Vice Squad At My Door

IMG_2588Ok so not quite as it sounds and you could be forgiven for thinking, ‘he’s finally been rumbled’, what with these beautiful models strutting their stuff here on a regular basis.

If you’ve been paying attention to my blog, yes both of you! Then you’ll know that I’m waiting on some pretty cool items to arrive in the post. When I heard the doorbell yesterday I was momentarily excited, and then thought, no wait, this will be the Postie trying to offload a neighbours parcel again.

Incidentally, I’m of an age where Postmen, ( I don’t ever recall there being Postwomen) used to arrive before you went to work in the morning. I’m still not used to getting a knock at the door and post stuffed though my letterbox at 2 in the afternoon. By 2pm I’ve already been at the desk for around 6 hours and in no rush to answer the door for someone else’s Amazon order.

IMG_2587Yesterday was different, yesterday was the day Vice Squad came knocking. Vice Squad is an English punk rock band formed in 1979 in Bristol and founded by songwriter and vocalist Beki Bondage. Now, a promo photo of Beki was blue tacked to my wall as a teenager alongside the likes of The Sex Pistols and The Clash.

Skip forward to a couple of months back and it turns out an old friend of mine, drummer Peter Munro formerly of The Bombjacks now drums for Vice Squad. Long story short (ish) Peter calls me up and asks if I fancy meeting up. Vice Squad will be playing Cardiff. Of course I want to meet up but I ask, is Beki still singing? She was, so it was time to dig out that old promo photo that I’d held dear for over 30 years and see if I could meet the lady herself.

They say you should never meet your idols, but mine have all turned out to be really cool, and I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of them. Finally meeting Beki felt like coming full circle in my life. It was dotting the I and crossing the T all at once. She was cool as fuck and rocked that stage just as she had during my teens. Not only did she sign my photo, she asked if I’d mind her adding a gigantic penis to her thigh, and why not!

IMG_2586

To top of what was a fantastic night, yesterdays Postman delivered a surprise package from Peter, a pair of his signature drumsticks used at Rebellion Festival.

Sometimes it’s within our power to do simple things for people that mean so much.

Thank you Peter, forever grateful…see you soon my friend.

 

Advertisements

Tattoo Spirit Issue 95 Front Cover

001_TS31_DeckblattWhen you’re burning the candle at both ends it’s inevitable that a little down time will follow. It wasn’t so much that I planned it, more that my body insisted by falling asleep at any opportune moment during the course of the weekend. As much as I tried to fight it at the time, it proved to be a losing battle.

The dark circles around my eyes still linger as a reminder of the week that was, and given the work that lies ahead I don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon. As this knackered old bus heads full speed towards the wreckage that is the Xmas holidays there’s no time to get off during what is looking like becoming one of the busiest periods of the year.

Producing a book is so intense, at least the way I go about it is, but it’s so rewarding. It’s like going on tour with a great lineup of bands and a bunch of old friends you haven’t seen in a while, you’re consumed within the bubble. The world may well keep on spinning but you’re unaware of it. I loved being on tour and while the bubble may burst and the downtime brings you back to earth with a thump,  I’ve recognised it’s important for me to plan ahead this time.  What I’m trying to say is, I don’t intend to wait 3 fucking years to get back on the road.

Whilst I was in my bubble the latest issue of Tattoo Spirit came knocking. It features covergirl Ali Vix and is my 24th cover in a row for one of Germany’s most popular tattoo magazines.

If you’d like to be considered for a front cover on one the various top notch magazines I shoot for, or you’re interested in becoming a part of the next book project. Drop me an email for the tour schedule and lets get this show back on the road…

Books, Beer and Broken Dreams

BulletblogWe made it! The book is complete and soaring its way through digital cloud space like a glorious albatross to a faraway land.

I say we, these things are always a team effort. I may well have been steering the ship but I was fortunate enough to have a supportive crew and a navigator at my side,  and that’s the only way I could have reached the destination.

There was a real case of deja vu in producing this book. Just like last time, (3 years ago in fact) The Ed said something that clicked, I don’t even recall what it was but probably along the lines of, “its about time you got that fucking book sorted”, followed by “DO IT, DO IT, DO IT” thats usually how it works.

Timing is everything and with a little juggling a break opened in the calendar, enough time to get the dirty deed done.image2 2

I knew I’d put it off for far too long but after the first book was put to bed, in the back of my head was the thought, “How the fuck did you do that”. I really didn’t think it was something I could repeat.

The daunting task of wading through thousands of photos trying to find a few diamonds in the dirt worthy of publication is a fault of my own making. But it’s the only way I can face making a book.

Lock myself away in a room for a few days with a few beers and focus on the task from start to finish. It’s not a rush job, far from it. Ask those involved and you’ll understand how important it is to me to get it right. I’ll literally work at it 24/7 to hit a self imposed deadline, and a couple of times that was almost the case.

image1 2Pretty much every model I shoot with has dreams and aspirations to appear in print, and I’m fortunate that almost every one of them is worthy of that.  However at some point in the process a cull must happen. It’s never an easy decision and being the dream breaker can be a bummer but in this world of critics theres no room for padding.

Every book must have a beginning, a middle and an end, and a pictorial is no different.

My only regret is there isn’t a cat eating peanut butter at the end of this one…

Working Like A Dog All Night

 

SCPAAAsmIn true never say never again fashion I’m publishing another book.

IntoXicated, (the first book),  was well received and importantly, it allowed me to draw a line under a period of work that I have no intention of revisiting any time soon.

Resigned to a couple of hard drives lurking out of sight at the back of the desk  and filed under “job done”, for all I care it can sit there until hard drives are no longer capable of being plugged in.

Four days and nights in and I’m already reminded of why I never released a second book in quick succession This editing/publishing lark has the ability to fry your brain, yet somehow it’s rewarding. Once you’re head is in the right place, there’s no point in stopping until your body gives up and you wake in a rum soaked T-shirt and an imprint of the keyboard on your cheek ready to start again.

Thats how it works for me anyway so I guess it’s lucky I don’t work in an office with other folk.

The self imposed deadline for my latest offering is looming. Thankfully Mr.Smith Author and Editor of Skin Deep magazine has been on hand again to keep things flowing as they should. Like last time, he’ll be providing the ‘Foreword’ after all, no one else knows just how much effort goes into doing not only this, but what we do on the cover of his magazine month on month.

Whilst I’m on the subject of book publishing, Mr. Smith also has a new book out. It doesn’t contain pictures of tattooed ladies standing around in their pants but it is a bloody good read. So good in fact that I’ve reserved my hardback version of the softback I already own. Family of Noise is one of my all time favourite books and you can own it, and others by going here.

Skin Deep Issue 294 Front Cover

SD294Finding beautiful ink on beautiful people is time consuming and not as simple as you might think, especially when you have a cover to fulfil.

Tiptoeing  through the murky waters of social media fills me with dread whenever I have to do a little model research, a necessary evil that goes with the job.

Due to a professional, tried and tested process of elimination we’ve managed to raise the bar again with the recent influx of models. The result of which means there’s been an increase in the number of great shots available to the publishers. Good for business? yes, but on the flip side an increased time at the desk, and so the process of elimination starts all over again.

When I’m not shooting I find myself doing two shifts, the day shift, and the night shift.  during the day I mostly take care of business, email, invoicing, and image file management. For years I’ve grappled with not being inspired during the day, sometimes I can look through hundreds of photos and feel nothing. It can be tormenting, wondering how I got it all so wrong. I’ve gotten used to not fighting it, walking away and coming back to it during the night when I’m in a different head space.

On shoot days I like to work in a studio thats as dark as possible, not only does it allow me precise control of the lighting but it has the effect of putting me into night mode. I’ll have a drink, relax and clear my head before a model sets foot through the door.

I try to grab a few hours in the evening to relax, kick back with a beer or two, binge on Netflix, or flick through YouTube. Then around the witching hour it’s like something in my head switches into creative mode and I’ll head back to the desk, put my headphones on and begin editing in the dark.

I’ve never had an abundance of energy, I’m in a constant state of groggy. ‘power naps’ arn’t scheduled, they happen when they happen and there’s been plenty of times when I’ve woken up at the desk.  According to my apps, 2-3 hours sleep a night appears to be my average but I’ve learnt to live with it.

I’m not complaining, I still love what I do, the agony of true creativity has no place for an ego, it slaps you across the face with criticism at every step of the process, it’s a cruel mistress. Everything I’ve done photographically, is logged or boxed and collecting dust. My attic, if I care to look, is a constant reminder of what I’ve done for the past 24 years, there are no photos on my walls, and fewer exist of me, this journey isn’t about me, it’s about making other peoples dreams come true, when that’s done, I’ve already airbrushed the next ego to present itself to the world.

I’ll put my heart and soul into a project until its out there, by then I’ve beat myself up enough about it.

Enjoy, Skin Deep Magazine Issue 294, covergirl is Kym Williams… it’s time I got back to work.

Mixing Business & Pleasure

image1_2

For the past two decades I guess I’ve been pretty fortunate that I get to do something I enjoy to make a living. I’ve had other jobs so I know it can get a whole lot worse out there. They say you should never mix business with pleasure but there genuinely are some careers that allow just that. When I was shooting motorsport or bands on tour, it was the perfect combination.

We live in a time when almost everyone carries a camera, whether that’s on your phone, or an SLR. The thing is, does that make everyone a photographer? The lines have become so blurred these days thats become a difficult question to answer. I mean, I own a toolbox and a set of spanners but I wouldn’t consider myself a mechanic. I also own a pen and a keyboard but I’m certainly no writer, this post won’t win an literary awards.

Lets consider Instagram, so many times I see individuals announcing,  “Internationally Published Photographer”. Surely if you post on any social media, you’re publishing, it’s available to the world, which effectively makes you ‘Internationally Published’. Or does it?

In recent days, several ‘Photographers’ have been outted online by models as sexual predators. That can only be a good thing. Social media being what it is the whole world and their dogs have jumped on the opinion wagon with their comments. I’ve been asked for mine and whilst I’ve always advocated publicly that models should do their research, follow up references etc, I’m elaborating a little more here rather than fan the flames on social media. It’s important that these things are kept in perspective and don’t become a witch hunt. They say theres no smoke without fire but you can’t argue with the flames posted recently.

It’s not my place to name names, or comment on the individuals, thats best left to those involved but having read plenty of articles over the years on what is a serious issue, and having spent almost a decade shooting models, I think I have some points worth mentioning.

Firstly, models, when you first make contact with a photographer regarding booking a shoot, don’t start it off with “Hi Hun”, you wouldn’t believe how many times this happens. Darling, Babe, I’ve been called them all and you have no idea how tempting it is to throw those messages straight in the trash. Hi, or Hi Scott will do just fine, thank you.

Don’t get me wrong, We’re on the subject of dodgy photographers here, I’m not blaming models for the way they often send messages, I’m saying, lets keep it pro on both sides so there can be no misunderstanding right from the getgo. ‘Hi Hun’ has always  gone right over my head, as does an ‘X’ at the end of every line, I can accept it as just being friendly, what I’m saying is, not everyone will interpret it that way.

I read a post recently that said something along the lines of  “it’s disgusting that he’s abusing his position within the industry”. What position? Instagram photographers positions are perceived differently depending on who’s viewing the images, and what industry exactly? The industry of taking photos for social media? The ‘photographers’ in question arn’t actively involved in any industry that I’m aware of outside of social media. That “industry” if it exists at all has never made any sense to me. I suppose if you’re in the market of paying for images for your social media then, yes, perhaps there’s an industry. If it’s just two people coming together to collaborate is that just a hobby, or an industry, whatever, does it mean either party shouldn’t behave professionally regardless.

Whilst I rarely ever make public comment, like it or not, part of my work involves me keeping my ear to the ground. I need to know who to book, who’s new, models and photographers. Keeping half a good eye on the competition just makes good business sense. It’s not something to waste too much energy on but it needs doing.

Theres a term that I learnt, from models, a few years back. ‘GWC’ Guys With Cameras, I should at least be grateful that the term exists and that it apparently differentiates between ‘Photographers’ (pro or amateur), and……well, Guys With Cameras. The problem that exists is that many people find it hard to spot the differences until it’s too late and sadly, many more, just don’t care as long as they have new photos of themselves.

A sure fire way to spot a GWC might be the way the individual responds to your “Hey Hun” enquiry. From the screenshots posted recently, alarm bells should be ringing at that point. It doesn’t matter if the photographer is an amateur, if genuinely interested in photography, he/she will still have a professional approach.

Next up, check out their online portfolios, personally I can spot them a mile off, they usually use a bunch of washed out filters and re-create the same shot using the same props, bedroom, bath, or hot tub, over and over again with every model that walks through the door. Now we all love a bit of natural light photography, but I can’t help but find it a little coincidental that theres been a recent influx of ‘Photographers’ who on the face of it, have no clue how to balance natural light, let alone studio equipment.

So, regardless of all I’ve written above, it still comes down to, ‘Do your Research’, not only should you follow up references and ask other models about their experiences, you really should get into the habit of looking at the photos in the portfolios, I mean really looking. Not just booking a photographer because another model did.  Do you really want to sell your soul re-creating the same shot someone else did just for a few likes on social media? Is this person really “Internationally Published” or did they actually give some shots to a free online magazine, are they embellishing the truth.

I realise photography is subjective, we all see things differently, and we’re all looking to get something different out of it, that’s part of the beauty. But there are people out there using a camera for nefarious purposes, I believe these people might well have behaved this way whatever their chosen equipment, they could just as easily have become the plumber who came to fix your shower, then talked you into trying it out before they left.

Choose wisely and be careful out there…

Models, Please see my references here

Tattoo Scout Issue 67 Front Cover

001_Scout03_DeckblattI do a lot of procrastinating in my office, thats hardly surprising given that it has a well stocked bar, a dart board, games machine and Apple Music & TV. With so many distractions I sometimes wonder how I get any work done at all.

In fairness, I get most of my best work done sometime after midnight.

Just the other day I checked in on the Health app on my phone, the stats were revealing. So far this year my in bed average is 3hrs 39mins, with daily average steps of 4,901.

So, what did I learn from this?

Well, I won’t be checking the Health app again anytime soon thats for sure, I’ve also moved the drinks fridge to another room so I at least have to put in some effort to get a cold beer. Small steps n all that…

As if I need to prove I got some work done, here’s my latest cover featuring Sammie Howe.

Models interested in working with me, please email me at scottcolephoto@gmail.com