Almost there. If you’ve stuck with it for this long, congratulations and thank you for reading through my aimless brain farts.
#5: The one with the life-size Dinky toy
The summer of 2018 will be remembered for one thing: it was hot. Swelteringly hot.
Which is great for an automobile photographer like me, who gets to top up his tan while working. But occasionally this year, the blazing sun became unbearable.
I was shooting an event at the British Motor Museum in June, when the heat just got too much. I needed a respite and nipped into the cool of the museum. While I was in there, I absent-mindedly fired off a few frames, more from habit than anything.
This is one of the shots I took. And I love it.
The thing, for me, that really makes this shot is the man. Normally I’d wait for everyone to move out of shot unless they’re a specific part of the image I’m trying to create. But I’m glad I left him in; he adds a strange perspective – is he tiny or is the toy huge?
#4: The one I thought was my first front cover
When The Automobile magazine tasked me with photographing King George VI’s Daimler for a feature, they suggested that maybe – just maybe – the feature would make the cover, and that I should bear that in mind while shooting.
At that point, I’d never graced the front cover of a magazine, so my mind was racing at every location: ‘Find a cover shot! Find a cover shot!’ I mentioned this to the owner of the car, and it became our mantra for the day. Bordering on obsession.
We spent the morning shooting in the beautiful village of Hambleden, which has been the setting for dozens of movies, from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Sleepy Hollow. Hey, if it’s good enough for Hollywood, it’s good enough for me.
I found this quiet little alley and started to shoot. Through my viewfinder, it looked amazing. I turned to the owner. ‘This is it’, I beamed, ‘we’ve got our front cover.’
But although the car did make the front cover of the mag – see number 15 – this shot wasn’t the one chosen. It didn’t even make it into the mag. Which just shows what I know!
Another (moderately) interesting feature of this image is that right in the back of the shot, in front of the cottage window, you can just about make out the outstretched arm and walking stick of an old lady. I patiently waited for her to slowly make her way up the road with my best hello-how-are-you smile, and then got a right earful for blocking the street.
#3: The one that teaches you to know your place
Another image that tells a little micro-story.
I won’t labour the point, as I think it’s pretty self-explanatory – as soon as you see the image, you understand what’s being said.
Is it the best ‘story within a photograph’ that I’ve taken this year? There are two more images to go…
#2: The one that made me change my business cards
This is a very special image to me. It represents my first ever feature shoot, the culmination of everything I’ve been working towards since I picked up a camera again in 2016, after a crappy few years had kind of sucked me dry of ambition.
Having never photographed a feature before, I was very much flying by the seat of my pants, but by early afternoon I was properly ‘in the zone’ and relying on my instinct and experience as a creative director to guide the shoot.
However, you’re never really sure what you’ve got until you slide the memory card into your computer, so it was a relief to see that everything had turned out as I intended.
And this is my favourite shot of the day: quaint, picturesque and evocative of Merrie Olde England in the 1920s. It was used as the lead image in the magazine and received some very positive comments from some of the other contributors, whose opinion I respect enormously.
After seeing my first feature on the shelves of WHSmith, I felt I could truly call myself an Automotive Photographer, and new business cards were duly ordered.
And that’s my round-up of 2018, I hope you liked… oh, hang on. There’s one more place to fill. Perhaps it deserves its own post.