After being away from Manchester for around 2 years, I have started to miss it. What I once thought was a shit hole, has now started to feel like home. Japan is very clean and convenient, but it still lacks nostalgia. Over the past few days I have chosen a selection of prints that mean a lot to me personally and will create equally nostalgic feeling for other Mancunian people.
The prints were under-developed to create the washed out look which I think best fits Manchester. I think a fitting title for this series is ‘The North West’.
I apologise if my writing sounds pretentious or pompous, but I find it hard to sound educated without sounding like a twat sometimes.
I have recently found a convenient way to make contact sheets without using any paper or costly materials. Here is all you need.
• negative • light box • digital camera • tripod • Photoshop
First, set up your tripod to look directly over your light box, and make sure all of the light box fills the frame. I recommend that you use a 50m lens for full frame cameras and about a 75mm for cameras with a 1.6 cropped sensor. I also recommend that you shoot high quality camera raw, and for colour negative, adjust the white balance so the negative is less orange.
After this, make a few test shots to see what exposure your negatives look good at. Once you have found a middle ground exposure, set your camera to about 1.5 stop bracketing (this will give 3 images at various exposures and will let you see any under or over exposed images.)
Once you have set up, make sure you turn any ambient light sources off and start shooting. It took me about an hour to photograph 130 negatives. Once you have finished, transfer your images to your computer and open them up in Photoshop. There are many ways to work quickly in Photoshop, such as using ‘actions’ or even running a script to automatically invert and save your images as TIFFs. I won’t go too into detail about it, so all you have to know is you must now invert your images and save them out to TIFF.
Congratulations, you can now see all your negatives on your computer……but that’s not the end of it. I have found that camera raw is a very good program to use for cropping and adding subtle alterations using curves. The best thing is that you can copy and paste development settings, so you only have to edit one of your bracketed images for each image. You can then just copy and paste the settings. Colour negative is a little trickier, and will never deliver the true colour of what a print would look like. Still it is useful to get an idea of composition and a rough look at the colours. I recommend changing the colour temperature in camera raw.
Once you have adjusted and cropped all your images, simply export them as jpegs and upload them to any tablet device. You can now check what prints you want to print whilst on the move. Having your contacts on your computer also enables you to experiment with cropping and contrast, giving you a fast and flexible look at what your print could look like. Obviously a real contact print is much better quality and truer to an actual print, but I still think this method will save you money and time.
• Set up your tripod over your light box
• Alter your camera settings and turn on bracketing
• Shoot photos and upload them
• Invert your images in Photoshop and save them as TIFF
• Alter levels / convert to B&W / alter colour temperature.
• Export your images as Jpegs and upload them to your device.
This is a small portrait of Taiwan which was taken about 15 months ago. Although brief, I think it conveys Taiwan quite well as a beautiful and relaxed country. The places I visited and the people who I encountered were very warm and down to earth. I would very much like to go back there someday.
‘Tokyo’ is series I made from my first visit to Japan. Mainly shot around the busiest districts of Tokyo, the series could be interpreted as a typical view of Tokyo from western eyes. The reality is that the ‘real’ Tokyo is a lot different, and the only way to understand it, is to visit it.
‘English Moments’ is my interpretation of the streets of Manchester, England. I have lived in the north west of Manchester for most of my life, and although some of the images are somewhat negative, they are what ‘home’ means to me.
This is a short series I did in Tokyo called ‘Dancing stranger’. The first three are shot with black and white negative and the rest are digital. I like all of the photos, but I think the first three seem to be stronger.