Sublunary - Alien Invasion of Planet Earth

by Paul Hands in ,


Fine Art Photography meets Visual Stories

Sublunary - Part 2

As a professional photographer, Father to the most beautiful little toddler in the world and Husband to an equally beautiful Mother; I find it difficult to get out and make personal work.

In 2017, I graduated from University with a High 2:1 in a BA Hons in Photography & Video degree at De Montfort University, where the idea for this project was born.  I began with a long period of time in the library, scouring art books and photographic archives, learning about who, what where, when, why and how specific bodies of work was made.

Surprisingly, I came across some painters and other Fine Art Photographers that worked in similar fields to my research.  One in particular that sticks out in my mind was Photographer Erasmus Schroeter and Painter Max Ernst.

Erasmus Schroeter (2005).

Max Ernst, (N.D.)

I was also heavily inspired by my lecturer (Kosovan) Lala Meredith-Vula who is a contemporary fine art photographer with international recognition.  Lala's ideas about my work and how to get the best out of me was first class and Lala's self confessed crazy mind was a perfect match for the project I had stuck in my head.  She knew just how to get me excited about my own work.

 Lala Meredith-Vula

Lala Meredith-Vula

 Lala Meredith-Vula (N.D.)

Lala Meredith-Vula (N.D.)

So the body of work for Sublunary began.  I created a series of landscape photographs that followed the narrative of an imaginary alien invasion of the planet Earth.  A tall order you might think?  I just needed the right level of inspiration and a camera.  At the end of creating the work for my degree, I put it all together in a short movie with a spooky sound track that I created myself.  You can watch that below.

I'm now about to embark on a much longer journey that will see me creating a whole new body of work for Sublunary Part 2.  I'll be using my experiences from the first part of the project and will be digging deeper in to my imagination.

Here's a sneaky peek at my first experiment for part 2...

Paul Hands (2018), The Mute.

This is called 'The Mute' and features a landscape photograph that has been manipulated in camera by myself.  I added the red light using the brake lights on my car and chose this location for the crazy tree that could be morphed in to any kind of other worldly creature.  The reverse side of the road sign represents having nothing to say, to be muted and to be stunned by the experience of an alien invasion.  You will see that I've also added a strange shaped metal frame on the right.  This represents an alien being and is the shape of a large humanoid or key hole.  It is hollow and appears invisible with the exception of the outer edges.

The scene is lit like a stage as if the play is being carried out and has undertones of humour, not to be taken seriously.  It's a project that I can literally play and have fun with.  I have a list of locations, that I've been building, so you can watch to see how this develops.

De Montfort University bought the first 5 prints of this project and hold them in their permanent art collection on campus.  You can also read more about this project here.

If you'd like to follow my work then you can subscribe to my emails (below) or follow my social media channels.


Where's the privacy line in Street Photography?

by Paul Hands in , ,


Can you cross a line when shooting street and is there an invasion of privacy?

 Man in the Painted Mirror (Hands, Paul. Paris, 2013).

Man in the Painted Mirror (Hands, Paul. Paris, 2013).

In the name of art and the right to record in public places, is the picture that I created in 2013 (above) morally right to create?  The laws in France do not allow people to make photographs of other people in public without their permission, yet some of the greatest photographers from the history books including Eugéne Atget, documented the Parisian streets but long before the laws were changed.

The high court judges altered the privacy laws in France, making it illegal to take a picture of somebody in public unless you have their express permission.  Prior to these changes, some of the most famous photographers in the world like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau worked the streets, making pictures that would go on to influence the world and especially photographers interested in the genre of street photography.  Now today's photographers are strangled with red tape in France and have no chance to even emulate their heroes, that time has gone!

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1932, France).

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1932, France).

 Robert Doisneau (1931, France).

Robert Doisneau (1931, France).

In todays current climate, each of the three pictures from Bresson and Doisneau would be deemed illegal and wouldn't be allowed to be created.  Publishing them on social media and or in print would also be illegal.

In Britain, the laws are an opposing reflection of those in France, whereby you can make a picture of anybody and anything, as long as you're stood on public land.  The laws is so relaxed purposefully to allow room for realistic journalism.  If the laws became alike those in France, a new culture of suing photographers would arise and a realistic view of our world would disappear and you'd only see designed pictures with heavy influence from the photographer, giving a false view.

Recently, I practiced some Street Photography in my home town of Hinckley in the Leicestershire county of the UK.  I feel that my best work has always been in different cities around the world where I'm unknown.  The first image in this article was made by me in Paris and is completely against the French laws of privacy.  If the man in the picture ever discovers this photograph, it could land me in a little trouble.  

However, my home town Hinckley is not as busy as Paris and a lot of people know each other, the community is tighter than that of a city and it makes it harder for me to practice my love for this genre.  I have been out and made some pictures, not all good and some only close to ok because it's the hardest form of photography I know of.

I created the above pictures in the town centre with my iPhone and then shared them on my social media page for a social documentary that I've been building for the past 7 years.  The body of work is huge and covers the people, events and changing landscape.

My page is open for the community to have conversations around my photographs with me and with each other and there's no censoring of the communications.  A lady who follows my page commented "I would be absolutely devastated and fuming if I found myself on a photo I knew nothing about, but maybe that’s just me!" (Deborah).  This leads me to wonder whether it's just a lack of knowledge that makes people feel this way but at the same time, forces me to question the entire practice of street photography.

Just because we can, does it mean that we should?

Is making the photograph ok but sharing it on Social Media the problem?

Should the photograph be made in the first place?

Photography always raises questions and so it should!  Without the questions, we could just keep making pictures without ever knowing why.  It's the why that's the most important thing to consider.  What are the intentions?

Bruce Gilden (1988, Haiti).

A New York Photographer called Bruce Gilden is very well known in the industry for his style.  A style that will see Gilden jump in-front of passers-by, with his camera and flash, yes he used flash in strangers faces.  His style is so aggressive that you will even see some photographers curl their toes when watching videos of him.

The UK's very own Bruce Gilden is called Dougie Wallace, a current practicing street / documentary photographer has adopted a similar style to that of Gilden's.  Wallace is no sucker and is far from afraid of shooting in peoples faces.  His aggression is so high that even when confronted by people not wishing to have their photograph taken, he refuses to delete the picture, citing his ownership over it.

 Dougie Wallace (2016, London).

Dougie Wallace (2016, London).

Has the world lost it's way?

Why is everyone so offended by photography?

You see, I can't begin to close the questioning!

Another commenter on my pictures said "I agree with Isobel, taking photo's for your own use is fine, but publishing them on a social media platform is a different matter altogether. I know you say you would remove them if requested, but how would people know they are there . . . and if you've already put them on facebook or wherever, it's too late . . other people would have seen them." (Lin).

Lin makes a strong point in favour of not sharing the pictures on Social Media, although I feel that it is pretty much the only window to the world for a photographers work these days.  Traditionally, we'd use exhibitions. gallery spaces and printed books to show the work but nowadays, the work needs to have some kind of presence online before being seen in a show.  It's not the same in all cases but still, what other options are there?

Lucy said "If only people understood the "no permission is required" thing in street photography".

Lucy is right, the law states that we can make the picture if we're in public and the law believes that if you're out in public, how can you expect privacy?

In Britain, we're allowed the right to expect a certain amount of privacy, like if we're in our own homes.  You would think that we're safe from prying lenses.  Luckily we are and technically, if I stood on the street and pointed my lens in to your living room, I'd be legally in the right place but disrespectfully breaking your rights to privacy.

The law is not straight forward.  I'm a firm believer that as long as you have the right intentions and are respectful to those within your frames, make work that doesn't humiliate others, then surely there shouldn't be any objections, or strong ones anyway.

Paul Hands (2017, Birmingham).

Paul Hands (2016, Wirksworth, on a workshop with Paul Hill, Nick Lockett and Martin Shakeshaft.

 Paul Hands (2014, Paris).

Paul Hands (2014, Paris).

So of course, there's no line in street photography.   There's just peoples opinions and everybody is right, it's always a 6 or a 9!

People do have a right to some privacy but not really in the street where you're on public view.  Photographers have the right to make art but I believe with that comes a great responsibility because after all, we are dealing with the image of people and in these days, they feel that they need to be more stringent with protecting their own image.  Possibly an inflamed state of paranoia brought about by the media and national news items of identity theft.  Theft of this, theft of that, invasion of privacy is something that can only be enforced if your in private.

The article that I wrote and shared my street photos can be found on the Facebook page I spoke about earlier and read the comments, here... 

 

 

 

 


Can Street and Landscape Photography Skills be utilised for a Commercial Organisation?

by Paul Hands in ,


Commercial Photography in Leicestershire.

Can the skills gained whilst making personal work be transferred to a commercial client brief?

YES!

The end!

Well, not actually the end, this is the beginning and that was a bit gimmicky!

 Phillip Hammond and Sajid Javid visiting a Morris Homes building site in Leicester.

Phillip Hammond and Sajid Javid visiting a Morris Homes building site in Leicester.

The image of Hammond and Javid above was a picture that I made while on a recent PR photo shoot for The BJL Group and Morris Homes.  It involved working closely with The Treasury and working to a brief.  This was the cover image used for a blog written by Morris Homes and wasn't really on the brief they gave me.  

As an avid Street Photography fan and practitioner, this was a naturally easy type of shot to get for me.  The rest of the press group were a good 20 feet behind me.  I had a brief to work to and they were just collecting imagery, so I had a free run.  The government ministers walked very quickly and it was a cold February morning.  You can even see Phillip Hammond breathing out some misty air.  The shot isn't perfect but in this kind of situation, perfection isn't what's required, it's the story that counts and with the Morris Homes flags waving around in the background, it was just what they wanted but didn't know about that at the time.

 The SFB Group, Leicester

The SFB Group, Leicester

This picture above is of the building for one of my regular clients The SFB Group a nationwide firm of accountants.  It's all too easy to make a picture looking straight on at the building.  I wanted to create something that fitted with their branding which was quite dynamic, hence the acute angle.  This is loosely where landscape photography skills come in useful, I positioned the composition acutely to create a more interesting view of something usually very ordinary.  The angle has given the building form and made it look more three dimensional.

 David Treddinick meeting with the owners of Enchanted Bell Tents

David Treddinick meeting with the owners of Enchanted Bell Tents

The above picture uses Street Photography skills because it's candid and the people in the picture are unaware of my presence.  My intention was to follow my brief and collect natural looking pictures of the MP David Treddinick meeting local business owners at the launch of the new Bosworth Visitors Map at a special event held at Royal Arms in Sutton Cheney.

 A Street Photograph made in Leicester city centre.

A Street Photograph made in Leicester city centre.

 Street Photography in Leicester

Street Photography in Leicester

 Mirror Man, Street Photography in Paris.

Mirror Man, Street Photography in Paris.

 Commercial Landscape Photography

Commercial Landscape Photography

I've shared a small selection of my street photography to show the similarities to shooting reportage and PR work.  Also the landscape picture that I've included is more of a contextual play with the words and space in the frame.  The sign on the right reads 1 million square foot, so I've framed the image to include lots of space to insinuate that you can see 1 million square foot in the frame.

 Giant Chicken Tree, Leicestershire

Giant Chicken Tree, Leicestershire

I've included the picture of the giant chicken tree because I think it's cool.

I've crafted my skills over a long period of time, been judged, examined, won awards and gained a level 3 qualification, HND and a BA Hons in photography through creating this style of work.  I've figured out a way to transfer my skills to a growing client base, who are using me more and more regularly.  

My clients keep coming back to me and won't use anyone else now.  Assuming I can keep this up, yes, street and landscape photography skills are very transferable to a commercial client,.

The trick is to get deep in the minds of the commissioners to learn what they want and to identify with the brief.  Once the purpose is established, I can easily determine what kind of pictures to make and which style to use.

My images now appear on many company websites, marketing literature and newspapers online and in print.  

You can enquire with me about my availability or to get a quote for your business here.


Go Pro Commercial Documentary Filmmaking

by Paul Hands


Commercial Documentary Filmmaking.

Using the Go Pro Hero 4 Black.

The Go Pro is such a great versatile piece of kit that comes surrounded by lots of other gadgets and gizmos that support its use.  I currently use the Go Pro Hero 4 Black, which is about two designs old but still a marvellous magic box that records both audio and visual media.

Commercial Documentary Filmmaking UK

On a typical documentary film shoot, I'll possibly use a couple of DSLR's, tripods, motion supports, audio equipment, boom poles and microphones, plus a whole host of stuff that is only useful for very specific shots.

Recently on a film shoot for Hinckley BID (Business Improvement District), I was commissioned to shoot a short documentary styled film for their annual pancake race in the town centre.  Unless my client reads this blog, they'll probably never know how many problems I incurred during the shoot.  It's something that I stressfully attempted to conquer on set, on my own and in secret.  

I have chosen to use this particular Go Pro because I can connect it to my phone and use my i phone as the monitor.  On this particular shoot, I couldn't connect my i phone to the Go Pro.  This development occurred as everyone was gathering for the pancake race, which I couldn't delay because of my technical issues.  It began to rain heavily and this scuppered my ideas of getting out the DSLR's to film the races.  

So I filmed blindly!

I had ordered a Karma Grip but it wasn't due to be delivered until the following day.  I set up the Go Pro on top of a Gorilla pod and used it to hold the camera and point it towards the action, holding it at what I felt was the right angle.  I had no idea of the footage I was going to collect.  This is completely unprofessional but professional adaptation at the same time.  I messed up but still did the job without anyone knowing any different.

The beauty of the Go Pro is that because of its size, its easy to move around through large crowds like at a pancake race.  Also I had it contained inside the waterproof casing it comes with, allowing me to film in the rain.

The key to being able to produce a useable film for my client whilst creating in these conditions was the story telling techniques I used.  I employed some humour and some action to give the film extra hooks.  The real work came in the post production stage, where I had to sift through the footage and only use what looked ok as well as what worked together to tell the story.

Have a look for yourself...

If you'd like to see more of my film work, please follow this link.

Or would like to get in touch with me.


Home to Home

by Paul Hands in ,


Night Landscape Photographer England

Home To Home

This series of pictures are part of the experimental stage of what could potentially become a new project.

"I leave home and return, that's the single most repetitive thing I do".

The other night I left home to go and make a series of night landscapes around my local area between Hinckley and Coalville.  My search was for the unusual quirkiness surrounding our towns and villages.  Some man made and some natural with street signs, giant posters in the middle of nowhere and concrete bollards in-between such beauty in the landscape.


February News

New Clients:

I'm pleased to welcome new clients Hinckley BID, BJL Group, Morris Homes, ARO PR and Marketing and JJ Churchill on board.  

Also this month I'll be working on new assignments for two existing clients; Mode Transport Planning and the SFB Group.

More work will also be going in to the application to Grants for the Arts through the Arts Council for a major Environmental Portrait project I'm hoping to work on this year.


If you'd like to keep up with my news or get my blogs and pictures delivered to you via email, subscribe here.  Facebook are messing around with the algorithms for pages and a lot of Creatives are not able to share their art.  So this is one way for artists to stay in touch with the community.


Public Relations Photographer Hinckley Leicestershire Midlands PR

by Paul Hands in ,


Public Relations Key Visual Messages

A recently stage managed reportage styled shoot.

Working with the BJL Group Ltd. Morris Homes and The Treasury.

Homes England is a recently formed organisation by the Government to deliver a series of housing targets in the future for England.  They sent the current housing secretary Sajid Javid who launched the agency and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond to meet with the top brass at Morris Homes; CEO Mike Gaskell and Dominic Harman at one of their large sites in Leicester where members of the press and the BBC were waiting to film and photograph the occasion.

Sajid Javid, Mike Gaskell, Dominic Harman, Phillip Hammond.

The shoot was carefully thought out with instructions from Homes England, The Treasury and Morris Homes PR to create a series of pictures that fits within their thought out narrative.  Each situation was managed with The Treasury tugging on our sleeves to end scenes and move on towards the next stages.  It's quite bizarre assignment in the sense that each creative was hired to give their skills and at great expense, to be directed from behind.

Prior to the arrival of the Government Ministers, each scene was walked through and discussed with careful planning on the direction of light, most preferred back drops and positioning.  In other words even the composition was almost curated before the event.

Morris Homes Leicester Development

Sajid Javid, Phillip Hammond, Three Apprentices

Reportage Styled Scene

CEO Mike Gaskell (Morris Homes), Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

On this type of shoot, there's usually a lot of standing around and on this occasion it was no different.  Finding things to do when they party is talking and you've already got a ton of good shots but waiting to move on to the next scene.

 Mike Gaskell, CEO Morris Homes.

Mike Gaskell, CEO Morris Homes.

If you're a PR professional and looking for a travelling PR Photographer around the UK, then please get in touch.


Photography Workshop Wells Next The Sea, Norfolk

by Paul Hands in ,


Photography Courses and Excursions

I'm running a full days workshop at Wells Next The Sea in Norfolk on March 3rd, 2018.

© Hands, Paul 2013

Wells-next-the-Sea is a port on the North Norfolk coast of England.

The civil parish has an area of 16.31 km2 (6.30 sq mi) and in 2001 had a population of 2,451,[1] reducing to 2,165 at the 2011 Census.

Wells is 15 miles (24 km) to the east of the resort of Hunstanton, 20 miles (32 km) to the west of Cromer, and 10 miles (16 km) north of Fakenham. The city of Norwich lies 32 miles (51 km) to the south-east. Nearby villages include BlakeneyBurnham MarketBurnham ThorpeHolkham and Walsingham.

© Hands, Paul 2013

© Hands, Paul 2013

What's more important about Wells is that it's so picturesque and there's hundreds of pictures to create.  The landscape is perfect for learning more about photography and understanding what it is we're doing in the landscape with a camera.

© Hands, Paul 2013

If this workshop sounds like something you'd love to do, then don't hang around, book one of the limited places, below...

Click on the image below to book a place or learn more about the workshop in Wells.

If you need to ask any questions, then please don't hesitate to get in touch.


Should you be looking for a workshop that covers less time and is more local, I'm running a landscape and environment photographic workshop on Burbage Common on February 3rd 2018.

See below for more details.


Photography Workshops in Hinckley

by Paul Hands in ,


Modern Digital Cameras have become computers.

On my workshops, I help my clients to understand how they can use their camera to make artistic photographs using their environment.  Recently I ran a low light urban photography workshop, moving around at night time safely with camera equipment in urban environments.

The following two photographs were made by clients.

© Sabatowski, Lukasz 2017

© Whitmore, Helen 2017

We should remember that cameras only do what we tell them to.

I feel that it's right we develop our creative minds and the best way is to free yourself and get carried away with making pictures that challenge you, is to put yourself in to a position where you're making photographs that you'd be proud to hang on your wall.

© Hands, Paul 2017

I'm running another workshop in January but this time an afternoon on Burbage Common, making landscapes and experimenting with pictures of the environment.

Limited places.

There's more information available below.

To purchase the above workshop as a gift, please click the button below and contact me as well as purchasing via the shop link (above) to let me know and you'll receive a PDF file that is printable for presentation.

During 2018 there will be a varied workshop programme that reaches some distant locations around the UK including some seascape workshops, rocky and hilly landscapes of The Peak District and city life street photography in several UK Cities.  

The best way to keep up to date with news of these workshops is to subscribe to my mailing list.


Type One Diabetes UK Commercial Film

by Paul Hands in ,


Diabetes UK Type One Events Film

Earlier on in the Summer of this year, I was commissioned to make a series of documentary photographs for Diabetes UK and their Type One Events which if you ask me, are flippin' amazing!

The nationwide charity Diabetes UK put on a series of events all over the Country for children that live with Type One Diabetes.  At these events, they get them doing lots of fun activities, ran by a large group of volunteers and also teach them how to manage their diabetes through shared learning experiences.

They're all such an inspiration and made me feel so lucky to be able to stand there all day, making the film and photographs.  My feet began to hurt towards the end of the day and my legs wouldn't carry me up the steep hill but I had to carry on and felt awful that I considered resting.  When you see how inspiring these children are, it puts your life back in to perspective.

Anyway, I'm very proud of this work.  This is the film I shot for Diabetes UK...

Type One Events Documentary Photography

Click to enlarge.

This assignment brings my year to a close.  I've been very happy with this year because all the time I've been building my business, I have also been studying Photography & Video at University and recently graduated in June 2017.  So I've only been working in my business full time for 6 months and it's gone very well.  Here's to an even better 2018, and I've already got a few very large scale projects being lined up.

Don't forget, you can receive prompts each time I post a blog by simply subscribing to my posts. You don't get spammed, just en email telling you that I've written another blog, giving you an opportunity to follow a link to come here and read my blogs.

Alternatively, you can contact me here to just ask about my work or commissions etc.


Photography Adventures

by Paul Hands in ,


Immersing in Photography

Photography is so yesterday

Surreal Photography Art

I covered a roof top party for Mode Transport Planning at their head offices in Birmingham during the Summer and towards the end of the night, my wife Lisa discovered these cool stairs.  This week I hand delivered a framed print for them and was proud to hang it on the wall in their office.

Mode Transport Planning
Mode transport Planning

I've managed to raise £1500 for a photographic project around my home town, involving 60 local business owners.  The project is to create environmental portraits of each self employed business owner. 

I'm running a niche workshop on Monday evening, creating low light urban photographs.

The documentary styled short I've been working on for Diabetes UK is finished and we're awaiting news of a release date.  I'm looking forwards to sharing this with you, it's been one of my favourite assignments this year.

I can't forget graduating from university as a mature student this year.  Studying photography has been a long old slog in the establishments.  I've loved every minute of it, even the minutes I wasn't that tickled about.

 Bradgate Park Leicestershire

Bradgate Park Leicestershire

I've enjoyed getting creative with my camera, learning to create photographs out of the ordinary that make me feel good about them.  Most of the time, just for the hell of it.

 Old John, Bradgate Park, Leicestershire

Old John, Bradgate Park, Leicestershire

 Jigsaw Man, Steven Faulkner

Jigsaw Man, Steven Faulkner

 Danger High Voltage from the series 'Sublunary 1'

Danger High Voltage from the series 'Sublunary 1'

I'm working on getting some of my best work printed and made available in my online shop.