It’s always daunting taking on a project that’s totally outside your comfort zone. In truth I’ve never been asked to make a short film about ‘dealing with depression as unprocessed grief’ before and the idea of mourning our losses – personal, emotional and spiritual as well as physical, intrigued me. Sometimes photography is obvious but thinking up original images for concepts like loss of trust, of love, hope, purpose and lost opportunities was definitely challenging. Most of all I wanted to take the viewer on a visual journey of emotional connection. It takes courage to do something different and sometimes it scared the hell out of me but it takes more courage to face your inner demons and cross The Bridge.
when searching the blog today I realised that I hadn’t yet uploaded the trailer for ‘Dotty’.
With so many social media platforms – it’s hard to keep up sometimes so, without further ado, here it is!!!
Currently picking up awards for Best Actress for the luminous Sadie Frost at the Hollywood Independent Film Festival and selected for many other prestigious competitions – you can read more about it here via the London, Hollywood blog of writer Dominic Wells.
I photographed these black and white double exposures in Paris years ago – back in the day when I still used film and there was no photoshop, no lightroom, no presets and everything was done in camera. I pulled them from the archive because I wanted to do some more double exposures recently and discovered that with digital cameras I can no longer do this!!! It got me thinking about the ‘decisive moment’ and our ability, as photographers, to capture that frame in the split second that it passes across our vision.
I took the colour ‘pool splash’ photo in Cape Town for an editorial where the budget only allowed 2 rolls of film per shot. Shooting medium format it meant I only had 24 frames to nail it. In order to get the water splash back lit against the sky I was shooting directly into the sun. Using the model’s body to partially block the sun, but still allow enough flare to create the shot, I also had to perfectly time it with the assistant throwing a bucket of water off camera.
It’s hard to describe the anticipation of waiting for that ‘decisive moment’ and the exhilaration of just knowing you’ve got it. Instinctively I ‘knew’ the minute I pressed the shutter button, and before I wound the film cartridge on, that I already had the image I wanted. I didn’t need to look at the back of the camera to check – because you couldn’t.
Call me a purist but I’m proud of the fact that I took these shots ‘in camera’. I guess it’s an obsolete skill to have but in the modern photographic world we seem to have forgotten the very basics of photography. The internet is full of second rate photographs taken in terrible light and with no clue as to a half decent composition. The people who take these pictures then blog/brag about how to make them look decent using an array of quick click post production tools.
Actually I admire the honesty of these ‘before and after’ artists. It’s a bit like celebrities who have plastic surgery and don’t try to hide it. I’ve never used more than minimal retouching in my own work – preferring, even now, to get as much as I can ‘in camera’ because I can and because, personally, I think it’s lazy not to.
It’s a skill that’s served me well in motion capture and the move to cinematography and I’m grateful for it.
recently finished working as the cinematographer on a new short film ‘Dotty’ directed by Ben Charles Edwards,
starring Sadie Frost and Rudy Law.
Dotty is a touching film which begins when a lonely 9 year old boy stumbles across a modest caravan in the American Midwest. Inside the caravan lives Dotty, an eccentric but kind women old enough to be his grandmother.
Dotty invites the boy into her rainbow decorated caravan which is littered with exotic memorabilia from her past, and in particular an incredible collection of brightly coloured shoes.
The boy, who has a hidden sadness he won’t discuss is momentarily able to forget about his troubles as he and Dotty embark on a journey of discovery.
Currently in the edit suite the finished film should be released soon. In the meantime here’s a behind the scenes shot of me in action