Sunday, August 21, 2016

Inspiration from Joe McNally

Joe McNally shares his photography story and offers insights into the challenges an editorial photographer faces. I hope you enjoy this video featuring one of my favourite photographers.


"Joe McNally is a 25-year contributor to National Geographic and a former staff photographer at LIFE. Working in 54 countries and all 50 states, he has photographed cover stories for virtually every significant magazine of our times. One of his best-known series of photographs is the Giant Polaroid Collection, known as “Faces of Ground Zero,” shot immediately after 9/11. He also photographed the first all-digital story in the history of National Geographic. This is Joe’s 11th year teaching at the Workshops. His web site is; his blog is"

I'll be back with more inspiration soon.

Comments welcome.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Inspiration from Jay Maisel

Jay Maisel has inspired and mentored many photographers. In this video he shares his story, how he started and more about how some of his famous images were created. He punctuates excellent advice and insight with dry humour. Like most great photographers, he follows a quest to find beauty in the world around us.

If you want to feel good and feel inspired watch this...

"Jay Maisel is known for color photography that uses light and gesture to create images for advertising, editorial, and corporate communications. His work also appears in books and in private and corporate collections. His honors include the American Society of Media Photographers’ Lifetime Achievement and Photographer of the Year awards, the International Center for Photography’s Infinity Award, and induction into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame. A graduate of Cooper Union and Yale University, Jay continues his education by teaching. This is his 16th year teaching at the Workshops. His web site is"

I'll be back with more inspiring videos soon.



Friday, August 05, 2016

Catching the photographer's eye

As photographers we are always looking. Then something catches our eye. Our brain tells us that there's something interesting.

This is the moment the photographer needs to pause and figure out what exactly it is that caught their attention. Here it was obvious. The hair, the lipstick, the colours and their personalities.

So I asked these young ladies and they kindly agreed to pose for a portrait.

Often photographers will take a picture without thinking about what the exact element is that got their attention. The result is a photo that's not close enough. As Robert Capa said, “If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough.” He meant that the reason for taking the picture has to fill the frame.

In this case it was colourful makeup, hair and style. I cropped in tight to emphasise these elements. Their expressions convey their different personalities. We have a moment here, in Jay Maisel's words, where "light, colour and gesture" come together in a single frame.

I think they really connect with the viewer and engage our attention. There's this odd asymmetrical balance between colourful hair on one lady and colourful lipstick on the other. It unifies two individuals and makes for a more powerful statement than a single portrait of either of them would have done.

Feedback welcome.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Photographic seeing is different

Seeking serendipity
It's true. Photographers see the world differently. It's hard to explain how we see things. The example above together with the explanation below may help to understand what goes on in my brain when making an image.

The wall with it's artwork set the stage. People passed by. I took several images. Then this guy paused for awhile with his tablet.

I thought it would be cool if I could link him, compositionally, to someone passing in the sunlight in the background. Then along came this lady. She shaded her eyes looking for someone up the street.

I waited and pressed the shutter, and every element came together in the frame. The woodwork forms frames within the frame. The tail shadows and alignment of feathers of the parrot echo the light and angle of the lady's leg. There's an interesting dynamic and angles around the man and the lady. They are together and yet separate. Even the butterfly painted on the wall behind the man's head creates a quirky detail.

An extremely precise and detailed composition in 1/400th of a second. Serendipity. Yes. But serendipity that I sought and worked hard to make happen.

You comments are most welcome and I hope you'll stick with me as I dust off my slightly neglected blog and start publishing more regularly again. Look back at previous articles. There's a wealth of content to discover here.

Many thanks,

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Go create

As I look through our photos each one brings back a treasured memory. We capture so much of our lives in images. When I look through my archives long forgotten moments come back to life. They truly are a diary of our lives.

Risky business. Memories of being under sail on a great ship in the North Sea.

Some of these images are photographically not the greatest pictures on earth. Not every click is a masterpiece. Each image has a personal value and then there are images which have something more, the power to communicate an idea and emotionally engage an audience.

One of the greatest lessons I have learnt over the years is to take pictures for myself first.  Every image I make is personal work. Some images are taken just to capture a memory, just for me.

These days everyone's a photographer. People share their photographs on the internet and many people call themselves amateur photographers. In other words they are interested in photography as a hobby and want to learn to take better pictures. They upload their images and receive ‘likes’. Sadly rather than making images for themselves they often fall into the trap of slavishly trying to make images that will please their audience, often copying the work of a popular photographer in the hope of gaining more approval ratings. I suspect that because their work does not come from their own vision, is not a personal expression, they get sucked into a black hole of chasing more and more praise.

Perhaps the definition of an artist is someone driven to create for themselves, driven to express what they see and feel about their life experiences. An age old debate of course. The medium, whether photography, painting, sculpture, music… is just the language of expression the artist chooses.

Sometimes it's not good to analyse too much. Just go with the flow and listen to your inner voice. Go create.

Till soon,

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Video interview with Tom Stoddart

An insightful video interview with Tom Stoddart, one of the world’s most respected photojournalists.

Tom talks about his work, how he became a photojournalist and how he uses photography to tell the story.

Please watch in HD.


Film by Neale James
Photography by Tom Stoddart
Music licensing by Audio Jungle and Triple Scoop
Further information:

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Till soon,

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Beauty of black and white

Black and white photography is powerful. Pick up a book and look at the grainy, high contrast images shot on Kodak Tri-X 400 film by masters like Cartier Bresson, Don McCullen and SebastiĆ£o Salgado, they've lost nothing of their impact.

Today's super high resolution, fantastic colour, high dynamic range digital cameras enable faithful, ultra-real reproduction of the world. This way of rendering reality in exquisite detail does not however add emotion, a sense of the moment and gesture to an image.

The gritty black and white images created by the masters abstract reality, distilling it into the essential ingredients that connect with us through the history of photography. They represent a way we have learned to read history. We subconsciously attribute a sense of authenticity to these images.

This is why a photographer like Salgado insists his prints, although shot on the best DSLRs available look like the were photographed on film. He is conscious of his aesthetic voice and the weight of history and authenticity behind that look. 

I learned photography using film, developing and printing in the darkroom. Having explored the joys of the highest quality that digital can bring I am now again ready to experiment and embrace the aesthetic of black and white and explore that visual essence that the traditional look of film brings to an image.

Hope you enjoy the latest images.

Have a wonderful New Year.