Archives for category: Thames
Front cover of Gavin issue 1

Front cover of Gavin issue 1

Over the last few months I have been working on an exciting project which combines many of my creative skills. And this weekend just gone I released Gavin magazine. Gavin is a showcase for my photographic, written, and design work and has been published online on the issuu platform. There is a link to the magazine at the bottom of this blog post.

I have opted for a soft launch rather than a grand fanfare as I am just finding my feet with online publishing. I have been involved in the publishing of hundreds of magazines over the years, but this is the first time I have used an online platform such as issuu, so I wanted the first issue to be stunning, yet reserved.

More issues will follow and they will include both personal projects that I have worked on in recent years and commercial work I am able to publish. Some of my work I am not allowed to use for certain reasons, which I always respect.

As always when creating a magazine I used Adobe’s Indesign and worked hard on choosing complimentary fonts, I hope you like what I’ve chosen. I decided many of the images needed to have the background story, which is so difficult to do on a portfolio website, which is another reason for working on the magazine. So some of the images have a caption, but others are part of a much larger story. This is fairly limited in the first issue, but the articles will increase as the magazine grows in popularity.

Since my first job, I have always been involved in photography and magazine creation, so this is a logical step for me. I have the writing, design and photography skills needed, but the process has been a learning curve.

At the moment the magazine is just online, but I am looking at offering a hard copy (although this will be a paid for service as buying any magazine) and as the readership grows I will possibly offer advertising opportunities for business looking to advertise their services and wares alongside my editorial (The adverts in the first issue were donated to companies who have helped me obtain images or offered advice).

I hope you enjoy reading it and please let me know what you think and also if you have any questions, comments or requests for areas of my work you’d like to see included in the magazine let me know.

You can find Gavin magazine at: http://issuu.com/gavinparsons/docs/gavin_magazine_issue_1

 

All rights reserved © Gavin Parsons

All rights reserved © Gavin Parsons

It’s up to every business to make their people look good. I don’t mean dress them smartly, give them clean uniforms and wash their work’s vehicles every once in a while (although that will help), I’m talking about in their promotion and publicity.

Models wearing your company logo is one thing, but people can spot a model a mile away these days. How many chiselled 6footers with manicured hair and nails do you find on a construction site or hanging off the side of a muddy wall? What’s needed is real life. Your real employees, the people who know how to do the job and how to make it look professional. And if your employees look and act professional, then you can use them to promote your business.

Photographing real people in real situations has become a specialty of mine over the last few years. Several of my clients need promotional material for press releases, social media and advertising, but sometimes budgets won’t stretch to models and sometimes they just want the people doing the job. They did though, want stunning looking shots. And this is the key to getting eye catching images as opposed to snaps. Any of my clients could have sent a foreman or manager out with a camera or even a phone and grabbed a couple of pictures, but they realised to get the job done right, they needed a professional commercial photographer to not only get a distinctive and engaging image, but also to process that image correctly and imaginatively to really make their photography pop.

The example attached to this blog is a workman repairing a stone wall on an island in the Thames. It was dirty, hard work and the people doing it were skilled at the task. Plus they were used to the river environment and the hardships that spending days on a small island completely detached from London life  brings. A model could never portray that.

So I worked with the builder as he was doing his job. I spent the best part of a morning in pretty good light working in the Thames mud. It wasn’t a job for a model photographer, or indeed a news photojournalist. It was a job though that I love. I’ve photographed the transformation of the island over the years for the same client. I’ve been attacked by Canada Geese, photographed tree surgeons measuring the trees, arbours sculpting the trees and then the guys repairing the walls. I’ve photographed in sun, rain, cold and heat and every time I bought back images that impressed the client.

That’s why getting a professional to take the pictures you use to promote your business is a key part of marketing. Viewers looking for businesses to hire, will always stop and look longer at a website with unique and characterful imagery, than they will on a website full of royalty free generic snaps.

So as every story has to end with a moral (I don’t know why. Blame the Hollywood movies I watched as a teenager), here is mine. If you want to get your business noticed. Then

look for a professional photographer who can help you achieve that goal.

If you would like some advice on images for your company’s marketing then please get in touch. You can see many more of my real life images at: www.gavinparsons.co.uk

A dive back in time

 

© Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

© Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

This week’s ‘behind the picture’ apart from being a day late (Bank holiday in the UK) is a shot I took while on a commission for the Port of London Authority. It was, surprisingly, taken in the Docks area of East London. The Docklands Museum was having an events day and the Port of London Authority and the Historical Diving Society collaborated to create a commercial diving attraction. They had modern commercial divers going in the water and historical divers as well.

The old Siebe Gorman helmet was synonymous with commercial diving through a great deal of the 20th century, but now very little of the working kit remains in use.

This was an opportunity for me to get an unusual shot. The water beneath about 5cm from the surface was pitch black so I decided on a half and half style shot. Although, in the end, I settled more for a ¾ ¼ image as the few centimetres had just about enough visibility.

I wanted to portray the diver just before he submerged which was what I got. It wasn’t quite so difficult as this was a volunteer from the audience who, understandably, hesitated before he finally stuck his head under.

 

Unknown to the majority of people in UK’s capitol, let alone the outside world, London is the host to the oldest rowing race in the world. Started in 1715, the Doggetts Coat and Badge race is as historic as it is ceromonial.

Each year up to six Apprentice Waterman of the River Thames compete for a rather plush Red Waterman’s Coat and a silver badge.

As part of an ongoing project to document the life around the River Thames, the Port of London Authority asked me to photograph the preparations and start of the race at London Bridge.

The start occurs adjacent to Fishmongers Hall on the north side of London Bridge which is where the competitors prepare their sculls (the small one person rowing boats).

It was quite popular this year with a photographer from the New York Times and Channel 4 film crews around to film the event. I can only imagine what it will be like when the race hist 300 years old in a couple of years time.

I worked in Black & White to capture the event as a small story.  It’s hard to capture the 298 years of history when essentially you are dealing with a modern scull race, so I opted to record the moment for what it was rather than what it stood for.

The day was fairly cloudy and the light was pretty flat, which suited monochrome. Occasionally we got a blip of sunlight, but also quite a few rain showers, but the build up was calm and light -hearted.

Passers by on the river must have wondered what was going on though as Fishmongers Hall, the home to the Fishmongers Company, one of London’s 12 great Livery Companies, put on a bit of a show and delighted the public with free fish and chips and London Youth Rowing held their own static Thames race on rowing machines. It was a great spectacle that even attracted the Lord Major of London (Not Boris, but the other fella who can trace his job back to Dick Whittington and beyond).

The race started pretty quickly and in a couple of blinks of an eye the competitors were gone. It takes a mere 20 minutes to row the four mile course from London Bridge to Cadogan Pier in Chelsea, but it would have taken me a lot longer by road, so I didn’t get to the finish. However the race was won by the brilliantly named Merlin Dwan.