Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Visiting family for Christmas...

Sunrise, Astbury Lake, Congleton © Michael Robert Williams

I'm back in Congleton for a few days visiting my family. It seems that whenever I'm back here where I grew up I get nostalgic and sentimental.
I got up early and took a walk around the lake. Its only a short walk from my parents house. It was a really beautiful morning, one of those great winter mornings - but freezing cold.
I love this lake. This still feels like one of the places where I learnt to photograph. All those times I dragged my younger brother over here for another 'photo session' - me trying to compose moody portraits, thinking I was Anton Corbijn shooting some band somewhere instead of my brother at the lake.
I think sometimes when I'm on a shoot now somewhere in the back of my mind I'm still at this lake...
Its just a really beautiful place. But sadly parts of it are being built on now, it makes me wonder how long the place I grew up will still be here. More houses are being built around parts of the lake. I personally wish they would leave this area alone.

Sunrise, Astbury Lake, Congleton © Michael Robert Williams

Astbury Lake, Congleton © Michael Robert Williams

Friday, 26 December 2008

Happy Holidays!

Hello...... It's been a little nuts over the last month - lots of end of year stuff to finish, deadlines, etc... So I'm sorry about the lack of new posts, and I'd been trying to be so much better about it too :p

I'll post some recent portraits etc very soon.
Will be better in the new year.
And on that note I hope you have a great holiday & best wishes for the New Year!

Thank you to everyone who helped this year - old friends, new friends... everyone I worked with :)
Merry Christmas!
Looking forward to 2009!


Saturday, 8 November 2008

Samit Patel Portraits.

Samit Patel, 2008 © Michael Robert Williams

Recent portraits of Nottinghamshire and England cricketer Samit Patel photographed recently at The Oval in London. I shot a mix of portraits but these are two of my favourites.
I've been working in Black & White again more recently. I used to shoot mostly B&W but over the last couple of years its been about 90% colour, but I love B&W photographs.

Samit Patel, 2008 © Michael Robert Williams

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

News, stuff...

I'm tired today, I stayed up all night watching the US election. Sitting drinking a lot of coffee and editing images from two recent shoots to help keep me awake, and watching as results came in from the many states. I wished I could have voted too. But the end result was good, the right man won.

I've been working on music shoots recently. Photographed Cage the Elephant, and Alberta Cross, and a couple of new London bands. I'll post images here when I can.
I can post some recent portraits later this week.

I need a holiday, I was hoping to do something late in the year but the economy means I'm watching what I spend. There are a few people I've been planning to visit but I will have to wait until next year I think.
Everyone is watching what they spend.
Its been a strange year in every way. Lots of change. I need time to think about my personal life too, I think about work a lot, but I need to think about my personal life more.
I think I have a lot on my mind.

But back to work...

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Rockarchive at Proud Soho.

I just thought I'd make a quick post about an exhibition I went to see, the Rockarchive exhibition at Proud Soho gallery. It's to celebrate Rockarchive's 10th anniversary. Started by Jill Furmanovsky, Rockarchive sells music-based images by a number of top photographers (including Kevin Westenberg, Gered Mankowitz, Kevin Cummins, Mick Rock, and of course Jill herself).
For anyone who loves music and photography a show like this is a must-see. Amazing current and archive images of artists including Radiohead, Oasis, David Bowie, Blondie, Iggy Pop, James Brown, Jeff Buckley, U2...
What can I say, I loved it. Seeing all of these great images, the beautiful prints, I wanted to take too many home.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Quick Update.

Over the last month a few new portraits have been added to the website portfolios. Also, among others, I photographed Nottinghamshire and England cricketer Samit Patel, and did a portrait shoot for Cosmopolitan magazine.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

'You Can Fill In The Rest...'

'I really want to take pictures that say more than a studio shot. Mine are just snapshots but you can fill in the rest. I hope they have enough reality to make them last.' -- Anton Corbijn

Monday, 15 September 2008

Recent Work; Oasis

Oasis, 2008 © Michael Robert Williams

Some of the portraits from the recent Oasis shoot. Having photographed them before I wanted to get very different portraits this time from the ones I'd done before. I've been doing more studio shoots and this lighting is something I've been playing with recently...

Oasis, 2008 © Michael Robert Williams

These two will be added to the website portfolio this month too. They are my two favourites from the session.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Err, Rain, Rain, Oasis, REM...

REM © Michael Robert Williams

August is almost over and what happened to the summer? I know it's a joke about the English weather but really, how bad was this summer! Rain, rain, rain. I missed the sun, I'm sure dark wet days affect my mood.
But the sun did make it out yesterday when I went to see REM play in London. I've been a big REM fan for a long time and have seen them a number of times, but I think Stipe was on fine form last night. I'd arranged a pass so I took a few photos. I don't really shoot live images usually, it's not something I do as work, but I've done it a couple of times recently just for fun, and I guess it gave me a chance to play with the digital SLR again (hmmm, discovered I need more lens options.....)

REM © Michael Robert Williams

August consisted of some meetings, some photo work, and some time off (thinking I'd enjoy some summer sun, hmmmm - didn't really appear, I think I'll have to go away later in the year...)
I photographed Oasis again, group portraits & individual. Very different portraits to the last time I photographed them, I'll put some up as soon as I can.

REM © Michael Robert Williams

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

As Though I Had Forgotten To Wake Up

'If a day goes by without my doing something related to photography, it's as though I've neglected something essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to wake up.' -- Robert Mapplethorpe

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Athena's Gig, London

Athena © Michael Robert Williams

Now I'm back in London it's all work again. I had a few meetings this week and a shoot, and had to make plans for next weeks shoot with a band. I did take Thursday evening off and I went to see my friend Athena play an outdoor show at the National Theatre on London's South Bank. I've worked with Athena for years, shooting press portraits etc. She's such a great person to work with and a great musician with a fantastic voice. She's had a busy year so far as her recent album really started to take off.
I had a camera with me at the gig so I took a few photos of Athena's show, one of which is above.

Recent Work; 'The Subways' Shoot.

The Subways © Michael Robert Williams

This is one of the portraits from my recent shoot with 'The Subways'. Others will be posted up once they have run in the US. Most of the portraits were shot with the band wearing specific clothing for a US clothing label, these are not up yet, this was one of the reasons why I decided the shoot was in studio and lit this way.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Back In London.

I'm finally back in London after time away visiting family and friends. It was good to have some time away. Went out a lot, ate too much & drank too. The big family news was my sister just getting engaged - congratulations again you two :)

Arrived back to go and see a band I'll be photographing soon. I'm also starting to lay out a book of my music & portrait work, possibly via the Blurb Online bookstore at first (I love any kind of self-publishing), so if you're interested in purchasing a copy when its ready send me an email and I'll let you know all the details.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Personal Photograph, Boston.

Boston, MA © Michael Robert Williams

Posting the portraits of Joshua Rifkin yesterday reminded I had this photograph that I took while in Boston too. I think it was the day after I did the Rifkin portrait shoot, I was just walking down by the river. I guess I just liked the scene. I always take a few photographs of the city I'm in if I'm away working, I'll try to stay an extra day if there is time. These are the photographs that usually make up the 'Personal' section on my portfolio site, photographs grabbed quickly while I'm away.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Joshua Rifkin Portraits.

Joshua Rifkin, Boston, MA © Michael Robert Williams

These are four of the portraits I shot in Boston of the American conductor, keyboard player, and musicologist Joshua Rifkin. I've mentioned the shoot in a previous post but this is the first time I could put the portraits up as I had to wait for them to run in a magazine in Spain. I think the second and third ran in the magazine feature along with a couple of others. The first and fourth are two from the shoot that I really like. This shoot was also digital, I'm used to it now and happy to use it. Seems I've got over my early issues, mainly involving colour on digital. The portraits were taken at Joshua's home in Boston, and another place nearby. The feature ran in black & white but I personally really like this first colour portrait.

Joshua Rifkin, Boston, MA

Joshua Rifkin, Boston, MA

Joshua Rifkin, Boston, MA © Michael Robert Williams

Thursday, 17 July 2008

'Gee, I Don’t Know.'

Maybe because he often didn't seem to say very much people don't often comment on Andy Warhol's humour but he had a great dry sense of humour. These are two of his comments on photography;

'Photographers feel guilty that all they do for a living is press a button.'
-- Andy Warhol

'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person.'
-- Andy Warhol

Monday, 14 July 2008

Out Of Town For A Few Days.

Congleton, July 2008

I've left for a few days to visit family. I'm staying at my parents in the home I grew up in. They still live in the same house in Congleton, a small town in the North West, just south of Manchester.
I went for a walk last night as the sun was starting to go down. I walked down this path that leads to the fields and brook near my parents home and came to the small bridge over the brook. I used to hang around here with friends when I was a kid but I haven't been to it for years now. Its getting overgrown now but we used to hang around here some evenings, it was our private place. We could do whatever we wanted; but that usually just meant we'd talk and joke around, meet up here. I remember sometimes later drinking beer here that we’d ‘borrowed’ from home. I must have been about twelve I guess when I first went here.
There wasn't much to do in Congleton.
When you're a little older you can go into town in the evening, but this bridge was my meeting place, and still somewhere I could go as a teenager when I wanted some time on my own.
It was strange being on it again last night. Its overgrown, and looks much smaller to me as an adult, but I could sit and watch the sunset...

Nostalgic & sentimental post over. :)

'I Like To Look At Pictures...'

'I like to look at pictures, all kinds. And all those things you absorb come out subconsciously one way or another. You'll be taking photographs and suddenly know that you have resources from having looked at a lot of them before. There is no way you can avoid this. But this kind of subconscious influence is good, and it certainly can work for one. In fact, the more pictures you see, the better you are as a photographer.' -- Robert Mapplethorpe

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

In The Studio With The Subways

The Subways (& Me)

Recent studio session with The Subways. This is me photographing them (shot by my friend Simon) against a white background in a studio in West London. I think it must have been the hottest day in June and there we are in a studio! Still, it was a fun shoot. I like The Subways, they're really nice and professional. I've photographed them before, maybe two years ago when their first album was out. Their second is just out. I'll post a couple of my actual portraits from the session here very soon once they've run.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

New Work - Lisa Tse by MRW

Lisa Tse by Michael Robert Williams, 2008

I recently photographed the new press/PR portraits for my good friend Lisa Tse, the designer and creative director of Lisa Tse Ltd.
I've produced many portraits of Lisa over the last few years and she's always great to work with - very creative herself and open to ideas. These are a few of the recent portraits made just a few weeks ago. I especially love the first portrait (above) with Lisa on the stairs bathed in a pool of light.

Lisa Tse, 2008

Lisa Tse, 2008

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Went To See; Vanity Fair Portraits, NPG London

I went to catch the Vanity Fair Portraits Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery recently before it finished. It was showing work from the entire history of the magazine. As the press release said;
'This is a unique opportunity to see 95 years of iconic imagery by some of the most renowned photographers of the twentieth century, including Baron De Meyer, Edward Steichen, Man Ray and Cecil Beaton, as well as portraits by celebrated contemporary photographers such as Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino, Helmut Newton and Herb Ritts.'

As much as its interresting to see the set-ups and techinical skills in the work of the modern era photographers like Leibovitz, I personally loved seeing the early portraits by Steichen & Man Ray. I admit I do often enjoy Leibovitz's portraits, but her music work mainly (and her older work really, especially a lot of her 1970's work). I find the Hollywood gatefold covers that she shoots for VF interesting to look at, well set-up, and technically well executed, but also a little empty. Everyone looks perfect. But thats all.
I like the sugestion of something more in portraits, that's one reason why I admire Anton Corbijn's work. There often seems to be something more going on in Cobijn's images, and that's a difficult trick to do. You get so little time on some of these shoots, and there are other people around on the shoot too. Its one thing to even have an idea what you want from the shoot, but another thing altogether to get it.

But getting back to the VF exhibition. I did enjoy seeing the work and I picked out two portraits, one from the first period of VF, and one from the period since VF's re-launch in 1983. These are two of my personal favourites from the exhibition. First Gloria Swanson by the great Edward Steichen photographed in 1924. Then Hilary Swank by Norman Jean Roy from 2004.

Above; Gloria Swanson by Edward Steichen, 1924

Above; Hilary Swank by Norman Jean Roy, 2004

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Portishead Images in US Press

Quick post showing a few of the Portishead images used in recent US press.
First is the opening spread from XLR8R Magazine (XLR8R used this group portrait and then an individual portrait of each of the three members over the next pages). Next is the cover and opening spread from the Filter music festival supplement 'Good Music Guide'. Three Portishead portraits of mine also ran in the main Filter Magazine this month in the US but I don't have the spreads to put here as yet.
I went to see Portishead play in London recently too and they were fantastic live, playing a lot of their older songs and of course music from the new album too. Beth's voice is amazing.

Opening spead of the XLR8R Magazine feature.

Filter cover.

Opening spread of the Filter feature.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Working, editing...

I've spent much of the day sorting out recent work, editing etc, and looking over a few personal images shot over the last few months too.
Just thought I'd post this personal image shot while away on assignment in Boston U.S. before Christmas. I think it's my favourite recent personal image.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Portishead, Paris.

Quick update for March...
I'm still not writing here as often as I'd like (or intended).
Must try harder.
I envy those who write everyday, how do they find the time? It would be nice to have a record of what I'd done, seen, etc, for me to read back over. Sadly my bad memory means I forget so much.
Anyway, just a quick update. I'll have more to post soon, including new photos. I've been busy during March with shoots and other things, but I think the most interesting for me was photographing Portishead. I've always loved their music and now they have their new album coming out soon. I went to Paris to photograph them last week and they didn't disappoint, they were really nice to work with and the new music sounds great.
The photographs were for a number of uses. Some of the portraits will be posted here when I can, but the first place some will appear is in Filter magazine in the U.S.

Also out soon is a Kasabian book which I shot the cover to (below).
More news and photographs very soon.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

More on me, work, etc...

I think a useful thing about me writing here is that it gives me an opportunity to show some work that isn't on my portfolio website. I shoot all of the time so only a fraction of my photos get put into my portfolios of course.
These are a few portraits I shot last year of James Tyler (American musician, performs & records on lute, viol, and mandolin). They were shot in Los Angeles and were only just published, so I can put them up now. This is one of the first shoots I did completely digital, and the magazine wanted the feature in B&W, which helped my shoot (and transition) a little as its colour I'm finding most difficult with digital, I still want the colour to look like it was shot on film.

These first two portraits were shot in his home, the first just sitting in his living room, the second in his study. Both were lit using just the natural light. I like his glasses being on the table in the second.

I think four or five portraits ran with the interview. This one below didn't however so this is the only place you'll see it, for now at least, and this is one of my favourites from the shoot. Shot near his home in LA, I can't explain why I like this so much but it just works for me.

Anyway, thats a few portraits from that shoot. I'll post some other stuff soon. Its just that images have to run where they are commissioned first. Also some work gets added to the site so theres no point me putting it here too but I will from time to time post a few images here that don't go on the website.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Happy New Year (belated, I know)

Happy New Year (belated)
I know its been awhile since I posted but I took a long Christmas break, catching up with friends & family etc. Also my brother came back from NZ for Christmas, he moved there in January last year. So I was able to spend some time with him too.
But I’m finally back to work now after my break. Hope you had a great Christmas & New Year.