It's been a while since the last post, but setting up a new life takes a lot of time and unfortunately the blog has been neglected.
So here we are in Canada and it's been great to get out and about shooting some news events and meeting new photographers.
The first set I'm going to put up here is a public road test of Canada's first Autonomous car being developed by Blackberry.
It was only a brief run out for the vehicle (maybe a kilometre) but it handled it with ease (good job they have nice long straight roads over here) and the large crowd seemed totally unfazed despite being only a few feet away.
The car is due to be hitting the streets soon amongst real traffic and pedestrians so it will be interesting to see these cars out and about. I'm guessing the real test comes in deepest, darkest winter when all that snow arrives!
Just dropping in a feature I shot for FourFourTwo magazine recently. We went to WBA's training ground for an interview and shoot with Salomon Rondon, for FFT's feature on South American players. Salomon was really good to work with, he was happy to try the ideas we were playing with.
I really like the portrait below, when I shot it I wasn't 100% sure it would work out. I knew it would need to be positioned well on the page to work (the art directors haven't let me down). It looks really good and is reflective of his positive and relaxed attitude during the interview and shoot.
You don't get long with these guys (usually 15-20 mins), so given the time restrictions I'm really pleased it's turned out well.
This summer I had the opportunity to work on the Northampton Multi Agency Strategy, published by Northampton Borough Council. The project was to provide portraits of the service providers/partners involved in the strategy for the next three years. The strategy is designed reduce the numbers of rough sleepers in the borough to zero.
It was an interesting and thought provoking photo-shoot for me. We worked with a wide variety of people and it was great to see approachable and dedicated people working in what can be a challenging area, I certainly met some great characters along the way.
The vision/brief was to provide clean and contemporary portraits, with a hint of Northampton in them for a geographical reference if possible. The town has some interesting architectural locations, which were a big help and made things fairly straight forward.
The team at NBC had already done a good job scouting the locations they were after, which really helped as we weren't wasting time hunting round for the best place on the day, this was fortunate as we had very mixed weather on the first day's shoot. We started off with rain, then we had warm sunshine, which turned to overcast and grey, returning to rain at the end of the day. Luckily the we seemed to be in the right place at the right time to avoid the rain when shooting outdoors.
We shot a variety of images at locations where services are provided. These locations proved to be a bit more of a challenge, we didn't know what to expect from them and we also had to be wary of respecting the privacy of service users as well. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find each location had something we could work with and people were all warm and welcoming, meaning I could strike up a quick connection between photographer and subject, always a bonus! It was also good to have members of the management from NBC around to liaise with on the shoot, they really were switched on and knew what they wanted, which is great for a photographer as you can quickly work around any problems that crop up as they occur.
In terms of the final product, I'm pleased with it. The design team have done a good job bringing the individual pieces together. We shot a variety of images at each location and it's always interesting as a photographer to see which image is selected for the final piece. I always shoot as many options as possible (within reason) to give the client plenty of choice and scope for the final usage of the image and it's good to see the team have used them well.
FourFourTwo Wiki Editors
Last month I did two shoots with FourFourTwo magazine, for their story on Wikipedia editors who look after the sites football pages.
The story centres upon the people who update the appearance, goal stats, transfers, etc, for each each player/club. One of my shoots was at home, the other at work.
The shoot above was at Chris's home, the aim was to make him look relaxed and happy/enjoying the role of Wiki editor with some reference to his Wiki role (hence the iPad).
I tried to not make it look too cliched (although this can be difficult with computers), so I got him relaxed in the kitchen with a cup of tea to try and balance out the emphasis on the iPad. I think it works well, it helped him feel comfortable which comes across in the image (he even managed to get his Gillingham mug in).
The shoot with Craig (above) was a totally different prospect. It was at his workplace which was a office/workshop, so it wasn't the ideal location but we worked around it. The shot FFT selected was actually taken on the staircase outside his work, it's from a higher angle which offers a different perspective to the others I was working on.
We tried several locations including the staircase, some with the laptop, some without to add variety and give options. It was bit tricky to light as there wasn't much natural light, stairwells are difficult to place light stands in, but with a bit of nifty positioning we got what we needed, I would have liked to have got a bit of a longer focal length on it but I would not have been able to get the height I wanted without a step ladder and a bit more space behind me.
As usual the art team at FFT have done a really good job, which always helps the pictures to stand out.
New Day Closure
In an era of falling newspaper sales, it was interesting (and brave) to see a new print newspaper hit the market. The New Day launched at the end of February, only lasting nine weeks. I did get some commissions from them (one example above), I was impressed with the way they used the images.
It's a shame (and a surprise) to see it close so quickly, they had some good photography, even a page dedicated to the day's best photo- very rare to see these days.
It's a tough market and it's hard to see new print based newspapers becoming a roaring success in the present climate. That said, The New Day didn't seem to have any time to establish itself at all, before being pulled.
I hope everyone who worked on the paper finds new opportunities/employment quickly. Good luck!
pics for wm housing magazine
Thought I'd add some work I did for my client WM Housing, for the front cover of their Stronger Together magazine. Always good to see your work on a front cover!
Going through the archives
I have been looking through some of the pictures from my travels over the years and thought it would be good to post a some on here every few weeks. Most are observational/documentary style pics I have taken whilst travelling to different places, there isn't a theme to the selections, it's more a best of compilation.
Langa Township, Cape Town, South Africa.
Amish Farmers, St Jacobs Market, Ontario, Canada.
Ground Zero, New York City, USA.
Birmingham Post Show
Well it's been a busy couple of months, so busy that I missed this show in the Birmingham Post, from late Feb through my client Story Comms.
Finance Birmingham have provided another local software company with vital funding to help them expand.
As is sometimes the case with software companies, you don't have a lot to work with from a visual standpoint. So I got the guys to get in close around the laptop and shot it from a low angle to make the shot a bit more dynamic. It works well for a corporate shot as it's not too dry and wooden, we got good expressions from everyone involved as well and the interaction with the laptop brings everyone into the image.
Behind the scenes
My website is my online portfolio, I try to tailor it towards things clients and prospective clients would like to see. The same goes for my blog, however I do a wide range of work that doesn't always make it to my portfolio or blog, that work is still very important and it is crucial that my client gets the right image for their company, service or product.
Below are a small selection of these images that didn't make my portfolio or blog, but have been well used by the clients who commissioned them during 2015. There's plenty of variety from business portraits, store openings, even the fun fair. This short selection only gives a small insight into my work throughout last year.
Fourfourtwo Lukaku feature
In december I was at Everton's training ground to do shoot with their striker Romelu Lukaku for Four Four Two magazine. It was the first time I had done a photo-shoot with a Premier League player for the magazine. The brief was to get a set of celebrating like he had just scored, he gave it a go and we got some nice shots as you can see below.
I was surprised how relaxed he was, sometimes footballers can be a bit more challenging to work with. I didn't have long with him, maybe fifteen minutes, which absolutely flew by, luckily I had time to set up before hand. We managed to get a good mix of shots. We even managed to get one of his suggestions in as well, he wanted to do a mean and moody shot which didn't get used, but worked quite well, one for the portfolio.
Looking at the article I am really pleased with how it turned out, considering how little time we had, although this is often the case with this type of shoot. One of the pics also made it onto the front cover, albeit as a postage stamp size image in the top corner. Hopefully one day I will have my own front cover.
Matt Stewart Photos
I've been a photographer for quite a long time now. So hopefully I have something to say about it.