Keeping It Real

One of the things I feel very strongly about as both a photographer, as well as an observer of photography, is the now commonplace act of digital body manipulation/augmentation.

It is now such a widespread and commonplace practice that virtually every photograph we see has been changed in some way, and the acceptable 'norm' of what we are now used to seeing and digesting as 'natural' has escalated significantly in recent years.

This trend also stretches to the widespread use of skin filter apps used daily in social media. The sad thing to me is that the technology in the apps is often so poor, it is very evident when an app has been used, rendering the subject with a blurry, texture-less face and liquified features. Totally unrealistic, unnecessary, but now evident in the majority of people's personal photos.

Firstly, let me clarify the difference between what I regard as acceptable digital post production and something which is not. I freely discuss with clients that I will retouch their photos both to grade them and to perfect the overall development of the photo in post production, as well as mindfully edit the photo to remove such things as stray hairs, temporary skin blemishes, lint on fabric which I didn't spot and remove during the shoot, etc. Anything outside of that category, I treat as a dedicated conversation with the client about the necessity and nature of the post production, and why (or why not) it is artistically appropriate.

My main discomfort with body manipulation is that it creates a dishonest photo. It also, in my opinion, does not respect and represent the client truthfully - both for themselves, and for any employer who may see them. I have in the past refused to edit in such a way for these reasons.

There is so much dissatisfaction already created with body awareness due to the unrealistic images in the media, online, and in film, that to bend to it and perpetuate it to me feels morally wrong.

I sometimes feel old-fashioned to have this view, and I often find myself explaining my reasoning with clients (and in this blog!), however recently I have met several clients who feel as strongly as I do about post production. However we look, and with what ever "imperfections" (note the quote marks as I mean this facetiously) we have, this is what we are. And these characteristics are special to us. We should own them, and not apologise for them.

I hope in the not so distant future, body manipulation and the prevalence of modifications such as skin filters will start to see their day and fade out. Yes it will put the retouchers out of some work, however it will be a huge step forward for body acceptance and honesty.

Drop me a line if you would like to celebrate your own personal perfection!

#nofilter

The Elephant in the Studio.

I felt compelled to write this blog, to discuss the often unmentioned elephant in the room - headshots can be scary.

There. I said it.

You are in a situation with a photographer you may not have met before, in a studio you may not be familiar with, doing something that may not be your first choice of fun for a few hours.

I get that. I understand.

Headshots can be awkward. I sometimes analogise it to like being in an audition which you can't leave until you get the part. It's easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself.

I also often hear stories from clients about bad experiences they have had in the past. This makes me sad, and frustrated that they had to go through this in order to get headshots.

Headshots are all about showing who you are. Not reinventing or forcing a persona for a photograph. The strongest tool you have as a performer is yourself. As you are. Nobody else has that. And those 'flaws' that you think set you back? No! They set you APART. One of the many things I love about having the opportunity to photograph people is to see how unique, nuanced, and individual everybody is. By allowing yourself to be yourself in the photo, you will, by definition, be showing yourself at your best. Sure - lighting, removing the odd blemish in post production, and making sure your t-shirt isn't covered in lint (seriously, I swear it is self replicating) is important too, but nothing is as powerful and you being YOU.

One of the things that makes me very happy is when an enquiry comes through and I get told that the reason a client has contacted me is that they saw that the people in my portfolio looked relaxed. That they seemed at ease. Since that is my raison d'etre when working with someone on a shoot, I am so happy that comes across in my work.

I guess this blog post is, in summary, to say - don't worry if you're nervous having your headshots taken. Thats normal. They can be scary. If, however you chose to have yours taken with me, I will work hard to make sure you feel comfortable enough so that your true self can shine through. And I've been there myself. I've had the awkward shoot. I know 100% how it feels.

Embrace that elephant. Conquer it!

2016…And Beyond

As is tradition (well, second year running anyway), this blog post is to reflect on the wonderful, challenging, rewarding, exciting year that 2016 has been for me.

I have done more shoots than I imagined being reasonably able to shake a stick at, I have grown fondly familiar with the long drive to Manchester (lots of scream-singing in the car), I have met, and worked with so many fantastic people, and as I write this, I have already confirmed bookings up until April of 2017. Thats insane. It's great, but insane.

2016 didn't come without it's challenges. In July I sustained a severe leg injury which meant that for a considerable length of time I was unable to walk, and even setting up a shoot or holding a camera was impossible. That was so frustrating. But I'm back now (albeit temporarily a bit slower), and with a determination of such magnitude to grow even more in 2017 that it's giving me goosebumps. OK, maybe the goosebumps are because it's freezing cold as I type this, but I have excitement non the less.

In May I was proud, excited, and exhausted, to exhibit my 'Dark Hollywood' work. Since it's debut in Angel, London, it's travelled around, giving people food for thought as they stare into the noir shadows. This makes me so happy. 2017 will see me start work on my next project 'fas-ɛt', and I can't wait.

If you would like your headshot or portrait taken, your portfolio expand with new  material, or you have a performance piece, creative project, business, or event you would like capturing, please drop me a line to discuss.

May 2017 be a fantastic year for you x

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Manchester Studio Open Day

So…It's been around seven months since I officially opened my second photography studio in the lovely market town of Altrincham, Manchester. The location is so lovely - right by the train station, and actually WITHIN a shopping centre, so there is parking RIGHT BY MY STUDIO!

And yes, I am also proud to say I am located about a two minute walk from a lovely pub which does fantastic Sunday roasts. For £4.50. That isn't a typo.

The studio has recently had a new coat of paint, and myself and the other lovely artists of the building are currently organising an open day, where good folk like yourself can come by, no appointment needed, meet the studio owners, learn about their work, and if you want, talk about booking in a photography session.

We are currently in the throws of launching a website for the studios, where details of myself, and the other artists can be found.

In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line here for details.

And yes - the rooftop in the photo of my studio IS accessible - perfect for impactful natural light portraits!

Rosemary x

Dark Hollywood Portrait Exhibition

An apology that I haven't updated my blog in a while. Bad form I know, but be assured, I have been very, very busy.

As well as helping people with their headshot portfolios, I have been working away on a portrait collection, which I am very proud to announce will be exhibited by the Camden Arts Trust from 12th - 15th May in Angel, London.

It is a collection of twelve portraits, shot in a Film Noir style, using the lighting techniques which are similar to those used in the 1930's. My portraits are in the style of the classic Hollywood portraits, however they tell a different story.

All of these portraits show a 'moment' which shouldn't have been seen. A private moment which chips away at the perfect veneer which Hollywood of that era portrayed.

The exhibition is free entry, and if you are around, please do stop by and see what stories you see in the portraits yourself. And leave a comment down below!

The link to the exhibition is here https://www.facebook.com/events/583817718462958/

London Studio Centre

For the last few weeks, I have had the pleasure of photographing the graduating class of the London Studio Centre (www.londonstudiocentre.org).

It's been a wonderful challenge as have been meeting everybody from the school and creating their portfolio, as well as fitting in my other clients, bookings, and now also managing my time in Manchester, but it has been so, so rewarding.

Below are just a few of the students whom I have photographed.

Everybody from the school has, without exception been a delight, and I've even been invited along to see their tour in June, which I have accepted.

If you are in need of a portfolio shoot, drop me a line. I'd love to hear from you x

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A Very, Very, Merry Christmas (and beyond)

Wow. Just wow. What an amazing year its been.

I've been lucky enough to do countless headshot shoots for a fantastic bunch of actors and performers, I've shot for theatre companies, business professionals, dance productions, portraits, websites, festivals, cabaret, businesses, and still found the time to take photographs for myself for the sheer pleasure of it.

I've made the leap to open a studio In Manchester, and as I type this, the last lick of paint is drying on the walls ready to to showcase a whole new demographic of wonderful actors and performers. To say I am excited would be an understatement. And to try and quantify how happy I am that I am already getting jobs booked in for 2016 in Manchester and London is an impossible task.

I've exhibited, been published, and had the honour of teaching other photographers. With all this behind me, and knowing what is ahead, I am only growing more and more excited and driven to succeed in a sector which I love.

Thank you to everybody in 2015 who has been a part of this journey.

I wish you and your families a VERY merry Christmas, and a happy and successful 2016. May your hopes, aspirations and happy daydreams come true.

Rosemary x

Film Noir Part Two

One of my very favourite styles of photography is Film Noir. I think it is a beautiful form of expression, which expands the boundaries an image by having often the majority of the subject in shadow, thus creating a visual story which the viewer's own mind needs to complete.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of photographing the wonderful actor Edwin Flay. We spent a few hours going through various looks, narratives and shooting styles, and we finished the shoot with over 300 frames which I am currently sorting through.

For me, during a shoot, as soon as I capture just one useable image, everything else after that image is a bonus. By shooting in this way, it creates a pressure free, relaxed atmosphere, and allows the subject to just 'be' in the moment, and not worry about creating a 'product'.

This photo was the first photo where I knew the shoot had been a success. We of course captured many fantastic images after this, but this frame communicates everything I wanted from the shoot.

This images is as shot - and aside from grading the colour to make it a little less saturated, I have done no editing. Working with controlled lighting (this was shot in a fully lit studio) is an aspect of photography I love, and the creative results are virtually boundless.

What does this photo say to you? I'd be interested to hear your comments. Every photo has a story, after all.

Rosemary x

Taking the Plunge

I know I haven't blogged in a while - it's not because I haven't had anything to talk about - it's because I've been so busy.

As well as having some great people to shoot here in London, I've been taking trips to Manchester to work on setting up my new studio, as well as juggling some creative shoots.

Last weekend I had a change of pace and spent the day photographing for Latin Angel Tattoo Studio in Richmond (www.latinangel.co.uk). As well as doing portraits of the team, I also spent some time quietly going around taking some abstract shots of the studio and have spent the last few evenings editing them in a way which I hope will be conducive to the ethos and marketing style of the Studio.

And yes...I also left with a tattoo. And I love it!

If you are looking for shots of your creative space for advertising purposes, or a website, please drop me a line.

Rosemary x

A Big Announcement

Well, I've been planning this for some time, and its finally time to announce things - as well as being London based, I will now be operating from a studio in Manchester.

This is hugely exciting, and I hope that this dramatic shift will enable me to reach better those actors and performers who are not London based.

It'll be exhausting, but I am up for the challenge, and I look forward to hearing from you if you are in the Manchester/North region (and of course London!) and would like to discuss headshots.

Rosemary x

Selfie

We've all done it. A selfie. Some, more than others. There's nothing wrong with it in moderation, so long as you NEVER, EVER use 'duck-face'. Just don't.

As a photographer, sometimes I don't have anybody to practice on other than myself and a portrait selfie (pelfie?!) is inevitable.

Yesterday I was trying out a new lighting set up which I will be using for modelling and portrait shots. It's a ring light which gives a really soft (or striking, depending on how you expose it and set up the shoot) light and due to the shape of the light source it gives the subject's eyes a lovely circular catchlight (the name given to the point on the eye where a light source can be seen). It also gives next to no shadows, so will be great for dynamic, strong portraits, as well as really soft, flattering shots.

For my 'pelfie' I chose to go more dynamic than soft, put on some reflective contouring makeup and snapped away for 10 minutes. The results were really satisfying as the below image (which is an example of how the light works) required no editing, other than me changing the white balance. This wasn't even necessary, but I wanted to give the shoot a bright, slightly etherial look.

I'd love to hear from you if you are considering portraits or modelling shots. Drop me a line on my 'Contact' page.

Rosemary


Surviving Actors 2015

I'm really pleased and excited to announce that Rosemary Rance Photography (i.e. me!) will be exhibiting at the Surviving Actors 2015 exhibition in Manchester on 10 October.

The exhibition is a great opportunity for performers to meet industry, go to workshops, find out what resources and organisations are out there who can offer support, and get to meet face to face some of the people who are dedicated to supporting their (your?) future careers.

I can't give too much away at this stage, but in the forthcoming weeks I will be announcing something which I will be doing at the congress which is an all time first for Surviving Actors!

I would love to say 'hi' to you if you plan on being there, and to discuss face to face how I can help you get that casting-bullseye of a headshot.

Details of the exhibition can be found at www.survivingactors.com

Red

This week I had the opportunity to shoot the dancer and actress Miranda Mac Letten. She originally had arrived solely for a headshot shoot, but it transpired that she was also looking for some character shots for her involvement in the forthcoming dance production 'Red' by the dance company Mischief.

(   facebook.com/mischief.Natas… )

Once we had wrapped with the headshots, I quickly switched around my studio to suit a noir style shoot, and below is one of the images.

I absolutely love doing character shoots as the creative range is practically limitless.

Drop me a line if you need something yourself!

Film Noir

Yesterday I had the pleasure of photographing the fantastic Courtney Wallis for a 'Film Noir' style shoot.

We had time in the studio, and also took to the streets of London (and dodged a few cars which were driving the wrong way up one way streets!) to get a great range of looks.

Film Noir is such an iconic style of shooting, often associated with 1930's Hollywood. It's a style that I absolutely love for portraiture as it means playing with low key black and white imagery. On a few of the photos, I've snuck in a modern twist, but remained sympathetic to the style.

Take a look at my 'Model' page for a few images from the day.

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Miss Ava's Millinery

Yesterday I shot for a very interesting client - a Milliner, who in another part of her professional life is a burlesque performer, actor and model.

Her hats are as unique as her style of burlesque, as well including references to her love of 'Alice In Wonderland'.

I shot at her home studio. The shoot went well, and because of her work as a model, I didn't need to give her any direction at all.

The bonus of being cooked a roast dinner afterwards was the icing on the photoshoot cake.

Miss Ava's Millinery can be found here www.missavasmillinery.com.

A Doll's House

Today I had the pleasure of shooting the publicity shots for a forthcoming production of ' A Doll's House' by Dissolve Theatre (www.dissolvetheatre.co.uk) at my studio.

It was such a fun shoot. Loads of energy from the actors, lots of humour and so many, many sweets...

I shot it with a buoyant, bright composition so that it nicely made the dark, suggestive undertones of the story juxtaposed, and not immediately obvious.

'A Doll's House' is currently in production, so check out Dissolve Theatre's website for details of the production, which will be on in June 2015.