Spamalot Promotions for The Belgrade Theatre

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This week I got a message from a friend I met at BE Festival last year. She was now working at the The Belgrade Theatre looking after their PR & Marketing and their usual photographer was unavailable for a shoot they had set up at Kenilworth Castle and she wondered if I could step in and cover the assignment.

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She also mentioned that she’d seen my recent photos of Jeremy Corbyn on my Facebook page and it had made her think of me for the job. So when people ask if it’s worth you doing voluntary work, I always say as long as you enjoy what you’re doing then yes it definitely is. I’ve had several jobs recently that have stemmed, in an around about way, from unpaid work I’ve done in the past.

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The day before the shoot we’d had nothing but snow and when it continued the next morning I was thought we’d have to call everything off. But by lunchtime the sun had come out so we agreed to go ahead.

I arrived at the Belgrade, met the actors (two really lovely guys from the cast of the Monty Python show ‘Spamalot’) and enquired about props. I’m not sure if it’s the production design I’ve been doing a lot more of on films lately, or just my love of anything a bit silly, but the right props or costumes can really make a mediocre photo into a really eye-catching one.

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I’d hoped for maybe a sword or bow and arrow but if we wanted to take anything like that with us, because it’s considered a weapon, they’d need to bring the stage manager along too and sadly there wasn’t enough room in the taxi for him too. In the end it turned out it was probably a good job we didn’t bring the sword along because as we pulled into Kenilworth Castle’s car park we pulled in next to a police car who looked totally bemused as Lady Godiva walked across the car park towards us through the snow.

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We set up to start shooting just as the sun really came up behind the castle. This was not great timing as we needed the front of the castle in the photos and my shots were coming out really over exposed due to the excess sunlight. I was really grateful when we moved inside to do some more photos and we had less sunshine to compete with. But I think I might need to consider buying some ND filters soon as they would have really compensated for the harsh sunlight and saved me a lot of time having to adjust the photos in Lightroom when I got home.

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I got the photos edited that evening and across to The Belgrade the next morning.

It was great to see them being used on social media and in reviews over the next few weeks.

I’ve noticed I really enjoy photographing and filming anything involving costumes and theatre and think it might be worth me looking into photographing and filming more events like that when I graduate. Ideally I’d love to be filming re-enactment events, burlesque performances and danger acts, although I’m not sure how many of those we have in the West Midlands, but it’s certainly something to look into. Especially with the City of Culture coming up in 2021. You never know what exciting events we may have in Coventry by then.

Jeremy Corbyn at Coventry University

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This week I found out that Jeremy Corbyn would be visiting Coventry University to talk about Brexit. Immediately I wondered if there might be a chance to photograph him while he was visiting.

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I asked around and soon found out he would be speaking in a small venue at the Science Park. The event wouldn’t be open to the public and tickets had already been allocated. So no getting access that way.

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I considered finding out what time he would be arriving and hanging around outside the building in the hope of snapping some photos of him entering and leaving. But how disappointing would that be, I really wanted to get some good photographs and be where the main action was.

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There was only one thing for it. I was going to have to be a bit cheeky. This year I’ve found that on more than one occasion that if you’re a little bit cheeky and ask for something, politely and with a good reason, people often surprise you by saying yes!

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I found out the name of two people in marketing and emailed them. I explained I was a media production student doing a freelance year and could I possibly come along to the event to take some photos as I felt it would enhance my experience.

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Literally ten minutes later I had a reply. They’d put me on the guest list and although they couldn’t guarantee me a place in the media gallery I was more than welcome to come along. Which was way more than I could have hoped for so I was over the moon.

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I arrived over an hour early so I could work out the best place to take photos from. A few people were just as eager and the event was full of national press as well as local reporters and photographers. I was going to take a place at the back when i realised the whole front row was empty and had no reserved signs on it.

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I ventured forward and enquired if the seats might be reserved for someone. Surprisingly they were free. Well, if I wanted good pictures I couldn’t afford to sit anywhere else! I took a seat and started to talk to some people behind me. Within five minutes several people had joined me in the front row, confessing they’d not felt brave enough to take a seat at the front but now I had they felt it was okay to.

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I met some really nice people in that hour before the event as everyone waited excitedly for Jeremy to arrive. I also managed to get some great photos I never would have captured if i hadn’t taken a front row seat.

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After the event I got my macbook out to start going through my photos so I could edit them quickly and get them out on social media.

Someone from the venue came over to let me know they had a press room, I think they must have thought I was with one of the papers as there were so many press people there. I thanked them and followed them to a room full of reporters.

I sat in the corner in awe. Everyone seemed to know one another and was either complaining about other reporters or ringing through to their editors with their best quotes from the speech. It was like watching a real life version of Drop the Dead Donkey!

I’m so grateful I got the opportunity to go along.

Thank you to Coventry University’s Marketing people for arranging it for me.

Enjoy Coventry

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This month I started working for the website Enjoy Coventry as a Media Content Creator.

I’m running all their social media and occasionally photographing and writing for them.

I’m really pleased to be part of this project as Enjoy Coventry is all about shouting about the great things there are to ‘enjoy’ in Coventry and I think this is something our city really needs, especially after us winning the City of Culture bid, and as someone who has grown up in Coventry it always makes me sad when I hear people complaining our city doesn’t have much to offer.

It has so much!!!

But local events don’t always have the funding to advertise themselves very widely and and sometimes people only hear about exciting events once they’ve already happened and they’ve missed them.

Hopefully Enjoy Coventry will change this as it aims to promote events for free and cover as many different local events as possible.

 

 

Less Grey, More Play!

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I recently visited Dublin for the weekend and was delighted by the emergence of street and public art around the city.

So many grey buildings now have a new lease of life with ornately painted fascias and my favorite addition were the traffic signal boxes, dotted around the city, each one painted with a different artist’s design.

The balance between urban inner city life, art and nature is something Dublin seems to have really mastered and as Coventry looks for new ideas and development towards 2021 and the City of culture I think we could really learn from this blueprint.

On returning home I looked a little more into the project and found it was initiated by Dublin Canvas:

“Dublin Canvas is an idea, a community art project intended to bring flashes of colour and creativity to everyday objects in the City. Less grey, more play. The project takes previously unused public space and transforms it into canvases to help brighten up the City. Making Dublin a more beautiful place to live, work and visit.”

I absolutely LOVE this idea. And it really resonates with my passion of bringing art to people and putting it in unusual settings so everyone can appreciate it. So many local people complain about how grey and drab the city is, a project like this would certainly do a lot to brighten Coventry’s surroundings.

I would really like to spend some of my time this year trying to develop a proposal for something like this to happen in Coventry. Possibly through the people at City of Culture 2021 or the local council.

I’m going to talk to other local artists, as I know several who’s art would adapt perfectly to something like this and get a plan together. So look out for more updates 🙂

Call for Work – A Response

These are the 5 images I’ve chosen to enter into the Emerging Art, Emerging Place All for Work, along with a description of each piece.

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Frantic.

A still from the 2016 short film, The Case.

Filmed exclusively in Coventry this neo noir follows the journey of an enigmatic femme fatale, played by Yana Koleva, as she flees the scene of a crime with a mysterious suitcase in hand.

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Subway Commute.

Photographed in the subway that joins Spon End to the city centre it captures and morphs the hustle and bustle of the daily commute.

Edited with various mediums including the PHOTOMOSH Glitch Yo’ Self app.

Part of a larger series entitled #ScratchThatGlitch.

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Nine-to-Five.

A still from the 2017 film, Story of Toys.

Set in the future Story of Toys tells one mouse’s struggle through everyday life in an oversized world.

Influenced by George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and filmed in a similar style to Chris Marker’s La Jetée with the inclusion of modern cinemagraphs.

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Cathedral of the Moon.

Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon art installation photographed in situ at Coventry Cathedral during it’s visit to the city in September 2017 as part of The Festival of Imagineers.

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Nature.

During January 2017 seven Coventry University students held an impromptu pop up photography exhibition in the subways below Coventry’s infamous ring road.

The exhibition was designed to show how urban life and nature have evolved to live side by side in the 21st century.

Urban images were contrasted against projections of nature video footage that played on the subway’s ceiling and all visitors to the exhibition were provided with headphones and a downloadable soundscape so they could enjoy the sounds of nature as they walked around the exhibition.

A small group of friends and family turned out for the early evening event but the students told us the highlight of the exhibition was seeing the reaction of surprised passers by as they walked home through the subways and happened upon the group’s art work.

UPDATE: I’ve recently found out that the submissions date has been extended until early June, so if you’re reading this wishing you’d applied, you still have time.