Photographer Chris Brunnen is a local professional photographer who works commercially under CJB Photography and provides a wide range of photography services, including something a little different, Chris specialises in aerial photography. We spoke to Chris to find out more about how he got in to photography and in to this particular specialist field:
Hi Chris, how did you first get interested in photography?
I was introduced to photography when I was about 12 by Neil, my friend and neighbour. He was a few years older than me and was taking lessons at his school when he came home one day with an envelope of black & white prints he’d made and it completely amazed me. I couldn’t comprehend how it was done, I thought the process had to be done in a factory or by a huge company, I had no idea this was something that could be done at home in a darkened room. From that day, I remember the feeling so well, I was hooked, I wanted a camera. I begged my parents but they weren’t about to buy me an expensive piece of kit at that age so they gave me an old Box Brownie. Yes really, that was my first camera! Fortunately Neil’s mum worked in a chemist and knew how to load the camera but he would take the films to school to process them. We would set up scenes in the garden and photograph them, we even re-created the moon landing with Acton Man.
A few years later photography became an option in art lessons at my school and I started using the school’s 35mm cameras and lenses. I learned to process and print them myself and went on to take ‘O’ & ‘A’ Level exams, that introduced me to the practical, theory and history sides of the subject. I also studied art, technical drawing, physics and chemistry, all essential subjects in this field of work.
I went on to study Graphic Design at Art College. I’d originally intended to study Fine Art but I had a falling out with one of the lecturers on the pre-degree course…so I went to Graphics, a department next door to the photographic department where I ended up spending most of my time. The training as a designer I found very useful in photography, composition and layout are similar skills, again very useful background work to becoming a photographer. I find many people get too hung up on the camera, expecting to get great results from buying a big expensive piece of kit, they won’t, any more than buying a Stradivarius will make you a concert violinist. It takes more than that.
What got you in to taking aerial photos?
My first job was at a design & photography firm, I was behind a drawing board one day, behind the camera the next. As that firm grew I found I was spending more time taking photographs than designing and eventually left, with their backing, to set up my own photographic business, CJB Photography, in much bigger premises with a huge studio. Studio work has always been the main stay of my business but aerial photography is my USP.
What was your first experience of taking photos from the air?
A designer client of mine was working for IBM and needed aerial shots of their site at Havant and asked if I could do it…. I said yes. Fortunately they had a significant budget for the job so I hired a helicopter and off I went. While I was up I took a few other shots around Portsmouth and later showed them off to my clients. They met with a great deal of interest and since then, 1987, I’ve been flying virtually every month.
Rare colour aerial photo of Portsdown Park.
Can you describe your go-to camera kit for aerial photography? Any specialist equipment?
With aerial photography it’s all about resolution, the higher the better. Remember the first time you went on Google Earth, I’m betting you went straight to your house and zoomed in as close as you can. Aerial photos are the same and unique in the way they are viewed, make a big print and people just want to get closer, you don’t view portraits or landscapes like that, you’d step back to admire it. With that in mind I use a high res Canon with a wide ranging zoom and image stabiliser, your average DSLR isn’t going to cut it.
Southsea Show from some years ago.
On an aerial shoot are you able to take photos for yourself in the time in the air?
Most of my work is on commission but I do take advantage of my time in the air to build up my Aerial Photo Library, to be found on my web site, where there are now thousands of images for sale.
Any near misses?
The pilots and helicopters I use are all on an Air Operators Certificate for commercial flying and as such subject to strict maintenance schedules and safety regulations so ‘near misses’ don’t happen but I was in a heli with engine failure once, just as we were coming in to land at the airfield so the pilot set it down on the end of the runway, could’ve been worse I guess. Funny thing is, this wasn’t a working flight, I was being taken out to dinner at a hotel by the operator with their other regular clients. All a bit embarrassing for them really.
Close up view of the Spinnaker Tower.
What sort of clients do you work with and where do your photos end up being used/shown?
I’ve been involved with some amazing projects. The construction of McLaren’s HQ at Woking, St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton and recently the Thames Gateway Project. Most other jobs are more mundane but it still gets me up in a helicopter on a regular basis.
Which do you prefer, helicopter or aeroplane?
I don’t use fixed wing, although cheaper, they have wheels and wing struts that obscure the view and are much more unstable. There are some companies that use them but they really are inferior, sorry about the cliché but you get what you pay for.
You can see lots more of Chris’ photography on his website and Facebook page, which he often updates with aerial photos challenging people to guess the location. All photos with this interview are copyright of Chris Brunnen and used with kind permission.
North End from the air.
Low tide in Langstone Harbour.
Personally, there is something really special about sketching, creating a personal interpretation of a place, a location or even a person through pencil, pen or even on a tablet. The lines flow through a quick look of the eye, straight to the paper, with a real sense of what the artist is perceiving, channelled thought their unique creativity and for many artists done almost instinctually, without being bogged down with second guessing and over thinking. Add to this flourishes of colour with washes of watercolour paint, giving a sense of light and perspective you have an image that captures the location and the moment all through the particular eye of the artist.
The local area has a strong lineage sketch and watercolour artists, over the years including the likes of Gosport’s highly regarded Martin Snape, the very popular nautical scenes of William Edward Atkins and in recent years the striking work of students and locals such as the Portsmouth Scrolls of Arran Mackintosh and the many different sights of Portsmouth captured over recent years by the talented Deane Clark.
Now joining this long and talented list of sketch and watercolour artists is Chris Webb, who’s wide and varied work includes a rather wonderful collection of Portsmouth sketches, awash with colour. I first became aware of Chris’ work very recently with a scene of the old Savoy building on Southsea Seafront but have really enjoyed seeing the previous and new work on Chris’ Urbansketcher Facebook page.
Chris’s work is created either on location or inspired through vintage photographs and Portsmouth itself looks to be a constant inspiration. Many of the original ink and watercolour works are available for sale. Chris updates his Facebook page constantly with works from his sketchbook and much more, be sure to give it a Like, look through the many great pieces of work and get in touch directly if you are interested in buying.
Below are a few of my favourite recent works:
Sam Brandon is a 23 year old local illustrator who grew up in Spain and recently last year came to live in the UK, in Southsea, for the first time. Sam currently works as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer with ideas to try to help promote local business, community and culture. Most of Sam’s artwork is completely hand drawn, using a pencil for sketching and then fine line pens or Posca pens for inking and colouring. Serious skills!
You can see some examples of Sam’s work below, including his ‘Keep Southsea Weird’ artwork and you can see more at the following:
My instagram: @skever
My twitter: @SamuelBrandon
Chloe Hood is a Portsmouth born and bred punk girl who recently finished her degree at the University of Portsmouth in Fashion and Textiles with first class honours, specialising in digitally printed textiles, jersey garments and pattern cutting. Chloe gets most of her inspiration for her textile design from urban sports especially roller derby, skateboarding and BMX. More than just an inspiration, Chloe is also currently a member of the Portsmouth Roller Wenches Fresh Meat, getting involved with Roller Derby. The Roller Wenches and the friends she has met through them have been a huge support throughout her course, graduation and the launch of Hoodlum Fang.
Chloe creates leggings, skirts, shorts, sports dresses and tees, each piece is handmade with love by Chloe personally in her little studio in her home in Portsmouth. All the companies she works with to create these pieces are UK based too. It is awesome to see someone create a brand that is utilising new technology with digital textile printing and making more than the basic garments like t-shirts.
Hoodlum Fang is currently available through an online shop, but Chloe is on the look out for shops that would like to stock the garments, and also selling at local Roller Derby bouts.
Hoodlum Fang is having a 30% flash sale starting today and going through to Sunday 5pm in celebration of getting to 300 likes on the Hoodlum Fang Facebook page.
To check the full range and buy Hoodlum Fang visit:
(Photo by Dominic Smith)
(Photo by Dominic Smith)
(Photo by Dominic Smith)
(Photo by Justyna Kloch)
Dan Choppen is a local photographer and filmmaker from Havant who spends much of his time exploring around Portsmouth with his camera and getting involved up front capturing local bands hard at work too. Below are a few of Dan’s images, be sure to keep an eye on Dan’s blog to see more:
Dan Pease is a talented young local designer, illustrator and filmmaker and a final year student at the University of Portsmouth. We asked Dan a few questions about his work:
What brought you to Portsmouth originally?
I never knew much about Portsmouth until I came and actually lived in the city. It was one of my choices for uni as I thought it offered a good course. I had a look around before arriving for my first year and it seemed so alien and scary but after living here nearly 3 years I don’t see it as anything less than home.
How has your work developed in the last 3 years?
I have never had a set way of working, I think that is part of what the course offers, the chance for you to really understand how you work and the style in which you work. I have used a lot more software over the past few years for designing t-shirts and creating logo’s. But I still love going back to paper and just drawing. The resources at Uni are massive, so I have done everything from etching to welding, but right now my style could be rendered to any request.
You have worked closely with clothing brands, who have you worked with and how have you developed your designs to suit their brand identities?
I have done a lot of work with clothing brands. Me and my house mate started out own company which is called Idols and Anchors. We decided to do it last year and it was really fun so a lot of the digital designs that I do are for that. My other house mate recently started a brand called Co-Conspiritors and I did the first design for that which was fun and something new as he wanted it in a completely different style. So naturally I had to change my normal way of working and work to how he wanted the design.
What personal projects have you been working on?
Personal projects are such a big part of 3rd year at Uni. I have been doing live projects, some of these include a mural at the Southsea Coffee Co, an Armed Forces brief portraying being away from home and designing logos for another Uni project. I also enjoy filming in my spare time so I film a few of the locals at Southsea Skatepark and make them edits.
What inspires you locally and further afield?
A lot of artists inspire me but also things that are less obvious like a normal situation but with characters and different mediums. I love watching a really well filmed and edited video, but I also love seeing a really amazing piece of artwork. My Bike has always been something which inspired me and probably led to me having an interest in filming and editing. So the BMX scene in Portsmouth is huge and that gives me a lot of motivation to get out and film but seeing other artists artwork has to be the best for wanting to create. Feeding off all the other practitioners in the world is the best motivation there is.
What do you aim to do once you graduate?
After Graduation is a big question at the moment, my dream would be to work in London and live in Brighton. I just don’t want the last 3 years to go towards nothing and waste what I have learnt and accomplished within them. Possibly working in Portsmouth if the right job came up but to be honest its not something I have given a lot of thought towards at the moment.
Visit Dan’s Facebook Page to see more of his work.
The 10th Hole is a local institution famous for it’s amazing food and in particular…the cakes. In recent weeks though you may have noticed their new t-shirts with an eye-catching piece of design. We spoke with Linsey Sinclair aka Linseymouse about her background and how this design came about.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and Linseymouse?
I first came to Portsmouth for uni and studied video production, but after graduating chose a career in catering and have since managed Rosie’s Vineyard and more recently, The Tenth Hole. After writing countless chalkboards over the years I felt I needed to explore the idea of doing something creative again and so linseymouse was born.
Linseymouse is a relatively new hand-lettering, design and illustration paper goods business based in Southsea. I do a little bit of everything from bespoke gift tags, to on trend greeting cards, wedding stationery, and where it all began, chalkboard writing.
How did the design for the new t-shirt come about?
Since the beginning of the year, The Tenth Hole set out to raise £10’000 for Macmillan cancer support. They’ve offered various fund raising events and staff challenges since January and wanted another way of reaching their target. They came up with the idea of selling a Tenth Hole ‘tee’ and asked me to design an image.
What inspired the new design?
Having worked at the tenth hole and loving it for more than just its cakes! – I wanted to design something that would represent the place in all its glory. I was thinking quirky, coastal and something that would connect with the southsea scene.
Will the tee be available for customers to buy?
Yep absolutely! It’s on sale now at The Tenth Hole. £7 a tee, with all proceeds going to Macmillan cancer support. Only 100 were printed so stock is limited. It’s a get it whilst you can kind of thing at the moment! Hopefully they’ll sell like hotcakes and we can think about continuing the trend!
You can find out more about Linsey’s work on her Twitter (@linseymouse) and on her Facebook page:
Raw & Auburn is a new Southsea based company specialising in hand crafted designs using raw and unique materials. Each item bears it’s own individuality and is different than the last making your purchase all that more special. Using traditional techniques, every product is finished to a high standard and comes with it’s own Mill Cloth bag and they are all finished with the Raw & Auburn signature cross stitch.
If you’re heading down to Victorious Festival this weekend by sure to head over to the Smugglers Market for a browse and check out the amazing products on offer. If you’re looking for something a little different from the norm that’s sure to impress you’re certain to find something that suits over at the Raw & Auburn stall. If you can’t make this weekend you can purchase many of the items over at the Raw & Auburn shop rawandauburn.com.
Local photographer Paul Edward Renshaw has been out and about in the last few months documenting the different landscapes and people of Portsmouth, with the photos finding a home on his Facebook page. Below are a few examples of Paul’s work, you can view more on Paul’s Flickr or at:
I’ve been a big fan of Roo Abrook’s work for ages, in particular her recent work which incorporates vintage printed pages as an in keeping backdrop for her print designs. Roo has been a busy creative within the city for a long time, with work appearing in loads of local places and shops. You may also have seen some of Roo’s work late last year featured in the national press and if you like to find art and gifts that are off the corporate high street but you still want to shop online you may well have seen lots of Roo’s work on the very popular Not On The High Street website too. You can also pick up one off originals and prints direct from Roo at her personal online store too HERE. All the prints are particular awesome and really reasonably priced.
If you too are liking Roo’s work you might also want to Like Roo’s Facebook page as you have a chance to win a print every month of the year, visit Roo Abrook Art Facebook Page for more details.
Find out more about Roo’s work at her personal website below and have a look at the following images showcasing some of her work. You can also find out more about the ‘Queen of Collecting’ with Roo’s interview on the Roost Living blog HERE.