Thursday, 31 January 2013

My Favourite Photographers 03: Rankin

Right then. Lara Jade and Kirsty Mitchell done, that's two down and one to go. I hope you enjoyed looking at their material as much as I do.

Part three of "My Favourite Photographers" is a man who most will potentially know of as you will probably have seen his images even if you don't know he was the man who took them.

He is a very popular portrait and fashion photographer by the name of Rankin and he has taken some of my favourite images ever...

I first came across Rankin properly only a few years ago.

I store up pages from magazines sometimes if I find images I love or a technique I'd like to try working with, etc. as you might expect.

What happened was, I came across Rankin's website, when kind of just browsing through miscellaneous photographer sites one day and I found loads of my favourite images in his portfolio. These included this one of Florence Welch (of Florence + the Machine) which was my favourite image in my stack of magazine pages at the time:

I then got mad-obsessed and trawled though the whole website looking at all his images and with a child-like admiration for all the pretty. So much pretty.

You can see his work here (and in most magazines!):

He's done some wicked work over the years and is a really likeable character as well which helps!

If you watch his videos, he's always laughing and joking around with everybody and is just, basically, a right geezer. XD

This is Rankin:

See! Top bloke.

All the celebrities seem to love him and get on with him on both a professional AND a personal level. They often raving on about how fun he is to work with and I find he always seems to have images of celebrities, including ones that are typically nervous characters, looking so relaxed and happy in his portraits...

You can see a load of his portraits here if you're interested in seeing what I mean.

One of my favourite images of Emma Watson is a prime example:

I love his use of light and contrast in a lot of his work. This is the kind of thing that I find particularly striking and is probably why I like his images so much, who knows:

His 'Beauty' portfolio on the whole is wicked...

Speaking of beauty, he once did a wicked project called 'Ten Times Rosie' in which he photographed Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who is a STUNNING model and you may know her from her role as the new, less orange Megan Fox in the latest Transformers movie.
(missed a trick there though, Rankin. Could have called it Whole Lotta Rosie... Tsk.)

I love this collection anyway so I'm going to make you look at it...

... I might like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley a bit but don't tell anyone...



Anyway, finally, he's also got a magazine out now called 'HUNGER' which is a mammoth!

Rankin seems a little bit fond of magazines. He actually sort of started out in fashion by launching a magazine called 'Dazed and Confused' with a chap named Jefferson Hack in the early 90's. They covered fashion, music and other media.

... And HUNGER is basically a monster-magazine. A bi-annual fashion/music/photography explosion.

It's currently in it's 3rd release...:

So that's kind of Rankin, really!

You can 'like' his Facebook page if you want to and you can browse his website for pictures of Dave Grohl, Scarlett Johansson, Kate Moss and Emma Watson...

Last little bit...:
Something that I find particularly inspirational, or perhaps re-assuring though... is that Rankin, is a fantastic photographer who has taken many fantastic images in his life... didn't pick up photography until he was 21!

This is a really great thing to learn when you're a bit of a late-starter like me and you're trawling through pictures that you can't even imagine taking. It makes you (it made me) realise that as long as the ideas and the passion is there, there's nothing stopping me becoming this good? Right?

I find myself thinking sometimes that I picked up my first camera pretty late, don't have a lot of cash to spend on the kit, don't have a lot of time to spend on the photography... but none of that matters because I love it. I love doing it. I would spend all my time taking pictures of people if it wouldn't get me arrested. Possibly even if it would.

Rankin has shown me that you don't have to pick up a camera from an early age and study photography through college and university to become good, you just need to find the passion.

Kirsty Mitchell has shown me that you don't need a lot of money to spend on kit to take breath-taking images, you just need to have some inspiration.

... and Lara Jade has shown me that you don't need to have a lot of time to do what you love... you just need to love doing it and you will make the time for what is important to you. You get the drive from wanting to do it.

Besides, I don't necessarily want to become world-famous...

... I just want to take fucking great images. ;D

Monday, 28 January 2013

My Favourite Photographers 02: Kirsty Mitchell

OK, so you've had Lara Jade. A very inspiring young lady who has worked her arse off and does some beautiful portraits and fashion images, plus she looks fantastic at all times to boot...

Now we're going to move onto, what I consider, to be a less commercial and more artistic photographer by the name of Kirsty Mitchell as her images, literally make me want to cry. They are so beautiful...

Kirsty Mitchell

Kirsty Mitchell's work all has an incredible amount of thought and feeling in it. For her, it is very clearly her way of expressing how she feels. You can see this clearly in her self-portrait collections such as one she calls...:

'Nocturne' is a beautiful collection but is so full of sadness and grief. Understanding what has brought the inspiration for these images, I find, really makes your heart sink when looking back at them.

Whilst that may sound like a reason not to look at these images, I find it so impressive that a 'staged' photograph can still bring those emotions out in a viewer. I find it is much easier to do this with snapshots of a sad situation but to bring it out in an artistic sense is much more challenging.

A lot of the images that are now in the 'Nocturne' collection on the website used to be under the heading of 'Le jardin de ma mere' which no longer seems to be a separate gallery but she is very open about what each image means to her and has this all in her blog or 'diary' which can be found here:

Her most famous work which is being seen (and now exhibited!) all over the world is an ongoing 3-and-half-years-so-far project that Kirsty started working on after the heart-breaking death of her mother in 2008 and which has gone on to spread her images around the world.

Considering the saddest of beginnings to a story, her project 'Wonderland' is one of the most beautiful collections of photographs I have ever seen in my life and if you haven't already seen it, or even if you have, I urge you to look at it now as it takes my very breath away whenever I look through these and I'm certain that whoever you are, you will love them...

The images that she has put together for this project have each had so much work put into them that they are very much each an outstanding piece of artwork in their own right. I find every single one a reason to love this woman's photography.

This is the first of Kirsty Mitchell's images that I ever came across which was part of the Wonderland project:

It's a beautiful image and something I also found particularly interesting about these shoots was actually her behind-the-scenes images as they demonstrate in many cases just quite how much thought has gone into everything she does... I sometimes find myself reading that she spent about two hours beading and painting a necklace that you don't even SEE in the image until you go back to look for it. It's crazy how much every detail is so meticulously and painstakingly put together and so deliberately!

Here she and the make-up artist, Elbie Van Eeden can be seen messing around under the skirt of this model. I like these images as well because I love that they evidently have a ton of fun on their shoots as well as putting all that hard work and effort in. :D

She has worked with Elbie throughout this project and does mention that she could not imagine having shared this whole experience with any other make-up artist. It becomes evident throughout her blog that Elbie has become of more and more importance to Kirsty as the project has gone on. She's a wicked make-up artist as well which helps. ;D

Elbie has even been the subject of one of the series' shots and happens to be one of my favoured images from Wonderland:

Kirsty often mentions that she enjoys that she has made close friends with both Elbie and one of the regular models, Katie Hardwick working on these projects which is a part of what makes them so special.

I know that, even though I love meeting and working with new people, I too freaking love working with Rach, Ceri, Kiera etc because it's so fulfilling achieving something with your friends. :)

I'm  also lucky in the sense that all of my friends are just so bloody beautiful and talented!

Another one of my absolute favourite shots from Kirsty Mitchell is this one right here:

... and the behind the scenes shot of it!:

Kirsty Mitchell has so many beautiful images in her collection that to tell you of all my favourites and why would take hours and, frankly, if you're not already, you would soon get bored of reading all my 'rah rah rah, isn't she amazing?'...

And so here are a few more of my favourites but please visit her website and see the rest. You won't regret it...

(You may notice that most of my favourite images from Wonderland also contain the same model, Katie Hardwick, who is in most of the Wonderland series and is also bloody amazing...)

If you like what you've seen here today, here is the website where you can find more images and if you so wish, you can also read the diary entries that explain each image and Kirsty's hard work and inspiration...:

... and here is her Facebook page if you'd care to 'like' it!:

I hope you've enjoyed looking at the work of my favourite photographic artist.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

My Favourite Photographers 01: Lara Jade

So I have a few favourite photographers, naturally, and so have decided that I am going to share these with you in the hope that you take from it perhaps what sort of standard of images and ideas I hope to one day achieve rather than disowning me after seeing how epic I could never become for any want of trying...

(I lay in corners sobbing to myself regularly after checking up on what these guys have been working on lately).

I've chosen three favourites to show you for now, each already pretty well-known in their own right. In these posts you will find some of my favourite images from each and, as always, a fair few words.

I'm starting with a very talented young(er than me and it kills me) lady by the name of Lara Jade.

Lara Jade
Lara Jade is particularly influential. I'll tell you why in a moment...

The image that 'introduced' me to Lara Jade, was this one:

Many people have since tried to 'rip it off' but I remember this one as 'the girl in a birdcage' as it is known, I believe. Also a favourite of fellow photographer, Matthew Stainer.

Lara Jade was interested in photography as of the age of about 15 and started her photography company in West Midlands, England when she was just 17 working to provide images of portraits and for book publishers, etc. but moved to London to expand her knowledge. experience and opportunities I know, I know, it makes it sound so easy, it makes me sick. XD

(One of my absolutely favourite images ever and if you like this, you will love the next photographer...)

She too has a blog which, though incredibly sparse, is infinitely better than this one. I mean really. Why are you still here? Honestly. I mean, I'm so grateful but, you just need to stop wasting your time. Nothing to see here folks, show's over...

This is where you should be:

If you don't read it... despite having clearly carried on reading my blog... you'll read from about the beginning of 2010 where Lara Jade decides she's starting a fresh and working on her personal work a little more, plus arranging a few trips to New York to work on some exciting projects. At this point she doesn't realise how much of a journey it will take her on I think as she clearly falls in love with it enough to move out there in 2011!

(Another massive favourite. I ADORE this use of lighting).

She talks of the importance of social media to an artist and makes some valued points on quite how networking is one of the best mediums to get people eye-balling your work. Which is completely and utterly true.

And she is also known from the project in which she went 'head-to-head' with another young and rising photography name, Canadian 'Joey L' in a Photographer 'Shoot-Off' which, frankly, went a bit viral and resulted in an educational DVD!

The two of them go through the different ways in which they both operate and put together their images under the pretence of travelling the world with several challenges to one-up each other on.

Since then, she has pretty much become world famous as a fashion and beauty photographer and now lives over in New York as of 2011 travelling all over the world working for clients such as Elle, Goldsmiths and Harper Collins and teaching photography workshops for the undeserving lesser humans, such as myself...

N.B. Would accept very expensive Lara Jade photography workshop as future birthday gift. Just sayin'.

Basically, she fah-king amazing.

AND, to boot, she looks like this:

Some people just don't even give the rest of us a chance, do they?