I was lucky enough to work at an event that took me over to Las Vegas and then on to the beautiful Mountain Sky ranch near Bozeman in Montana. High and on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, the state is roughly the size of Germany but with a population of just 3 million. I don't think I have ever been anywhere so ruggedly beautiful; the weather would change constantly, depending on height, valley, time of day, one moment closing down in a mist of rain and the next opening up dramatic vistas with rays of hot sunshine; the air always held an intoxicating scent of wet grass and wild sage. This is horse country of course and I had to quickly brush up some some long-forgotten childhood skills and get back in the saddle, with the additional handicap of cameras, lenses and rain. Around the periphery of my work, I tried to build a small portfolio of images as a personal view of this wonderful part of the world and the great team at Mountain Sky. I printed the photos in a small leather album with Tintoretto art paper by Queensberry. My aim for the future with this one? To go back, take more pictures and make a bigger book, bound in saddle leather!
Winter Portrait Session
Winter doesn't have to be a non-starter for location photography. In fact, the flat light and low sun (if it's around) can often be used to advantage. I usually get everyone to have a good run-around to warm up and keep any goose bumps at bay. I caught up with this lovely family again after doing a shoot for them in London about ten years ago. They had since spent time in the far east and the oriental terracotta figure made a great prop! The snowdrops were just appearing in the garden of their new home in the country and there was an out house with lovely top shade, as well as a fine old tree for a back drop - plenty to work with on a flat February day. Queensberry made a beautiful black leather matted album.
The phone is so often the one camera to hand. I like to use it as a kind of spontaneous sketch book, usually playing with a creative app like Hipstamatic, which gives these saturated, analogue style pictures. There is quite a trend in applying these filters to give a film-like or darkroom finish, even within professional software. I happen to love it but I still find it curious that in this connected age we hark back to haphazard processes usually associated with printing, when barely a single one of our images will ever come to touch paper. In fact, I wonder how many of our phone images will ever see light of day anywhere outside of the world of social media. A couple of years ago I carried out a small experiment and made an album of photos taken just on my iPhone 4. I also made some prints on fine art paper and the results from both were revealing; in fact, they were fabulous. The phone really is our greatest go-anywhere photographic tool.
Summer Portrait Session
Languid, late summer afternoons in Hampshire and how better to capture the mood than down by the River Meon with this gorgeous shoot. This is the very essence of a family photo session, an unrepeatable moment in time where youth, beauty and innocence collide. The client made a special framed collage for each daughter and the book is a Queensberry Duo album with pearl buckram cover.
Family Photo Book
I love this take on the family album, a beautiful press printed photo book with fine art paper bound in a sky blue cotton cover and matching case, still effective but perhaps without the formality of the traditional album. This was my second shoot for the family and we spent a fun autumn morning out on Primrose Hill, adding to the pictures captured in the same place two years previously. I hope we can do another similar shoot next year and then we'll have made a book for each child for later in life. Isn't this what it's all about?
Beach Portrait Session
To the beach! A summer holiday cry the world over. Here, near the south coast we are lucky that this doesn't need much in the way of planning - in this case a short hop to Lymington to pick up a rib and then a quick wind in the hair blast to a favourite spot by Hurst Castle. What is it about the sea that lifts the spirits? Why is the seaside so associated with childhood? Looking back at our own family albums nothing evokes such a feeling of nostalgia as those back views of our children atop a mound of sand, looking out to the horizon as the incoming tide begins to swirl around their castle. This shoot was all about the lovely south coast light, burning off some energy and generally having a bit of fun.