Sunday, March 15, 2015

Inspirational National Geographic photographers on photography

What does it take to make the gold standard images we see in National Geographic magazine and what type of photographer does it take to get the job done?

Since I was a kid, curled up on the sofa, with a copy of National Geographic, I've admired the beautiful, informative images on the pages of my favourite magazine.

The photographers follow strict ethical guidelines forbidding any overt manipulation. This means that you can trust what you see in the magazine. The images accurately represent what the photographer saw. The photographer is our witness on the spot transporting us to exotic locations, adding a visual story to the well researched articles by National Geographic's writers.

The video below offers a fascinating and inspirational insight.

The video features the following photographers:
Lynsey Addario
William Albert Allard
James Balog
Marcus Bleasdale
Jodi Cobb
David Doubilet
David Guttenfelder
David Alan Harvey
Aaron Huey
Lynn Johnson
Ed Kashi
Tim Laman
David Littschwager
Gerd Ludwig
Michael Nichols
Paul Nicklen
Randy Olson
Jim Richardson
Joel Sartore
Stephanie Sinclair
Brian Skerry
Brent Stirton
Amy Toensing
Michael Yamashita

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Over the last year and a half I've watched it numerous times. Always a pleasure.

Till soon,

Saturday, February 21, 2015

New photo-story platform

Launched in September 2014, still in beta, Immersive is an online platform designed to help individual storytellers create and publish beautiful, visually rich stories. I published my first story on the platform and I must say I think it looks good. It's optimised for mobile and tablet too and supports stills and video.

Spanish fishing nets. Image from my photo story, Catch of the Day.

Overall Immersive is easy to use. Some buttons are hidden, revealing themselves when you hover over an area on the screen. But I got to grips with the system quite quickly.

Check out my photo story Catch of the day, about the local fishing industry in Spain.

Till soon,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

176 Portraits

January 2015 is well under way.  It seems like a good time to look back at one of my favourite photography genres, portraits.

I love photographing people. A good portrait is usually the result of collaboration between photographer and subject. It may result from a few minutes of conversation. Or happen after hours spent together, chatting, planning and travelling.

I try to make authentic portraits. They happen when the person I'm photographing engages with me. A good portrait is a gift, 'given' to the photographer's lens. Those moments are awesome to experience.

I am extremely grateful to everyone in my 176 portraits collection for allowing me to photograph them.

Visit the full gallery to browse the portraits at your leisure here:

If you would like a quick two and half minute overview then take a look at my YouTube video below.

What makes a good portrait for you?

Till soon,

Friday, December 19, 2014

Art in glass photo story

In 2014 one of my highlights was photographing a glass blowing session, together with my wife and fellow photographer Magda, at Marcel Vlamynck's Art in Glass studio in Brugge, Belgium.

During the session I concentrated mainly on shooting still images but also took a moment to film Anneleen who was working together with her father, master glass artist, Marcel Vlamynck. She is a talented glass artist too.

The famous Flemish actor and photogenic artist, Luk D'Heu, a keen glassblower himself, was also there adding his good humoured comments to the ambiance.

Master glass artist Marcel Vlamynck and daughter Anneleen put the finishing touches to a vase while Flemish artist and actor Luk D'Heu looks on.

Master glass artist Marcel Vlamynck uses a wad of wet newspaper in his hand to shape a piece of molten glass.
Marcel and Anneleen examine a glass vase, glowing hot at around 1,000 °C, as he rolls his blowpipe on the rails of his work station. Gravity is used to help shape the glass.
When glass is at around 1,090 °C it glows orange. Marcel Vlamynck uses a tool to shape molten glass.
Marcel Vlamynck concentrates as he blows down a blowpipe (or blow tube) to inflate molten glass so that it forms a bubble (or parison).
Master glass artist Marcel Vlamynck clearly enjoys his work as he stands in front of the furnace waiting for his molten glass creation to reach the right temperature for the next stage of the process.
A tense moment as the glass vase Marcel is working on is transferred from his blowpipe to Anneleen’s ponty.
Master glass artist Marcel Vlamynck adds the finishing touches to Anneleen’s vase.
Marcel and Anneleen high-five each other with their heat resistant gloves in celebration after their glass creation is put into the annealer machine. There it will slowly cool down so that the glass is as free of stress as possible.

The video shows a number of other exciting still images from the session and selection of 22 images from are viewable on Flickr.

I hope you've enjoyed the photo story. Comments always welcome.

Till soon,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

World War One Centenary

The video below shows a series of photographs I made in 2014 to tell the story of the centenary of the First World War. The images in the video plus more from this story, with full details about each image can be viewed on Flickr:

I recorded the Last Post live during the remembrance ceremony. The music accompanies the images I made at the Menin Gate, Ieper, Belgium.

Lest we forget...


Saturday, November 08, 2014

Steve McCurry Retrospective Exhibition Inverview

Steve McCurry was interviewed at his large new Retrospective exhibition in Monza, Italy. The exhibition features many of his iconic images but also new work, which he is proud to show for the first time.

The exhibition was designed by Peter Bottazzi to showcase McCurry's work in a way that compliments and establishes an interesting visual dialogue with the neoclassical Royal Villa.

As always Steve McCurry offers an interesting insight into his work and what it takes to be a photojournalist travelling the world. Enjoy.

Steve McCurry Retrospective Exhibition

Villa Reale di Monza
Viale Brianza, 1, 20052
Monza, Italy
October 30 - April 6, 2015

Thanks for watching.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Can image buyers pay less while artists earn more?

The answer is yes! Marketing departments, agencies, editors, art buyers, art directors and designers can all benefit from working directly with the artist.

The traditional route for an image buyer to find an image has been to go to a stock library or commission a photographer.

My top tip is to source and buy images direct from the artist. You will be able to negotiate a better deal than with a stock library and the artist will also be better off because they will not be giving up 50, 60 or even 80% of the selling price as commission to the stock library. The artist can afford to sell their work more cheaply than a stock library and still end up with more money in their pocket.

By dealing directly with the artist image buyers can licence an image under favourable terms, ensure competitors will not have the same image and perhaps even negotiate exclusivity. You will have direct access to authentic and original work.

There really are no barriers anymore for art buyers wanting to deal directly with artists.

How image buyers can gain the advantage:

  • Buy direct from the artist to save on budgets and reward the creators more fairly for their work
  • Use social media sites like Flickr to easily find the images you’re looking for from a vast, global pool of creative artists 
  • Online ecommerce and file transfer sites make transactions easy and secure, worldwide
  • Build a your own library of contacts and artists that you can rely on when working to tight deadlines
  • And last but not least: the pleasure of dealing with the artist directly, the creator.

So my plea to art buyers is: please consider buying direct from the artist.

If anyone reading this has any other tips for artists or art buyers I’d love to hear them. Feel free to join in the conversation.

Till soon,

Paul (we’re always happy to talk to art buyers looking for something specific)