Monday, 25 April 2011

Diriye Osman - The Man With The Goddess Complex

A couple of week's back I photographed Diriye for inclusion in his press release, so I wanted to include a few words about his upcoming show which is on between 7th and 17th July at the Brick Lane Gallery on Sclater Street. If you're in the area, do pop by and say hello.

His press release sums this up far more eloquently than I ever could...

"Culturally, Diriye Osman is Somali-British. Creatively, he’s an artist-writer. Born in 1983 in Mogadishu, he was encouraged as a child to draw. When the civil war broke out in Somalia, Diriye and his family fled the country for Kenya. Traumatized by the experiences of war and immigration, the then eight-year-old Diriye found refuge in art. He would spend hours in solitude creating fairytale-like fantasies. These fantasies were influenced by Disney and Miyazaki filtered through the Vogue ideal: beautiful, alien-like sylphs with stylised physiques and catwalk stances. These drawings and paintings blossomed into an obsession. 

‘It was only after I grew up that I realized that my entire creative life had always been about repression,’ says Diriye. ‘I was a gay kid growing up in a society that had no tolerance for homosexuality. I sensed this hostility and it fed into my work. The women, who were goddess-like creatures, became the acceptable,alluring face of what was a dangerous transgression.’

Even after coming to terms with his own sexuality and celebrating it in his fiction, Diriye didn’t change his artistic subject matter. 

‘Art is about compulsion,’ he says. ‘These female characters are a huge part of my identity and I relish their strange beauty. The psychoanalytical implications are best left to psychologists and critics. As an artist, I hope there’s enough mystery, detail and joie de vivre in this ongoing series for the casual observer and the seasoned aesthete."

If you're nearby in July, please pop by, and if you have the chance to come to the private view and say hello to me too, then even better.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sydnie Haines - pre teen shoot

When I was 12 I had a massive dilemma, chiefly I felt very guilty about a toy that my Uncle Ron had bought me about 6 months previously (a Little Mermaid playset since you asked, and I treasured it, however briefly). I felt bad because I was outgrowing it, and I was fast on the way to becoming the woman I am today - developing an obsession with music and make up and scant regard for what my parents said.
I'd love to say 'they grow up so fast these days' but I don't know if much has really changed in the past 15 years to be quite honest, and this brings me very nicely to yesterday's shoot with Sydnie.
Sydnie's Grandmother, the lovely Carol, organised the shoot for a sunny Good Friday in Dulwich and when agreeing to a midday shoot in April I hadn't really considered that it might be near 26 degrees and very strong sunlight/general melty conditions. Sydnie is a very accomplished young lady, with a string of credits to her name and needed some portraits for her online profile and other general whatnots, so I was happy to step in. Sydnie was a natural in front of the camera - so relaxed!, and is bound to be headed for great things, but with any further ado here's some of my favourites from the shoot.
And finally Sydnie with her grandmother

If you're interested in getting some shots of your teenager, or even pre-teen, then get in touch using the form at the bottom of the page.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Fernanda Fuentes

Fernanda is a singer songwriter, originally hailing from Monterrey in Mexico but now residing in London. She got in touch with me after seeing the Gumtree ad and my blog and asked if I could take some photos to promote her work.

She sent me a couple of demos, and I loved them instantly. Her sound is soulful, minimal, dark yet vulnerable, and if it isn't too much of a cliche, I thought that it would be great to capture some moody images in an urban context so we met up in Shoreditch on a Saturday lunchtime for a shoot.

We found some great backdrops including one alley full of graffitti, which was perfect; as well as a carpark full of old shipping containers and had a fun afternoon. As you can see from the pictures, she's a natural in front of the camera and was a pleasure to photograph. I'm sure you'll be hearing from her again soon.

Fernanda Fernanda

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Something to think about

Firstly, but kinda the secondary point of this post, I wanted to share this - my work and the vintage themed shoot with Kathy was featured on 'A Thought is the Blossom' in the sponsor spotlight section. You can't even imagine how excited I was when I saw it! Unfortunately the images aren't credited but the blog currently has nearly 2000 followers (and these are just the people with google accounts) but it just goes to show the awesome power of blogs (more on this later).
Picture 1

In addition, if you're somehow involved in the world of photography, you can't fail to have missed the internet sensation that was Jasmine Star on creativeLive. I wasn't able to watch the live version so instead I paid and downloaded it and have been slowly working my way through, watching an hour a night in bed on my iPhone.

So far the course has been fantastic, and given me massive food for thought, although I'm maybe only three hours into it. What makes Jasmine so special isn't that she's a great photographer (she is, but that's besides the point) but that she's so open, honest and willing to give back the the photographic community. Her encouraging, passionate manner, evidenced both here and on her blog where she regularly talks about anything and everything is in stark contrast to the sometimes elitist and machismo world of pro photography. 

Whilst the course hasn't taught me anything that in some way I don't already know, it helps to know that one of the US' most successful photographers started out as a college drop out with a dream. As Jasmine says ' if you have a camera, if you have some money' then you're streets ahead of where she started. I think I knew I wanted to be a wedding photographer from the very moment I switched over to a DSLR - I'd immersed myself fully in the beautiful imagery created by my favourite contemporary wedding photographers, I'd become addicted to their blogs, reading their stories, wanting their lifestyles and I knew I wanted to be one of them. I'm at the very start of that journey - not everything I do yet is good enough, but practice makes perfect and I'm putting myself out there.

Jasmine also focuses on the power of the blog and the power of personality. She says she was drawn to her wedding photographer because his personality was written into everything he did. His blog was his shopfront for this, and she could buy into who he was. The number one tip is be yourself. 

The next key message was about being open and engaging in the photographic community and using it to build trust and respect. How can you expect comments on your blog, on your tweets, when you're not engaging yourself

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly is not to be jealous. Others have earnt what they have, and overnight success is extremely rare, if it exists at all. I need to be thankful for what I have, and for what I've built in a relatively short space of time. True, not everything is quite as good as I'd like - I always hate that I didn't think to get my subject in a particular pose, or think there's not enough variety in the locations, or find something to worry about. I need to relax and not worry - I might be shooting with my D90, I might not have a 70-200mm lens (but I can certainly hire one if I need to!) but it's all good and I just need to go with the flow.

Now where did i put my iPhone, ready for the next installment.

I also haven't proofread this, quite on purpose so I do apologise if it's a little bit of a brain dump.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Diriye Osman

Diriye got in touch with me via my advert on Gumtree. He's an artist and illustrator and wanted some publicity shots for an upcoming group show at the Brick Lane Gallery. He's just finalising his press release now but as soon as I have it I'll post some details on the show.

Diriye was incredibly warm and friendly, and very easy to work with. We needed a central London location where we could try and mimic the effect of being in a wood at around 6pm, so Regents Park it was. I was worried about loosing the light but fortunately for us it was a true golden hour, and the sun added a beautiful warm glow. Without further ado, I'll let the pics do the talking.