Welcome To My New Website & Blog

Welcome to my new website and blog! Having never written a blog before this is all new territory to me, however, I shall endeavour to write and update frequently, not only about my photography, but also about my ambition(s), projects (present and future) travel and locations, family and friends, health and illness, happiness and sadness, excitement and frustration, and just life in general…

I guess first though I should introduce myself and explain how I became involved in photography, but also the person I am or maybe better described as the person I’ve become since becoming ill and discovering a passion for photography.

Born in 1972 and I have 5 beautiful children I raised almost entirely on my own. I was lucky enough to have a fantastic childhood brought up with three sisters (two of them older). My parents have just celebrated their Golden Anniversary (yes that’s 50 years together…Wow!!!), so I guess that speaks volumes for the love and support I have around me.

Unfortunately I became ill in 2009 due to a traumatic life experience, one I’m still coming to terms with. However, I’m now lucky to have a wonderful girlfriend around me, her name is Joanna (or Jo as she prefers to be called). Jo’s been my inspiration behind my photography and is wholly responsible for encouraging me to go for it. She’s also one of the few people who knows how ill I really am, the one who sees everything behind closed doors, the one who sees the frustration in my life, but she’s been my rock through some pretty tough times (or rather my punching bag when I throw my toys out of the pram!). She’s the one who picks up the pieces when I breakdown, and without her Colin Solomon Photography would probably not have been born.

However, my photography journey did actually start in 2010 when I bought (in fact my parents bought) my first professional camera, a Panasonic DMZ G2 (a micro 4/3 camera).

I guess some would argue it’s not a ‘professional’ camera, but it looked the part and had lots of extra buttons and functions to any other camera I’d used before, I hadn’t a clue what they did. In fact I knew nothing about photography really, other than you point and shoot. I decided I wanted a camera because I had just chosen a new path in life, at 38 I was about to attend university (Kingston) studying a degree in science, and knew a camera would come in handy as I’d be attending many field trips in the UK and abroad and would see some wonderful sights. I consulted with a friend first (Chris Vaughan) who’s primarily a wedding photographer which camera would be the best for me. He recommended the Panasonic, it was great choice as it’s been a wonderful camera that I’ve truly loved using (yes I still have and use it today). I would definitely recommend the Panasonic range to anyone starting out and also professionals too, in fact we’ve just bought the new Panasonic GX8 recently, truly awesome.

Anyway over the last few years my photography skills have come on leaps and bounds and it was in mid 2013 that Jo was looking through some of my images and commented on my style of photography, particularly how well I captured peoples expressions, naturally…a kind of reportage style photography, she said I had a gift. I guess she gave me a huge compliment, and with that she had planted a seed in my head, throughout the rest of that year that seed began to grow. I really couldn’t stop thinking about photography and how cool it would be to go professional. However, I still hadn’t a clue what I was doing, or should I say what I was doing wrong, particularly in indoor photography. I was hopeless, and this showed (frustratingly I might add) when in 2014 I was asked to photograph Jo’s sisters wedding, her daughters 18th birthday party, and also my younger sisters wedding all in the space of 8 days! Did I mention I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, haha! Well I guess this was the real turning point as most of the images taken (indoors) were a disaster, don’t get me wrong I did capture some great ones at all 3 events but so many went wrong, terribly wrong. I mentioned this was the turning point, as I knew then I had to figure out what I was doing wrong.

I decided to book on a photography course in September that year, I went along to my first class and within the first hour I was told everything I needed to know. I guess the most important part of photography…how to control light!!! That’s it, that’s all I needed, someone to actually show me how to use the controls on my camera…properly, and with that it opened up a whole new world to me, there was no more guessing or trying to work out what I did right or wrong, everything started to make sense. And yes I did go back and finish the course, in fact I booked on a few other courses too, namely studio lighting set-ups and also post production editing. A very big thank you to my teacher Berlinda Bean Photography who taught me so much.

On December 31st 2014 Jo and I stayed up all night (until 5am I believe) browsing the Internet looking at images of female models, particularly boudoir style photography, nude and erotic art. We judged every image we looked at asking ourselves what and why it presented itself as a good image, what made the difference to make it an exceptional image and of course what made a bad image. We also discovered a lot about ourselves too, we discovered we had similar ideas and tastes in art, but also seemed to work well together as a team. From that day (ok night) we decided that we wanted to try our hand at photography…professionally, and of course like everything I do (or attempt to do) I always just jump straight in at the deep end and just learn it as I go along…

First thing we needed was a new camera, the G2 was a bit worn, however, it was January and Christmas just gone (6 children between us) we were skint, but we gathered every penny we had and headed to our local camera shop (SRS Micro Systems in Watford) and literally emptied our pockets onto the counter and said this is all we’ve got, what’s the best camera we can get, while I was looking at a few options Jo popped down the road selling some gold jewellery at the pawn shop. We managed to round up £750 and bought a Nikon DSLR D5300 + kit lens and an additional 50mm prime lens, camera bag, spare battery and memory card etc. We were ready!

Next we needed a model…so I decided to join a photography group on Meetup.com, the group was called Beauty Works – Fashion & Beauty Photography Club, run by Gabriel Nita (who we now call our friend). My first photo-shoot was a concept theme, projecting images onto a nude model (Akari Desire.)

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So there I was in a studio in London, shooting my first nude model, well not exactly my first nude model…but hey we won’t go into that, let’s just say my first professional model, new camera, completely new environment, woman with no clothes on….well the rest is history. Exactly a year later just launched my portfolio website after an amazing year shooting models nearly every week, and I’m here writing my first blog December 31st 2015 (yes sad I know New Years Eve again sitting at home on the computer).

Unfortunately due to my illness I have a 7month backlog of images waiting to processed/edited. Being in pain 24/7 is incredibly difficult to sit and concentrate wading through 100’s if not 1000’s of images. It becomes very frustrating, usually resulting in me wanting to pick up the keyboard and just smash it against the wall and scream out loud (haha I think I mentioned sometimes I throw my toys out of the pram!). I don’t literally do it but boy do I want to, however, I have occasionally launched a few things across the room. Anyway that’s just some of my frustration of being in pain every minute of everyday, however, usually when I’m doing things I enjoy I can put the pain to the back of my mind and shut it out…well for a while at least.

I hope soon to employ an assistant to help with the processing and speed things up a little, but mostly to take some of the strain off me, Jo is capable of editing but works full time with two other jobs and as I mentioned editing is time consuming. I’m looking for an assistant who’s also interested in videography too as video is definitely on my radar and hope to start a few exciting projects soon.

Well I guess that’s enough about me for now, well as an opening blog anyway, but for now I’m really looking forward to 2016, Jo and I have lots of business ventures (an exciting announcement coming soon), projects, ambitions and lots of travelling to be getting on with. In the mean time I will upload lots more images weekly (maybe daily when I get an assistant!). We’ll continue to make improvements to the website, and we’ll be focusing on launching various social media sites (some are already up and running please do follow us), watch this space…and also, please join our mailing list for a future monthly newsletter.

Thanks for reading…
Colin and Jo.

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