Travails with my camera


Taser Photography (Possibly NSFW)

Some stunning reaction shots here, beautifully lit in a studio. Wonder how he talked people into it.


Riverside Studios Photography Documentary Night

Last night I got the chance to see two fantastic photography documentaries at the Riverside Studios cinema in Hammersmith.

The Mexican Suitcase

For years the International Centre of Photography knew that a box of negatives had escaped from the Spanish Civil War. The box contained the negatives of legendary photojournalists Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour and Gerda Taro.

This film investigates the story of the losing Republican soldiers, their escape from Franco and their move to Mexico.

Some stunning B&W Phootjournalism is on display.

Finding Vivian Maier

This is a film about a young man who bought a box of 150,000 negatives. The images turn out to be amongst the best American street photography ever seen.

Maier, a dark, highly introverted character took some fantastic photos, including the first Selfies – taken with a Rolleiflex

Well worth seeing out.

Raindance – The Patrol

The first feature film about the 4th Anglo-Afghan war.  I thought this would be my film of the year.  Beautifully shot in the high Sahara of Morocco.   Brilliantly acted with some outstanding performances from a young British cast.  The portrayal of a Taliban ambush and the soldiers heroic defence was brilliant.  It really caught the terror and emotions they felt.

Technically good, shot well, lit well.  Loved the creative use of depth of field and chiaroscuro to really highlight the characters.

But, what was that ending? The story was brilliant and then the ending ruined it.  Tommy Atkins is many things but the cowardice portrayed was unforgiveable.   A full patrol in mutiny? A story ruined.

Raindance – Love, Honour, Obey


So, earlier this year, in an attempt to learn a bit more about low budget, non-live video production I took up a Raindance Saturday Film School offer from Groupon. It was great. The owner was a revelation and he told us a story of a film he was going to make.

He’d received a script from a Raindance member who was a bit reclusive.  He loved the script so gave it to a director he knew, Ate de Jong.  They funded the movie via Indiegogo, found some actors, borrowed a location and filmed it.

I’ve since taken their technical certificate which was great – even if it did lead to an argument about the validity of part of the UK DPP spec (the bit I helped write).

So tonight the Raindance Raw Talent movie premiered at the Festival in Leicester Square.  It’s a dark, psychological thriller set in suburbia.  It’s written well, acted superbly and directed well.  It keeps you guessing as to the psychological state of the main characters. As with all good low-budget movies, it was written with a small cast in only one location. The budget was obviously used on good acting (and a visit to a sex shop for a nurses costume).

Technically, it looked like it was shot on an Alexa, C300 or similar.  I only had 2 slight complaints – the slow mo was shot at 24 fps and frame doubled. This caused judder and jarred. Needs motion compensated frame insertion or to be shot off speed. One scene, rather than shooting under lights and dropping the levels in post, it’s shot in a dark room. The result is noise. (I will admit that I’m probably the only punter in he cinema to notice the heightened noise floor).

Well worth a watch but be warned, it covers some challenging topics.