Imagespike Has Moved

•September 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hi people,

Imagespike has now move so it’s time to update your browser!

Check out my new blog and website:





If I have approached you in the street as part of my ‘Stranger Awareness Project’, then check out this dedicated page of my new blog:

Stranger Awareness Project



The Cellar Shoot

•June 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hi guys,

Wow, it feels as though I’ve been away for ages! I’ve basically been working flat out trying to get my website sorted, and unfortunately it’s proving really difficult and is taking up way too much of my time! The main template for the site is finished now, and I’m basically sorting out the final stylising. I know that a lot of effort has gone into the site, so I’m sure that when it is finally fiinished it will be well worth the wait!

Rest assured, amidst all the website shenanigans, I’ve still been mega busy with the camera and have a load of cool images to share with you, starting with this one, which is the first of two images (the second is in my long list of shots still waiting to be processed):

A nice big version can be viewed HERE

Right,  to be absolutely clear, this shot was a freaking nightmare to pull off! The shoot took place in yet another basement, so cue dark, dusty and cramped conditions, not the ideal situation for undertaking quite a complex lighting setup.

The objective of the shoot was to recreate a horror movie scene and so we came up with this idea: basically the image would take the viewer into the lair of the ‘psycho’ whilst also showing him at ‘work’! The main focal point of the image was to be the workbench and associated paraphanalia, with the actual Psycho taking a more background role, thus the reflection in the mirror.

The main problem that i had was angling the various flash to illuminate the subjects and also the work bench, without having any light reflecting in the mirror. This obviously meant no lights facing in the direction of the camera, so everything had to be angled backwards to avoid any light spill.

Here is a lighting diagram to give you some idea:

Also, having to direct and shoot part of the image backwards through the mirror also added to the headache! Anyway, all the effort was well worth it and i’m really pleased with the finished image!

Right, that’s it for this weeks post, and I really, really hope that when I make my next post I’ll also be able to share with you the new website, whoop whoop!

Posessed – Model Mayhem

•May 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hi guys,

Hells teeth, it seems ages since I have posted on the blog! The delay’s aren’t without good reason, as I’ve been busy with my first exhibition in Cheltenham which has just come to an end (had excellent feedback) and I’ve also been working on a new website. The latter has been a particular tortuous process as I’m very picky and the websites I’ve had created to date just haven’t cut it. As a result I have had to re-commission the project so I’m hoping for the site to be up and running within a couple of months – hopefully sooner!

Despite this hectic schedule, you’ll all be pleased to hear that I have been active with the camera, and have a collection of brand new images to share with you over the coming weeks and starting today!

Those of you who are familiar with my ramblings will note that since spending more time focusing on portraits, I have encountered the major problem of model shortage! Well, I seem to have found a temporary end to this drought, with the oasis that is Model Mayhem.

For those of you not familiar with ‘MM’, it’s basically an online community where models, photographers, makeup artists etc, can get together and do things creative! It really is a great resource and serves extremely well in bringing creative individuals together. The other great thing about MM is that most of the members I have encountered to date are happy to work on a Time for Prints/CD basis which really save on the financial front!

If you are interested in joining as a photographer, then it is worth noting that registration is by invite only, and subject to your photos being considered an appropriate standard. I don’t personally mind this as it does ensure a high quality of membership.

Anyway, back to today’s photo. The shot below is of a model I met via MM and who lives locally to me. Lee sure does love his horror movies and wanted to do a ‘darker’ shoot, which suited the mood I was in so I was happy to oblige!

The idea was mine, and the basement location Lee’s (I did have a friend with me on the day of the shoot, and Lee likewise. I think shooting with a chaperone is a must on shoot’s like this, in terms of safety and creating a more relaxed vibe). The basement did create  a few problems as the celing height was about 6ft, and I’m 6′ 4″ so by the end of the shoot my back was killing me! Also, just to complicate things one of my strobes failed, not good in a dark basement!

Despite the above issues, the shoot went exceptionally well, and we managed another series of shots, this time creating a scene Lee had thought up (the results will be posted in due course).

The above shot was lit by a single strobe fored through a softbox camera right. It had been my intention to have a strobe fire on low power behind the model as rim light but this failed!

As you can probably tell, the shot was processed in CS4…with lots of layers!

Until next time!

Lonesome Point

•March 8, 2010 • 7 Comments

Hi folks,

I hope this post finds you all fine and dandy! Well, I’ve been at this blog lark for a couple of years and it’s been intreresting watching how different photographic styles have been doing the rounds. One particular photographer who has a particular style that has garnered particular interest on ta multitude of  forums is Dave Hill.

Dave has a great illustrated look to his work, and zillions of people havebeen trying to figure out how he does it. Whilst Dave Hill can’t be credited for the look, he is certainly the person who is associated with it. To this extent it should come as no surprise that at the end of last year, Dave Hill updated his portfolio. Whilst his old high contrasty images are still there, it is refreshing to see that he appears to have refined his style, with his new work having a cinematic feel to it. A look which i personally prefer over his older stuff.

As with his old work, the look is down to careful use of off camera flash (although I suspect he uses less flash on his new work), followed by plenty of photoshop!

Anyway, as I’m in the process of compiling my first formal portfolio, I noticed that a lot of my images were pretty dark and sinister, so i thought i would add more colour and beauty to my portraits, and as i love the feel of Dave’s new work I thought I would use that as the basis for my new style.

Here is the first image to drop off the production line:

Must be viewed BIG here

It was a really hectic shoot as the weather was absolutely atrocious, however we had just enough respite from the elements for me to grab a series of shots!

The subject was lit with just one large softbox camera right and backlit with the sun. The nicely lit subject then formed the basis for extensive work in Photoshop to get that cinematic feel.

Anyway,  I really love this style, so much in fact that I’ve got another shoot planned for this week which I intend to post process in a very similar vain.

Right, that’s it from me.

Until next time!

Pit Pony

•February 21, 2010 • 2 Comments

Hi guys!

Wow, what a hectic month. For the first time since starting this blog, my day job (Town Planner) has actually taken up more of my spare time than photography! I won’t bore you with all the details, but I’ve been lead planner on this project which is to provide 1000 new houses, 3ha of employment land, a new train station, schools and even allotments!

Needless to say the proposals have taken op quite a bit of my time!

Fortunately for me the above project is in a hiatus pending consideration with the local planning authority, which means that I can have a break and focus once more on photography, whoop whoop!

Right, I don’t know why but for some reason horses seem to be constantly appearing in my blog. This isn’t deliberate, just a result of the fact that I consider them to be great subjects.

Anyway, this is a first for the blog, a miniature pony, well to be 100% accurate a Pit Pony. For those not familiar. Pit Ponies were used as an alternative to child labour and were used down the pits to haul coal from underground to the surface. Theyy were stabled underground and only allowed too the surface during the holidays. I’d like to think that it was the cruel Victorian’s who were responsible for this animal cruelty, however the practice didn’t actually end in the UK until 1984, so i suppose that’s one thing we can thank Thatcher for.

You wouldn’t believe how small the poines are, the one below was about 1.5m in height, i’ve seen bigger dogs! Due to the small size of the ponies it was really hard t0 shoot them as I didn’t want to dwarf them. In the end I had to lie flat on my stomach and shoot which gives the kind of weird impression that the ponies are bigger than they are:

A nice big version can be viewed HERE

Right, that’s it for today, I’ve got a shoot booked for this afternoon!

until next time!

Emotive Portrait Photography

•January 12, 2010 • 1 Comment

Hey hey hey!

I hope this weeks post finds you all well!

I’ve always been fascinated by photographic works which stimulate a strong emotive response from the viewer. A recent example of such work is by the photograher Andrzej Dragan, who i have mentioned before on the blog. Andrzej has a great talent for creating powerful portraits which often leave the viewer asking questions of the image.

Dragans work has always stimulated interest on various forums with people trying to decipher the post processing and other special effects that Dragan uses. However such scrutiny is largely a fallacy, as Dragans procesing is only a a small part of the story, a small aid in the rendering of a scene to create an alternative reality. Post processing plays only a small part in the creation of  this alternative state, with the bulk of the effect being acheived through careful selection of models, props, costume and composition.

Careful use of props makes Andrzej’s image unique

Whils post processing supplements the effect, it is not the whole story, and this can be demonstrated by looking at the works of earlier photographers who themselves have been able to create provocative and emotive images without the use of photoshop. A fantastic example is the work of Irving Penn, who managed to create unsettling images based upon claustrophic arrangements and powerful compositions:

Irving Penn uses strong comosition in this portrait

Penn was famous for using portable paneling to create these uncomfortable corners in which he would pose his subjects.

I really enjoy exploring what emotional response that can be derived from a photo and to this extent the desire to solicit some form of reaction from the image was my main objective. Utilising a strong composition and carefuly posed subject, I wanted to create a photo that maintained emotional undertones, with the photio being altered in photoshop to maximise this effect.

Whilst the post processing in the finished photo was extensive, it did not involve any technical secrets, simply the very slow and methodical application of effects over many layers in order to create a ‘hyperreal’ image.

I intend to  circulate my photo to friends on facebook for comment and have them document their thoughts on the blog. It will be interesting to see what people think:

A nice big version can be viewed HERE

Anyway, its getting late so I’m afraid that’s it for this week. Fingers crossed I’ll get some interesting feedback on the above photo which i’ll share with you all on the blog.

Until next time!

The Snow Ponies

•January 6, 2010 • 1 Comment

Hi Folks

Firstly, I hope you all had great Christmas and New Year Celebrations!

With respect to phototography, 2009 was a fantastic year, with the highlights having my work exhibited in Londons National Theatre and also being published in Professional Photography magazine, acheivements for which I’m very proud!

My photo for this week was going to be a portrait, but due to the big freeze we’re experiencing here in  the UK and the fact that I’m snowed in at my flat, I thought I should post a chilly photo!

At the weekend I went over to the Black Mountains with the intention of climbing the small mountain Hay Bluff, which sits on the border of England and Wales. Sadly my plans were cut short somewhat by the massive amount of snow covering the Breccon Beacons. After about an hour of walking I made it to the foot of the moutain and in places the snow was knee deep so any further ascent would have been a bad idea, although I was tempted. To be honest the only reason I decided not to go up was for fear of getting my camera wet. My well being is way down the line compared to that of my camera!

After waiting for the sunset and slowly freezing, I began my long hike back to the car. It was on my return journney that I spotted these two ponies in the distance:

A big version can be viewed HERE

As I only had a 28mm prime lense with me, I had to hunker down at the side of the road, and hope that the ponies carried on walking towards me.

I’m pleased to say that they did:

A bigg version can be viewed HERE

Right, that’s it for this weeks post. Untill next time!