Where East Meets West – Part 9

There’s been a bit of a hiatus in the Meridian project – due to life getting in the way…. Unfortunately I missed all the lovely days that came in February, but I did manage to get out and explore a little more of the area just North of Boston.

I intended to visit Stickney

The place-name ‘Stickney’ is first attested in the Domesday book of 1086, where it appears as Stichenai. The name means ‘stick island’, and is thought to refer to the linear shape of the village between two streams. The nearby village of Stickford similarly means ‘stick ford’.

Stickney has been chiefly an agricultural community. The ancient 13th-century Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Luke and is a Grade II listed building. The parish dates to 1564 . A new chancel was built in 1853 and the rest of the church was restored in 1855. The tower was partly taken down in 1887 because of deterioration, but rebuilt in 1900.

Donations to the poor house and for care of the poor have been recorded since 1552 when William Hardy left a yearly rent charge of £1 6s. 8d. for the poor of the parish.

Stickney was the home of Priscilla Biggadike, who in 1868 was charged and convicted of murdering her husband Richard by arsenic poisoning. They lived in a small two-room house with their five children and two lodgers. She testified that she had seen one of their lodgers, Thomas Proctor, putting a white powder into her husband’s tea, and later into his medicine when Richard was being treated for a sudden attack of severe illness.

At first, the two were both suspects, as they were rumoured to be having an affair. The judge in the case ruled that only Priscilla Biggadike should be prosecuted, and the jury quickly convicted her. She was executed in December 1868. Years later on his deathbed, Proctor confessed to sole responsibility for the murder of Richard Biggadike.

I’ve not got photographs yet of the village itself.  That’s for another visit.

However, it’s amazing what you can find whilst just driving around.  I saw the sign for the Ark Wildlife park, and almost overshot it.  A bit of gentle reversing found me turning into the place and in the end staying for a couple of hours.  I would actually have stayed much longer, but the day was coming to an end, and frankly it was bitter cold.

To add to the difficulty, they had just had a power cut, and so couldn’t serve hot drinks, or even offer change from the till.  Good job I happened to have the right entry feee.

(http://arkwildlifepark.co.uk/)

The ARK is home to a wide variety of captivating animals, from exotic mammals and fearsome carnivores to stunning reptiles and some less exotic  and more farm like creatures.

Included in the collection are a Puma, and Lynx.

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The Ark is also right on the Meridian Line, and they have this plaque to prove it.

The Ark offers an all weather attraction throughout the year, and is set in the Lincolnshire Countryside.  Visitors can get close up and personal with a wide range of animals.

The majority of the animals at the park are rescues from the European pet trade, who, for one reason or another were neglected, or kept illegally.  They now have a permanent home at the Ark.

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Photography is actively encouraged.

If you want to visit and support this wonderful venture (which has only been open for two years),  please do.  It really is worth the trip out.

ARK Wildlife Park,
West Fen Lane,
Stickney,
Lincolnshire,
PE22 8BD

I look forward to hearing from you, please do click the button to continue to get updates on this blog, as I continue my journey down the Meridian Line….

Water Fools – Salford Quays – Manchester

The French outdoor theatre company ILOTOPE put on a spectacular event this weekend at Salford Quays.  I was down there to shoot the dress rehearsal which, although brilliantly done, did not have the fireworks going.

Water Fools, Salford Quays-11It did feature though, a floating car, with a caravan, a huge floating bed, and lots of other magic.  At 9.30 prompt a car arrived, dropping a man off on a platform in the middle of the water.

Water Fools, Salford Quays-14The story is rooted in the fanatical, as a surreal world explodes out of a man’s head, transporting him from the rigmarole of his everyday existence to a landscape populated with mythical creatures and inexplicable magic, while all spectacularly taking place on the water’s surface. Caravans, prams and penny-farthings will feature, defying all logic, bringing an impossibly innovative piece of entertainment to Salford Quays.

Water Fools, Salford Quays-48Choreographed by French artist Bruno Schnebelin the routine had chain breath-taking visuals, punctuated by pyrotechnics, with engrossing theatre while fellow countryman Phil Spectrum composed an original score to make the show spectacular in all aspects.

Water Fools, Salford Quays-40The rest of the images from this shoot can be seen HERE

The Jubilee Weekend…

Well, what a weekend that turned out to be – with rain, hail and wind on Sunday, and a glorious day on the Sunday….. The street parties carried on regardless, with brollies used whilst the wine was washed down.  Our local party attracted over 1000 people, all bringing their own chairs, and consuming lots of food, including a whole hog, which was roasting from aound 3am, and being served up some hours later.

Everyone had a cracking good time, and the village is even talking about repeating the event next year – We don’t need an excuse for a party here at home.


As you can see, despite the weather, warm smiles abounded, and I just loved this ladies glasses – hmm, wonder where I could get a pair?

Lots more images on the Marple Bridge Facebook page – why not have a look?

Marple Bridge

Keep it Up – for SoccerAid – With Dan Magness

On Friday 11th May, Manchester United held a photocall on the Old Trafford pitch to celebrate a new World Record set by Dan Magness, who has walked from London to Manchester doing ‘keepy-uppys’ all the way, as part of ‘Keep it up for Soccer Aid’

Soccer Aid is a celebrity football match, held at Old Trafford (and broadcast live on ITV1) on May 27th, raising money for UNICEF’s vital work for children.

Manchester United is hosting Soccer Aid and is delighted to celebrate Dan’s amazing feat. The Manchester United Foundation has supported UNICEF for thirteen years now and the United for UNICEF partnership has raised more than £2 million to date helping over 2.2 million children.

Dan’s ‘Keep it Up for Soccer Aid’ challenge has encouraged the public to take up their own challenges and ended on the pitch in Old Trafford, home of Manchester United which will also host Soccer Aid on May 27th.


Dan’s finale also coincides with an announcement by the government (DFID) that they will match all funds raised from the public as part of Soccer Aid 2012.

Mr Magness started his 200 mile journey from Wembley Stadium on Tuesday 1st May completing the equivalent of almost a marathon a day with an estimated 400,000 steps and doing an estimated half million keepy uppys along the way.

Launched by Robbie Williams in 2010,  ‘Keep it Up for Soccer Aid’ calls on the UK public to keep something up and get sponsored to do so in the run up to Soccer Aid, ITV1’s celebrity football match at Old Trafford on  Sunday May 27th, which raises money for UNICEF’s life-saving work for children around the world.

Image Credits

From time to time, I’m asked for images, which are to be used for various purposes, such as a blog or calendar – typically these are not for profit, or charity organisations who want a nice image to use.  It usually is a short run of something, or an image for a website, which will be small – and then I’m offered a credit, or link back to my own gallery.  Sometimes I’ll do a trade for goods, or services – such as stationery, or being helped with my SEO (which I’m really bad at….)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes though, I’m asked for images that are to be used by people who will be making money in large quantities, and still want the image for free… usually I won’t have any truck with them.

Lately though, I’ve been asked on more than one occasion for images that I have taken commercially, for commercial use.

A good number of requests come via Flickr – running on the lines of “we think your images are wonderful, and we’d really like to use one on our blog/website/newsletter etc…. however we have a low/zero budget, but we will be prepared to credit you on our site/newsletter whatever…..  ”  Sometimes they even tell me what the print run will be with the image being used, but they still don’t have a budget for it.

Can someone please explain why it is, that these people do have a budget for production, publicity, advertising, printing etc.. but none to get the images in the first place.  So here’s the deal…. it actually costs money to get these pictures.  I have to buy the kit, learn how to use it, buy the computer, the software, the car (to get me to the locations), the fuel to put in it – and all the time it takes me to produce the image at the end… and for what?  A credit, that will simply ‘drive’ traffic through to my website…..

When was the last time you picked up a greetings card or calendar, and was curious enough about the author to look them up on Google, or wherever, and view the rest of their images…???  Some photographers might, but the general public…. I’m not so sure about that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the deal is that every time an image is given away for a credit, the market for the legitimate photographer shrinks.  More and more companies are asking for images for free, because to an extent now, they know they can get away with it.  If they can’t get them off me for free, they’ll turn elsewhere… and everytime they get an image it reinforces their mentality.  Image credits don’t put bread on the table on a Friday night.

After all, when was the last time you got diesel for you car, and said, “Hey, I can’t pay you right now, I don’t have a budget for fuel,  but if anyone asks, I’ll tell them I got it from this great garage in Stockport,  just think of all the extra trade you’ll get”….  see what I mean…????

Welcoming in 2012 !

Happy New Year 2012 – it’s already a great start to the year.  On the first day back at work, we secured a contract with a new client, which looks set to grow at a great rate throughout the next year.  We look forward to achieving some great photography over the coming months…. watch this space for images we will be allowed to show.

We’ve also had a great studio shoot right at the end of December – using a local place, right in the heart of Stockport.  The aim was to shoot images with a feel of the artist Jack Vettriano (and for those of you who don’t know who he is – he’s the chap who painted the dancers on the beach, who are being sheltered by a butler holding an umbrella).  His work has fascinated me for a long time, and now we have been able to emulate some of his images.

We are aiming to work up some more pictures in the spring, and to make a full collection for an exhibition later in the year.  I really hope we can make this come to fruition.

In the meantime, we wish you health, wealth, and happiness for the coming year.

100,000 Visits and Christmas !

It’s incredible but true, we are nearly at 100,000 visits to the Oaktree website, and we’re thrilled.

It’s been a good year so far – with lots of new clients asking us to shoot, and a good deal of repeat business from existing ones.  Each time we do an event shoot – the hit rate on the site goes mad, and in one case we nearly collapsed under the strain.  We’ve increased our stability since, and it shouldn’t happen again…….

We’ve loved doing dinners at great hotels, this one taken at the new Mercure Leicester City Hotel.   A superb venue with lots of great photo opportunities.  I was surprised with this shot, that the folks on the front table saw me up in the balcony and raised a glass in celebration.

We’re looking forward to Christmas events now, and have secured a press pass to shoot the opening of the Manchester Christmas markets this week.   More information can be found by clicking HERE

The Manchester Hoteliers Association Ball, was a great success – with all the major Manchester Hotels in attendance.  Their theme this year was ‘Bollywood’, and included Indian Drummers.  Guests dressed in costume, and awards were presented to Hotel Staff.  We set up a ‘mobile studio’ and guests had a great time posting for the camera.

Thanks go to the Palace Hotel in Manchester for hosting the event.

We look forward to working with you all again ….

Why Don’t Photographers Work for Free

Photoprofessionals.wordpress.com
Text by Tony Wu
I get asked to provide images for free a lot – and sometimes I just don’t have the time to explain properly why I can’t do that.  I did explain to one client, who said I could have a credit, that credits don’t put bread on the table on a Friday night… I was pointed to this piece of work, which I much appreciate, and hopefully will incorporate into the website in the future… in the meantime, please read and appreciate.

Reasons Why Professional Photographers Cannot Work for Free

Dear potential photo buyer,

If you have been directed to this page, it is likely that you have requested the use of an image or images for free or minimal compensation.

As professional photographers, we receive requests for free images on a regular basis. In a perfect world, each of us would love to be able to respond in a positive manner and assist, especially with projects or efforts related to areas such as education, social issues, and conservation of natural resources. It is fair to say that in many cases, we wish we had the time and resources to do more to assist than just send photographs.

Unfortunately, such are the practicalities of life that we are often unable to respond, or that when we do, our replies are brief and do not convey an adequate sense of the reasons underlying our response.

Circumstances vary for each situation, but we have found that there are a number of recurring themes, which we have set out below with the objective of communicating more clearly with you, and hopefully avoiding misunderstandings or unintentionally engendering ill will.

Please take the following points in the constructive manner in which they are intended. We certainly hope that after you have had a chance to read this, we will be able to talk again and establish a mutually beneficial working relationship.

Photographs Are Our Livelihood
Creating compelling images is the way we make our living. If we give away our images for free, or spend too much time responding to requests for free images, we cannot make a living.

We Do Support Worthy Causes With Images
Most of us do contribute photographs, sometimes more, to support certain causes. In many cases, we may have participated directly in projects that we support with images, or we may have a pre-existing personal relationship with key people involved with the efforts concerned. In other words, each of us can and does provide images without compensation on a selective basis.

We Have Time Constraints
Making a leap from such selective support to responding positively to every request we get for free photographs, however, is impractical, if for no other reason than the substantial amount of time required to respond to requests, exchange correspondence, prepare and send files, and then follow-up to find out how our images were used and what objectives, if any, were achieved. It takes a lot of time to respond to requests, and time is always in short supply.

Pleas of “We Have No Money” Are Often Difficult to Fathom
The primary rationale provided in nearly all requests for free photographs is budgetary constraint, meaning that the requestor pleads a lack of funds.

Such requests frequently originate from organisations with a lot of cash on hand, whether they be publicly listed companies, government or quasi-government agencies, or even NGOs. Often, it is a simple matter of taking a look at a public filing or other similar disclosure document to see that the entity concerned has access to significant funding, certainly more than enough to pay photographers a reasonable fee should they choose to do so.

To make matters worse, it is apparent that all too often, of all the parties involved in a project or particular effort, photographers are the only ones being asked to work for free. Everyone else gets paid.

Given considerations like this, you can perhaps understand why we frequently feel slighted when we are told that: “We have no money.” Such claims can come across as a cynical ploy intended to take advantage of gullible individuals.

We Have Real Budget Constraints
With some exceptions, photography is not a highly remunerative profession. We have chosen this path in large part due to the passion we have for visual communication, visual art, and the subject matters in which we specialise.

The substantial increase in photographs available via the internet in recent years, coupled with reduced budgets of many photo buyers, means that our already meager incomes have come under additional strain.

Moreover, being a professional photographer involves significant monetary investment.

Our profession is by nature equipment-intensive. We need to buy cameras, lenses, computers, software, storage devices, and more on a regular basis. Things break and need to be repaired. We need back-ups of all our data, as one ill-placed cup of coffee could literally erase years of work. For all of us, investment in essential hardware and software entails thousands of dollars a year, as we need to stay current with new technology and best practices.

In addition, travel is a big part of many of our businesses. We must spend a lot of money on transportation, lodging and other travel-related costs.

And of course, perhaps most importantly, there is a substantial sum associated with the time and experience we have invested to become proficient at what we do, as well as the personal risks we often take. Taking snapshots may only involve pressing the camera shutter release, but creating images requires skill, experience and judgement.

So the bottom line is that although we certainly understand and can sympathise with budget constraints, from a practical point of view, we simply cannot afford to subsidise everyone who asks.

Getting “Credit” Doesn’t Mean Much
Part and parcel with requests for free images premised on budgetary constraints is often the promise of providing “credit” and “exposure”, in the form or a watermark, link, or perhaps even a specific mention, as a form of compensation in lieu of commercial remuneration.

There are two major problems with this.

First, getting credit isn’t compensation. We did, after all, create the images concerned, so credit is automatic. It is not something that we hope a third party will be kind enough to grant us.

Second, credit doesn’t pay bills. As we hopefully made clear above, we work hard to make the money required to reinvest in our photographic equipment and to cover related business expenses. On top of that, we need to make enough to pay for basic necessities like food, housing, transportation, etc.

In short, receiving credit for an image we created is a given, not compensation, and credit is not a substitute for payment.

“You Are The Only Photographer Being Unreasonable”
When we do have time to engage in correspondence with people and entities who request free photos, the dialogue sometimes degenerates into an agitated statement directed toward us, asserting in essence that all other photographers the person or entity has contacted are more than delighted to provide photos for free, and that somehow, we are “the only photographer being unreasonable”.

We know that is not true.

We also know that no reasonable and competent photographer would agree to unreasonable conditions. We do allow for the fact that some inexperienced photographers or people who happen to own cameras may indeed agree to work for free, but as the folk wisdom goes: “You get what you pay for.”

Please Follow-Up
One other experience we have in common is that when we do provide photographs for free, we often do not receive updates, feedback or any other form of follow-up letting us know how the event or project unfolded, what goals (if any) were achieved, and what good (if any) our photos did.

All too often, we don’t even get responses to emails we send to follow-up, until, of course, the next time that someone wants free photographs.

In instances where we do agree to work for free, please have the courtesy to follow-up and let us know how things went. A little consideration will go a long way in making us feel more inclined to take time to provide additional images in the future.

Wrap Up
We hope that the above points help elucidate why the relevant photographer listed below has sent you to this link. All of us are dedicated professionals, and we would be happy to work with you to move forward in a mutually beneficial manner.

Creative Commons License

The People’s Catwalk – Trafford Centre Manchester

Last week I received a last minute request to assist Liz Henson who was covering the Prince’s Trust “People’s Catwalk”, a charity event hosted at the Trafford centre, Manchester. ( http://www.lizhenson.co.uk ) She had been given the task of organising a team of photographers for each day over the weekend.

I was unable to help for the whole weekend – but the time I did spend amongst the other photographers and presenters was great.  It seems that it is hard to get photographers to turn out for free, but sometimes the event is more worthwhile than money.  The Christie Hospital is something close to my own heart, as is Cancer Research in general, so we looked beyond the financial recompense and went for the experience.

It was good to meet Jeff Banks, a thoroughly nice man, with a wicked sense of humour, who certainly made the event go with a swing.  A surprise appearance of Carolynne Pool – x-factor singer was an added bonus, she has a wonderful voice, and I hope she does well in the competition.

And here are some shots from Sunday………