"The BLUES ain't bout makin yo self feel better, its bout makin other people feel worse"

I LOVE music, and i absolutely love jazz and "The Blues", there is just something about it that speaks volumes to me. The title of this blog is a quote from the Simpsons, and it is delivered by one of my most fav characters (who unfortunately got killed off) Bleeding Gums Murphy!!! I remember when i first got my guitar, all i wanted to play was the blues, so i started to learn some of Eric Clapton's songs, although there was lightyears worth of distance between my skills and his (i'll let you decide who is better). Somehow through the years i've drifted in to the happy go lucky world of Jazz, which i also love but when i went to "Charlotte Street Blues" (which is the name of the blues bar that i shot these images at, thanx to a fantastic guitarist and drummer friends of mine who are none other than Couros Sheibani and Henry Dobson) the expressions on the musician's faces reminded me of how much i use to love the blues and just how emotional it can get when performing or playing.

From now on i am going to start playing more often, and hopefully start developing more skills and riffs. My problem is that i have the attention span of a squirrel and can never finish learning a scale or chord progression properly so i end up forgetting it a couple of days later, but now if i force myself to learn songs and play with more people regularly then i will have no choice but to get better!!!

All the performers at the bar were incredible both to watch and listen to and i was completely blown away by their skill and passion!!! I was put to shame by a boy who looks no older than 14 playing like a seasoned pro, and seeing that kid play in such an amazing way has inspired me to go back to the guitar & sax and play my ass of every day!!! I will definitely be going back to Charlotte Street to listen to some more amazing music being performed by london's best blues musicians and young talent.

Just My Luck!!!!

Sometimes i just want to curl up in a ball and just rock back and forth because just when i think things are going well life throws a spanner in the works, let me explain.... For the past 3 months i have been doing everything i can to try and get a casting by meeting directors/ producers/ designers/ Casting directors etc... i have been waiting, hunting and begging (well not begging) for a casting and NOTHING, absolute ZILCH!!! All would have been well if i wasn't made redundant from my evening job by two very small minded, petty and IDIOTIC managers. Slowly but surely my finances started to dwindle as i desperately tried to get part time work but no luck. Just when i was about to admit defeat and go back to ushering there was a ray of hope, i was offered a really great job with a really great company and so i jumped at the chance. I figured i will work there for hopefully a year and then see weather i want to cary on a career in that company or if i am HEART AND SOUL an actor by returning to the uncertainty of employment!!!

Now that i am ready and looking forward to starting my new job, i get a call from my agent for 2 really great auditions WHICH I CANNOT MAKE!!!!! this was partially my fault as i had forgotten to update them with my availability, but the timing of it COULDN'T BE WORSE!!! if the first audition was a day EARLIER or the second audition a day LATER it would have been alright but 3 DAMN MONTHS of waiting, hunting and begging (well not begging) AND NOW 2 really great auditions come along and I CANT DO IT without jeopardising my new job (which i have been looking forward to starting for over a month now).

If all of that wasn't enough, i think i may have pissed my agent off with my availability, WHICH IS NEVER A GOOD THING!!!!! I have great respect for my agents because they have been very patient with me and they have been getting me seen for a lot of castings, which is seriously making me think... maybe the reasons i am not getting these castings is cause i am not very good as an actor.

Anywho enough about me ranting and raving, lets talk about these images. The pictures you see are from a production of King Lear at Central School of Speech & Drama, by first and second year students. This is the second time i photographed a production of King Lear and this one was an absolute pleasure to photograph as the director gave me freedom to roam wherever i wanted to and if i had missed something we can photograph it later by getting the actors to re do it. I was very impressed with the production (i have yet to read king lear but i will do so hopefully tonight) and the design aspects of it as well, i think all the people involved in the production have something to be proud of because there were times when i was drawn in by whats going on on stage and i almost forgot i had a job to do.

I hope one day i am back performing on stage again like these young talented performers so until then i wish them all the best with their careers and look forward to hearing about them or seeing them in other productions soon.

Self Discovery?

I love theatre, there is just an amazing attraction i have towards it that i just can't explain, i love the fact it is never the same ever again. I am now at a point where i am really learning and discovering who i am, and i know at least that i want theatre to be a big part of my life in one way or another. I love the relationships and friendships you build with your fellow actors during the rehearsals and the run of the show, and you develop a small family with the people you are performing with, and that is something that i don't want to sacrifice because it has given me many fantastic friends whom i respect and really appreciate. Now i have been more of a photographer than an actor but to me that is still alright because it is another great passion of mine and i love that i get to take pictures of my other passion.

The Pictures you are seeing are from a production of "Richard The Third" at Central School of Speech & Drama, by the second year students most of which i recognised from a previous production i photographed which was fantastic... it was called "The Emperor of The Moon". It was a massive challenge to photograph these talented performers as there was quite a lot of seating in the way so i couldn't move around as much as i would have liked and the lowest i could push my ISO down was 1250 but that was for like 40% of the shots, the rest was either 1600 or the dreaded 3200. I would have never ever thought of shooting at ISO 3200 but with really great glass, full frame sensor & some careful nose reduction you can get a VERY USEABLE image but it must be processed very carefully.

Ow and SHOOT RAW!!!! it will save your ass later on in post processing, it will give you the best results out of your images, yea....yea....yea i know, i know.... its a pain to process as the files are huge but would you rather have the best possible results out of your images and a very happy client, or more time to play on Guitar Hero?

i'll leave you to answer that question....

All is not lost!!!

It is inevitable for a photographer at one point to loose images due to a corrupt card or an accidental erase, i unfortunately had this same problem a couple of days ago after shooting pictures of my former teacher and her current students. As you could have guessed from my previous post i was not very happy about loosing 250 images after having traveled and returned home to edit the pictures. I frantically tried to recover any data i could from the card using every method i knew and after hours of failed attempts i had to admit defeat (Which i ABSOLUTELY hate doing!!!). I of-course i had to inform Louisa (my wonderful teacher) of the situation and try to find a time to re shoot.

I take pride in making sure the quality of my work is as high as it can be and telling a client we have to re-shoot is seriously infuriating as that is unacceptable. Thankfully a wonderful GENIUS of a photographer named Karla Gowlett practically SAVED the day, she suggested this wonderful little gem of a program, hidden in the vastness of the internet which not only recovered the images from the memory card but also pictures from a previous format. This is an absolute MUST have for photographers, especially those who shoot a canon 5D, as there is a very STUPID option to delete all your images, which has always frightened me but i will fear it NO MORE!!!! alas i am now 1 memory card down due to the corruption but at least i have all the images recovered so thank you again KARLA, to those of you who may be interested you should definitely check out her work she is a fantastic photographer (just google her full name and you will find her website) and she did my very first set of head shots when i was a student of the "Thespian way".

Now Just to quickly get back to why i was there at the shoot..... Louisa was one of three wonderful teachers at Sir George Monoux College who really inspired me and really opened up my eyes to the world of art. Before meeting Louisa i had.... erm.... well lets just say i had trouble keeping in tune when singing, but after some really helpful guidance and help from her i was feeling confident and singing in-front of people. I never thought myself to take up dance or physical theatre or even singing until i went to Mounoux and met Sandra, Leanne and Louisa but i am thankful that i did because it has helped to shape me in to the person i am today and will continue to do so i hope. When Louisa sent me a message asking me to take portraits of her and her students for a new Academy she is working on, i was thrilled and so i jumped at the chance. After meeting the students i was blown away with their musical skill as i find it so hard to play the piano, guitar and sax and these kids make it look so easy. I hope they really take their time there to learn as much as they can, because now i wish i was in their shoes to still have that safety net of being at school, but on the other hand i can sleep in late and dont have any course work...... HAHA!!!

The Lesbian Bath House

Yesterday i went to help out a friend of mine with a fashion shoot, i was mainly there to be the assistant and also to advise my friend shall he ask for it or need it. We went to Algate East where the "Studio" was and when we arrived at the time we were told which was 11.30 there was no one to be seen there so after a few phone calls we find out that the client said 11.30 because they didn't want anyone to be late and really wanted to start at 12.00 but annoyingly it was the client that arrived at 12.00, so we decide lets just get on with the day. We finally get in to the studio and..... well.... it was perhaps the WORST ever studio i had seen, it was a disgrace to hold the name STUDIO, there were dirty seamless papers all over the place, wires, props, old broken chairs, and well not a lot of space to work in and oh of course a giant window RIGHT NEXT TO the seamless paper without any way in which to block out the ambient light, and to make matters worse they had ONE trigger for the 5 elinchrome strobes they had which well REFUSED TO FIRE, so i was forced to use my own pocket wizards (which i love by the way) to sort out their idiotic decision to only have one cheap plastic trigger.

After all the technical problems were solved by me and ola we finally started shooting, and we managed to get some really great images for the client and were actually starting to enjoy ourselves. I then had to quickly figure out a way to get the triggers to work because i had to leave to go and take pictures for the poster of my friends new Edinburgh show "The Lesbian Bath House" and i would need all my lighting gear including the pocket wizards. After some technical wizardry and a LOT of luck i managed to get the elinchrom trigger to work. I thanked ola and all the other people involved in that project and quickly made my way to Central School of Speech & Drama where suzi was waiting for

We got in to an experimental lighting room which the students mainly use to work out what things would look like on a scale model before they finalise their designs, and i started to set up my lights, at this point i am a little nervous as i have never shot a large group of people before let alone a large group of gorgeous women, and i get very nervous around gorgeous women as i tend to turn in to a bumbling idiot. After having a talk with suizi and the directors Ben and Nigel i got a good idea of what they were looking for and was quite worried i might not be able to pull it off with just a 430 Exii and a reflective umbrella, but that was all i had so that was what i would have to use!!! The plan was to use the posters of 'THE L WORD" and "DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES" as an inspiration and go for something that is sexy, suggestive or seductive but not overly sexy that it looks pornographic.

The ladies all arrived and to my surprise it was actually the very first time they are all meeting each other, and only minutes later they would have to be half naked and all over each other, which made me realise just how brave actors are because we have a very low sense of inhibition and we make friends very easily in a room full of people we have never met. When we finished the ladies and the directors applauded me but i felt that truly it was them that deserved the applause because its not an easy thing to do and they took direction very well and were all very lovely to work with, i am sure their production will be a roaring success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and wish all the cast and crew a very bright and successful future.

With A Little Help From My Friends

A couple of days ago me and a group of photographer friends of mine wanted to go in to central london for an organic shoot with the hopes of taking portraits of random strangers that we bump in to along our way. We were armed with speed lights, pocket wizards, umbrellas and cameras and so we were not quite worried with the equipment, the challenge was to convince random public members to stop and have a lil fun with us and hopefully end up with some really cool pictures. London is not the most friendly of places for photographers as as soon as you are taking a picture in central london you are approached by a security guard or a police officer, now every location we went to we were asked to leave even though we didn't put down any tripods and we explained that this was a personal project and not a commercial shoot, and to add to that 9 out of 10 people we asked were very dismissive and frankly quite rude, its ok if you don't want to participate but there is no need to start cussing or just ignore us.

Ahh that rant is over now, i am currently watching the creative-live stream from the US with Zack Arias who is an amazing photographer, and trying to learn as much about studio lighting and how to grow my photography business. I am so amazed by the amount of great photographers out there that have been willing to share their skills and knowledge for free to photographers like myself. Zack is a visionary and to all starting photographers i would say definitely go to his blog and check out some of his work.

now before i finish this blog i would like to show you of our results from the shoot (well attempted shoot) in central london and if you havn't figured it out by now, the pictures at the top are of my other photographer friends, JAMIE McLAREN, OLA YIWOLA and FEMI in order. Here is the video of FEMI's poem shot using the 5D mk2, this was our very first time using the 5D for video and its an incredible piece of kit.

Train To Jordan

I know, i know, the titles for my blogs are getting stranger and stranger, but hey call it my humour. I chose that title because it happens to be the title of the song i am listening to on itunes, "Train to jordan" by Aretha Franklin, its one of my most favourite songs so i love listening to it when ever i'm feeling a bit down or just want to sit back, relax and let my mind wonder.

A couple of days ago i went to take pictures of my friend's show at SHUNT VAULTS and the pictures above are from that same production, it was one of the most challenging productions i've photographed because i had no way to prepare and neither did the actors as the lighting was purely controlled by the audience. As you can see from the first image the production is dependent on audience interaction, an individual can highlight a specific actor and watch and if that does not interest them then they can just fade the lights out and move on to someone else. The production was called Lautes Licht, and was directed by my friend Adrian Figueroa whom i worked with at the Gielgud Theatre. The venue was incredible, i've been there before for another production but i lost all the info i had on it and had been trying to find out what it was called and more information about it but as i didn't know what it was called i was at a dead end. It is a huge series of corridors and small rooms, its like a complete other world tucked away through a small door by London Bridge tube station. To all those that haven't been to the Shunt Vaults.... YOU HAVE TO CATCH THE NEXT SHOW!!!!! it is an incredible venue that i cannot believe is hidden away. One day i plan to do a shoot there.

So till next time :D

You Are My Religion

I have a great love for the arts, i love music, photography, performance, poetry, comedy, films, writing, theatre....... the list goes on. Yesterday two friends of mine organised a fundraiser for a show they are both working on which will be performed at the White Bear theatre titled "Le Silence". The night was a roaring success as there were many talented comedians who rocked the audience. The venue was "The Battersea Barge" which is this wonderful little boat/restaurant on the thames river but its on the shore so those of you who get a lil motion sick don't have an excuse to not go there as its a really lovely little venue. The line up included......... Ben Hewis, Kate Lucas, Dave Bibby, Andy Gibbons, Alex Perry, Laura Carr, Tom Adams and compere: Inel Tomlinson. The night was organised by Helen Broughton, Emma Jane Green & Susannah Lombardelli.

I am and have been listening to one song for the past 2 hours, yea SAD i know, but this song speaks to me (now don't get alarmed i don't mean I AM HEARING VOICES, well i am but its the voice of the singer singing, not like voices telling me to do stuff...... ok ill stop now) and i can't stop letting it play on and on. It is one of the songs from a show i am currently rehearsing in called "Rainbow Beach" and the song is "One and Only Love" it is perhaps one of the most beautiful ballads i have heard, and it reminds me of the first girl i adored, i say the first but like the title declares she really was my "One and Only Love". Now i'm not saying i can't or wont love anyone else, its just she is the first, the one and only first, the one that made my heart beat so fast i thought it was going to burst out of my chest. I can't display the whole lyrics due to copyright reasons but there is one snippet that speaks volumes to me and its "You are my religion". I simply don't want to stop listening to this song because it reminds me of a time where i could have been the living definition of the word happy. She was and will always be the one that has left the first mark, and she will always be the first one i think of when ever i hear a love song.

She was my religion, now i long to find my faith.


For the past couple of days i have had this word (which is actually two separate words put together) stuck in my head, i don't know weather i thought of it or saw it somewhere but it absolutely fascinated me and got me thinking about what avenue my photography is heading towards. Yesterday i had a shoot with a very dear friend of mine who is on her way to bright lights and loads of £££ signs, I have known Amy for almost seven years and i have yet to tire of hearing her amazing singing voice. I took pictures of Amy a long time ago when i was just finding my feet in photography and i figured its about time we updated her portfolio since a lot of industry people are showing an interest in her so why not.

Our make up artist of the day was Abbie who is a friend of Amy's and she did a fantastic job and also assisted Amy with changing, I of course was assisted by Jamie McLaren who is a fantastic photographer himself and i trust no other than him with my equipment. The highlight of the shoot i have to say is after about 20 minutes of walking to the location we found this fantastic little ally way which had a curved door way, which for a photographer SCREAMS shoot me!!! so we decide this would be the best place to start the shoot and so Amy and Abbie start to work on make up while me and Jamie go through the lighting set ups we thought of to get a visual idea of what it will look like and to get ball park figures of the settings we will use. The girls had just finished their make up and me and Jamie were very happy with the results of the tests so we decided lets start, and as we walk literally 6 steps around the corner to the ally way a DRUNKEN MAN HAD URINATED ON OUR SHOOTING LOCATION it even started to trickle down all the way to our second area of shooting....... THANKS THANKS A LOT!!!!
The pictures are not done yet but here is a sneak peak as to what to look forward to.

Minyahil K. Giorgis?

I put the question mark at the end of my name because like so many others out there i am trying to find out my purpose in life and i'm still looking. But so far i have discovered a passion for photography and performance, i don't know what it is about being on stage and looking out towards blinding lights or taking a picture of someone when they are smiling that puts me at ease and makes me feel so relaxed. I have been more of a photographer than an actor lately but to me its all good as i am doing two things that i love.

I was editing through some of my old pictures as my collection was getting monstrously large and devouring my hard drive and i came across one image that i took of a lovely actress by the name of Natalie Jennings and this image about a year ago was just another ok image to me but now i saw its potential and after a few tweaks it made me realise a very important thing..... that photography isn't just about pointing the camera getting the settings right and then pressing the shutter button, its about discovery and rediscovery. Photography is different for everyone but to me it means immortality because it is a moment that is frozen, a moment that will never ever repeat again and to me that is something to treasure.

Natalie Jennings