Who are you?

There are many photographic clich├ęs used when trying to describe the importance of images. "An image speaks a thousand words" is one which tends to be used to death. There is also the statistic banded around that apparently, it takes just between seven and thirty seconds to make a first impression. With photos, this time is reduced to a mere one or two, and so really hammers home the importance of a good, well lit headshot.

Headshots at The Second Floor Studio are probably one of my favourite things to shoot. Strange when you consider that we have all manner of quirky showmen and models waltzing through our doors to the studio. Yet there is something so satisfying about taking an intimate portrait with holds a strong look of both beauty and intensity to it, especially when the person looking into the lens is just your everyday Joe / Josephine.

Of course everybody is unique, and I don't mean "everybody" in a derogatory manner. What I mean  is it's nice to take a photograph that you're not going to have to photoshop to death afterwards. The photo is allowed to keep the character defining wrinkes, roles and lines which make a face all the more interesting. It's a proper portrait, rather than a digitialised dream, and is something which I consider completely seperate from most of the work that I do. Of course, I love the unreality which fashion brings; it's a complete and utter fabrication from the structured and padded underwear, to the face shaping make-up and lighting, but the photos which you take can sometimes become less a photo, and more a mini collabarative work of art between yourself and a team of people. Whereas a good portrait; a strong, sharp, eye-gazing image is different. It's real. You want to almost be able to touch the stubble, or ruffle the hair. They're the people that you meet in a cafe, at a supermarket till or sat on a park bench eating sandwiches. They're the people who have real lives and real stories, and are the very essence of portraiture, and the reason why I love it so much.

Bunny Munsta, Stokey
Carl Morris, The Lexington

Tom Perry, Gladesmore Garden

Salty Seadog, Broadstairs

Geoff Carr, Gladesmore

This along with landscape will always be the type of photography that I love the most. Just capturing those moments, those expressions, those sentiments in a image. They are of a time, and will always remain from that moment. Headshots, are almost reverse, and attempt to hold a almost timeless quality. Yet with that, they still never fail to engulf that deep, searching stare that makes them have such an impact.

Matt Toppin, The Second Floor Studio

Suzie Lantham, The Second Floor Studio
Julia at The Second Floor Studio

Suzie Lantham, The Second Floor Studio
I often feel that is because they are in essence, such simple images. The person is stripped bare. It's just them, their stare, and the camera lens. And because of that, the image entails both a powerful stance, but also, a gentle, vulnerable beauty.

One of the less cheesey photograph quotes comes from the legendery Ansel Adams.

"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.  When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence."

However, I also feel the need to add in something from Stephen Rea... "People ask me to smile for the camera, but somehow it always comes out gloomy."


Let's get this party started

In the absence of any type of artistic hedonism these past few months, my brain has been longing for an evening of excess and good music. One of those nights where your eye liner is dripping down your face and your hair has pouffed to Marie Antoinette proportions, and yet somehow you just don't care and manage to dance it off. Bar a few gigs that I've shot, my nightlife as of late has involved working out advertisement designs, sourcing larger clients and contracts that we can pitch to and editing an ever increasing work load of photos shot for both clients and magazines. I've been the Queen of little more than the kettle, with far too much time spent in pyjamas with unrulely eyebrows and roots that would make even Cruella De'Ville shudder in horror. In short, I'm feeling less than fabulous, and nostalgic for those evening of Vaudeville mayhem, and carnival carnage. When did my red lipstick get swapped for Primark f-Uggs to wander around the studio in? When did the stockings and corsets get replaced with star pyjama bottoms and Hello Kitty t-shirts? I can feel my sensible sensibilities being attacked. Rumbles in the back of my brain. I fear than war might have been declared. Let's hope that the f-Uggs are taken prisoner first...

But in the meantime, here are some photos of people being fabulous...


Something for the weekend.

It's Saturday night, so obviously rather than dressing up and getting ready to go out, I'm stuck under a pile of editing, and playing catch-up with all manner of flyer designs and the dreaded tax return. Shudder. So instead, to put off ALL of my work for a few more minutes, here are some photos...

This first one is the only photo that I've had a chance to edit from my shoot yesterday with the delightful Kat Kolinski. Easily Poland's answer to Dita Von Tease, this 1940s beauty tailor makes all her own clothes, from her shirt to her coat to the absolutely to die for selection of dresses that she brought. It was one of those shoots where I found myself stopping every few minutes, and declaring a deep and mad love for her shoes, her suitcase, herself! I was left with the problem of how to choose which photos to use as they are all so beautiful, and two of her handmade scarves, perfect for bow-tie cuteness, and keeping out the cold. More from the shoot will arrive on here I'm sure once they're finished.

Kat Kolinski

These next photos were from my shoot with the delicious Chantal Carr, also known as Betty Wishes. Lots of fun and lots of cake were involved. Oh my god. So much cake...
Chantal Carr / Betty Wishes

And because this seems to have become a post of beautiful girls in beautiful clothes, here are a few more pin-up portraits to throw into the mix...

Natalie Booth
Natalie Booth
Natalie Booth
And on that note, I'm now going to get into my pyjamas, drink tea, and glare at Photoshop until all of my work is finished. Oh the glamour...


We Only Come Out At Night

There are some shoots where everything just clicks. The model, the stylist, the photographer, the space... it's like some sort of creative alchemy merging together, the sort that you imagine would be fulled by expensive gin rather than cheap tea and homemade cupcakes.

I was lucky enough to partake in such a wonderful shoot, with the delightful Mister Joe Black modelling pieces made from the mistress of glitter, Pearls and Swine. It was one of the first full on shoots that we had at The Second Floor Studio, and quite possibly the most fun shoot that I've ever worked on to date. We ended up with a really varied series of photos, some of which I'm sharing here for you to drool over. I do warn you though, you'll want to get your credit cards ready as you will simply have to buy every piece upon seeing them... Consider yourselves warned before you look on!

It's almost impossible to believe that it's the same person in all of the shots!

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