

After the picnic, there was time for a spot of dancing!

And hide and seek...

And as the sun lowered in the sky, we said goodbye to a perfect day.