I have been a black and white Photographer for most of my life. From a very early age nearly 50 years ago I have been shooting black and white and I guess growing up watching a black and white TV, I learned from an early age to see the world in texture and tone, light and shade and also to work with light.
I did use Ektachrome for a while but not for long as I preferred black and white for story telling as I found colour to distracting.
When I moved from Film to Digital the sensors were so bad colour was a nightmare, sensor noise was so bad it made all images far to dark, so I guess I just gave up trying to work with Colour. On a fantastic day with great light it was easy but on a flat day with little or no light unless you had an expert knowledge of lighting it was almost impossible to get consistency.
I tried to shoot JPEG in the early days of Digital but gave up there was not enough latitude to get the full range of tones I required for my work. In fact it was not until around 2013 whilst doing my year of black and white project did I find a way to produce digital black and white images I was happy with.
I have never been a fan of sitting in front of a computer and editing. In the film days I would only print my best work so possibly one or two shots from a roll of film for personal work. So spending more time on digital editing drove me nuts. There is more to life than bing sat in doors.
There is a big wide world out there waiting to be photographed and I wanted to be out there in the fresh air and not stuck indoors. I had quite a lot of flack in the early days and was called a Photoshop Hater but that’s was so far from the truth. I use Lightroom because it was for me the fastest way from A-B. I am Dyslexic so Lightroom made more sense to me than Photoshop, so that what I used.
I was a RAW shooter and every time I tried to find a style or a way to shoot and process Colour images I gave up. It was just ridiculous the amount of time you had to spend in Lightroom or Photoshop to get consistency in your work when using colour.
Kevin Mullins decided once he started using the Fujifilm System to shoot JPEG and created his own style in this way. I did try it but gave up because it just did not work for my Black and White image style. I like my blacks to be black and my Whites White and all the other tones across the range. You could not get this from a JPEG because you had to spend more time undoing what the camera had done. I could process a Black and White image in a couple of minutes from RAW but it was five to ten minute from JPEG.
I can shoot black and white in any light and process very quickly in a very short amount of time and even though I have dabbled in Colour its never really appealed to me until now.
Why ? Well I have retired now so have no reason to have clients wanting all different colour profiles and I used to get fed up using colour charts and profiles to keep clients happy. Now I can explore colour and try and find a style that works for me and even better I have no deadlines so can just shoot colour on days when there is perfect light.
I cant explain in this blog what perfect light is because its probably subjective, but perfect light to me is light that produces an image I hardly have to edit. Its mainly golden hour light, or that magic light you get just after a rainstorm or thunderstorm or that crazy light you get just before a storm.
I used great light in my black and white images at times but most of my black and white work was shot on very overcast days, or in very high contrast light.
My new love for Colour stems from great light and has come about by using my iphone ! I have tried Nikon and Canon RAW’s and JPEGs and nothing works for me without extended processing times. The images out of an iPhone need very little if any processing. I have not picked up my Fujifilm cameras in probably 18 months and when I do if they cant produce JPEG images like the iphone I might have to have a rethink ! I very much expect I will find a way but for now I am just going to work with my iphone and explore colour from there.
Its amazing how having a Stroke and being restricted in a few ways has allowed be to develop some new ideas and ways of working. I am changing my views on the world and on the the photographic process. I want speed and constancy and I want something very portable, I also want a systems and process that are very simple.
One of the best times I had with a camera was when I was walking and climbing with Jane and just had a compact camera in my pocket and a phone to take the odd photo on a day out. Bags of cameras and lenses really don’t appeal to me anymore I just want simple.
I have never been obsessed with Sharpness or that unreal look you get with digital, I have always preferred that blemished film look so will be going backwards rather than forwards in the future that’s for sure.
There is no point in carrying lots of gear about just in the hope there might be some great light now and then ! David Noton used to spend weeks if not months waiting for the light and that was the clue to great colour photography, you just have to wait for the light. Taking images in shit light and then spending hours and hours in Photoshop is not for me when you can just go click with a phone on the right day. I know a phone shot will not be good enough for a decent print but once I have mastered waiting for the light I can then find a camera system that makes my life as easy as the iphone 11 ProMax who knows it might be one of the Fujifilm cameras I have, or it might be a simple compact camera I don’t own yet ! One thing is for sure it’s all about painting with light and always has been for me. I don’t need lots of great images a year just a couple will do me ! Taking one great image in great light once in 10 years would make me very happy.
Well, we are over half way through 2020 and what a year it has been.
I am now over half way through my Path and Weather projects at week 202 and 62 weeks in to my Litter Project.
I have closed my YouTube Channel ! It was after a lot of consideration but YouTube were changing their rules and I was a little fed up with some of the tools available to me. I hope sometime in the future to embed some videos in to this blog. I am still on facebook at the moment but really do need to close my account as the lockdown has shown us just how bad social media can be ! I am sick of the Politics and Vitriol on facebook and twitter but need them both at the moment for Fotoholics.
I was going to use Flickr and Instagram but I am fed up with the progress with Flickr so will not be continuing with Flickr once my subscription has run out. I will however keep Instagram even though I hate what facebook has done with it, its still a great place to use for projects, its just a shame its been strangled by algorithms for commercial purposes.
Some of my Friends have got in to TikTok I was on there from day one but got off really quick as it was full of very young kids ! But even though the audience is still very young its not political its more of a fun place.
I am not 100% sure about future video but Instagram or Vimeo will probably be the go to places. YouTube is great but getting more and more complicated but who knows I might return.
Photography apart from my projects has been put on the back burner at the moment, I have found it very hard to pick up a camera following my Stroke but have some great ideas for the future with stills and video, but its all on hold until next year. I think the Smart Phone has really replaced the compact camera thought and my iPhone 11 ProMax has been great. I really do miss the reach and speed of a real camera though so will be exploring some decent Landscape work again next year.
I managed to buy a Drone just before lockdown but as yet have not used it once !! I might get a chance soon but not decided to use it for Stills or Video yet ! We shall see…
I have three Instagram accounts @matt6t6 for black and white @matt6t6colour for you guessed it colour and one for Jake @jake_the_lab_lurcher I put a lot of thought in to Jakes and started it from the first day I met him in the Dogs Trust Merseyside ! He has been an amazing help to my Stroke recovery and he get me out of the house every day for a walk, I think we have helped each other because he was abused before he came to live with me so I guess we have helped each other. He now features a lot in my work and gives it another dimension.
Street photography has really taken a back seat but that’s because my Stroke has left me with massive anxiety around groups of people. I am sure in the future this will sort its self out but for now I am keeping clear of city’s and crowds.
I was aiming to write this blog more regularly but I have not got round to it, but hopefully that will change in the future as we are making more changes to our schedule.
You are all probably aware I retired following my stroke and closed my company, but I carried on with Fujiholics this year but we rebranded it to Fotoholics. However this year has been very difficult for the company so we will have to review its future by the end of the year. The Fotoholics Competition closes at the end of the month and has had some amazing prizes up for grabs. If you want to enter you can HERE.
I will be aiming to get at least one blog out a month from now on so watch this space…..
Well what a year 2020 is turning out to be. I was so looking forward to this year after all my Health Issues from the last couple of years.
My Plan was to start getting out and about in late March to get Jake used to busy city streets and to start shooting some YouTube footage and start YouTube again.
The funny thing is just as the lockdown came on my back went ! Yep disc bulges in to a narrow spinal canal is quite something and joke on the side, something I thought I had put behind me. It’s knocked me back a bit but I have managed to force myself to get up and out and keep off the pain meds.
Lucky for us in the UK we were allowed 1 form of Exercise a day so that was perfect for me to walk Jake and carry on with my two 365 projects. Without the walk I think I would have gone insane.
The good part of the lockdown was the time to think abs reflect. I really have had enough of people’s politics on Social Media it was bad enough with Brexit and the Election but now we have people using their politics to push their own views about Covid-19 all over Facebook and Twitter. This has been horrendous, but it’s helped me to decide what Social media to get rid of and what to keep.
I decided to remove my website now I have retired and will slowly be coming away from Facebook and Twitter. I did think I would dump Instagram but have changed my mind as it’s really handy for my projects. Flickr however will have to go because SmugMug are just not upgrading the community tools.
One thing that kept me going in the Lockdown was walking and shooting short 1 min videos every day for my friends. I had so much feedback I decided to look at doing YouTube again. So I did a quick YouTube video today YouTube to explain.
Following my Stroke I decided to retire but this has been a struggle. Thankfully the lockdown made me realise my decision was right.
I also started watching Netflix and found going in my office quite hard as it felt like going to work. I also need a more mobile solution to editing still images and video. Something better than sitting in front of two computer screens for hours on end.
So I have decided to move my workflow to a more mobile solution. This won’t be easy but I am looking forward to the Challenge. I am going to be using my phone a lot more for stills and video. I will be adding the new i pad Pro 2020 and combining that with the GNARBOX 2.0 and possibly a couple of backup options. I plan to use LumaFusion for Video and Lightroom cc for stills along with Snapseed and possibly Darkroom. I was hoping to be able to move away from Adobe Subscription model but we shall see.
Moving to a mobile workflow will be a dream come true and I will update you all with my progress and link you back to my home office set up at the same time. I will become more mobile over the coming months so moving away from a desktop set up is a wise move. Now all I have to do is teach this old dog some new tricks.
I hope to start updating this blog and YouTube from 1 June onwards so stay tuned.
When I wrote part one I was interested to have a good look around Social media to see what the response was, and to be honest it was as expected.
Some thought it was great and very true and most of these were people whose work I found on Social Media are Professional or very good photographers in general with some interesting bodies of work.
There were some that thought it was a shouty ranty post that was a load of crap ! Looking at most these peoples work available on Social media it’s technically fine and some of the people even work in Photography for a living but their work has no personality or soul and it’s more for the viewer than the photographer. Some thought I was arrogant and an arse !
Everyone is entitled to think what they like and the fact I am now writing this blog to help people learn to see and move forward I know what I have to say won’t be to everyone’s taste but hopefully the few that do take a few hints and tips on board will be able to lift their work to the next level. I have helped a few people to really achieve great things in their work and sometimes you have to be honest and help them find their way.
Even though I say I have only helped a handful achieve Exhibitions and Books I have probably inspired 1000’s to more forward with their work.
The most interesting thing I noticed was the amount of times people said “who is he to tell us we can’t call ourselves Photographers” Interesting how my blog post was interpreted because that’s not what I said.
Even more interesting was the the fact people were saying ” who is he to tell us we can’t call ourselves Photographers, we are entitled to call ourselves whatever we want” I did laugh at this and then did some more research.
A teacher friend of mine told me that in modern teaching kids are being told they can be anything they want to be and are Entitled to call themselves anything they like.
I think that’s great and as a young boy my Parents encouraged me to play sport and learn to play instruments etc in the hope that I would find something that would interest me they also wanted me to join a choir ! But I was cluless with Music and apart from getting off my face during the Rave Scene and being mad about Psytrance and House Music I was never going to learn an instrument.
I did however Swim for Kent win the British Bench Press in 82.5 Kilo class and competed in the World Powerlifting Championships at 82.5 Kilo class and trust me I trained day 7 days a week to Swim and to lift weights. I don’t think I would have dared to walk in a Gym and said I am a Powerlifter if I was not. I also played in the British Roller Hockey Team in Goal against Spain. I spent hundreds of hours training in all these sports so that I could overachieve.
So if this is the modern world and people are entitled to call themselves anything they want then I am a Chef a Singer and Film Star ! But my advice is don’t buy and of my food buy some ear defenders and dont watch any of my films.
I do think this is sad because what is wrong with learning a craft and waiting a few years before you start calling yourself anything ?
Its quite funny how the Photography industry has been devalued buy all the people that call themselves Photographers ! Imagine people calling themselves Plumbers and Mechanics being let loose in your home or on your car !
My original blog was about just that, you don’t need to call yourself a Photographer, you can of course and you are Entitled to ! But personally I would get a body of work together and get some years under my belt before I called myself anything.
Some people need to take a long good look at their own work and dig deep and consider their own path and development.
I will continue my blog and try and help the people that want to read it to improve their work it’s amazing how most of the Haters do not have a body of work or many images to show for themselves and have the loudest voices ! Do you think this is because they don’t like the idea that anyone is better than them ?
All my blog posts are open to debate and discussion and one thing I do like about WordPress is its relatively Troll Free because most of them cant be arsed to read more than a couple of paragraphs on Twitter or watch a youtube channel.
Photography has always been a hotbed of jealousy and Trolling so I will only answer and debate with people that are genuine.
Have a great week.
Bollox are you ! Most people that carry cameras these days are just camera owners.
If you buy lots of ingredients from a Supermarket and carry them around with you it won’t make you a Chef, not even if you do have a £10,000 Cooker and all the pots and pans. You need to learn all the classics and possibly even start off in the pot wash or on veg prep.
Well it’s the same with a Camera with all the gear, it takes years of practice and a lifetime of learning.
One very well known Photographer once said to me ” you have to do a long time in the trenches before you can call yourself a photographer”
It’s no good watching Youtube and having a good look around Social media. YouTube does help but youtube is not a great way to learn and retain information. Social media is either one way or the other it’s either lots of people blowing smoke up your arse, or a lot of hate. Most of the time its gives you a 50/50 view of your work by uneducated people who might be lying for their own benefit !
The other issue these days is so called Ambassadors or Influencers ! Most just work to a template of formula to produce images you want to see that you think are great. Technically most of their images are fine but are they any good ? They are famous today but will you remember them in 10-20 years time ? Who made them famous ? Their work or their association with a brand ? Don’t get me wrong there are some great Ambassadors out there with some amazing work but do you know the good from the bad ?
Don’t even get me started on the Fake Instagram and Social media stars with paid followings and brown filters !
People these days who are making crap images have even started to slag off some of the greats or try to debunk there work in a vain attempt to make themselves feel better.
It’s all becoming a real mess how do new people know who to follow and how to learn ! Well it’s not easy its a complete minefield out there and coupled with that the fact that most people with a camera think they are a Pro the moment they get the camera out of the box it’s a big mess.
I have seen many an argument about Bruce Guildon or Martin Parr the funny thing is most people don’t have a clue what a good or bad image is or why ! So there is no way they can work out who are the modern day greats !
I won’t go in to the guy I watched tell Nick UT he used the wrong film when he shot the Napalm Girl !
A great photographer will be out there every day honing their craft and probably won’t even have time to teach or talk until they are a lot older and have more time on their hands. I have seen people leave University without a body of work and set up teaching workshops and people actually going on their courses ! Most of the Course content has been stolen form the internet or they have been on other photographers workshops to make notes and just replicate there course ! They are passing on No Passion and No Skill. There are so many workshops and courses out there now the market is flooded.
I remember reading about 10 years ago, how that one day the world would be saturated with cameras and then the new cream of photography would rise to the top. I think we are at that point now but the water has become so muddy most people don’t have a clue what makes a great image or a great photographer and social media and political correctness is holding the future greats back like a great big dam. Combined with people with really average images trying to convince the world there work is great and some brands even falling for it !
I am now retiring in October this year so don’t read this thinking he is just trying to sell his own workshops because I am not.
You might be thinking he thinks he is the dogs bollocks that Matt Hart but far from it I don’t like any of my work and if you have been on any of my workshops you will know I like about 9 of my own images, and they all mean something to me personally.
I did find it funny on facebook when I read about a guy that culls his images down by first removing all the out of focus shots ! I think omg just stick the bloody thing on Auto you won’t miss !
Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about learning to use a camera, this for most people takes a while but also the whole process is a lifetime of learning. Some people get stuck in the cocky pixel peeping stage where they know the camera inside out then then spend their lives on social media telling everyone how great they are ! They forget we have Google so we can just google their work and see a bunch of random shit with no meaning or context. These are the people that go to all the gear shows and try and piss off all the staff at the Trade counters with their vast knowledge. What they don’t know is everyone just thinks they are a dick ! I love to google people having an argument about images and see how really bad there work is !!
No one gives a flying fuck what camera you have and if you are loyal to a brand any more just learn how to use what you have or find the right camera for you. It’s just a box that takes a photo learn to use it then move the fuck on.
The only way to learn how to make and take pictures is immerse yourself in Knowledge, read up on the real greats from the past the same way great painters copied the brush strokes of the masters before them. You will go through the stage of copying the peoples work you admire but then it’s time to start to find out who you are and what you have to say with your camera. Most people with cameras these days are like those kids in school with the tracing paper just copying what other people have done and never really moving forward.
I have taught thousands of people over the years and only a handful have listened and studied the greats and then gone on to produce great bodys of work or find their own style.
It’s not easy and involves a lot of work and that is why most people don’t ever learn and don’t ever get anywhere and the camera manufactures love you because it’s you that they can convince that there new lens or new camera can make you a better Photographer but sadly there are no shortcuts. Hard work dedication and a lifetime of learning is the only way.
If I wrote a blog post about the Fujifilm X100F it would reach 20,000 people if I made a video about it it would reach 80,000 people, If I talk about how to move forward in your photography and become a great photographer I get about 100 hits ! What does that tell you.
I used to teach a learning to see workshop where I gave people the formula to be a great and successful Photographer but because its involves hard work people don’t follow the route. I think out of all the courses I did only 3 people really listened and one is now producing great work and has been talking and exhibiting their work.
Instead of going to all the gear shows support all the great Exhibitions around the world that are not about the gear but about great projects and great work.
In the UK we have Hull International Photography Festival and Photo North in Harrogate the Birmingham Photography Festival etc
Go to an Art Gallery and see how the masters paint light in to a scene or frame and image.
Have a look at the great books by Bluecoat Press.
I hear people moaning about the cost of Exhibitions at £5 or £20 and it makes me laugh, they spend £1000 on a new lens and some shitty bags and more lens cloths and that new KickStarter thing that they think will make them great at The Photography Show but £5 -£20 spent on looking at real work by real people will inspire you more than any bit of kit but it might not make you feel happy inside like a new camera ! People were moaning about paying £20 to go and see Don Mccullin’s work in London a while back. I was shocked, I wonder if people realise how much these things cost to put on. I have a friend who put on a small exhibition a couple of years back and it cost him 35k ! It’s not like TPS where all the brands pay for all the artists.
Photowalks also help, get out in the fresh air with like minded people, be careful you don’t get stuck with the know it all gear freak ffs they will drive you insane, but listen to the conversations that way you will hear some new names you can research and find out about the next Exhibition or Festival you might hear some names you have never heard off and find out that there work inspires you.
So how is this blog post going to help ! I think most people could not give a shit to be honest they just want to be YouTube famous or have 20,0000 likes on Insta.
I am not going to give it all away in one blog post I am going to write a series of posts and now I am out and about again try and make some YouTube videos that really do help the few people that really want to learn to make it. It’s all up to you though as I say there really are no shortcuts.
The truth is it’s all about Projects and Finding your own style but its like weight loss you can tell everyone losing weight is all about diet and exercise and because that sounds like hard work they switch off ! You can’t lose 3 kilos in 5 minutes and keep off you have to work at it.
It’s the same with Photography you have to start by researching who the greats really are in the area of Photography you want to learn then immerse yourself in there work. Once you have learnt as much as you can you need to get out there and shoot and shoot. The more time you spend with a camera in your hand the better you will get, and that is where Personal Projects come in.
Don’t shoot for your friends and social media shoot for you shoot something that really means something to you, shoot something that you are passionate about it’s not about likes or fluffy comments it’s about learning ! Start a project today and make it last a year and produce a book at the end of it. Do you know how many times I have said that and how many people have done it ? How about if I told you the greats work on projects all the time !
Hi Guys and welcome to 2019 Happy New Year to you all, this year I am going to spend more time blogging and more time on YouTube it’s going to be a great big learning curve and my video editing skills leave a lot to be desired but I will do my best and lear as I go.
My first new venture is Project Sunday and this is on YouTube and Flickr please feel free to subscribe to my youtube and request to join the Flickr Group some people have struggled with the Flickr group request but you request to join then send a message to admin to let you in its invite only but we can invite you if you have not messaged us.
It’s basically a series of weekly challenges and you post you images in Flickr and your links under my youtube videos it came about from my Learning to see workshops where people wanted a little more to motivate them throughout the year. Its for fun and sharing but who knows where it will end up.
Hopefully with a meet up at some point.
We are up to week 3 and if you join this week you might be in time for week 3 if not start week 4 on Saturday coming.
I was shocked at the 70 people that have signed up so far and the amount of people who take part every week, its a great little group on Flickr and I can’t wait to see what they all come up with over the next 12 months. Really impressed by the effort some of the people have put in.
Working as a full time Professional Photographer is not easy at times and the hardest part it taking a break and going on Holiday. When photography was a hobby you used to get really excited about you next trip to try out that new bit of kit.
When you are full time you try and think of a way to take photos on holiday but not to weigh your self down with lots of camera gear.
This time I managed to fit all my kit in to one bag and that’s a first. I needed to bring video kit for my YouTube channel and keep the stills kit to a minimum.
Now I am putting more time in to YouTube the video kit comes first and that has forced me to look for smaller stills kit. On this trip I just brought the Fujifilm X100F and the Canon G7X Mark II ( the G7X also double as a video camera for hand held stuff) I brought the Canon M50 and the Canon 200D for vlogging, these will soon be replaced by two Fujifilm X-T3s.
This trip so far it’s been a struggle to shoot video as I have been having gallbladder issues for a few months now and trust me gallstone pain is not nice and has been wiping me out for up to 8 hours so I have not had time to shoot and edit much video and the stills have fallen by the wayside so far !
I have managed a few iphone shots and a couple with my G7X but that is about it.
People don’t like to admit it but smartphones are so easy to use and we have them with us all the time so in reality they really are great unless you need a large image. I have blown my iphone7 images up to 10 x 8 and they are great.
So on this break to Ireland I think my iphone will come in to its own.
All iphone 7 images edited in SnapSeed.
I won’t have time to do a YouTube update this week but will get something uploaded as soon as I get back.