New filming equipment

Some new equipment

There's been a few bits of new equipment added to the film cupboard recently, that I now feel comfortable to share with clients.

The first item is a couple of 5 inch monitors/records that will allow clients to watch the footage while it's being filmed with much greater ease. It also means that it's now possible to shoot in higher quality recording codecs, notably PRO RES, but if your ultimate output video is heading out to the world via YouTube, it's probably not a great advantage, (I've done some tests and struggle to see any noticeable advantages) but I'm pleased to be able to offer this if anyone would like it.


The biggest advantage is to make it possible for more than one person to be looking at the footage as it's being recorded, at a size that shows quite a bit of detail.

Second up, is a Ronin - S gimbal, that allows me to move the camera, off the tripod in a much smoother way than would be possible if it was hand-held, but without having to call upon image stabilisation software, that can often cause as many problems with image quality as it solves.

Although it's not a complete solution to camera shake, it's pretty good, and definitely puts "moving the camera during the shot" on the table as an option. It immediately gives the images a sense of intimacy that you just don't get with a static camera.


The changing face of the photo-call.

The changing face of the photo-call.

Anyone who shares my interests in photography, serious theatre, and south-west London will understand why I was so pleased to be invited to a photo-call at the Royal Court Theatre right on Sloane Square, to capture some images from the new current production: White Pearl. (Plot synopsis: Six women having a bad day at work) Indeed, if one was to draw a Venn Diagram of the possible points of union of these interests, this event would be quite close to the very heart of it.

I say invited. It's possible some would say I invited myself, and it was not a run of the mill photo-call, but something new to me, a photo-call specifically set up for bloggers and other social media users. This kind of thing may have been going on for ages, but I hadn't come across it before.

As I tend to do, I arrived early at the theatre, and was hanging about in the underground bar and cafe (ever so good, and in case you don't know it, here's a photo ).


Rather than explain this, let's just say, I was so early, I was presumed to be there for a slightly earlier event, a press call for the mainstream press. I looked similar to the others who were there for that event, and I had all the gear, so it wasn't surprising. So, entirely accidentally I ended up attending two photo-calls, one right after the other. One for, what I presume to be the mainstream press, and one Social Media related event.

I noticed that the photographers for the first event, were behaved in a way that was familiar to me from my short spell working on Fleet Street, back in the day - as a group they all stood together (as they were in a Theatre, this had to be in the same row). It makes sense when attending a multitude of events to work out a mutual way of operating, as it means they all keep out of everyones way, but it also means they are going to be taking very similar pictures. It reminded of me of how surprised I was at my first Fleet Street press event I attended many years ago, when there was a discussion before-hand amongst all the photographers as to which lens they would use, so that everybody would keep the same comfortable distance from the action.

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First Session

At the second, Social Media Event, the participants were, on average, much younger and more diverse, (I felt noticeably older than everyone else there) and once set loose in the theatre they scattered around the auditorium, photographing on their phones as much as on any camera. More Samsung and Apple than Nikon and Cannon. I'm willing to bet the pictures are going to all be so different, if not so technically precise as those created at the first session.

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Second Session

Hopefully you will be able to track down their images, if you are interested in seeing them, on social media, by searching for #WhitePearl.

As for the production itself, I can't really comment, as we only saw a few short segments. It was press night later on, so there should be a number of reviews available now. I will say that it was an impressively colourful set and the dialog I heard was sharp and snappy, and it was great to see a main London stage with so many women on it, although this isn't exactly a first at the Royal Court.

As for my pictures from the event, well, I suspect they will be nothing out of the ordinary, but here are a few low resolution versions anyway. If one adds a section on messing about on social media to my interests, then the Venn diagram of this event is looking even more perfect. And yes, Royal Court Theatre, I'd love to be invited back, to any other kind of similar event, in the future. Thank you.

White Pearl, at the Royal Court Theatre until 15th June 2019
Written by Anchuli Felicia King
Directed by Nana Dakin

Not for public reproduction. All images subject to copyright protection.

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Set of four films now released

New Releases

Four films from the series of films Rohan has been making about subsidised heating in Hastings have recently been released.

You can see them here:

First film in a series of four released

New Release

The first film in a series of films about subsidised heating in Hastings that Rohan made has just been released.

You can see the film here:

Good feeback from a client

Job Done!

Having four short films that have just been completed shown at a conference today.

Unfortunately, they can't show them here as the subjects only gave permission for the content to be shown at this conference.

However, here's what the commissioner has just sent me via e mail:

"You have been great to work with and very accommodating of our mind changing …and very happy to recommend you to colleagues if asked."

It's really helpful when clients take the trouble to give feedback.

Interesting Project.

Interesting Project.

On this project I was asked to provide the location filming and sound recording only. All all the original files were sent to the client and they did the editing and post-production themselves. It created a bit of extra pressure; I felt like things had to be in good shape as I didn't want anyone else having to spend time correcting any small errors I might have made. Three of the four interviews were conducted next to quite busy roads, so the sound quality had to be carefully managed, and I'm especially pleased with the way that aspect worked out. Just because you don't really notice the traffic noise doesn't mean it wasn't there!

Nice use of an image.

Lovely full page photo used on client's website.

I was very pleased to come across this image filling up the screen on the client's website. It's the modern equivalent of the double page spread. I like this image so much I've added it to my permanent portfolio collection.


Foster Care

Foster Care Campaign

For a while now I've been working on a campaign to encourage more people into becoming foster parents for the local council. It's another project that is quite tricky because of the various sensitive issues involved.

Fostering 3
Fostering 2

Towner Exhibition

Academic Curiosity

Just after my work was taken down from the Towner Art Gallery (Sussex Open Exhibition 2017) I was contacted by an art student who wanted to write about the image.

The resulting piece can be seen here:

Suzy Ridgwell Blog

Wolfgang Tillmans at the Tate Modern

Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition at the Tate Modern

I've never been as big a fan as some of Wolgang Tillmans work as some. His casual style has often left me a bit cold. However, seeing a broad overview of lots of his work here went someway to changing my mind. Quite an impressive body of work really, with a consistency that suggests there is more craft going on than immediately meets the eye. Exhibition now closed. I suspect he is faster at updating his website than I am.


Social Services Images in use

Recent Work

The following images were created, using real people in real life situations, while taking into account all the issues around consent, confidentiality and safeguarding.

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Music Videos

Film produced for East Sussex Music promoting their excellent music summer school.

Digital Exhibitions

Peter Pan at The Devonshire Park Theatre.

Last winter I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time at Eastbourne Theatres while they put together their seasonal Pantomime show along with Jordan Productions. It was a massive, new, show, with a huge cast that came together in a remarkably short time considering all the various elements that had to be squeezed into the delightful but smallish Devonshire Park Theatre. I've just put a large selection of the images online, hopefully you have already had a chance to take a look, but in case you haven't, here's a link (and a photo).


I had hoped to have a physical exhibition of the images. I may well still do - the few I've had printed so far are an absolute delight to look at, but finding the right location for such an exhibition has proved to be a bit tricky. I had the rather ambitious idea they would look good in the foyer of the National Theatre - Or perhaps in the Towner Gallery right next to the Devonshire Park Theatre itself, but both routes seem fraught with complications and difficulties. Smaller, less prestigious spaces are available locally, but I struggle to justify the expense of such an undertaking against the exposure the images would receive.

I was contemplating all these issues in the spring when I found myself at an Annie Leibovitz exhibition in San Francisco, that was touring the world - and nearly all the images were being displayed on very large digital screens. (See my blog 03/03/2016) It had more in common with a trip to the cinema than a traditional photographic exhibition, where most people viewing the images stayed still in a large hall, and the images alternated across the screens. It struck me then that going to all the trouble of printing and framing individual prints might be a thing of the past, that this is now the way to display images.

Of course, creating wonderful prints, framing them to archival standards behind non reflective glass and hanging them in a great location can still create a dramatic and wonderful effect, but the last print I had prepared in this way cost me close to £400 to produce. I had a short list of around 1000 images from my Pantomime project and creating the high quality exhibition that I was hoping for was beginning to look out of reach.

So, I came to the conclusion the pantomime project might have to be displayed digitally if I wanted it to see the light of day. The resulting images went online yesterday, on the day this year's pantomime opened at the same theatre (Snow White - I'm looking forward to seeing it myself) I sent out a few links and tweets to various people involved in the project and after about 24 hours something like 200 people have been onto the website to look at the images, staying for an average of just under three minutes each to look at the 300 or so images. If I had opened the show in a small gallery and had the same number of people in over the same time period, I'd have been delighted, and of course, the images will be available to view for a long time to come yet. My only slight disappointment is that the rather lovely physical quality and detail of the printed images will not be seen and appreciated by anyone, but maybe there will be a "proper" exhibition at some point in the future. If you have any ideas or suggestions as to how this might come about, please do get in touch and pass them on.

Martin Parr in The City.

Martin Parr at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

I Dropped into see Martin Parr's latest collection of images at the small but impressive Guildhall Art Gallery in London yesterday. I don't think this is a great collection of images, but has a few gems tucked amongst the rather straight laced collection of photographs that claim to show an unseen side of the ceremonial life of the city. There was also a refreshingly relaxed attitude to photography in the gallery too which is to be applauded.

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Exhibition is on until the end of July, Guildhall Art Gallery, London EC2V 5AE
Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday 10 - 5
Sunday 12-4
Entrance £5/£4

Website here

Recent work

Recent Work.

Shown here some samples from a campaign being run by East Sussex County Council in the south of England, promoting teaching in the area. All shot in real schools with real teachers and pupils during real lessons.




On my recent trip to California I wrote a little about a number of incidents that I had became aware of where photographers, film makers and tourists became victims of crime where there equipment and valuables. These sorts of incidents can range in intensity, at best they are a minor annoyance, at worst they can and do lead to serious injury and even death.

There is an irony then, in the fact that I too was targeted on the last few days of my trip. Taken unawares from behind, a man snatched at my camera that was on my shoulder and attempted to run off with it. I hung onto it for a while and we had a bit of tug of war, but as I'd been taken unawares I never managed to fully gain my balance and was eventually pulled over to the ground. The camera we were fighting over sailed through the air and hit the ground with a nasty crunch. My assailant also fell over but was up faster than me, grabbing the camera from the ground and running away at considerable pace.


There were no witnesses, despite this taking place on a public street in San Francisco, in the middle of the afternoon, there was no one around. The police arrived quickly, but there was little that could be done. My injuries were fairly minor, cut arms and hands where I had hit the ground and a very sore neck and shoulders that are still not entirely right now, but will be fine, eventually.

The sad thing is, one of my new Nikon D810 cameras was probably damaged beyond repair. What a waste. The top of the camera obviously took a real bash, and the eye piece cover was torn off. Attached to the camera was my much loved and well used Nikon 80-200 F2.8 lens that I bought way back in 1995 and has done brilliant service ever since. It had a relatively low value as it was so old, but it's cost quite a bit to replace it with an admittedly upgraded modern day version with vibration reduction. The lens hood of this lens was also shattered and torn from the lens when it hit the ground, but I suspect the breaking of the lens hood would have protected the lens and it's probably still working reasonably well somewhere, it was a tough bit of equipment.

All in all, a troubling moment, but it could have been a lot worse. I'm fine, and pretty much over this event now, but will definitely think twice about what equipment I take out on the streets for general travel work from now on. There are some parts of the world where the rewards just do not justify the risks these days.

One of the more interesting photographs of the year

Social Services Photography

The original brief for the job was to create images that were to go with the line "Child Social Services, How Far Would You Go?" in a campaign that was to attract specialist child social workers to the south coast county of East Sussex in England, UK. The idea was that they wanted to attract people who would go the extra mile for their job, as well as suggesting to people that moving to East Sussex was worth thinking about if they wanted to progress their career. To this end, the client came up with the idea of showing a social worker in a space suit, to illustrate both ideas - dressing up in a costume to bridge the gap between a professional and a child, and also as a visual representation of someone who's willing to travel to get the job done. The pictures were also required to show the area as a desirable place to live for people who might be thinking of relocating. I liked the concept a lot. The location was to be Hastings, and a group of real social workers were pressed into service for a few hours and a selection of children were rustled up from various places. For images such as this, it's never possible to use children who are actually under the care of social services because of all the issues relating to confidentiality and consent, so in the pictures for this series, the children were played by "models".
We didn't have a lot of time, and the was a need for a quite a range of different images to tell the story. The lead image for the campaign was to be a simple image of a child running towards a social worker in a space suit with as little distracting detail as possible with lots of space for copy around the image. It took a while to set everything up and we pretty much had the shot, and then I thought it would be fun to try some with the child leaping into the arms of the spaceman. We tried it four times, before stopping, as we had other things to do. The shots were quite successful, and this was my favourite image of the four:

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However, although the client was pretty pleased with the image, I was unhappy with the way the child's hand was lost behind the spaceman's glove. Without discussing it first with the client, I made some adjustments to the image and also sent them this improved version. I think it's so much better, and it's pleasing that this is the image that they decided to use.

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The replacement arm was borrowed from one of the other images. It had to be adjusted to make it look real, but the result is quite satisfactory I think.

The image in use can be seen here on the clients website, along with some other images taken on the same day.

East Sussex Music Photography

East Sussex Music Service Photography.

I just stumbled across a document using my images from last year's job for East Sussex Music Service. You can download the whole pdf document here: Download


Women, New Portraits, Annie Leibovitz

Women, New Portraits, Annie Leibovitz.

Currently working it's way around the world, I have just managed to catch this show after missing it in London. There is a lot of new work on show here, or at least, Images that I haven't seen before, and quite a lot of old images too, but it's a real delight to see this work altogether. The 4k presentation screens deliver her images in stunning quality and at it's best it's actually pretty breathtaking. Set in a semi-derelict atmospheric industrial unit the show gathers in the audience, who are surrounded by these iconic images. The style of this show gives the whole collection a modern feel, despite her best work (in my opinion) being done in the more formal, pre-digital photography, style, rather than the casual off the cuff look that is the more modern way. Having the images on the screen also means you can't linger over the original prints as you could in a gallery - the pictures rotate and move on, making the experience as much like a film as an exhibition, but a very impressive one none-the-less.
More details here.


Photoshop. Before and after

Photoshop in everyday use.

Every now and again comes along a picture that needs a little help. Here's a good example. This picture was taken yesterday on a trip out into the bay. It's a useful image, but the structure of the boat on the top left hand side is a bit distracting and adds nothing to the image. It's the type of thing that Photoshop is so good at correcting. The amended version is much crisper, and the change doesn't really change the context or significance of the image at all.



…and after:


You can see a full portfolio slideshow of my work here: