Welcome to my new blog – Ketchup & Cornflakes. I thought it was about time I had one – everyone else is doing and who doesn’t like a good opportunity to natter on without interruption?
So why Ketchup & Cornflakes? Well my photography is all about documenting everyday family life as beautiful works of art – capturing the ketchup and cornflakes moments – so it seemed an apt name. Plus one of my daughter’s favourite books is Ketchup on my Cornflakes by Nick Sharratt, which she heard at our very lovely local Sydenham bookshop storytelling sessions – https://kirkdalebookshop.com. So Ketchup & Cornflakes it is. I’ll be blogging intermittently about everyday family life, family and baby photography, parenting, stuff going on locally (Sydenham, Forest Hill, Crystal Palace, Beckenham, Dulwich, Greenwich, Blackheath, Clapham etc) – anything that catches my fancy really.
First up, I thought I’d start with why me?
Why choose me over all those other family photographers out there?
Well firstly because photography was never just a hobby to me. I’ve been passionate about photography for as long as I can remember: since I first got my own camera about aged 8 (it had those little packs of flashbulbs that you fitted to the top and they literally went pop as you took a photo!).
I trained the good old-fashioned hard way on a manual SLR where, if you made a mistake, you ruined the photo, and there was no photoshop to rescue it afterwards. It was surprisingly-easy to actually forget to put film in your camera – favourite story was a fellow press photographer who forgot to put film in his camera for an airshow he was covering and had to beg a favour from the other snappers there to give him one of their rolls of film so he could save face back at the office.
My Nikon FM2 did none of the work for me beyond open and close the shutter. Everything was dialled in manually from what speed of film I was using to the exposure. Even my old flash you had to dial in the distance and aperture you were shooting with – it was one of those enormous Metz flashes that screwed onto the side of your camera like you see in old black & white movies where press photographers run around saying ‘stop press!’ with press cards neatly tucked into their trilbies.
There was no photoshop. There was no auto on the camera. I am not self-taught. My first job was as a press photographer over 20 years ago. I developed my own photos in a darkroom, captioned them, ran them out to the printing press. Admittedly I wasn’t exactly Don McCullen – I’m pretty sure I’ve covered way more sheepdog trials and runaway pigs than he ever did – but I bring to my family, baby and child photography a very sound technical knowledge base from years of practice trying to make a flower show picture-worthy.
But technical knowledge isn’t the be-all and end-all in photography and even more so in family and child photography. An artistic eye and good composition are second nature to my photography. My aim is to capture your special moments for you and your family – whether that be at your home in Dulwich or out and about in Crystal Palace Park. I am not about putting everyone in a studio with a white background and shouting ‘say cheese’. There are no stylised babies in baskets with hours of post-production to clone out dad holding baby’s head just-so. There are no awkward poses.
While I do have a portable studio for some photoshoots (fine art portraits, cake smashes, bubble bath shoots for example), in the main I practice a reportage style and usually shoot either outdoors or in your home environment and my main objective is to illustrate you as you are – natural expressions, gestures and interactions. So I’ll be in the background, with some gentle direction where needed, documenting your family and creating beautiful photographic portraits in the process.
I did not take up child and baby photography because someone gave me a great camera. I’ve been taking beautiful pictures since cameras were just a box with a light prism and the only option to correct afterwards was a bit of card stuck to a stick and waved over your developing image in the darkroom. I did however teach myself how to apply all I’d learnt on 35mm cameras to digital and I do edit my images to get the best out of them. My aim however is always to get the best image in camera first and use minimal photoshop and editing. I don’t market myself as a natural light photographer because sometimes the natural light sucks. I know how to use a flash, so why wouldn’t I use one when it can make a good photo into a great photo? Technical expertise plus passion equals me.
I hope the images I make for you will be timeless and cherished for years to come. I aim for them to be the best I can achieve every single photoshoot I do and I want nothing more than for them to hang pride-of-place on your wall. If you too want to treasure these memories, then that’s why you should choose me.