The Educator




I was delighted that Mason Marsh joined me last week on Photography Live and Uncut.

He is a dedicated father, but with quite a few stories to tell from his early photo-journalist days. He now, is a photography educator of the highest standard and speaks quite candidly in this episode of The Arcanum, in which he has just stated to take 'apprentices' on for Sphere 3 - the first to do so. We talk about The Arcanum in detail of how this "Magical Mystery of photography learning" has developed in its process of learning, its value for money and the misnomer of it being a pyramid sale and yes, maybe, how it could be improved on.

Also in this episode we check out Mason's beautiful work via the screen share and talk about his preferred camera gear and why!

Thank you Mason for joining me on the show.


Until next time 'leave your camera bag at home!'



The all important links....

Episode 82 with Mason Marsh via You Tube

 The Mason Marsh website plus all related links for images videos and workshops.

Mason on Facebook

Mason on Twitter

Mason on Google+


Mason on Flickr



It's Quality not Quantity.

                                                                                   Alain Briot

                                                                                  Alain Briot

I’ve heard it said to many times now, from photographers, inspirational speakers and writers. if you’re not getting the fulfilment or your not excited about where you are, then stop and move toward your dream of doing what you love and build your brand!

Sounds simple doesn’t it? Sometimes I think our decisions are clouded by concerns of what might happen. We worry about finance, where’s the money going to come from and of course we listen to too much detrimental and negative comment. We effectively live in a world of materialistic themes. But if you take a moment to think about it, if we were to work at our ‘dream’ and create a lifestyle from that, then maybe the financial reward will follow. Obviously there is a time to do this. Either its early in your life when you don’t have the commitments of dependents or later when you retire! But leaving the decision later after you retire, your passion may have left you!

It became clear to me as my discussion with this weeks guest Alain Briot developed, these issues were exactly what he and his wife had considered. Alain was in that very same boat when studying a Ph.D. in the US. His enjoyment for that degree, had  gone. He had a stronger passion to take photographs! This could be thought as fool hardy to some, by rejecting what could be considered a safe and reliant income, for a route of uncertainty and an attitude of what will be will be! But, if you are confident in your abilities and you think that that will lead to a more fulfilling life than work drudgery, then you can understand why some people make this choice. The choice is made not about money (with hope and ability that will follow) its about enjoying and creating a lifestyle and in some cases answering to none but yourself. 

Alain Briot was born in France and studied art from an early age. HIs mother was an artist, his father an engineer. From school he went on to study Art at college in Paris. He moved to the US to study a Ph.D. in 1986. Leaving the degree study in Michigan he moved to be close to the National Parks, Navojoland, the Grand Canyon, as well as being able to visit Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. It was his interest in art that is reflected in his photography work. Similar to Karen Hutton, Alain creates photographs of what he sees in his mind and not what is actually there. He brings an artistry to his images by spending, sometimes, many hours editing the images in Photoshop. From an early stage Alain established himself as a producer of fine art landscape prints. Initially contracted to produce images for the Grand Canyon his print selling side of his business developed extensively. So much so that he took decision just a few years ago to slow the print selling down and preferring to produce 'Quality not Quantity', effectively by raising prices, which by the way didn’t deter buyers, thus enabling him to have more time and to develop other options such as writing, setting up workshops and tutoring.

Taking a look at Alain’s work on the screen share you can see how his desire to create art in photography has been achieved. The stunning landscapes of the regions, he is associated with, are of the highest quality. Working with either a Digital back medium format camera or a Full Frame DSLR with a selection of lenses one of which the fish eye being a favourite. He likes to create composites images as well as stitching or forming panoramas.

It isn’t a surprise, that with Alain’s background in the study of Art, that he finds his inspiration is from the artist's such as Cezanne and Picasso. In passing he mentioned that all photographers should look at the work of the famous artists, to learn about light and composition! But surprisingly he didn’t have a favourite photographer although he did realise there are so many great photographers out there.

It was fascinating talking to Alain. Sometimes you just have to go with your feelings. Life is too short some will say. Power to those that go for it…

Thanks Alain.


Until next time… “Leave your camera bag at home”


The all important links:


Photography Live and Uncut episode no 67 with Alain Briot.

The website for Alain Briot

Alain on Facebook

Alain on Flickr

Alain on Google+

Alain on Twitter

Alain on Pinterest

Alain on 500px

Photography : "Live and Uncut" - Episode 61 with Bruce Percy

It's quality I want!

It was amazing that we started off the show with a clear link and didn't suffer, as I have recently, from the "Google Gremilins' - Well that was the case until we, experienced an internet 'outage' in Edinburgh and we lost contact with Bruce. All was not looking good as Bruce and I made arrangements to make the show another time, only for the internet to come back to life and we were back online! As Bruce continued to talk, I was frantically trying to get the viewers back online to watch the show as we were now on a different link. Oh, the problems us broadcasters have!

Since he can remember Bruce had an interest in music up to the age of about 33. It's amazing how many photographers I have spoken to on this show, that have or have had an interest in music and and turned to photography. Bruce moved into photography after his trip to Australia when he had decided to move out of the music industry. After his travels around this vast continent he was bitten by the bug of photography. Not that this was new as he had many images on the walls of his music studio that had been praised by his friends for the quality of them. Bruce honestly didn't realise how good he was and didn't realise that there was an opportunity to make a living professionally. He is very careful how he progresses with his career now, as he doesn't want to burn-out as he had done with his music.

His first camera was  Canon Eos 650 but after a while and many other cameras the Mamiya 7, a medium format camera, became his chosen tool. It fitted his style. The format and aspect ratio of the image created on the film (ie 4x5in). This format works for Bruce. It's one that he has used since 2004 and having gone through at least 5, he knows how the camera works. This is one thing that a lot of photographers don't do enough by getting to know their camera and instead changing every so often to get the latest and best version available thinking that that will improve their photography.

Bruce throughout the shows makes some very good points for us mere amateurs to consider....

We will always miss shots! It wont matter what lens you have on the camera at any given time!

Learn all you can about your camera!

Stick to just, at the most 3 lenses and keep to primes!

All these points will make you a better photographer, rather than chasing the latest camera version and building enormous lens stables in your bag, for every given opportunity.

Bruce uses the Fujifilm Velvia transparency, ( a firm favourite of landscape photographers) which is processed in a lab. From there the transparencies are scanned in his studio then loaded into the computer for viewing. And its this process that I found the most interesting. Bruce really takes his time to check the work over, edit and finally send to print. This is not just done in an evening session. Some images maybe worked on over a period of time of anything up to a month. Constantly checking and rechecking the work he has done. Some images take even longer. That's the care that Bruce takes to create his images.

Bruce also makes some inspiring You Tube videos that relive the whole experience of a given trip. They are not a 'Techy' style, as he says 'you can find that information anywhere'! From the release of his videos, the workshops started to develop and is the mainstay of his photographic business. It was David Du Chemin who pointed Bruce to be focused on what he was doing and could do in the future; Videos, Books, stores and prints.

Looking at his work on the screen share and hearing Bruce commented on the image to me was a highlight of the show. Bruce talks in great detail about the image, the place, the choice of composition and the process that produced the final image, after all, even in the darkroom days we were all manipulating an image. It was great to have a question to ask Bruce from a viewer and I think he gave a very detailed answer to it. I wont go through the whole text of the discussion but his suggestions of how to learn about light to initiate the thought and process of simplifying an image, was in my opinion just brilliant. 

As I mentioned at the start of the show; if you're interested to join Bruce on one of his workshops then I suggest you get your name down quick! As his events are booked up for the next 18 months. In this day and age that is amazing. There are not many photographers that can say that and it might be mentioned here that a number of the members joining the workshops are returning customers. That in itself is a testament to the quality of his workshops.

His favourite photographer goes without saying is Michael Kenna, who Bruce has been fortunate enough to spend some time with; and those that have have inspired him the most? That would be the two music teachers that allowed Bruce to use the music studio at school, although he had no interest in learning how to read music!

It's suffice for me to say that this showing has so much value for you to watch and listen. So much information, on photography, on editing and on equipment even if you are as we say a 'gear head'! It was a great pleasure to talk to Bruce and I'm so pleased that he took the time to make contact with me to get the show going after initially being too busy. 

Thank you so much Bruce.

"Until next time - "Leave your camera bag at home"

The all important links.

Photography "Live and uncut" no 61, with Bruce Percy - Part 1

Photography "Live and uncut" no 61, with Bruce Percy - Part 2

The Bruce Percy website.

The Bruce Percy blog.

Bruce on Facebook.

Bruce on Google+

Bruce on Twitter

Bruce on You Tube.




Photography : "Live and Uncut" - Episode 45 with Trevor Cole

An Educator - in more ways than one!

My guest this week was Trevor Cole. I came across Trevor from my previous guest Chris Marquardt. Chris spoke so highly of Trevor's work, that I just had to check out his work and what amazing work it is. It's my intention to diversify the program a little by having more landscape photographers on the show, and what a guest to get this initiative started.

Trevor Cole lives in Dunfanaghy, on the north coast of Donegal, Ireland. Born in Derry he qualified as a geography teacher but decided to travel with his vision of teaching and photographing the geography that he is so passionate about, for 24 years! His travels covered many many countries such as Singapore, West Africa, Italy, Ethiopia and Brazil. His first recollection of a camera though was using a Kodak Instamatic 110 - Isn't it amazing how many photographers I have spoken to have said that this was their first camera! At an early age he was able to travel with his parents and he persuaded them to buy him his first real camera - A Rollieflex SLR. Everything was manual but as Trevor said what a way to learn photography. His film choice was Fuji Velvia transparency film. A firm favourite with the landscape colour photographers. From the Rollieflex Trevor switched to a Minolta 7000 which he used until switching to Nikon in 1990 when he bought the Nikon F90x.

Photography really started for him when he got the Rolliflex SLR, which became a passion for him when travelling the world. Although geography has always been his main passion his travel triggered the use of the camera. He is not a mainstream 'landscape' photographer he says, there's nothing more than he enjoys most by walking the streets taking portrait shots of the local people or capturing a street scene.

He switched to digital when he moved to Ethiopia in 2006 and bought into the Nikon system with a Nikon D200 with 70-300, 18-200 (his favourite lens at the time), a 20 and 50mm lenses. Since then his equipment has expanded considerably, using now on a regular basis the Nikon D800 and D750 full frame cameras.

Studying his work on 500px through his site (link below) you can see the excellence of his work. He is not just a landscape photographer you will see on this site many street portraits where Trevor has stopped and spoken to local people, where he has captured the soul of the individual. Focus of his portraits is on the eyes and shown with such clarity they are glass like - almost marblesque like. A number of portraits have been taken in countries where you might think it difficult to do, given religious beliefs and barriers. One thing you will notice about his work is how he works with the light. Using it to produce stunning street portraits. His photographs cover a multitude of countries, such as Ethiopia, Somalia and Iceland all finalised with very little editing in Lightroom. Although the majority of his work is in colour there are a number of classic mono images.  Living in these countries for a period of time, of course helped with any potential language barriers. Generally he got by with the local language!

Trevor has never been tempted away from his Nikon cameras to any other manufacturer, but he did say that the mirror-less cameras might tempt him in the future as he recognises the exponential growth of the mirror-less camera range. Of course not withstanding the small lens stable that the new manufacturers have in the market, they don't have anything close, at this time anything, to what the Nikon and Canon ranges do. His go to camera would be the Nikon D750 but if it was just to a party of friends or dinner or for a bit of fun he'd take his iPhone!

His future plans? He would love to develop his workshop to reflect the quality of the landscape and scenery that he has on his doorstep in County Donegal, the local scenery is exceptional - sounds like a place I've got to visit! He'd love to take his workshops to well known destinations that he knows well. Places like Ethiopia, Namibia, Iceland, Madagascar and Costa Rica. His final wish, would be to do a humanitarian photography. One such as a project of a refugee camp and to get his work published. This is not for the faint hearted but with Trevors' experience of living and travelling through countries, such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kazakstan and the Himalayas, he says he has seen 'a lot', which does take some getting used to, and I can say that from personal experience myself. 

His favourite photographer and inspiration for his photography would be Sebastiao Salgado. Trevor enthuses over this photographer's work, which when you listen or watch the video you will understand his thoughts and comments. Other photographers that come to mind when we talked were Steve McCurry, Mary Ellen Mark, Henri Cartier Bresson and Don McCullin. They all bring their photography projects to us with dedication and skill.

This episode was truly, for me, an eye opener. Not only the skill that Trevor possesses with his image making but also his comments and views on photographers and the many countries that he has lived and worked in, not to mention those that he has travelled through.

Thanks Trevor for a wonderful show.

And Finally "leave your camera bag at home"


The all important links:

Photography "Live and Uncut" - Episode no 45 with Trevor Cole.

Trevor Cole - Alternative Visions

Trevor's website

Trevor on 500px

Trevor on Facebook

Trevor on Twitter

Trevor on Wordpress his Blog

Trevor on Pinterest

Trevor on Google+