Monday, 30 January 2017

PHOTOGRAPHY WORK: AMANDA HENDRICK HEAD SHOTS


Sometimes the light is just so good you have to shout someone in their tracks and say 'stop, stay there'. This was one of this moments. This part of the location wasn't particularly cool, but I knew with Amanda's gorg face, the luck of the wind drawing the hair in the right direction, and that light we'd be able to get some nice shots out of it. I love working with natural light, but as I progress I should start working with artificial lights and attempt some studio shoots. 
I'm always going to start teaching myself Photoshop, so that I can start to edit, retouch and experiment with the images I take.
Anyways, that's it for this post. Hope you like them!
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PHOTOGRAPHY WORK: HOLDING ABSENCE SOUNDCHECK

Last Friday I hit a bit of a stumbling block photgraphy wise and came away with pictures I wasn't hugely chuffed with. I have intentionally avoided doing live music photography, because I don't think my current camera is up to the challenge. You only have to see the huge and lengthy lenses, and the weighty cameras the proffessionals take into the pit, to know that my wee little Lumix might be out of it's depth in that situation.  I know that in some situations the size of the camera doesn't necessarily equate to a better images, but from experience I have definitely found myself hindered by my little compact and my one lone lense. 

So untill I have funds to up my equipment game I have instead decided to focus on behind the scenes stuff and instagram content for those days the bands are sitting at home in their pants and just wanted something to upload to ensure they're present on Instagram. 

Unofrtunately there wasn't the usual stage/dressing room set up at this particular gig (Greywinds album launch) so I coulnd't get my usual dressing room shots so had to attempt to get some live shots so I have enough to send over. The spot lighting was also causing a constant stobing effect across the images, which I didn't know how to eradicate. when that wasn't causing an issue the lighting was dim making it really hard to capture a crisp and sharp image unless you decided to use a flash, which I didn't want to do too much because it is so distracting for the artist in close proximity. 

 I edited these in black and white with an emphasis on contract, and a little bit of grain, to be a bit more inkeeping with the bands Insta theme.

So in the next few posts you'll see a few of the images I did manage to get of support band Holding Absence and of headline act Greywind.  See you in the next post....



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Thursday, 26 January 2017

I've come through the Fog - Gaining Perspective



The title of this post is a bit misleading as I’ve had perspective for a long time time. The difference is that now, in 2017, I’m finally at a point in my life when I will react to it, and live in a way that is in tune with what I’ve known for a while.

Why has it taken me so long? Well, if I knew the answer to this I would have been living a much happier and fulfilled life prior to this seemingly significant turning point. I can’t help but wonder whether I was simply being influenced by those around me (in 3D and on the internet) and being impacted by the observations I’d made about their perspectives on what delivers happiness. Noticing their goals, and the checklist they believe should deliver happiness, whilst being around their current routes to joy, I’d realise they were often very different to mine. Perhaps this lead me to wonder whether I was on the wrong track, maybe I wasn’t reaching for dizzy enough heights, or seeking out the things I should be. Were my simple and fairly quiet aspirations inadequate?

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Monday, 16 January 2017

BOG OFF BLUE MONDAY, I'M NOT HAVING IT!!


At 7am I was still tossing and turning in bed, while huffing to an audible level, hoping it would be enough of an indication to Si that he needed to take him and his snores next door to the spare room. 
Alas his level of consciousness was not at a level where being perseptive, or caring enough about other people's quality of sleep, was ever going to force him to get out of the meringue like structure he'd cocooned himself in.


As I tried to make a new sleeping sanctuary amongst the piles of washing and clutter that gets plonked on the bed, I found myself churning with frustration. My plan to start Monday raring to go, full of zest and beans (and other foody metaphors) had been foiled. Instead I had to choose between getting up and dressed at the early time I had wanted to rise on the first day of the week and function on empty, or go back to sleep, recharge for a few hours and start my working day far later than I'd like.


I opted to get a few more hours sleep, rising at 10am and returning to my bedroom to find Si, still passed out, completely oblivious to the disruption he'd caused to my go-getter plan of action for this Monday (and all of 2017 in fact). So I turned the TV on and grabbed my laptop from the side of the bed and placed it on my lap. I hoped the sound of my fingers tapping the keys and the sounds of Gordan Ramsey's angry bleating would make him stir and realise it was time for productivity to commence.


When he reached a level of functionality which meant we could communicate, I was pretty gruff with him. In part I was trying to make a point about the fact that I hadn't slept, AGAIN, but also because I just didn't feel chirpy and posi enough to perk myself up let alone have enough to transfer to or share with someone else.


In an effort to turn our bedroom into it's more efficient and active alter-ego office space, I opened the curtains in the hope to add some lightness to the environment, as well as our moods.  Sadly all that greeted us was drizzly rain and a grey sky which made it feel like at least 5 hours later than it was. These dull days are terrible for motivation and productivity, because they trick you're brain into thinking the working day is already done and that you should be settling down into sleep mode. Not to mention the issues it delivers in terms of being able to film or take photos.


As I started to attempt to get into my robotic-like workaholic mode and edit a video, Si pipes up with the ghastly revelation that today is in fact Blue Monday. If you've escaped the scare mongering till now, and don't know what that it is - apparently today is/was the most depressing day of the year. Now I always thought this was based on some scientific calculations, but no. As the Telegraph informs us....

'It may be useful to know that Blue Monday was in fact created in 2005 by a British holiday company. The idea was derived not from the results of any in-depth research, but instead by using a calculation involving such factors as current weather conditions and debt levels. However, while it had no basis in science, the idea caught on, and now many of us have come to dread it.'


When we heard that news I saw both of us almost give up on any hope that the day would improve or deliver any sort of happiness or achievment. We used 'Blue Monday' as an excuse to nestle into our gloom, without any attempt to get ourselves out of it. Then I got a comment through on my recent YouTube video about the positive things that happened in 2016, and how I was going to try and ensure I cultivated a positive mindset for 2017. She told me how my positivite attitude for the year ahead was rubbing off on her, and continued to thank me for that. This reminder caused enough of a jolt to make me think ' F U Blue Monday'.



I bolted out of bed and got in the shower, in turn letting some of the residue of the mornings misery wash over my face and disappear down the drain. This isn't going to be a happy ever after tale though. I can't pretend that a shower and a change in mindset completely eradicated all the negativity I was feeling as I gasped with exasperation in bed this morning. 
If the day shows itself in any form of greyscale, my mood will always be effected and a natural inclination for fun will be dimmed. Tiredness will a have a similar effect, with the added bonuses of irratibility and bad skin (lack of sleep always worsens my acne). Since last night's trip to the cinema I have also found myself feeling reflective, resulting in anxieties about the future.


Last night I saw La La Land...and yes it is as good as everyone says. If someone had re-wound the film at the end, and started it all over again, I would have stayed in that seat, and been rather ecstatic about it. There was a welcome assault of beautiful compositions and choreography as well as the tingle worthy chemistry, but it's the themes of the story that really resonated with me, and caused me to do some soul searching when I came home (and ever since). 


I don't want to deliver spoilers, so I'll be as vague as I can without sounding flighty. There was the conflict between love and the chasing of your dreams - something which seems to show itself regularly in our own lives. Si and I have regularly sacrificed our happiness as a couple (and as singular adults) in the pursuit of our career-based dreams. We have made many choices in our working lives that have stunted, delayed or hindered our relationship and/or the relationships with our friends and families. But I have also made a lot of a decisions that have halted my progress as a YouTuber, Music Interviewer, Journalist (and all the other things I've attempted) because I've chosen to put Si and our relationship/future first. 
When you reflect back on the catalogue of decisions, it's very hard to decipher whether they were right or wrong, because each one has probably had a knock on affect (the butterfly effect) on what's happened next, so even if it appeared to be a horrific and regret worthy decision, it may have in fact lead to something pretty great, or to someone pretty great.


It also shone a very bright light on the horrors that people face in the worlds of entertainment - and I guess what Si and I both do falls into the catagory, although some of you may argue that point.  The scenes where you see Emma go to auditions stung, because I could relay it to all the interviews/screentests/meetings I've had over the years, that have left me feeling inferior, not cool or pretty enough, too old, not sexy, boring...or just generally rubbish. I recall a screen test I had for a mainstream music channel many years ago and seeing all the other people reading their scripts outside the room. They were all younger...in fact most of them were models, despite it being a presenter job. They were all hyper and bubbly, and I was my fairly understated (boring) self. After a series of these experiences you can't help that leave feeling less than in some way, or like no one will think you're a good fit for anything.


And now I am in YouTube world where you are constantly put up against other people for sponsored work and opportunities, and horrifically, even get told about it. You'll get emails saying its between you and (insert blogger/vlogger friend's name) which is horrible because you either get it and then feel awkward or guilty around your mate and fret about how to talk to them about it, or you don't, then feel a little bit envious or resentful and have to work hard to try and hide it. And when it doesn't go your way it's pretty hard not to wonder why and then start questioning your credentials in terms of your work, but also your looks and personality. In a way I thank god that I have small sub/follower numbers, because a lot of the time I can just put it down to that and not obsess about all the other far more mentallying waring possibilities. Although now that a lot of PR's are actually choosing to work with smaller influncers of the biggens, that route of relief may not be relevant anymore.


The other issue that got my brain churning up my tumultuous and varied history was the part where Emma's character talks about being scared/tired of the disappointment and rejection, and how she's not sure she put herself through it anymore. Over the year's I've been promised so many life-changing things career wise, only to be let down at the final hour, leaving me in a defeated and soggy heap on the floor. The results are always crushing and debiliating, and the accumulative effect can be catastrophic in terms of ones resiliance and self worth. The fear of disappointment has stopped me going for many things in the last few years, purely because I didn't think I could survive anymore of this time of battering, or break through the hulking great big road blocks staving off my desire to create or please people/myself with the work I do.


But if you stop fighting, and reside yourself to settling or merely existing, are you really living? I can't help but think you are doing yourself, and your short amount of time of earth, a massive disservice. Yes, we will get knocked down some more times in our lives, but there are bound to be a few times when things actually work in our favour, and even if the ratio isn't favourable, maybe it's still worth it for those lesser number of successes.  And perhaps we have become blind to some of the smaller successes that happen, because we have been conditioned to believe it's all about the big statements and events. Maybe a happy and content life can be made up of a lot of little or simple wins and successes?


So to return to my original point about this downcast day. I was feeling sad and anxious on this particular Blue Monday, and I was in a state of fret about my dire bank balance, unsettles career, and unclear future, but I decided not to let all that stuff mean that it would be a wasted day.
I studied art for goodness sake - if my studies taught me anything, it's that sadness can lead to creativity. So from today onwards I have decided that even if I'm suffering from a case of salty moist face like todat, or a complete sobbin mess, rocking back and forth, I will do something with this emotion. I can write an empassioned or heart baring blog post, film an arty video, or I can do what I did today and capture my mood via some self portraits.


I grabbed some shards of a broken mirror - one of my new IKEA mirrors that Si stepped on - and decided to take some pictures of my falling tear, a face which was laregly bare of make up, and frizzy hair I hadn't had the energy to dry after showering. 
I had the camera set up on a tripod behind my head so that it could capture my reflection in the jagged glass and a hazey few of my head in the foreground. I had it connected via the wi-fi link up so that with the hand that wasn't holding the glass I could take the shot. Not easy to do, let me tell you....


I guess my message is simple. No day needs to be a lost cause, and we should definitely not let the media and these fake days make us feel like giving in completely and utterly to our misery. Yes it's ok to be resolved in the fact that you may feel subdude or sad for that day, in fact it's sometimes good to let yourself live out that grief/longing/melancholy, but it doesn't mean you can't get something productive out of your day, or that it can gift you with a feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment or even joy.


Please comment below and tell me how you prevented Blue Monday from getting it's wiked way!

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