Monday, March 23, 2020 Ryan Whitwell Blog 275

Upon its creation, I intended this blog to be all fluffy, fun, "look at the cool things I'm doing" kind of stuff. Super positive and all that. Obviously, there's a bit of a thing going on that is putting plenty of spanners in all kinds of works, so I will instead make a post with a more serious tone, but it's still positive, so not much of a departure from the original goal.

I was inspired a few months ago by a video from a favourite YouTube creator of mine, Sean Tucker. He made a video detailing how protecting the highlights is important in photography and twinned that idea with how we should approach life. If you're familiar with photography, protecting the highlights is literally about controlling exposure so you don't have a blown-out highlight that you can't fix. But Sean goes on to a more philosophical interpretation in which he uses the term as a way of saying that we should take care of the good memories, the positives in life, the highlights. It's important to realise that there is good when things seem to be quite the opposite, and it's important to recognise and preserve those good moments.

There is a second part to this philosophy, which is to respect the shadows. Again, photo stuff, recovering shadows, creating/reducing contrast, etc. But it's, of course, referring to how dark times are something we shouldn't simply ignore, but should look at in another way that has a positive spin.

Dark times are something our brains are wired to focus on, we have evolved to learn from our mistakes and so our mind and memories will give those mistakes a higher ranking when trying to figure a way out of a bad situation, creating an endless cycle of negative thoughts that can be one overwhelming. It's impossible to block those memories out, and in my experience, you should not try to ignore those memories. Attempting to shut them out is not healthy, and to allow them to overtake us is also not a good thing. Personally, I find that to respect those memories, realising that I have gotten over bad times before, I learned from our mistakes is the best thing to focus on when things aren't going my way. Usually, for me it's financial issues that trigger a cycle of negative thoughts, as the related stress and self-pity from bad financial choices swim around my mind. So in light of current events, I would urge others to keep preserving the highlights, however small they may be, and if darkness creeps in, acknowledge it, realise why it's there, that you have gotten past before and will again, and go back to those highlights.

I do have some highlights in the distance that I'm focussing on right now, but that's for another day. For now, wash your hands, look out for each other and only take what you need.
-Ryan

Check out Sean Tucker's video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ7QGZYdJns&t=


 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 Ryan Whitwell Blog 231

Woo! New blog! As this is the first post I figured it would be a good idea to write a quick introduction and a bit of history as to how I started shooting and where I'm at now.

Ryan, 34, London, England. I have been photographing all sorts of things for years but have only pursued it as a genuine hobby/side hustle since 2015 when I decided to combine my existing love of live music and my developing interest in photography by setting out to shoot live gigs.

shotison old logoAs I have a history in graphic design, marketing and stuff like that, I wanted to create a brand that had a bit more going on than just "[My Name] Photography". The word "Shotison" doesn't really mean anything as it's just three words, "shot is on", squashed together and, a bit randomly, came about from listening to football (soccer) commentary. I ended up picking that idea for a name because it seems to be a pretty unique word. The only other examples of it I have seen are a few people with it as a name, but those people seem to be from parts of Asia, so even then the name isn't often written in western characters which makes an online presence (like this web domain, various social media handles, google searches) quite easy to obtain and is short enough that it doesn't eat up all the space in a tweet before anyone has written anything.Shotison Music Logo

That's enough about branding. This journey began shooting live bands in a few places for fun, then shooting live bands and other kinds of events more regularly. Lots of practice meant the live music stuff started to get better and I had the confidence to start reaching out and shooting bigger shows with press passes for publications like Moshville Times, Metal-Rules.com and The Independent Voice. I also have an SB600 flash, that I still use even now as it's a great little light when needing a bit of a kick in some of the venues I frequent. (I'll do another post about my photo gear in the future)

Leake Street 2017 001
From my first model shooting experience in 2017

Shooting models and bands (offstage), seemed to get kick-started by chance. A few years ago I was in Leake Street tunnel, my girlfriend at the time was practising spray painting so I had a wander with my camera and found a group of togs and models shooting and posing. I asked around and it turned out it was an Instagram based meet-up in which a bunch of models and togs got together for some shooting. I joined in for a bit and shot a couple of models with my little SB600 speedlight providing some off-camera flash (utilising Nikon's CLS) and that hour or so of shooting models was the indication that I could, if I applied myself, take photography from live shows to crafted shoots.

Lots of confidence-boosting stuff, which lead me into shooting band portraits and promo shots, investing time and money with more lighting options and then getting some networking going on to get models in front of the lens.

A few years later and I'm shooting more bands and models than ever, and I'm making some other plans involving personal art projects (more on that another time),  which is all very exciting. I'll be writing blog posts as regularly as possible, so follow me on the usual social media places: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to keep in the loop when new posts go up!

-Ryan Shotison