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Tag Archives: portrait
here are some of my favourite images i shot over the course of 2011.
as january’s go, this one was pretty cold. me and jen witnessed salt water freezing and one morning my camera packed up on the beach on a day that i reckon had to be less than -10 degrees in the wind. as land-based predators were able to walk on water, this swan became easy pickings for hungry scavengers.
coastival ended february and the levellers played to a packed crowd. having never really shot any gigs and without having a press pass i was running around in the crowd with only one lens. i got a few ok crowd shots and some nice shots of the previous band but the levellers had difficult lighting. i guess he liked the scarborough crowd.
ok, jen took this one but that dude is handsome, if a bit gormless.
a couple of mates were competing in the northern downhill race at alwinton so i headed up there to photograph a proper bike race. i may be wrong but i think this guy was the eventual winner.
it’s difficult illustrating speed and steepness in bike photographs sometimes, everyone says it, but if you look how far off the back of his seat he’s riding it gives some indication that he’s dropping down what is probably a 75 degree hill.
though i have the larger size of this image and i can see all the horrible distorted edges from combining 3 of the cheapest nd filters money can buy, about 4 quids worth, at this size i’m quite happy with this.
obviously those rocks are purple in real life as i don’t even use photoshop.
family holiday time in volcanic lanzarote. blue skies and white buildings, it’s clichéd but i like it.
there aren’t many decent thunder storms in the uk but in july we had a few days of good one. i’m glad this worked out ok since i got drenched and fell down a muddy embankment. those rain clouds on the left passed by really slowly and there was the occasional lightning bolt acoss the sea. had i caught one of those in this picture this entry would simply read ‘WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ but instead i have to do this interesting description.
photographing jen is easier than she thinks. firstly she’s more photogenic, or photojenic, than she thinks. secondly, i can just grab her head and move it to where i want it, something other subjects might object to.
we took these to use on jen’s website on a hot day in a meadow, one of scarborough’s best places to go on a hot sunny day. shame about the stupid poodle that ‘won’t hurt you, unless you have food’. i’ll happily punch a dog in the face if it eats my food.
i’m lucky that i rarely rushed to work on a morning, so it was easy to take a long route, or a different route every day. most days i’d get chance to take a couple of photos first thing. this might have been better in black and white, who cares. there seemed to be many ways to interpret their looks, like those paparrazzi photos that capture people in half blink and claim they’re paraleticly falling out of a club. i’m not sure if she’s looking at him in disgust or inbetween smiling. part of me thinks she’s probably looking at him to say ‘aren’t you going to fix this bloke taking a picture of us 10 feet away?’ but the fact they’re in a moving tram may have protected me.
surf comp time at cayton. from this moment on i vowed to sell my zoom lenses and buy fast prime lenses in future. after day 1 shooting specks of people surfing at full zoom, with cropping the images were awful. i went home and spent the evening thinking about how to shoot differently. on day 2 the conditions were far better, cleaner surf, breaking closer to shore, and with more people watching, i was able to get better wide shots and show more of what the surf competition was like as a whole, rather than focusing on the individual surfers.
there were still some sneaky sets coming in and a howling wind. white horses and white ships.
i’m happy with this mainly because of that light from the stained glass window. there’s not much else to say other than the band is the wind up radio sessions and i shot some photos of them while i was in montreal visiting my mate matt, in the blue shirt.
i took this a matter of days ago, when matt (above) visited us in vancouver. this lake provides vancouver’s drinking water.
water is plentiful in british columbia. it rains for days on end, the streams flow rapidly almost constantly. coming from the uk, where you pay for water, to a country powered by it, where water is free, highlights the differences geography can make to a place. while one country wallows in abundance, another struggles with scarcity.
it’s been a turmultuous year on earth, and while water doesn’t relate to all the problems inflicted on the world, it is the backbone of our human needs, accepted or craved, the one thing that we need to get right above all else. look around you, all that other stuff is superficial.
when i was 14 i played a gig in scarborough that i’m still proud of today, a gig that resulted in our permanent ban from the pavillion vaults due to there being footprints in the ceiling after a rousing 6 song set. peggy mitchell was unhappy with the largely underage crowd abusing her ‘premier’ music venue. there are no pictures of this event, not many of any gigs we played at the time, it was a different era of technology and documentation where photographing five school kids thrashing it out in a dreary northern seaside town was low on the list of photographic subject matter. it was pre-digital, pre-social network and pre-scarborough’s renaissance. looking back at it now, that time would’ve made for some amazing music photography, punks were still weird and heavy music was still safe from limp bizkit’s mass-market appeal. if you’d photographed a 200 strong mosh pit writhing under an 8-foot ceiling or seen the enormous, derelict concrete warehouse we practiced in with minimal lighting, i think it would’ve made for some really nice imagery of a small town with an interesting music scene.
scarborough’s music heritage has always been strong and fortunately there is much more scope for documenting it today. david ruston has been photographing gigs and musicians for a few years and has become one of the most well-known and respected gig photographers in the area. whilst studying, he could be regularly found in the new tavern’s small gig space. with free reign to work with musicians, he produces amazing images of some of our most talented bands and individuals, both on stage and off it.
seeing david’s work is a pleasurable experience, his portraits are simply excellent and have a real sense of personality within them, the mark of a really talented individual. here david tells me about his work, career so far and his influences in photography.
where did it all start for you with photography? what brought you to specialising in music photography and portraits?
it started in college, when i was doing my national diploma in multimedia at yorkshire coast college. we were given a unit on photography to experiment with different techniques and try to be as creative as possible. this led me to the dark room. as soon as i walked in was hooked. i managed to grab my first dslr shortly after, and soon got referred odd jobs by my tutor, mike ambler.
music didn’t come into things straight away, it wasn’t until a few mates in scarborough got together and formed everyone an army. photographing their gigs got me listening to more and more local talent and going to a lot more gigs. the kick up the arse was when tom and karen took over the new tavern in scarborough last year. they happily let me in to snap their gigs, and i soon realised that music photography was the thing for me.
i’ve dabbled in portraits since i got my first camera, although i know now they were never true portraits. when i look back none of them had meaning and didn’t reflect the sitters personality. after photographing more and more musicians i began to read into things a whole lot deeper. now i can’t help listening to original music without being inspired by how i can portray them in such a way that reflects their music.
there are some really great music photographers out there, yourself included, are their any who are a particular influence on you?
without a doubt, mick rock has to be my biggest influence. he gets up close and personal with his subjects, he understands them, and I think it’s this that makes his portraits so great. i think the era had a lot to do with it; photographers could get close to stars either on their highs or lows. now there is so much censorship in place. record labels and management wouldn’t dream of letting a photographer release something that could potentially effect their company.
what do you consider your strongest work so far? how do you see yourself and your work evolving in the future?
my fine art project content has to be by most favorite work. the idea was to explore the identity and individuality of a variety of women by photographing the content of their handbags. i managed to get 16 overall, which ranges from students to scenes of crime officers.
i got a lot of frowns when i first started this but i hope they understand as to what i was trying to achieve. personally, i see the contents as revealing the inner self of their owner, and the bag as the skin. of course, everybody has a different take on things. i hope to explore this identity idea a little further and see where it takes me.
for music i just want to get out there and shoot. i’ve spent too much time sitting and thinking at uni and now is the time to get out there! i really want to get to some bigger venues and events, but access is so difficult now. if your not assigned to a publication then the chances are slim. i guess that’s where i am now, seeking publication whilst working on my portfolio.
are you working on anything at the moment that you’re particularly excited about?
just looking forward to the future and see what comes my way! i guess i’m really excited for the day i can focus 100% on photography without having the 9-5 job.
what do you think is the most important aspect when photographing people?
if you understand them then i would say your half way there. everyone is different and if you haven’t spent much time with them before hand then you have lots of work to do when you finally meet. so yeah, spend as much time with them as you can. if they’re musicians then don’t stop listening to their music!
what are you favourite conditions to shoot in? and also what are the worst?
for general out door a slight overcast is nice. maybe that’s the reason most of my stuff looks slightly depressing! patchy cloud is annoying when shooting on medium format or film. constantly having to check meter readings gets a little tedious but then it’s nice to be kept on your toes!
for gigs, dull or harsh red lighting is my hate. the new tavern was a prime example. i just ended up hanging wireless speedlights of the light fittings and amplifiers. no one minded so I didn’t see the problem!
got any words of wisdom?
ha! i’ve only just left uni so it’s probably best to ignore me! a few agencies I contacted a while ago both said ‘shoot what you want’, as then you will always have passion for what you do.
david is a music, portrait & editorial photographer based in scarborough. he has recently finished a ba in commercial photography at grimsby institute of further & higher education.
all images by david ruston
this is jen. in the immortal words of borat, she is my wife. as well as looking beautiful like this, she writes over on her blog, jen rush writes.
you can probably find out more about me by reading it on her blog. she might be saying something controversial, causing someone to be outraged, often using swearing, but in person she’s actually very quiet, well-spoken and elegant.