We had a great evening with Mike, who proved to be a very good ‘people’ photographer, an interesting storyteller and even a poet. It seems he has a queue of beautiful women waiting for him to create their portfolios and his wife doesn’t even object (she’s also a photographer, with an ARPS). He’s a member of Taunton Camera Club and he travelled to Warminster for the evening.
After reading an amusing poem he wrote some years ago, Mike explained his two-way communication with the people he photographs, which can be formal portraits or candid, shot in interesting locations such as Appleby Horse Fair, Whitby Goth fair, or on holiday in the Netherlands or Dominican Republic. The stories he told around the images were as interesting as his images, and he was happy to explain the exact settings and focussing he uses (always focus on the eyes). He generally uses wide apertures (even f2.8) and obviously likes mono images (even explaining that he prefers to use the Camera RAW settings to change the colours to arrive at the blacks and whites). A preference for natural light when travelling means that models may be invited to his hotel room (also approved by his wife). Being confined to a wheelchair (hence the “tyred” photographer) but often using an accessible motor bike means it is difficult to transport studio lights!
Mike also showed formal portraits, taken in his studio, both of adults and children. Often only with one studio light and a reflector, they were particularly effective. Lots of images of ladies, tastefully captured, underwear or nudes (or just tattoos), displayed the range of his images. Fantastic skin textures were noted by members and the light used explained by Mike.
For a number of years, Mike was the official photographer for a special needs school; he used to come and go as he pleased, to capture the moods and the way of the school, its happy pupils, teachers and other adults. These images obtained FIAP gold medal, PAGB gold, RPS International recognition; all to add to the array of distinctions he already has – Fellow of the RPS and on their Advisory Board, Fellow and President of the Disabled Photographers Society and FBPPA (Fellow of the British Professional Photographers Association).
Mike is sponsored by Fotospeed and has used their papers and inks for many years to obtain the quality he needs. He brought some samples and catalogues for Club members. Just for WCC members: see the discount code for Fotospeed in the Members Area.
Images: Geoff Sims
Report: Marny Thompson LRPS