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24
Feb
2024

The Book Project
Blog post
Doug | Committee Member

Part 1 - The Book That Never Was

When I returned to photography after a decades long break, I decided that my focus was going to be something that I rarely shot whilst I was in my 20s - people and more specifically models.

1. Naomi Sheffield City Centre -

1. Naomi Sheffield City Centre

2. Naomi Sheffield City Centre -

2. Naomi Sheffield City Centre

3. Naomi First Studio Shoot - Wakefield -

3. Naomi First Studio Shoot - Wakefield

4. Naomi Barnsley Christmas Lights -

4. Naomi Barnsley Christmas Lights

There were many reasons why I didn’t do a lot of portraiture photography when I was younger - it was harder to find models and I had less time for photography, were perhaps two of the key ones. Even then when I did studio shoots I knew that was an aspect of photography which really made me want to do more. I liked the control of being able to light your subject as you wanted, even though I didn’t really understand how and what I needed to do to do it well.

Roll forward 40 years and my first studio shoot turned the lights back on so as to speak. Since that night in December 2015 I must have done nearly 200 photoshoots, indoors and outdoors, with flash and without flash. Looking back on some of my early shoots, the base knowledge is there but the images were let down by a lack of post processing competence and lack of attention to detail

I have spent a lot of time seeking to improve. I know I will never be a great portrait/fashion/figure photographer and that’s ok. I can live with that reality quite happily but I want to be the best that I can be. I have taken images on group shoots and I have taken images at shoots I have set up myself, with experienced models and less experienced models, with artificial lighting and in daylight. All the time I had one aim in mind - the next shoot should be a little bit better than the previous one of it’s ilk in my catalogue.

Doug


Committee Member
Online and Program Coordinator
5. Naomi Wortley Top Forge -

5. Naomi Wortley Top Forge

6. Naomi At Parktannas Retro Yard -

6. Naomi At Parktannas Retro Yard

7. Naomi At Parktannas Retro Yard -

7. Naomi At Parktannas Retro Yard

In my first photographic life most of what I did was printed, normally at Max Speilmann, as I couldn’t really afford slide film. The idea of self-published books wasn’t something that ever came into the head of the 21 year old me. Digital photography has changed all of that and we can now publish books of our own work if we are willing to pay of them to be created. I have done 5 or 6 "My Books" to date ranging from one very expensive one in 2015 to 1 relatively cheap one of a holiday in Portugal. All gave me great pleasure and satisfaction. It’s hard to describe how gratifying it is to hold a book in your hands and think “I’m responsible for that”.

As I started to take more and more portraits of models I decided like many photographers that I wanted to try and tell some kind of story. Rather than just shooting randomly all the time in terms of shoots, that wanted to undertake an extended project around working with a single model and I started such a project in October 2020 with a young woman called Naomi. She had never modelled before and her dad chaperoned her on shoots and we got perhaps halfway through the project before she decided to stop modelling. That project ended but was unfinished and I have never had the inclination to produce the book that was intended to be the end of the project.

8. Naomi At Townely Hall Burnley -

8. Naomi At Townely Hall Burnley

9. Naomi At Townely Hall Burnley -

9. Naomi At Townely Hall Burnley

10. Naomi At Townely Hall Burnley -

10. Naomi At Townely Hall Burnley

During the life of the project over 4000 images were shot and most have never really been looked at. I was editing as I went along and some were published at the time on various social media sites, but in the main they have sat untouched and unloved in my Lightroom Catalogue. They would probably have remained there for ever and a day, gathering virtual dust were it not for something that Nick said to me last when he challenged me to write a blog. My counter was that nobody would be in the least bit interested in what I shoot and why. Nick kindly disagreed and I thought to myself “Well why not write a blog which even if only 1 other person reads it, is there and reflects what I shoot and why”. I am returning to my extended project theme again in 2024 and I said that I would think about blogging about that now and again and that will come in Part 2 and beyond.

I decided to take a look at the images that were shot in that unfinished extended project and there are a lot that I like and it may give me the motivation to re-edit some and who knows, perhaps still produce an edition of “The Book That Never Was”. I haven’t done much editing to most of the images below but they run in chronological order and chart how Naomi was growing in confidence as a model and as a woman.