Since mid-2007 I’ve been using my camera to capture a lot of things. Mostly people. Mostly people who to me, are nothing less than pure amazing. Mostly people who never got a payment for their part of posing for my camera.
Some of these photos were published in magazines or books. Some appeared in exhibitions around the world.
Some of them brought in some money that allowed me to pay whoever it was that I photographed.
A lot of these pictures, however, never seen the light of day – or more precisely – still await to be selected and edited on my hard drive.
The fact that most of these people never got a payment, leaves me obliged to basically give them the photos ASAP. They did their part, I need to do mine.
With digital photography comes the tiring editing part. I learned that the way I shoot, is a very impulsive-improvised sort of process; I don’t plan shoots to small details. I say “I want to shoot you, wearing this, standing in this room” and I will shoot 600 pictures moving around, moving the person around, changing the light, changing the lens …eventually without even remembering some of the photos I took, I will select the ones I like on my editing software. During the shoot, I try to let the pictures take themselves. I end up in weird positions, weird compositions – but I try to let it go and flow. The composition is created in 2 parts. It’s not really the photoshoot. It’s the photoshoot + editing or shall I say the selection.
From the (at least) hundreds of thousands of photos I took, I’ve never taken a single photo just to keep it for myself. Everything I do is aimed at being published, exhibited, put in a book one day and so on.
BUT I have realized long time ago that I have a problem with my work flow. That problem is simply the fact that I can shoot faster than I edit.
Being a freelance photographer who is not making his living by selling fine art prints (just yet) – I have to do a lot of other jobs. Some are super interesting and the photos I produce end up in my portfolio, publications and exhibitions. Some are done purely for the money and will never appear on any of my sites and none of you will ever know I’ve taken them.
This puts me in a situation where I HAVE to prioritize my work flow to deal with the paid work first and all personal work is being put aside, postponed until I’m free with the energy to sift through it all.
When I’m doing about 2 paid jobs and 2-3 personal shoots a week, each job / shoot containing 200-1500 images, about 1-2 hours to go through each shoot, mark all ‘worthwhile’ images and delete all the crappy ones, another 2-3 hours to narrow the images to the best 5-20 images and then edit them … I end up getting A LOT of personal work left behind.
I have shoots I’ve done in 2007 (this is 2013 now) I haven’t even looked at yet.
The people I photograph often ask me what’s going on with the pictures. I get some people ending up sort of hating me, they stop talking to me. I get it. I wish things would be different. I wish I could edit everything faster.
Perhaps in the future my career as a fine art photographer will flourish and I will be able to just concentrate on these shoots instead of having other obligations (various commissions) I need to handle first.
I should emphasize again that ALL the pictures I take, as a part of my personal work especially, are pictures I take because I am passionate about them in one way or another. I intend to publish them in whatever platform I can. Even if it was 5 or 6 years ago, I plan to publish them at some point.
I don’t even know why I take pictures. It just feels right. I’m very intuitive, I don’t ask questions – when my gut feeling tells me “YOU MUST PHOTOGRAPH THIS PERSON” – I obey.
It’s an obsession. A disease. It’s my fetish and I’m addicted to it. But I don’t ask questions. I do it. I find a way to get that person’s trust and pose for my camera. I just know it’s right. The picture has to be made, and one day, it will justify its existence, somehow.
I guess I’m not the only photographer with this problem, but I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time.
This post is written for anyone I’ve photographed before and yet to see the photos; I’d like to say I’m sorry. I REALLY am sorry.
I hope you understand.
What: BHOSPUE#2 = Ben Hopper Open Studio Pop Up Exhibition #2
This is the first event of perhaps a new tradition of open studio pop-up exhibitions I’ll be doing every now and then.
“Self Assigned” is a selection of recent personal photography work.
When: Thursday, 6 December 2012. 17:00 until 23:30
Where: Ben Hopper Studio. 92 White Post Ln, E9 5EN London, United Kingdom.
Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/346460672115303/
From now until exhibition night (22/11/2012) I’m offering SPECIAL 50% DISCOUNT on FINE ART LIMITED EDITION PRINTS on four sizes:
A3 (297x420mm) £50 (instead £95)
A2 (420x594mm) £90 (instead £180)
A1 (594x841mm) £170 (instead £345)
A0 (841x1189mm) £270 (instead £545)
Limited edition of 15, signed and numbered.
All C-type prints, printed on Fuji Crystal Archive Matt paper.
– Prior to exhibition you can order anything you find on my tumblr / fb / flickr or http://therealbenhopper.com/ (payments can be made by bank, PayPal, credit or debit cards)
If you order by this weekend your print will wait for you at the exhibition.
Anything ordered after this weekend can be picked up from my studio or sent by post.
– On exhibition night you can also buy the prints on display (lots of new, never published work) and pay with cash or debit/credit cards
– international shipping IS AVAILABLE
To purchase please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Do it, I’m tired of cleaning flats and washing old ladies feet for money
What you need to know:
– This is an open studio event, in my own studio. I’m pretty much letting you in my house. Please be respectful to me and to the other residents my building.
– I am the curator and the ‘gallery owner’ so I can do whatever the fuck I want to. Meaning; expect new unseen experimental non-commercial work.
– It’ll be both Private View and Exhibition so total duration is one evening.
– Everything must go on the night. I’m paying for this out of my own pocket and I’m doing it for 2 reasons – 1: It helps me to sort my latest work. 2: I want share it with YOU. Please help to make this an ongoing thing by buying prints! There’ll be various paper types and sizes starting from £5 – £25 – £50 …and above (if you’re brave enough).
– I’m checking the possibility of having live performances. TBC.
– If YOU have any ideas or questions please leave a comment below or email me: email@example.com
#1 – 23 September 2012 during Hackney WickED Open Studios weekend
<Event on Facebook>
As part of ‘Hackney WickED Open Studios’, for 4 hours ONLY (12-4pm) on Sunday, 23rd of September 2012, I will be opening my studio in Hackney Wick to the general public!
I’ll be displaying a large collection of exhibition left-overs ALL FOR SALE at bargain ‘everything-must-go’ prices! First-come, first-served basis.
A0 (120x85cm) black & white paper prints for £5-20, 30×20″ photo paper colour prints from only £20 and Fine Art limited edition prints (framed as well).
You HAVE to come! Only 4 hours!
My studio is on:
92 White Post Lane, E9 5EN
Building 3, 2nd floor, Unit J
Come! Bring pets, grannies, cash!
I will also have 4 prints displayed at The Stour Space in Hackney Wick as a part of their group exhibition ‘From The Shadows’ (http://stourspace.co.uk/)
Check out this wonderful event which is also happening on Fri & Sat!
(from Hackney WickED’s website):
Hackney Wick’s mystical buildings will once again throw open their doors for Hackney WickED Open Studios 2012.
Co-ordinating the Open Studios enables Hackney WickED to take people on a tour through this industrial labyrinth, revealing a veiled but thriving artistic community. A rare chance to see an enormous range of practice and to meet some of London’s leading contemporary artists. This event will highlight the intense diversity and sheer concentration of artists working in our square mile.
I recently moved servers from Yahoo to Dreamhost. The reason was a techie one; Yahoo didn’t enable a feature called ‘clean urls’; Dreamhost do.
I’m sorry if you received a couple of false emails of ‘my first post’ and sorry if you were trying to find something during this blog downtime.
It’s all back now and I’m also able to improve it more and more slowly and surely.