Friday, 12 October 2018

is photography still moving?

Is the future of photography still moving?

let me know your thoughts

Monday, 8 October 2018

adventures in light and dark

I have to keep shooting, more often than not at the moment, with a simple Galaxy S7

It allows me freedom to breath. See -  shoot - learn.

I hope you enjoy these little brain farts, more words soon



Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Highs and lows

Sometimes, space is needed. Sometimes, space is inficlicted...

Use the space, find the answers, make the pictures.

All images = Samsung galaxy S7 & Snapseed.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Let me put you in the picture

Today’s blog maybe a little off topic, although it does directly relate to photography, and my discoveries as a photographer, educator and thinker.

Kirsty and I had a great start to the new year in our 2nd home in Liverpool! What a great place to be to start a new year!

But then you come back to perceived reality.

A few days ago I received a notification from social media, one that made me really stop and think. Apparently, I have been on Facebook 10 years… A decade! I sat and thought about that for a while. Initially, like all of my social media channels I joined them to network, to make contacts and gain freelance work. Over the years though, I, like everyone else have allowed myself to become sucked in to the cesspit of addiction, pointlessly investigation and pouring over other peoples none existent, fantasy social media lives, to the point of zombieism.

I know, I instinctively know this is ridiculous in every way, and although I have vehemently opposed and attacked the blitzkrieg that social media is and what it is really for, I too have allowed myself to become addicted to it.

Denial: Like all addicts, refusal to accept you are an addict is the instinctive reaction.

I wondered, how many hours have I wasted staring at my phone, tablet or screen? Unsurmountable is my guess.

So I performed a little self-test. I uninstalled all of the social media apps from my phone, and began to see whether I could resist the addiction of re installing them. What I did notice? For the 1st few days at least, upon unlocking my phone, I instinctively would look for the apps, and my fingers were even immediately searching for them. My fingers were drawing circles around the screen whilst my brain unscrambled and brought itself back to clear thought.

I would then face a moment’s thought on what I was doing… Should I re-install them? Should I just take a look on the web browser just in case I had missed something… I paused further, gave myself a virtual slap and proceeded to navigate to something more worthwhile, and do some reading.

Not only had I become addicted to mindless drivel, I was so addicted to the motion of opening the phone, looking for the familiar blue apps that my mind became scrambled when I couldn’t see them! Like a smoker who quits but cannot find anything to do with their fidgety fingers? 100% I was addicted, 100%.

My wife has laughed at me when I have ridiculed others for doing the exact same thing, and she was right (she usually is) I am just as bad.

I sat and pondered on my findings. I had to admit, although begrudgingly, that I had allowed myself to become over interested in the fabricated virtual lives of my ‘friends and followers’ (who am I, a messiah?) people who I would mostly never actually speak to, let alone meet, 99% of who I do not really know and some I do not care to know…

Insta - 'gram' #addiction: the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity. 


'One of the best described roles for VTA dopamine neurons is in learning about rewards. VTA dopamine neurons become activated when something good happens unexpectedly, such as the sudden availability of food. Most abused drugs cause the release of dopamine and this is thought to contribute to their addictive properties’

Newton (2009)

Social media marketers, understand how dopamine affects the human psyche, and so have ingeniously led us down this addictive, dopamine pebbled path.

We have become so addicted, we don’t even have to be holding the phone or browsing the feed. The addiction begins steps away from the actual interaction between user and phone. The mere sound or sight of a ‘like’ or any electronic ‘notification’ is enough to excite the brain into producing copious amount of dopamine, and to give you a mini fix, of which you immediately need more. How many likes will ever be enough? Lying in bed at night and the phone lights up and the dopamine kicks in…. ‘Oh it’s just spam. Dopamine leaves, and the longing to be ‘liked’ sets back in….

Here’s what having 8 million likes, follower or friends may feel like….

Once you are addicted, you can get an Insta – ‘gram’of fix each time someone you don’t know, and will never meet ‘likes’ your post, picture or ‘follows’ you, wants to add you as a ‘friend’ it is utter madness.


Damn, help! Help yourself.

The apps are gone. You can live without them.

I have decided the only way out, is complete withdrawal, cold turkey. And to be honest, I feel absolutely invigorated for doing it. I have more time to think, read, ponder, love my wife and kids, go for a walk, ride the bike, sleep and rest.
Some people have laughed at me when explain this to them. ‘As if you are not going to use social media?’ It seems everything in my peers and colleagues lives revolve around social media, and if you are not part of it, there is something wrong with you. ‘you are not in the chat group!’ Your Mirror neurons are working flat out here.

Food for thought.

'we laugh at sheep because sheep just follow the one in front. We humans have out - sheeped the sheep, because at least the sheep need a sheep dog to keep them in line. Humans keep each other in line. And they do it by ridiculing or condemning anyone who commits a crime, and that's what it's become, of being different. 

Icke (1998)

Considering the wider implications of this, I realise that the social media entrapment, the virtual cage is just one aspect of our micro imprisoned lives. Every aspect of our lives are now monitored, social media is just one tool within that. Incidentally, how many of you have actually read the terms and conditions when installing these apps, to we what level of intrusion you are allowing? These apps know this, and know that as you are addicted, you will accept anything. A lot of this Big Brother monitoring is accepted in the name of protecting us from terrorism.
Some facts and a simple thought.

'Between 2000 and 2017, 126 people have been killed in the UK in Terrorist Attacks, according to the figures from the Global terrorism Database. Although not on British soil, a further 30 British people were killed in tunisia when a gunman attacked a popular hotel among Western tourists.

Kirk (2017)

AWFUL: 156 people in 17 years, 9 per year

Some other stats

in 2013, 1,713 people were killed in reported road traffic accidents in Great Britain. Deptartment of transport: AWFUL

There were 571 homicides (Murder, Manslaughter and infanticide) in the year ending March 2016 in England and Wales. office of National Statistics: AWFUL

'bees and Wasps have caused as many deaths in the UK as Terrorism in the past decade, an independent watchdog has found'

Huffington Post (2012)

So why do we need to lose all of our freedoms to protect is from terrorism? Where is the protection from road deaths and Bee stings? you don't see an officer from the bee sting protection unit at the station, do you?

Here’s some more intrusion for you:

So you put down the apps, and decide to go for a drive, and hey! Cars now have the same tracking and monitoring technology

Take a look at what google knows about your movement.

Fridges will soon order your food

Your face will soon open the shop door and pay for your shopping

It’s all great isn’t it? All this convenience! Do you really think that this is about convenience?
Are you really so lazy? Do human beings really not want to use their legs, feet, hands, minds?

We can turn over the TV without moving, order food and clothes, toys without moving, all you have to do now is speak with your virtual assistant and boom, things get done! Fabulous!

So what is the next step? Ordering your stuff without thinking? Don’t scoff at that thought.

Amazing isn’t it? No. There is much more to know here.

A side note: Savour the cash in your pocket. Do you have any cash in your pocket? No, Ok go to the bank and draw some out! Bank says no, what do you do? How do you eat? You go on the app and pay online, the bank says no. What do you do?

Crypto currencies are a fraud, designed to get you locked in to the virtual world, where money is created out of thin air, which the ‘banks’ then charge you interest on.

Freedom does not exist.

'Normal is getting dressed in the clothes you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need to pay for the clothes, car and the house you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it'

Ellen Goodman

I read recently that the world’s prisons are overflowing. This statistic is wrong. The world is a prison, and there are 7 billion prisoners, 7 billion of us.

When you begin to look at what is really going on, and ask the question ‘what is the real agenda is here?’ you begin to realize just how deep the sinkhole goes.

Many topics and themes which on the face of it seem independent of each other, are often in fact all part of the same end game. Trans-humanism is another lock on the prison door. When you begin to join the dots, it becomes plain to see the wider implications for human freedom, or rather complete enslavement.

Freedom in the 21st Century. 

Book: Let me put you in the picture.

It has been my intension since gaining my MA degree last summer, to put my new found ways of seeing both visually and by using the written word to create a book. I have thought long and hard about the content for said book and over many months of consideration I have finally decided on a theme.

I like to consider myself a thinker, a wanderer, a dreamer. I always ask the questions which others are uncomfortable in asking. I like to discover things for myself, and to not accept the narratives handed down by generations of well-meaning repeaters.

Over the last decade or so, since I began to really examine all before me, or ‘wake up’ as many like to call it, I have researched a multitude of topics, some way out there, some everyday observances, and some everyday occurrences. I have been entirely astounded, but not surprised by much of what I have discovered.

What I find difficult is to explain these discoveries to my friends, peers and to the wider audience in conversation alone. Even though I am an educator,  and I have masses of experience in delivering information, much of what I have learned is difficult to convey in just a few words.

Having said this, to say to people 'go and read X, Y and Z' is not practical for most. To read the hundreds of thousands of words with differing themes I have in researching these topics over the last decade is an impossibility for most people.

From speaking with my friends and colleagues, and from reading myself, what is required is a platform where people can be easily introduced to these ideas, concepts and findings without information overload, or a wall of text to deter them. People are wired to respond to visual stimuli. My hope is that people will find the information, my written words complemented by my photography an excellent place to start.

So my intention is to write a research lead book, which simplifies my discoveries, and allows the reader to more easily introduced to new ideas and ways of seeing, and for them to then make informed choices on what they believe themselves. the book will include topics from everyday life, to deep and disturbing things.

The book will be my interpretation of the world, the reality which I believe that we really live in and all which that entails. I am not preaching, what you make or take from the information is your choice.  If you have time it may induce you to further research yourself, or it may just make you think.

I am hopeful of having the book produced by the autumn 2018.

Cheers all, Lance


Huffington Post (2012) As many deaths by bee stings as terrorism in the UK: [online} Last accessed 22/01/2018

Icke, D (1998) The biggest Secret. David Icke Books, Derby, UK

Newton, p (2009) What is Dopamine? [online] Available at: last accessed 22/01/2018 last accessed 22/01/2018

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

ignorance is bliss

The world is so beyond inverted it is criminal. If you really look around this is obvious.

This inversion has created extreme wealth in the face of extreme poverty. We have working families who depend on food banks, and our towns and city streets are becoming full with people in such dire straits they have no choice other then to live on the streets.

We are a extremely wealthy nation, however the majority of that wealth is kept for the 1 Percent, the elite. The other 99% of us are left with no other choice than to turn to 'charity' in our hour of need. As a nation, we are brilliant at charity, but absolutely rubbish at changing the status quo and ensuring charity is never needed. We simply accept it, like its our vocational responsibility to raise money, even though we are one of the highest taxed nations and should never be in need of charity.

I am donating a percentage of my income from all commissions, image and print sales to help with food banks and the homeless. For me these are 2 of the biggest issues we are facing as a nation. 

I do not trust charities (note I said 'charities' not charity workers) Having examined in great detail how donations are broken down and where the majority of the money donated really goes, I prefer ensure any money I may donate is actually received by the people for which it is intended. So the money and bought food will be donated locally. 

We are all only a few months without work away from being on the streets, that how the system is set up. That person in the doorway outside the department store could be you in 2 months if you are laid off, ill or the company goes bust.

Think about that, and perhaps stop walking by...

Liverpool, 2017....
Cheers, Lance 

Thursday, 9 November 2017

En Vogue

I often find that writing (like talking) is a great way to relive stress, tension and help with your mental health. 

This does of course require time, something which I rarely have. Time is a real and extremely rare commodity. 

I have found over the years that writing (Venting) about some frustrations often helps me to deal with other more real situations and stresses. 

The Fashion industry and in turn Fashion Photography frustrates the hell out of me. It is pretentious, often ludicrous and for the most part seemingly populated by upper middle-class and high-class silver spoon fed snobs (or people who have grafted to get to be an upper-class snob) 

That's most of us counted out then eh! 

As a somewhat avid engager in fashion photography, although be it not on the Vogue scale, I have tried a few times, and I did once get a lovely written reply from Alexandra Shulman, on headed note paper, hand signed the lot, thanking me for sending my portfolio and that she had kindly passed my deets on to her team.... 

I have engaged from a distance over the years, watching what the high-end fashion people do and create, and this has led me to my question today is 'Is Vogue really all that?' 

With a new editor at the helm, the erstwhile Mr Edward Enninful , Vogue magazine promised a new vision upon his command. I actually applied for his job when the fabulous Alexandra Shulman stood down, I figured if Turnip Trump can become leader of the free world then I had a shot at editor of British Vogue right!! 

Well, it didn't quite work out like that, but I can take it. I promptly congratulated Mr E on his appointment and quickly offered my services. I am still waiting for his reply, but I know he is a busy man.... 

Edward's first cover as editor is now out here, and with all of the press it has received over the last few days I thought I would take a proper look at what the new Vogue looks like, all these months of waiting, this is going to be fuckin awesome I thought!! 

I logged on to Instagram, and I was scrolling down the feed and boom.... 

At 1st to be honest I thought it was one of those fake covers you can do on an app, then I saw Edward himself has posted the image... 

So I look again, zoomed in, zoomed out, zoomed in again... 

My reaction... I've binned better test shots. I am being serious. 

image copyright Steve Meisel/ British Vogue. 

This is a cover that reveals more about ensuring you give all of your mates a job than ensuring you create something memorable, different, surprising and a cover you will look back in in 20 years and go, wow he/we/ they got it right. 

Of course, all of those involved and all of their mates love it, the whole of Instagram has been a total love fest. I have been itching for some honest soul to say, actually wft is this.... but no, no one has yet had the balls... 

Over the me then... 

This is nothing personal (it is just my opinion) there are clearly some exceptionally talented people involved here, but this reads to me like when everyone daren't tell the boss that everyone thinks it's shit, so they carry on nodding and grinning like good sheep.... 

The cover features a photograph of British/ Ghanaian model Adwoa Aboa (the model of the moment, apparently) 

As I examine this image, I am beginning to critique it. I am asking how does it make me feel, does it talk to me, does it do what Edward and his team wanted it to do? For this exercise I will Imagine that I am describing this image and cover to someone who is blind, a literal critique of you like. 

This is a magazine cover, British vogue, with the big Vogue type face in red across the top, with the words 'Great Britain' in the same font big and bold in white, to the bottom right corner, which actually takes up around 20% of the page. To the centre left from top to bottom is a list of no less than 21 celebrity names, people involved or featured in this issue, the font is quite British in style and a mixture of black and red, and quite difficult to read. 

The cover image is set on a white background depicts a mixed-race female model in her mid 20's. The image is a close crop of head and shoulders, with part of the models left shoulder and left side of her head off the page. Her face and shoulders, which are quite pale and milky in tone and which are bare to the elements with her head and hair wrapped in a coloured patterned head scarf, one of which Hilda Ogden herself would have been proud. This is complemented by some sort of matching shall? The strategic positioning to the right of the page allows her long neck and thin face to peer in to the page. This is a nicely lit shot, subtle shadows to the models right with minimal reflection on the right cheek giving a nice amount of separation from the white backdrop. The blue metallic eye shadow compliments the fierce eye contact, yet somehow fades out in a clumsy way, like a hasty retouch or poor application. The models faint eyebrows provide little in the way of separation between the eyes and the forehead, but I quite like that. The model's brown eyes tone down the overall blast of colour from the clear incorporation the British theme of red white and blue, but it seems to me that it was more important to get those colours in the image rather than asking should they use those colours at all? Her large red lips heavily accent the centre of the image, the strobe lights seem to bleach and heavily highlight the lips in places. 

Large silver earrings which look something akin to what Danny John Jules alter ego the Cat in Red Dwarf would adore (Fish!!!) the right-hand side one partially hidden behind the models face which clumsily peaks out from behind the model's slim cheek bone, and appears a little washed out by the lights. The earrings completely distract me from the models face. They spoil the image. 

Overall this image, although nice does not jump of the page and cream 'Great Britain' to me. It is a rather flat, nice, unassuming image, more like something from a travel catalogue, or Littlewoods latest billboard than the front page of the most famous fashion magazine in the world. Furthermore, the image is a headshot, which I guess in itself is a bold move as opposed to the regular ¾ or full-length fashion covers. But the image doesn’t work, it is awkward, almost as if they had to find an image that best fitted around all of the fonts and the list of contributors. 

The layout of the cover is ugly and lopsided. (Not the model I may add)

I am left to ponder is this image then anything special? Is it something we haven't seen a million times before? I would argue no, it is not. It looks like the kind of image you create will a create team when you are testing ideas and concepts. it feels as though it is not complete. It does not speak to me how Edward would like it too. 

For me, there are a million better ways for the team at Vogue to represent Great Britain! They could have used the same team, but perhaps pushed the boundaries at least a little. 

I expected something wow, controversial, memorable, what I got was, oh, erm, right.... 

Another massive disappointment for me is the choice of Photographer. Yes, Steve Mesiel is hailed as one of the modern fashion greats, and although this is a competent image, it is a little easy and not one of his best technically or creatively. From what I have seen of the rest of the set, they fair no better, save for the black and whites which are more heavily shadowed and edited. 

Considering this cover pretends to celebrate all that is British, I do wonder why an American Photographer was selected to shoot the set, as there are dozens of us British fuckers out here who are extremely capable of pulling of something much, much more... 

So, I am back where I began, wondering if Vogue is all that? 

It seems to me it is not really about being great, or creative, or a genius, or a boundary breaker. It appears that it is more about who you are and who you know. Getting your mates round and playing at fashion and photography, and just happening to have a massive outlet for what you create. 

Simply reading the list of this month's contributors and features tells you this, without even looking at the content. 

The chances of the likes of us working class hero's being invited to add something fresh to this faux fashion mix is about as likely as the Metropolitan police actually investigating Paedophile rings in Westminster, or Jeremy Corbin actually being any different to his predecessors. 

This is Edwards 1st issue, let us see where this goes. He has commissioned great work preciously W mag and who knows the next issue may begin to break the boundaries. Edward has promised to rid Vogue of its posh girl reputation, so let us hope he extends this to its contributors... 

My answer to my original questions: Given all of this, right now my conclusion is no, Vogue is not all that. 

But what do I know? I didn’t get his job and Mr E and his team don't answer my e mails... :)

Here's a few of my favourite 'fashion' and cover images I have created. In comparison to this Vogue cover, I know this work would be massively out of place, but perhaps that is my point? 


cheers all , Lance 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

You cant polish a turd

Image is not mine, couldn't find the author

I hear it often ‘Photoshop editing is trickery and Photographers should be able to do it all in camera’ Mostly these are people who have a fear of technology, of embracing digital image editing, or a general misunderstanding of photography.

This is of course all Bull! Editing or manipulation are not cheating! They are an essential element of photographic image making and have been an integral component of photography since its inception.

Imagine an artist sketches an outline for a painting, and then colours it in, does that make the artist a cheat? No, it is simply part of their process in producing their final piece. Photography is no different. Photography has nothing to do with the cameras, the camera is a facilitator of control of light, nothing more, nothing less.

Anyone who does not process their digital images, is not paying attention to what they are actually creating. Digital images are a load of dog shit straight out of the camera, and that is a fact, an absolute.

If you shoot film, you have to process the negatives correctly. Without processing them, you simply have a no negative. If you process them badly you will have a shit negative, and then you can only ever make a shit print.

Digital photography is no different. Your RAW file is your negative, and Photoshop is your developer and your darkroom.

Get over this purist bullshit and embrace the digital darkroom, it is an essential element of photography. Once you do that your imagery will begin to excel.

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Now as with traditional photography, there are good ways and bad ways of creating an image. In the case of digital photography we are making a digital image for digital display, and also preparing digital image to be printed on paper.
My basic workshop is specifically designed to enable you to understand how to process your RAW file correctly, being careful to avoid any over processing. I teach you how to have 100% confidence in the processes you will learn, and more importantly be able to repeat these processes.  

There is no wanging about of sliders, no assuming the exposure is correct, no trusting the monitor, no sliding buttons about until we think the image looks cool!

Everything I teach gives you precise, 100% control in all of the elements of your image processing. We trust in Maths.

We do not 'Wang' sliders around in hope like this...

The beginner workshops give a gentle introduction to the basics, the terminology and the why’s. This will allow you to begin to understand the importance of correct image editing. It will also give you an insight into correctly editing your image for use on any display, and how to correctly prepare your file for print.

The Advanced Digital image editing and manipulation workshops follow on from the basic introduction to image editing workshop. This more advanced workshop allows you to explore the unlimited possibilities of digital image editing and manipulation.

The Fabulous Molly McCarthy with hair by NJUK. 

Remembering you are a photographer, my workshops introduce you to the tools and techniques which will enable you to push the creative boundaries of your photographic practice.

To enable you to fully understand and comprehend digital image editing, you must first consider what the hell you are photographing!

Having a definite view of what you want your final image to be is everything. You should understand the limitations for your camera & lens, and have in mind the processes you will need to perform to create the final image. It is not good practice to wang sliders about and trust a poorly lit and none calibrated screen to judge that your image will look amazing wherever it is see. Guess work is for amateurs.
I teach you the skills which will enable you to how to get to this final image, quickly and precisely. Importantly you will be able to repeat the process, thus enabling good workflow and to ensure that your entire catalogue of images retain excellent quality and high standards throughout.

I often find that inexperienced photographers (we’ve all been there) are not aware of the possibilities within photographic image making, and only when they learn these editing skills do they truly begin to explore their true creativity and become awesome photographers.

Museum of Liverpool

Deal with it.

Every single digital image you see is edited. They are supposed to be. If you believe you can reproduce an awesome image you have seen in camera, you are kidding yourself. All the top photographers out there edit and or retouch their work (Or farm it out to a firm that is another conversation)

So embrace editing!

Having said that, we are photographers, not poster designers!

Any manipulation of your work should be carried out to make your images, photographically the best they can be, because you are a photographer. Although it may be brilliant to Photoshop your horse onto a cloud with rainbows and fairies, it is not going to make your images excellent, or respected. So we avoid that here.

The oft told fallacy… Being excellent at Photoshop makes you a better photographer.

No it doesn’t!

Becoming an excellent editor will make you an excellent editor. If however your original images are dog shit, no amount of turd polishing is going to change that!

Dates for my upcoming workshop are here WORKSHOPS

Any questions feel free to give me a shout

Keep on trucking folks, cheers