Last Fall, I took part in my 4th official Istockalypse after Berlin, London and Hong Kong. This one took place in Istanbul, where I spent two weeks in late October. Upon coming back, amidst the stress of relocating, finding a place to live, move all my stuff and rediscover my inner strength, I pushed over 250 images of this event, more than I ever did on the previous ones. I participated in 2 walkabout shoots organized by Getty Images, 2 pitch shoots also sponsored by Getty Images, and 3 side shoots. I also photographed the city whenever I could, in all its historic grandeur: mosques, markets, commercial streets and skylines of piled up apartment buildings. So, yes, lots of images… And I have tons more to go through.
Here are three galleries I put together today on Photoshelter. As usual, links to buy the images on IStock are provided on each image’s page in bright orange. Go ahead and splurge.
So it’s Thursday, my upkeep day where I work on my Photoshelter site, this blog, creating links, banners and lightboxes on Istock, etc. Oh and sometimes I squeeze in a few uploads as well. So first thing today was completing an update on the construction gallery on Photoshelter. Most of the images there were shot during the construction of what would be my home for barely a year and a half before I relocated as a single man. I used my family as models – and perhaps I should have brought other variants, but it all really happened rather fast so I did what I could at that time. ANd it was probably a good decision as the images have been quite successful so far, both on IStock and Getty Images. One sad thing about this collection though, is that I never shot the finished house and garden… because neither was finished at the time I left, and I kept saying next year… next year… well maybe I’ll go back this Summer and complete this. It is rather bittersweet to see this project, so replete with promises, through these images, and know how it evolved for me. One shot has the dogs looking at me from the construction site… whenever I see that image I am filled with joy. In any case, my friends, enjoy the moment. And then learn to let go and keep an open mind for the next thing.
Hello readers, first off, thank you all for your support yesterday during 100% royalty to the artists day on Istock, especially the ones that acted from my suggestions on twitter (@mccomberphoto) and transformed the day from blah to exciting. It was the first time that I sent multiple tweets in a day and the response was far better than I expected, so I might just make this a habit.
Anyhow, I’m back from the Hong Kong 2014 Istockalypse event, and what a blast! Everything was well organized and smooth: we had great models and art direction, believable settings and of course an extraordinary destination to discover through our lenses. I spent an amazing 8 days in HK and discovered a rich, vibrant and welcoming megapolis with the kindest strangers I’ve ever met. I mean somebody actually ran after me to warn me that my photo bag was unzipped. No, we’re not in New York.
Since I registered too late to put together pitch shoots, a brilliant new concept for the Lypses, I had ample time to just walk in the city and visit some locations without feeling rushed. I did so with my two friends Lorraine and Adrian whom I met during the Switzerland minilypse in 2012 and since then had the good fortune to meet again and again all over the world at the Istock events. Really fun times.
Unlike London last Fall, I decided to try and get into people’s faces and shoot some editorial images of the daily life of the Hong Kong people. Boy, was I surprised at the reaction. Whereas in many large cities of the Western world being targeted by a camera is seen as an intrusive, borderline aggressive gesture that is often met with a frown and sometimes outright outrage, over in Hong Kong, people kindly posed and walked up to me to discuss what they and I were doing, hand me cards, invite me to participate, etc. It was wonderful. I love this city!
So I came back on the 10th and I started uploading right away. You will find my work in this Istock Lightbox as it arrives. I should work only on this shoot for the remainder of May, so check daily to see the new work. I have no firm plans yet to upload the new work to the Photoshelter site, as it is rather time consuming and brings back weak results. Here’s the banner to the lightbox:
And here are 4 early acceptances from the trip:
I’m editing in chronological order, so there are lots of nice surprises coming and don’t be disappointed by the more mundane material: I’m putting up anything that I think has a market. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of “wow” shots along the way. Model shots should come later, probably next week, when I get the releases.
And yes, of course, huge thanks and bravos to the team behind this event – Elissa, Rebecca, Simon, Bill and all the others: you made this one of the best Lypses ever and I hope the format survives for many Lypses to come.
Ah, the always useful lived-in interior shots. The messiness of life, and the homey feelings… it’s got atmosphere! I don’t nearly shoot enough of those. Perhaps it’s because they’re not especially fun or challenging to do. I sent this one in after another shot from the same apartment became quite a hit for me (more on that later), and it’s done surprisingly well, income-wise. And… uh… I don’t know what else to say.. it’s a lovely room with a window?
I did this one also during an assignment while I was attending the Marsan school of commercial photography. This was the setting for our environmental portrait shoot and I decided to just photograph the room for stock, just to show my fellow student friends that you could make a buck out of this. It paid off, and I’ve started making a habit, when I can, to shoot rooms and interiors by themselves when I go on location. In a way, it’s because of this shot’s success that I shot the number one photograph on this list.
And here are some early favorites. Many of them failed to initially make the Deluxe (vetta / sig+) collections at Istock (bummer), but, hey, that just means you can get them at a lesser price. So go ahead, splurge!
Here are some skyline and building photos:
And this very wide London UK aerial panoramic stock image:
And here are a couple of staged shoots with the Getty models:
Now that last one is also a test of sorts. Normally, I would never submit such an obviously Autumn-oriented photo in December since designers and art directors are working on Winter, Holidays and even Spring images by then. But there are many thinking that it doesn’t make a difference, and perhaps, since it’s an Istockalypse image and influential people are looking at them while they’re fresh, it’s better to just do them all now. So here it is. We’ll see how it goes.
I’m back from London where I attended the 2013 London Istockalypse. I had a marvelous time getting back together with good friends and shooting my ass off for 6 days. Did I get everything I could out of it? Probably not, but I have enough to work on for months to come. Next will be another Orlando minilypse in February, and then no more Lypses for a while unless I get bucketed again: I have a gigantic backlog of photos to edit as you all know.
So what did I shoot while in London? Here’s a list of subjects you will see appear over the next year:
Day 1: After a long commute to my hotel (the London tube is disappointingly slow, when you combine the often irritating distance between the street and actual subway ramp, and then the time it takes to reach another ramp when you transfer… plus buses are stuck in dense traffic if you want to avoid subways… I had to count 2 hours of transit whenever I wished to go somewhere. That’s the biggest downer of the trip really), I picked up my camera bag and hopped on a bus to London Bridge. Overcast day, not ideal for tourism shots, but then sooo London. Maybe someone’s looking for gray weather shots. Anyways, that’s what I got so I tried to make the best out of it. I did a bunch of editorial, realized I was surprisingly rusty, and quickly switched to architecture mode as I walked down the South bank looking North towards the Tower bridge, pictured above. Oh and that shot is the first to make the Vetta collection out of what I hope is many. On the way I stopped at The Scoop and More London and shot the City Hall, nicknamed the glass testicule, and surrounding buildings. By that time the sun was setting, so I crossed the Thames on the Tower Bridge and covered the Tower of London, views of The City and Southwark and the bridge itself, until it was full dark. Since I hadn’t brought my tripod, I called it a day, went to eat at Brown’s (which was not as delicious as I remembered from Cardiff in 2011), and went back to the hotel.
Day 2: Up early, it’s sunny outside and down I go to the City, enjoying the fact that on early Sunday mornings, everything is deserted. Lots of empty street shots for composites, some architecture stills and views from the modern buildings under construction in the area. I also covered an empty Leadenhall market which attracted my sight from the bus the day before, and then I did what I could around the Gherkin, Lloyds of London and other buildings in the area. I then walked down towards the bank and stock market where I shot buses and general London city life. St-Paul cathedral was not far so it became next on my list, I had lunch on its front steps and was soon surrounded by a flock of pigeons that enjoyed my Marks and Spencer scone more than I did. Back up on my feet, I crossed the Thames on the Millennium bridge and walked towards the Globe theater and an empty Borough Market. I then got on the tube and lost half an hour finding my way out of Westminster station and shot the Palace of Westminster, the abbey and cloister. Unfortunately I couldn’t visit the cathedral because it was Sunday and tourists aren’t allowed. Of well. I walked and photographed the very posh Westminster residential area nearby (so Mary Poppins) and headed to St-James park, which had been deemed the most photogenic park by a local I met earlier that day. It was a bit blah, so I walked back towards the Thames and got some shots of The Eye and crossed the Westminster bridge to get the photo everybody does with the buses and Big Ben. Mine isn’t very good and will undoubtedly flop, but hey, no photographer would go to London and not try that shot. I spent the sunset hour shooting the Palace from across the Thames and waited for Lorraine to arrive. We got on a bus, back to Shoreditch where we stayed, selected a packed Inidan restaurant and waited for Adrian to join us. Thus the big fun began. Cocktails, stories and laughter galore.
Day 3: I didn’t shoot a thing that day. It was all about education at the Lypse and social activities with friends and colleagues.
Day 4: Adrian, Lorraine and I decided to head to the first official shoot to an urban garden. We spent an hour shooting transit scenes on the way there since we had to take the overground which afforded great light. Once there, I was lucky enough to shoot the models taking a break and having tea, which gave me a few very natural shots that I think only three of us exploited. I then shot gardening nick-knacks and joined the mob of 20 or so photogs for the ruthless paparazzi-style shoot of two beautifully dressed women planting grass in late October (!) and interacting in a number of ways. I tried to not get bumped too much by the others all crammed up in a big pile of artists and get a few good shots out of it. I then moved away, as this is decidedly not my kind of scene. Lorraine, Adrian and I then tried to find the second walkabout, which was about transit, and so covered a few of the Shoreditch streets on the way. I staged a little romantic scene in Autumn leaves at a local park and shot a few store fronts. We never reached the walkabout. So we went to lunch instead and a bus ride later, we were downtown shooting on the London bridge again. The idea for that afternoon was to climb up to the top of St-Paul for sunset, which we did – and it’s a lot tougher than you think – to get some great views. Back at the hotel, I staged a series of self portraits as someone doing business in a hotel room in underwear and a dressed shirt using laptop and mobile phone.
Day 5: The official shoot day for the bucket winners and invited artists. I got to shoot first so I had to get up at 5:30 to get to the suburb where the shoot was by 8:30. I shot a few portraits against a wall to be composited into both London and Paris, using the background shots I did there in September. I then spent the rest of my 45 minutes shooting romantic couples interacting, also with composites in mind, although the scenery was quite beautiful so a few will find their way as they were shot. I helped out Adrian who was up next, and did a few shots with his idle models. I then set up my return to London early, as I wanted to catch the last hour of sunlight somewhere downtown, which I did in Hyde park with Lorraine. Although by then we were so tired that we just ended up eating a pizza by the lake and calling it a day.
Day 6: Last day of the Lypse. I showed some of my work to my art director who was quite happy with what I did and was looking forward to seeing the composite images with the models. Lunch at a good Dim Sum place and then I parted ways with my friends to go shoot buildings alone in the residential Shoreditch area. The feverishly fun evening was spent at the Halloween farewell party at Cargo. Huge thanks to everyone involved in getting this event together. These are so much fun, educative and surprising… I had a lovely time.
Day 7: I couldn’t sleep so I decided to head downtown for the sunrise. I shot in the West end, Piccadilly circus, around Buckingham palace, in the Green park, and went to Royal Albert Hall before heading back to the hotel to start the long transit back to the airport.
There you have it. It was one of the most fun Lypses I’ve attended, even though it was the least productive. But that’s all on me. I still should have a good number of very useful images. Stay tuned!