Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Back To School

Two weeks ago today, I turned 30. Shut up. I'm still rather devastated by that little fact. However, one week ago today, I finally began something that has been listed as one of my major "priorities" in life. I started University. Funny how life gets in the way of something you dictate to be "one of the most vital things you need to do in life".

Beautifully, the course is for a Foundation Degree in Commercial Photography through Leeds Metropolitan University via Wakefield College. This should be thoroughly interesting. So far, the first three days have been rather droll; mostly consisting of enrolment and a few very basic camera craft assignments. However, there already is brightness in the future.

If nothing else, I've already found out that I will be able to sign out both the Mamiya 645 and the Rolleiflex TLR. Consequentially, I've already ordered 12 rolls of 120 so I can get that show on the road.

As I get deeper into the course as well as my own work outside of the University, I promise I shall not neglect this blog as I have. Furthermore, as a class, we've been informed that we shall be required to start a new Blogspot blog as of next week. I will link to that as well and if nothing else, I can ascertain that that one will be very regularly updated as it is considered part of the coursework.

Okay. I'll stop for now. Updates with images will be on the way soon!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Frolicking About and Playing Around

Frolicking About and Playing Around

Earlier, I tweeted: "I want to fall in love with my camera again . . ."  Well, I was kind of serious. Through everything that goes into starting up and running a photography business, it's quite well documented that the actually taking of photographs isn't the largest time consumer. 

It was time to play. In fact, it was long over due.

Enter my grandmother-in-laws garden; add a dash of exquisite late afternoon light and a sprinkle of shallow depth of field and I just spent half an hour playing around.

None of the results are perfect and a lot of the post-processing is clearly even more playing around, but it was fun and even though all the fashion and beauty and stuff is tremendous fun that has no equal, this sort of fun is totally stress free (especially when were talking about someone who's whole system shuts down around other people!)

So, without further ado, here's the results of an afternoon just mucking about with the light tight box and its requisite hole in the front.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Follow Friday - Or - Lots Of Twitter Love

Follow Friday - Or - Lots Of Twitter Love

Okay! As I said in my last post, it's time to give credit where credit is due! If you're on Twitter, then you should be following these people. They epitomise wonderfulness! If you're not on Twitter, well, this list should tell you that you're missing out on a lot!


@ImmortalRStar - It's scary how well I know this guy. Some might think we were the same person!

@amandarecker - Amazing photographer. Amazing person. Amazing friend. Stalking her is a must!

@LaurenIntegra - Because she's all sorts of pleasant wonderfulness and one hell of a model!

@kittiwakekate - Tis' Kate. The very first victim of my tattoo project and many many other times shooting her in the facepalms! Seriously, the world just wouldn't be complete without her!

@tamaramarie89 - The multi-talented, hugely versatile and utterly lovely Tamara-Marie. Model, Stylist, Photographer! She rox0rs!

@raychelperks – Creative Genius. Amazing friend, cohort, mentor, co conspirator!

@piratephoto - After meeting her in person, I can certainly say she's as lovely as she comes across! Fabulous photographer! Do not miss! Ever!

@violaceouslatex - This brand new latex designer is utterly amazing! I've already had the pleasure of collaborating with her several times and can only hope there's much more to come! This woman is going places!

@tattoo_23 – He’s the one the only! Joyously insane!

@HeleneAtsuko - I had the pleasure of working witht his incredible model for the first time the other week! Incredibly lovely and extremely talented!
@BlackLotu5 – Amazing alternative model with whom I can only hope the future allows for many more collaborations! She also single-handedly keeps several tea plantations in business!

@Panda_Face - The Brain to my Pinky. We will take over the world one day! But in the meantime, alt model and photographer goodness not to be missed!

@Rudigo - Because she’s awesome and lovely and prettyful and nice!

@Misscobweb - Another amazing model! Definitely one of the best around!

@misslilystark - Had the pleasure of working with her for my tattoo project recently! Great poser, lovely person! :D

@Cottonarts – Great friend, brilliant designer, genius artist and an immensely talented photographer!

@ASYLUMseventy7 -  No one person should be allowed this much creative genius! 

@zivity – Zivity = blissful interwebs. What, you’re not a member yet? For shame. For shame.

@nicesmilesir- Nice Smile Sir is a 365 project that I'm currently taking part in.

@thejeangenie10  - A charity event with a difference! Get creative and revamp/recycle/mutilate an old pair of jeans for charity and possibly win a prize! What could be more fun?!

Of course, if you're not following me, please do!! @macjw2

There it is for now. I'm utterly positive it's not complete, but the beauty is, this will be an evolving process. This list is certain to grow over time and I'll likely be expanding on why these wonderful persons should have a place in your "follow" list

Follow Friday Chaos - What to Do?

Follow Friday - Or - Lots of Twitter Love

The Problem!

For those of you who use Twitter (that should be everyone) you all to well know the concept of "Follow Friday".  In it's bare simplicity, it is nothing more than a tool to recommend other Twitter users you "follow" to your "followers". It's a brilliant concept and as such, it has been a mainstay of the networking site on every Friday since it's inception.

Now, everything isn't without complication. There's one huge problem with "Follow Friday". It's messy. Every Friday, hundreds if not thousands of random screen names come flying through my feed. It's difficult, if not impossible, to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I also don't like putting random names out there without any inclination as to why I recommend whom I do. That means, when I have the time or remember to do my #FF recommendations, I'm suddenly quick-firing 20-30 tweets into the Twitterverse. That, of course, doesn't help the chaos either. As I hinted, that is also time consuming, which means often I forget and that's no good either. It's hard to give credit where credit is due when you're not actually giving the credit.

The Solution

I've noticed a few small trends recently of different ways people are trying to clean up the "system". To me, this one, in all it's simplicity and brevity, makes the most sense. Quite basically, I'm going to put all my "Follow Friday" recommendations into the next post on this blog. I'll then tweet that every Friday, once in the morning or afternoon for the UK crowd and once in the evening for the US crowd. I'll update it everytime I have new recommendations and most of all, my favouritest of Twitterers will never be forgotten!

I do hope this works the way I see it in my head! Anyways, off to go make my recommendations! 

Monday, 8 March 2010

It Feels Like Starting Again

It Feels Like Starting Again

Though starting over isn't quite what I'm doing. For a long while now I've been considering ways of separating my alternative work from my more mainstream work. Obviously these two don't exactly go together like peas and carrots and even the most die hard of the non-rocket scientists out there can confirm that mixing two such genres can turn people off.

At first this wasn't an issue, but in recent months with a bit of press coverage and a huge increase in web traffic, such naysayers have started to become a bit vocal. Add to that, I refuse to put and NSFW content on my main site, a lot of my work has just not been shared.

The main reason why I haven't acted on anything yet is simply because I've had a serious block for the past year and a half coming up with a pseudonym to group it all under. I could have gone for some obscure fantasy references with some dark, huge words that would require a scholar to decipher, let alone spell correctly. Obviously, that wouldn't do at all and I needed something, catchy, kitschy, simple and memorable. Not an easy task I tell you. Not an easy task.

The other week, Raychel of Raynbow Studio approached me with the concept of marketing material focusing around the word "immortalised". It was love at first incantation! However, that didn't solve the pseudonym problem. 

Transfer back to two nights ago and I really began to get desperate. With some of the proposals I've had for work, including Zivity, I really needed to move this stuff away from "John McIntire Photography" so I frantically started churning random words out. Eventually, I uttered something I really liked. A quick google check told me I shouldn't though. Though there were no photography related results, there were a lot of music entities and a fashion designer using very similar monikers. No good.

Then, something slightly miraculous happened when I woke up the next day. Raychel's "Immortalised" popped back into my head and the concept of kitschy and catchy with it. 


After two hours and several hardcore Google searches it became apparent enough that after so long, my revelatory moment had given birth to my new pseudonym for my Alternative Fashion and Glamour work!

So, with a quick visit to my web-hosting platform, I quickly secured the domain, threw up a splash page and with that, we have the birth of:

Immortal Rockstar: Alternative Imagery

Check out the teaser page here: 

Personally, I love it. A bit cliche, yet catchy and kitschy and it should easily stick in a few minds!

Now I have the enormous task of building a brand around it. Not the least daunting of tasks, but it should be fun and it is quite an exciting prospect. It does kind of feel like starting over, but it's bringing back all the nervous thrills that starting out brought up in the first place and I will tell you, the blood is flowing and I feel more excited and creative than ever!

Monday, 1 March 2010

T-Shirted Merl

T-Shirted Merl

Apart from piecing together a fabulous outfit that merged Victorian, steampunk and geisha styles, for our last shoot Merl brought along a selection of T-Shirts from "Cute Culture"! 

The concept we came up with couldn't be simpler. A clean white background and some cute, quaint poses to match the wardrobe! Add her blue wig (her hair was green) and there we had it. She even managed a few smiles to top it all off! Simple but effective! 

As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

A Small Tearsheet

A Small Tearsheet

There won't be many words in this post. There doesn't need to be.  All I can say really, is that I have been waiting for the this tearsheet for a while. I can only hope it's the start of a fair few from this particular project!
Without further ado:

Click For Bigger

Just in case the article isn't as self-explanatory as I think (of course I am overly familiar with the situation): This is the first piece of publicity about an exhibition of Vivienne Westwood shoes at the Barnsley Civic beginning in May! 
I am far too excited myself!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Shifting Focus

Shifting Focus
I started this blog, last year, as I was beginning my foray into turning photography in to my full-time profession. The idea was that I was going to post about the trial and tribulations, the successes and the failures I had along the way. To in some way, pass on information and lessons that I learned in the process. I would still love to be able to do this, but I learned one very valuable lesson along the way.

There are no instant lessons. The learning process for each and every piece of information doesn't happen overnight and as expected, there have been more failures and setbacks than successes. The lack of posts along the vein of running a photography business is simple due to that. Whilst I have learned an extraordinary amount, I cannot pass on what I've learned with the risk that it is mostly unproven and potentially dangerous to whomever might read it. That would just be plain irresponsible and quite the antithesis of the ideals of sharing.

Because I do want to maintain this blog and I don't want to inadvertantly sabotage someone elses career choices and therefore their life in even the smallest of ways, I will be shifting focus of this blog a bit. Instead of trying to write about the runnings of a photography business, which I am unqualified to do, I am going to return to the much simpler format of writing about photography. My photography, the photography of those around me that I admire and respect, the goings on behind the images and occasionally, I might still be able to brush on the topic of photography as a business.

So in the coming weeks, I will be sharing with you some of the fabulous times I've had over the past several moths and I will also be sharing with you the people that I admire, the friends I have made and the one's to look out for as they, like myself, set out on their quest to conquer the world!

As these changes are taking place, I've changed the title of the blog and I have also changed the URL. Please, make sure you update any bookmarks or feed readers to ensure you still recieve your subscriptions! The new address is

The goal of this change is to enable me to provide interesting content on regular basis, so I do hope you'll be sure to keep an eye out for my posts as they start rolling out very soon!

Friday, 29 January 2010

The Portrait

The Portrait
-as requested by Rachel Bramall: Photography Student and Model

*Disclaimer* - I do not presume any of my opinions to be absolute and the following is just that: my opinion.


por⋅trait -/ˈpɔrtrɪt, -treɪt, ˈpoʊr-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pawr-trit, -treyt, pohr-] -–noun-

1) a likeness of a person, esp. of the face, as a painting, drawing, or photograph: a gallery of family portraits. (

The way I see things, the first five words of that defintition couldn't be any more precise. When talking portraiture, that's exactly what needs to be remembered: you're capturing the "likeness of a person." Whilst I think the subtext that refers to the face isn't relevant, I won't focus on personal philosophies. 




The definition above, as accurate as it is, remains pretty broad and covers every single style of portrait imaginable. To talk about all of it under one umbrella would not only be wrong, but each individual style requires entirely an entirely different technique and approach than the next! For example, approaching a fashion portrait the way you would approach a family portrait could only end in disaster. Well, in most cases, a family portrait approach might just be perfect for an odd editorial spread, but you get the point.


Alas, family portraits and fashion are only two of the numerous, numerous subcategories of the photographic portrait. the genre also inludes:

  • Fashion

  • Family Portariture

  • Children's Portraiture

  • Newborn Portariture

  • Wedding Portraiture

  • Beauty Portraiture

  • Glamour

  • Boudoir

  • Art

The list can go on and each subcategory has its own many, many subcategories. Essentially, this just proves that the possibilities for portraiture upon the picking up a camera are limitless.


Generally, all of these approaches are completely different; however, and again generally, there are a few constants that pertain to technique and camera craft. Now, presume if you will: you have your camera, you have your subject, you have your location or studio and you know what the end style and purpose will be. Particularly if there is any commercial use involved, the resulting photos rely on you knowing the basics of how to use a camera. Sharp focus, good use of depth of field, correct exposure, composition, the biggest piece of transparency or highest quality digital sensor you can get your hands on, (for output of course becasue we all know that in the right hands a disposable camera can be the right tool for the job) and every other thing that I won't dwell on because of course there is already an infinite wealth of that information to be found.


Essentially, know how to use your camera, know how your going to achieve the realisation of your concept and know how to put it all together long before you put your lens in the subject's face.


Now comes the fun bit and the bit that makes the multitude of images out there interesting to look at. Give two photographers the same location, the same subject and the same camera and ultimately the results will be different, sometimes the results are so hugely far apart that you would never guess the circumstance. Are you the type of person who exposes for highlights or rather shadows? Always black and white? Or always colour? Do you always use the shallowest depth of field or do you prefer everything in the frame razor sharp?  Soft muted tones or brazenly hard contrast?

Again, the possibilities are endless and as a photographer, whether you realise it or not, there will always be subconcious consistencies in everything you shoot (That is of course unless your intentionally do otherwise). Little things stemming from how you learned your techniques, to the type of person you are and even down to the type of music you listen to will inevitably play a part on your photographic style. That's the real beauty of it all. You can either make a concious effort to develop your style or just let it flow or even break apart anytime.

Now, I hear, "How does this relate to the portrait?". Simple. As you are making an image that portrays the likeness of someone else, you are inevitably impressing upon that likeness part of your likeness as an artist or craftsman. Commercially, your personal style could very well be your selling point; however, it could just as easily be your stumbling block. If your portraits are usually very dark, brooding and  dismally atmospheric; you probably won't be taking portraits of very many young children, yet that style might just be perfect for an advertisement in a magazine.

In the end, your style will ultimately effect what type of portraits you take. Of course, you could always train yourself separately in the techniques to take the sort of photos that the clients you wouldn't normally have would swoon over, but that is when it stops being personal and I challenge most people to carry on with it much longer beyond that point.


 Photographic lighting is another one of those subjects that is covered in hundreds of places in immense depth and it also happens to be one of the last few areas chock full of innovation. Because of this, I won't be covering specifics of what to use or illustrate with lighting diagrams because that would be rather pointless.

What you need to know about lighting, as it pertains to portraiture, is that it is the single most important element above all else, in my opinion of course. Fortunately, to that effect, the options are utterly limitless. If an object emits light, then it is a viable lightsource for your portraits. I don't care if it's a £1000 studio flash head or a £10 work lamp. Whether it's the midday sun or a computer screen. Everything is viable and it's up to you to work out how to use it to the best effect. { There is only one source of light that you should never, ever use and that's that little tiny built in flash on your camera. If your ever tempted to use it, just get a small hammer or other "weapon of opportunity" and break it. You won't be tempted again. If this needs explaining, then it's time to visit some of the previously mentioned abundance of sources on photographic lighting. Personally, I like Strobist }

So, in order to consistently create a high grade of portrait, you have to understand light and you have to know how to manipulate that light. Ambient or artificial, manmade or natural, you must master light in order to make it work for you subject. This is far more important than the subject's ease, comfort, expression or anything else you might hear. Remember, photo literally means light. Without light there is no photo and without controlling that light and making it work it's magic for you there is no good photo except by way of an occasional accident.


 I am going to briefly touch on a pet peeve of mine concerning the vernacular commonly used regarding post production. Please, for the sake of my sanity, carefully review the following definitions and commit them to memory.

  • Editing - The process of going through contact sheets or digital files, weeding out the inferior images and selecting the final images to be retouched.

  • Retouching - The physical process of correcting, adjusting and removing flaws from images by way of the darkroom or computer software.

 Now, retouching is another important element in the portrait. That is, unless of course you're of the frame of mind that retouching is evil and refuse to do anything outside of the camera, then fine, that of course is a valid approach to things, just please make sure that Ansel Adams is not on your list of "heroes" before heading off to preach elsewhere.

The amount and type of retouching you will do will of course depend on your personal style and your skill level. You may simply remove blemishes or you may add a little extra contrast to the eyes or you may go all out and remove your subject from where the image was taken and place them in an entirely different scene. Technically, that would be called manipulation but it all falls into the same boat. You could, by all means, remove all "imperfections" from your subject and give them digital liposuction to disguise that extra 40 pounds of "beer weight" but your're not going to do that are you? Are you?


Output is the last part of the process, but in actuality, probably the very first thing you considered when approaching your portrait. The end result of a session will always factor into the planning and the preparation and then the actual shooting, but it is still the end result and what matters at the finish line.

What are the uses for portraits? Nice, gigantic prints on the wall. That's a good start. Some pretty pictures for social media? Increasingly. A good human way to show the people behind the faceless corporations by way of a wall of photos or a section on a website? Yes. The options for the end result aren't  quite limitless; however, you will very badly struggle to run them out in your lifetime. 
Your creativity and the amount of work you're willing to put in are the only true limits. That applies to everything I've written about above. Though this whole thing has mostly been blanket generalisations and a whole lot of opinion,  in the end, whatever portraits you make will be a piece of you and will show the person behind the camera just as much as the one in front of it. That is what truly makes it art.