Strong Island Co.

Created Local

Created Local – Instagram @philswitch.engage

In the fifth of our special features celebrating our favourite Instagram photographers with links with our city we are featuring Phil Tickner (@philswitch.engage).

Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and your links with Portsmouth if no longer living here?

I was born and spent the first few years of my life in Portsmouth, specifically Fratton, before moving to live in Bedhampton and Havant. I returned to the island about six years ago and now I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Most of my free time is taken up by roller derby related shenanigans (I’m one of the official photographers for the Portsmouth Roller Wenches, and also play as one of the Portsmouth Scurvy Dogs) and what time is left is shared between cycling (when the weather allows it) and getting tattooed, mostly.

Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?

I always had a massive problem with the whole idea of ‘Instagram photography’ for some reason, that was until I finally got myself a phone that could take a decent picture. It’s not always practical to lug round my usual DSLR kit so the idea of capturing a passing moment with something that fits in your pocket finally made a lot of sense. Currently using a poverty-spec iPhone 5c, but it does the job.

@philswitch.engage

@philswitch.engage

Can you tell us more about your photographic experience, is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby which you’ve developed?

Photography has always been a hobby, and I’ve never had much in the way of tuition aside from the odd tip I’ve picked up from photographer friends. It’s always just been a case of getting stuck in and attempting to learn from my mistakes.

Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?

I try to take photos primarily to please myself – when I tried to make a bit of money doing wedding jobs and the like, I found myself quickly losing my passion for photography as soon as I had to try and work around someone else’s idea of a good photo. I’m much happier just doing my own thing again. However, I’m not going to deny it’s a great feeling to have someone compliment my work, so I guess there’s a part of me that still tries to take some photos that I know people will enjoy looking at.

Exploring the theme of the “Local”, Portsmouth has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any local places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph for a particular reason?

Personally my biggest preference for subject matter is the local street art scene – I’ve become good friends with many local creatives through it, and thoroughly enjoy documenting the work that appears around the city, both out in public and inside galleries and exhibitions. The greatest appeal to me is the fact that it’s not permanent – so having a record of pieces that I enjoy is extremely important, before they disappear for good.

Are their any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?

I tend not to take influence from anyone else, as such, and I don’t think the work I do has a particular style itself that anyone would be able to identify – I basically just make it up as I go along most of the time. Not really a good answer but I can’t do a lot better than that.

@philswitch.engage

@philswitch.engage

@philswitch.engage

Created Local – Instagram @no1son

In the fourth of our special features celebrating our favourite Instagram photographers with links with our city we are featuring Scott Birnie (@no1son).

Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and your links with Portsmouth if no longer living here?

I am a graphic, web and UI designer and based in a shared office space in beautiful Emsworth. I originally come from Aberdeen, Scotland and moved “dan saff” in the year 2000. We moved to Havant in 2006 as my wife is originally from here. All her family is here and my own family moved near the area too.

I work in Emsworth and commute (on bike mostly) to the office from Havant.

Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?

I only tend to use my iPhone 6 for Instagram shots as it is quick, easy and always in my pocket ready to capture that perfect pic. I also run some of the shots through various camera and visuals apps. My favourite and pretty much go to app is called Sanpseed. I then run it through some favoured processes and what I like to think gives me a certain style to my shots. For some of the more abstract shots on my Instagram feed i have used other apps like Fragment and Layout (Instagram’s native one).

Scott Birnie

Scott Birnie

Can you tell us more about your photographic experience, is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby which you’ve developed?

I went to Grays School of Art in Aberdeen and photography has always been something I have done through the course and since. I have an honours (2.1) degree in Design and Craft so like to think I have some kind of eye for it! I have always enjoyed taking photographs and experimenting with effects, composition, dynamic shots etc. I like seeing what others have done and covered in terms of subject matter and like to try out my own too.

I feel confident that my shots must be at least a little good and hit the mark as I have been featured in your awesome Strong Island calendar (2015), had one of my shots on a Redbull promotional billboard advertisement and won some random competitions to have my favourite shot printed 🙂

Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?

A bit of both really. I like taking some shots just to record and document, I also like to take some just because it captures a moment (sorry very cliche) and other times I like to take them to experiment with shape, form and composition.

I love a sunset and sky shots, as you can tell from my feed! So I guess that is for me. But others appreciate my shots when I do post them and a lot of people have asked from framed copies of them. I really do need to try and get onto selling some of my shots. No excuse really as i have all the tools required to do so.

Scott Birnie

Scott Birnie

Exploring the theme of the “Local”, Portsmouth has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any local places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph for a particular reason?

I love Emsworth and Langstone harbours and coastal routes. So of my best and favourite shots have been created simply by pointing and shooting these areas. I have also had quite a few good shots up at Staunton Country Park where I take kids sometimes. The natural surroundings and historic buildings provide a lot of opportunities.

I also like Chichester (where I have worked in the past too) Old Portsmouth and Gunwharf Quays too. I do need to get out a little more to these areas and take some time out of the office to refresh the batteries and the creative mind by going “walk about”.

Are their any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to check out?

Mike Kus is superb. I used to share an office space / floor with him and think his work is awesome. He definitely has a certain style that has lead to him taking shots for some top clients and getting some nice pay in the process! He has been on instagram since the beginning and with how many followers he has he obviously does something right!

I also follow Dan Rubin, who is a veteran of instagram.

Scott Birnie

Scott Birnie

Scott Birnie

Created Local – Instagram @Moira_Lizzie_Photography

In the third of our special features celebrating our favourite Instagram photographers with links with our city we feature Moira Vence-Gunstane (@Moira_Lizzie_Photography).

Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and your links with Portsmouth if no longer living here?

I’m photographer and chief bottle washer at Moira Lizzie Photography. Born and raised just up the road in Waterlooville, now raising my own family close to the sea in Southsea. I realised my dream of becoming a professional photographer in 2013 after 24 years in Marketing and launched Moira Lizzie Photography, specialising in child and family photography. Although I’m finding my relaxed and natural style lends itself well to individuals and corporate clients as well.

When I’m not photographing, I’m busy with the other elements of running a business and I just can’t let go of that marketing! When I do find time to indulge in some ‘me’ time I’ll spend it baking and spending time with my family – after all, someone needs to eat that cake…and I need to add jogging to my list of ‘me’ time activities I think…

Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?

A mix of my iPhone 6s and my Canon 5D Mii – just depends what I have with me at the time. At the moment my personal project is photographing stills using my iphone, mainly based on baking or decor around my home as the weather is so naff!

Can you tell us more about your photographic experience, is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby which you’ve developed?

I’ve always been interested in photography and design but my options at school led me a different route so it’s a hobby which has developed over many years. I’ve self-studied, attended courses, sought advice and listened from Photographers I’ve admired and practised A LOT!

@Moira_Lizzie_Photography

@Moira_Lizzie_Photography 6

Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?

Both – for clients it’s all about their experience and capturing whatever it is they’ve approached me for. Babies, children, families, couples etc. However, personal projects are an important part of my photography journey as they allow me to be as creative as I like and I learn so much in the process too. I’ll photograph anything which inspires me and in turn, I hope this inspires my clients too.

Exploring the theme of the “Local”, Portsmouth has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any local places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph for a particular reason?

Having lived in the Portsmouth area all my life I’m still discovering new subjects to photograph – the city doesn’t stand still. I navigate towards wide-open spaces so the seafront and the common are favourites. I also love to capture the vibrancy of the city and it’s people – so enjoy photographing festivals and events too. I consider myself fortunate to have both coastal and countryside scenery on my doorstep – so often stride out to the country with the family and camera in tow (although I admit, I often have to bribe the kids with a pub lunch!)

Are their any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?

Valerie Jardin (@ValerieJardin) is an amazing street photographer, I’m drawn to the way she includes people in her frame, adding life and a sense of place to her images. Susan Stripling (@susanstriplingphotography) and her use of light is a must see! Of course not to forget the amazing Annie Leibovitz (@_annieleibovitz) for her brilliant composition.

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@Moira_Lizzie_Photography 3

@Moira_Lizzie_Photography 1

@Moira_Lizzie_Photography

Created Local – Instagram @tomomalleycat

In the second of our special features celebrating some of our favourite Instagram photographers who have links with our city. Today we are featuring the awesome Tom O’Malley (@tomomalleycat).

Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and your links with Portsmouth if no longer living here?

My name’s Tom and I live and work in Southsea. My short ride to work takes me up to Kings Road where I’m the Lead Designer at the Southsea based digital agency Si digital. I first arrived in the city about 12 years ago to study illustration at the University. I was instantly sucked into the Southsea lifestyle. I love living by the sea and enjoy surfing or paddleboarding when opportunities present themselves. However, I can’t say I’ve ever surfed in Southsea – apparently it can happen though.

Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?

My Instagram account has been on a journey with me through my various iPhones. I think it started as low as the iPhone 3G along with a lot of edited blurry images and horrible frames around my photos. I do own an SLR but I’ve always enjoyed the impromptu nature of snapping that ideal moment on my phone whereas if I’m carrying my camera, I’m most likely searching for that perfect photo.

Can you tell us more about your photographic experience, is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby which you’ve developed?

I’ve never studied photography but having worked within the creative industries, I guess you could say I’ve been exposed to decent photography and composition. Before progressing within digital design I started out as a magazine designer so working with photography was a big part of my job role. Since the emergence of Instagram, I think it’s turned a casual interest into a hobby due to it’s accessibility and audience. I started really using the platform as a photo diary when I went travelling around the world for 6 months with my girlfriend. It was a fantastic way to share my experience with friends and family. Once home, I printed all of my photos with Social Print Studio (www.socialprintstudio.com) and added them to a handcrafted box which I gave to Fi for Christmas – she loved it. There was something quite nice about having those tiny little square memories of our travels in a physical form.

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Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?

I’d say myself, as it’s my own visual diary. My Instagram account is an honest and varied collection of little life moments, whether it’s travel, having fun with friends or renovating my house. It’s a little glimpse at my photographic endeavours with filters.

Exploring the theme of the “Local”, Portsmouth has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any local places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph for a particular reason?

As I mentioned earlier, I love to be by the sea and most of the time I’ll take photos around there but Southsea has some great streets and buildings too, so I’m always exploring the opportunities. A little while ago I wanted to be more proactive on my lunch breaks so I’d set out on foot across the common to see if something inspired me to take a photo, I was really pleased with some of the photos I took during that time and it encouraged me to think differently and not just walk to the obvious places to take pictures of the sea.

I notice that you are a fan of the burger, can you tell us where is the best place to get one locally?

I do indeed love a good burger and every now and again I’ll take a picture of a tasty one. Without doubt, the best burger I’ve had in Southsea (many times over) is 6 oz Burgers – pink or not. Outside of Southsea, 7 Bone Burger is incredible. To accompany an awesome burger, they have hot ‘n spicy buffalo chicken wings and some mega milkshakes.

Are their any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?

Those who pop to mind who are worth checking out are fellow designers/photographers that I follow on Instagram. They all take some fantastic photos which inspire me to the degree that they feel achievable as they are normally photos of everyday life experiences.

@MikeKus – Mike lives just across the way in Chichester. His photographs always feel very atmospheric.

@DanRubin – I always enjoy the compositions of Dan’s photography and he takes inspiring photos of ever day things.

@Trashand – I remember watching a video about this guy and how he would wake up at 4am and sneak up to the top of a building to take a photo of the city he was in. His work feels quite epic.

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@TomOMalleyCat 2

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@TomOMalleyCat 1

If you know an Instagram user that you think we should check out then drop us an email or message me on Instagram at @_ChuBarker. Of course you can also find Strong Island on Instagram at @StrongIslandUK and @StrongIslandClothingCo.

Created Local – Instagram @JonathanPink

Welcome to the first of a new Strong Island feature where we are looking to celebrate some of our favourite Instagram photographers who have links with our city. The first of which is Jonathan Pink who you can follow yourself on Instagram as @JonathanPink.

Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and your links with Portsmouth if no longer living here?

I haven’t always been local to Portsmouth, but always visited and taken a keen interest in the city, it’s history and connection to the sea. I moved to Southsea two years ago after regularly visiting the city, getting to know it’s quirks and scratching the surface of what it’s about. I’m a graphic designer and commute to my job out of the city, I live with my partner and Miniature Dachshund name Hugo.

Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?

I always use my iPhone6 for my Instagram photography. For me, Instagram is that instant capture of a moment in my life and the things I see. The phone makes it quick, easy and accessible.

Can you tell us more about your photographic experience, is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby which you’ve developed?

Being a graphic designer, I consider myself a creative thinker and have always enjoyed different expressions of this. Photography being one. I own a Canon digital SLR which I use occasionally or for specific shoots, events or days out. I’ve never been trained in photography, but have naturally picked up the functionality and use of a camera on my way, capturing a great shot is something which come s little more naturally being a designer.

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@jonathanpink

Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?

I take photographs for myself primarily, the instant enjoyment of finding, capturing and posting a photo of my everyday life. That said, my Instagram account is public, so there is a nature of enjoying other photography and them enjoying what I have taken.

Exploring the theme of the “Local”, Portsmouth has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any local places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph for a particular reason?

Not coming from a city on the sea, I genuinely appreciate the shoreline, sea and walking our dog. The constant change in weather, seasons and activity makes this space an interesting one to live beside and take photographs of. From the summer sunsets, eerie fog, busy shipping lanes to the stormy solent. This space gives so much to me.

Are their any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?

Instagram photographers include the Isle of Wight based photographer Chad Powell (@isleofwightmilkyway), from New York Cubby Graham (@CubbyGraham) and locally based tattoo artist Louise Bush (@Lapin_Lou).

I generally enjoy a mixture of photographers, especially on Instagram. Those who inspire me, through their subject matter, style and general approach to life/photography and content different to my own.

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@jonathanpink

Of course you can also find Strong Island on Instagram under @StrongIslandUK and @StrongIslandClothingCo.

Created Local Special: Interview with Play Dead Studio in Southsea

With the start of Autumn, Southsea has seen the opening of a new creative space: Play Dead, that is part tattoo studio and part creative/gallery space. We caught up with the Play Dead crew to find out what’s going on down on Highland Road:

How did the idea for Play Dead come about?
We (Samo and Lex) first discussed the idea of Play Dead back in 2014. That’s when the search for a suitable property began and our plans for exactly what we wanted to set up started taking shape. We knew we wanted a more evolved conceptual tattoo studio, but as we are both involved in the street art scene it made sense to incorporate our love of that, and make our space a little more unique. Our mix of tastes and passions for things like fine art, character based art, vintage, music, and all things strange and wonderful have also helped to mould the look and style of what was to become Play Dead: a fine art/street art gallery, and custom tattoo studio.


What’s the team behind Play Dead? How did everyone get involved?
Whilst Samo and Lex remain at the core of Play Dead, we have carefully chosen a team of artists who are already well established in their own right. We’re very fortunate that the guys on our ‘wish list’ agreed to join us and we all get on like one big Play Dead Family:

Lex (Lex Luthor, LexLX, LexArt) : Doodler, Illustrator, Street Artist, Designer and Creative at All Caps and Supervillain. As the only member of the team who doesn’t tattoo, Lex is responsible for the look and style of the Play Dead name, and its continuous development. Check Lex on Instagram: @lexart.

Samo : Creative artist whose work encompasses painting, street art, sculpture and conceptual tattoo art. Samo uses watercolour, brush strokes, and geometry in a lot of her work. She enjoys the challenge of developing her freehand style from the page to the skin and using the body as a canvas. Check Samo on Instagram: @samotattoos.

Sam Hugh : A creative tattooer with a more traditional edge. Bold lines, heavy black and bright colours. Old school tuff stickers and tatty bangers for outlaws and reprobates. Check Sam on Instagram: @acidbathvampire.

Lou Lapin : Play Dead’s Tattoo Apprentice. With no higher education and being a single parent at a young age Lou has worked incredibly hard to forge a creative career. She started out as a toymaker and illustrator and now channels this into tattooing. Influenced by artists like Tove Jansson (creator of the Moomins) and Scandinavian folk tales her work is always sweet with a melancholic edge. Check Lou on Instagram: @lapin_lou.




What do you think Play Dead brings to the city?
We aim to be a creative space and street art hub, with a slightly darker edge. A unique combination of tattoo studio and gallery space, we are a home for creative artists to exhibit their work, buy materials or just hang out. Play Dead is somewhere that is ever evolving and offering something different to the norm.

Thoughts on the city’s street art scene at the moment?
We love how the street art scene in Portsmouth has grown over the past decade or so. From projects organised by the Portsmouth Creative Movement to art events at The Teatray, Coastguard Gallery, and Southsea Skatepark. Portsmouth is developing into a city that embraces creativity and street art. We’re very proud to be a part of this exciting movement. We believe that the Portsmouth street art scene is attracting tourists and art lovers from afar and firmly putting Portsmouth on the map.

Huge respect to all those involved in making Portsmouth and Southsea a more creative and visually exciting environment. Artists such as: Fark, My Dog Sighs, M-One, Midge, Mimic, Dharma, Morf, Higher, Monk, Leila, Mr Kemp, Berk and Los Dave have been committed to pushing the local street art scene further and attracting other renowned artists to the area. We look forward to working with these guys more in the future, on many exciting projects to come.






What sort of exhibitions do you have planned for the future?
Next for us is an exciting show by local artist My Dog Sighs, entitled: Quiet Little Voices. This will open on Friday 13th November (7pm) and is planned to run until early December. We’re really looking forward to seeing his new work for this. As well as the art on the walls, there’ll be My Dog Sighs tshirts, prints and a few other surprises.

We’re very interested in offering a different kind of art show – unique to each artist. So they are invited to take over the gallery space and use it however they wish. We’re on hand to support their ideas and realise their vision.

After the My Dog Sighs show, we have an exhibition of work from the talented stencil artist M-One. And in 2016, we have a range of artists lined-up, from street art to fine art, illustration and tattooing.

Also on the weekend of November 13th, 14th and 15th we have the talented tattoo artist Funns at Play Dead for a guest spot. Check him out on instagram; @funns

How’s life in PO4? Highland Road is a little off the beaten track to the more established traditionally thought of creative parts of the city, what are its advantages?
Yeah, it’s great. We love it here. We like being different and standing out from our surroundings. Plus, the space, the frontage, and the area was exactly what we were looking for. We like to think that people don’t mind taking an extra five minutes walk from Albert Road to pop along and come see us.


What are your plans for the future of Play Dead?
Our plans are to continue producing high quality and unique tattoos, to help showcase creative talent, not just from street art but a whole variation of art forms. We will collaborate with other creative groups and individuals. We would also like to continue developing and building the Play Dead name, through clothing designs, events, workshops, and whatever else we might think of. We will continue to keep offering the people of Portsmouth a little something different – a little darker. It’s exciting times for us.

Follow Play Dead on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates @playdeadstudio.






















Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt

Continuing our long running series Created Local that looks at different creative people who call Southsea and Portsmouth home (we’ve featured over 100) this time we catch up with local photographer Paul Watt.

How did you get in to photography originally?

Like most people I’ve always enjoyed snapping away with various point and shoot cameras but It wasn’t until two years ago that it became a hobby in itself. I bought a Canon 35mm slr and lens from ebay for about a tenner and I discovered that I really enjoyed the whole experience of specifically going out to take photographs. I suffer quite badly from anxiety but I feel a lot calmer when I’m behind a lens. I think that reflects in my images. Corny but true!

What’s your usual camera gear set up?
I generally shoot on a Canon 1200D with the 18-55mm kit lens. I use a tripod that I bought from the Southsea carboot sale and a generic wired shutter release. I also have a few sets of Neutral Density filters (both screw in type and square).

I’m really impressed with this DSLR, it’s the entry level model but so long as you accept it’s limitations (weather sealing would be nice!) you can get some good results with it.

There’s always going to be an outlay with photography but I believe you don’t have to spend thousands of pounds to take a decent photo. It’s the photographer not the camera that takes the picture.

For editing my images I use Photoshop and Lightroom.

You shot a lot of monochrome images, what do you like about b&w?
I think b&w photos seem to convey more emotion than a full colour shot, with a few obvious exceptions like sunrise’s and sunsets.

Odd things begin to happen in a b&w photograph, especially with long exposures, where you can get an image that’s both calming and dynamic all at once. Funnily I think a black and white image looks warmer than a full colour image on a sunny day.

This photo is a good example of that. The sun was too high in the sky really but it just seems to work in b&w.

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Boats in Motion
Paul Watt – Boats in Motion.

You take some fantastic long exposure images during the day, can you talk us through how you go about one of these shots?
Thanks! The first thing I look for is the sun. If it’s a bright day, the biggest problem I have is light spots and lens flare. I don’t like to use a lens hood because I find it very limiting if I want my lens at its widest. I’ve been known to open the shutter and stand to one side of the camera to block the sun. Maybe not the most technical approach but it works for me.

My biggest tip is to use the mirror lock function and a piece of low-tack painters masking tape over the view finder. I ruined many a photo with light leaks before I figured that one out!

With this photo (man fishing) I was on the lovely walkway along Old Portsmouth with the lens angled down enough to avoid the lens flare.

I took a photo without any filters first to capture the fisherman sharply then very carefully attached a ND10 and a ND6 filter so I could really slow down the exposure and smooth out the water. Because I hadn’t changed my composition at all it was fairly straightforward to blend the images together in photoshop and create the finished result.

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Man Fishing
Paul Watt – Man Fishing.

What are your favourite locations in Portsmouth to shoot? Favourite time of year/day?
There’s so many to choose from! My favourite has to be the coast around the Fort Cumberland area/Langstone harbour. I much prefer shooting at dawn, it’s not much fun in the middle of summer when dawn is around 5am but it’s really worth it.

The light is amazing at that time of day, plus aside from a few joggers and dog walkers I generally have the beach to myself. Even If I don’t get a good image, I’ve spent the morning on the beach. Not a bad way to start your day!

Autumn has always been my favourite season, it’s just such a mellow time of year.

I live on Albert Road which in itself is pretty photogenic (even without it’s more colourful residents!)

What makes Portsmouth a good city for photographers do you think?
The sheer variety of things to take photos of. It’s more than possible to take landscapes in the morning on the beach, Street and urban photography in the afternoon then shoot a gig in the evening. It’s just such a varied, interesting and diverse city.

I don’t have a car so living in Portsmouth where there’s tonnes of decent locations within walking distance is pretty awesome for me.

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Old Posts Older Sea
Paul Watt – Old Posts Older Sea.

What photographers inspire you?
There’s an amazing photographer called Paul Sanders. His portfolio is full of stunning long exposure photography and he’s a nice guy to boot. I spend a lot of time looking at his (and others) photo’s trying to figure out how they did it then apply those techniques to my own photography.

I also like a guy called Thomas Heaton. He does a lot of wild camping in the Peak District and gets some amazing photos.

Thanks Paul! You can see more of Paul’s photos below and see lots more of Paul’s awesome photography at:

www.simpler-life.com

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Trinity

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Pier Back

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Albert Road

Created Local – Mica Peet

I think the first time I saw the illustration based prints and jewellery by Mica Peet was at a market a couple of years ago, or more. I really liked the mix of geometry and UK wildlife and bought a print and some other gifts and have been keeping an eye on all the new work on Mica’s Instagram and Etsy. It has been great to see this local university graduate and creative build an awesome design based business in Southsea.

“My design philosophy consists of juxtaposing my love of the beautiful natural world with an edgier, modern and idiosyncratic design aesthetic. My main focus is on how I can be innovative yet commercial with the strong use of my quirky illustrative style and how these translate into print designs to adorn the body and home”. – Mica

Check some of the latest prints and jewellery below and be sure to hit up the MicaPeet Etsy where you can buy these items and support a local creative.

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Created Local: Death Marks

At the turn of this new year a new Southsea based clothing company Death Marks launched with their first drop of garments ranging from beanies through to tees, hoodies and coach jackets. We caught up with owners Sian & Iiona to find out more.

How did Death Marks begin and what are your backgrounds?
Death Marks UK started when Iiona looked through Sian’s sketch book and saw the R.I.P Rabbit design. Sian said how she would love to take her sketches and make a clothing line as it was a dream of hers. Iiona has always had a passion for graphic design and wanted to support her partner Sian and experiment her skills in different medias.

Sian studied graphics design at Portsmouth college and had 2 years experience working for a design agency called Design Image as a website coder.

Iiona had studied graphics from GCSEs to A-level and now works as a multimedia designer creating animations, illustrations and interactive content.

Who creates your artwork and what inspires your designs?
All our designs are created in-house. Sian comes up with the designs and draws them up rough. Then either one of us will digitalise the design and after Iiona goes through each design so that it is perfected and final. Iiona will take the design and create and animation to help tell the story behind it.

We are inspired by the tattoo industry, alternative music scene and other clothing lines such as Drop Dead clothing, Doomsday and Honour Over Glory.

What do you have planned for the label in the coming months?
Over the coming months we have south coast events planned in Portsmouth and Southampton. We have a gig at the Edge of the Wedge in April that we are working with Eyeless Promotions, another independent company who have also just started up this year. In May we have a festival in Southampton called Messtival where we will have a stall, in June we are releasing our summer range. Currently we are organising an event with Southsea Skatepark in the summer with Archie Cole, a world champion scooter rider.

Check the photos below of the current Death Marks range, you can find out more and buy items from the Death Marks website at:

deathmarks.bigcartel.com

Check Death Marks on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram too.

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Created Local: Death Marks (2)

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Created Local: Death Marks (4)

Created Local with Aerial Photographer Chris Brunnen

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.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (2)

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.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (2)
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.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (3)
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.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (4)
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.

www.cjbphotography.co.uk

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (5)
North End from the air.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (6)
Low tide in Langstone Harbour.

Created Local with Photographer Chris Brunnen (7)
Chris Brunnen.

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Archives

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Totally forgot to add this one to the series of ‘Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea‘ that we had posted in the past. So following on once again from the photos of the Seafront and the Paddling Pool after The Bandstand and Tennis Courts and The Pier and Esplanade , here’s the final scan.

South Parade Pier

We’ve mentioned Diana Goss on Strong Island before. A touch of class behind the lens and a really nice lady.

Here’s another great example of Diana’s work in this Cross Processed, 120 shot of South Parade Pier.

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Fog Lights!

I love fog, even more so at night time because all the street lights are on and it’s like this weird eerie zombie town. People appear out of no where and even cars creep up on you before you notice them in the deathly silence of the fog. I watched, or should I say waited, as the the Hovercraft came over from The Isle of Wight. I could hear the roar of the engines for five minutes till I could actually see the craft as it pulled on to shore. Spooky.

My little point and shoot isn’t much cop in low light fog but there are a few more over on my Flickr

Do we need to spell it out?

Letters from Ian Parmiter & Photo by Claire Sambrook

The Langstone Ark Project

The Langstone Ark is a project being run by Langstone Harbour’s Environment Officer Louise MacCallum that went live on-line in August. The project aims to create a digital collection of all the animals and plants associated with Langstone Harbour, by asking harbour users, visitors, and anyone else with an interest in the harbour to send digital photographs of wildlife taken on the water, or around the shoreline.

So far, over 150 photographs have been contributed to the project, and nearly 100 species are now represented. There are literally 1000’s of species of animal and plant to be found around the harbour however, so there are plenty of gaps in the project left to fill!

Autumn is a great time of year to see wildlife around Langstone Harbour, with thousands of migratory birds beginning to arrive and beautiful fungi springing up on many of the wildlife reserves dotted around the shoreline.

For more information about the project visit the Langstone Harbour Board’s brand new website at www.langstoneharbour.org.uk and send photographic contributions to ark@langstoneharbour.org.uk

Below are just a few of the contributors photographs so far, and you can see all of them over at the gallery HERE.

Kestrel by B.D. McGregor

Little Tern by Mark Milum

Grey Seal by Nick Lyon

Created Local – Victoria Haynes

Friend of Strong Island, Charlie ‘Pet Sounds’ Waddington told me about a very talented work colleague of his the other day and kindly asked if she could send in some examples of her work. Damn straight she can. That’s what we’re all about here, you know that.

I’ll introduce Vicky with the little bio that sent me. “Right, erm. About me, I’m 28, married with a two-year-old little boy, and have lived in Portsmouth all my life. I work three days a week at Paul Smith, where I’m the visual merchandiser and a sales assistant. The rest of the time I spend looking after my son, seeing friends and family, drawing, crocheting, sewing, watching films, listening to music and reading – the dream is to eventually scratch a living from artwork and handmade goods, while living in an old house with the family and a cat or two. I’m socially awkward, and have a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, I’m not very cool and tend to like clothes that everyone else thinks are repulsive – my favourite shop in Portsmouth is Dead Mans Glory, closely followed by any charity shop. I am actually addicted to period dramas, and love anything from the 40’s, 50’s or 60’s.”

Vicky’s print artwork is hand drawn, scanned in to the computer, coloured in Illustrator and usually drawn from a photograph for accuracy. Patterns are then self generated and added after. Inspiration comes from old objects, cameras, typewriters and suchlike – anything from days gone by captures her imagination. Crochet has so far been limited to homewares and childrens hats, but she would love to start making more wearable items to sell.

Undoubtedly a girl of many, many talents, Vicky’s work is eclectic, fun, unique and fantastic. Please add your comments and thoughts at the bottom of the page.

Keep up to date with Vicky over at her Blog www.theowlandtheaccordion.blogspot.com. All the best for the future and I hope you get that old house. Vicky also has prints for sale in the Southsea Gallery on Albert Road. Pop down and grab one.











Matt O’Neill

Matt is one of Southsea and Portsmouth’s legendary skateboarders since all the way back to the 80s. This footage was filmed all in one evening about a year ago, still one of the best skaters to ever step on a board on this fair isle.

Created Local – Inksquatch

Here’s an interesting little blog I stumbled upon. Inksquatch are a collective of Portsmouth based artists, illustrators and designers that comprises of four people working on anything from books, maps, sculptures, bags, badges, you name it from the sound of things. Check out their BLOG and WEBSITE for more info.

southsea-flats

Southsea Flats by Cat

Review of Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition at Coastguard Studio

Coastguard Studio this past weekend was host to it’s fifth (if I remember right) exhibition in a matter of six months or so, this one being a spin-off show to to the hugely successful Under the Spotlight exhibition earlier this year. Under the Spotlight | Photography brought together 30 photographers who are either based in Portsmouth or have strong ties with the city and the large open plan gallery space was packed full of diverse and engaging work.

I started off in the bar area, grabbing a beer and then checking out the panels lining the walls to this back space of Coastguard Studio. The first series that caught the eye were a pair of medium format, multiple exposures by Matt Ankers. I’ve seen a lot of Matt’s digital and commercial work (such as Victorious) so it was great to see his more personal work. The two images complemented each other well with emotive seaside scenes shot locally. Great to see film well represented in the exhibition. Next door on the wall was a series of film-noir inspired portraits by University of Portsmouth student Harry Murphy. This small wall right from the get go showed the incredible diversity of work produced for the exhibition and the different backgrounds of the contributors.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Matt Ankers
Work by Matt Ankers.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Harry Murphy
Work by Harry Murphy.

Another eye catching and intriguing panel was by Deborah Holton. The panel of 4 matched images showed x-ray collections of objects found on beach walks, going back over a decade or more. Each individual beach collection was kept in a 35mm film canister and could consist of beach glass, stones, sand and more. The idea behind the project and the dedication and composition consistency elevated this work to a highly conceptual piece that I’m sure inspired a few people to consider striking up their own ambitious concepts and projects in the future.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Deborah Holton
Work by Deborah Holton.

Also in this space were works by Andrew Hayward whose photography we’ve featured on a few occasions on Strong Island. On display were a small set of Andrew’s personal project capturing the oasis feel of service stations at night (also recently exhibited in a solo show with Aspex Gallery and Portsmouth Guildhall). The different garages shot in the same compositional style created a sense of consistency in the panel, drawing the eye in to discover more about the lit forecourts and bringing to mind the memories of late night road trips with friends and finding a sanctuary of fuel for the car and for the passengers. We’re actually exhibiting Andrew’s latest project in Strong Island Co very soon, keep an eye out for details.

Also shown in the room was work by Billie Cawte with her series of photos of projections shot around Portsmouth. These carefully considered images matched a location with a projection of a vintage image, shot at night, instilling a sense of continuity of a sense of place extending beyond normal, individual perceptions of time. These also, in a pleasantly strange way, bring to life forgotten functional corners of buildings. There was lots more to see in this space with other work by local photographers, I spent a little more time looking around before moving in to the large, open main exhibition space.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Straight away it was great to see the place so busy. It was early-ish on the Saturday night and the place was full of people of all ages checking out the work and chatting. Its always great to take a step back in an exhibition and just see people enjoying it. There is way too much work to go through individually here but a few panels really caught my eye for very different reasons. In one corner were a series of 360 images taken by Guilhem Brandy which showed different, familiar, spots around the city in an interesting new way. Changing up perspectives of familiar places is something I personally really like and this series from Albert Road, Southsea Seafront, Garrison Church and Guildhall Square drew you in to find out more.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

One of the many great things about a shared exhibition is that the work touches on so many different subjects, drawing out many different thoughts and feelings from the people viewing the work. In a matter of a few steps you could take in the B&W film street photography by Matt Maber exploring the physical, social and cultural boundaries of Fratton Park on a Saturday afternoon through to the questioning and bold nudes by Ashton Keiditsch. In particular the powerful image of a lady with a partial mastectomy meant that the exhibition tackled some heavyweight subjects and these honest and questioning portraits looking at contemporary body image issues rightly raised discussion. The work reminded me of the recent series by Bryan Adams and also The Battle We Didn’t Choose.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Ashton Keiditsch
Work by Ashton Keiditsch.

Also panels that caught the eye included: the photos of Diana Goss whose work has a foot in each of her professions: photography and psychotherapy, the long exposures by both Elmer Maniebo and Jon Neil, the portraits by Aaron Bennett, the views on old age by Yasmin Collins and so, so much more. Hopefully the photos below give you a glimpse.

If you want to see the work in person the exhibition is open until Friday from 12pm to 2pm. Check the Coastguard Studio Facebook page for more information HERE.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Yasmin Collins

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Aaron Bennett

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Aerial Photographs of Portsmouth

Webb Aviation have hundreds of aerial photographs to purchase from all over the country. Click the link to see the Portsmouth Aerial Gallery and view photos from over Gosport looking across Gunwharf, all the way down to the Hayling Ferry.

aerial photograph by www.webbaviation.co.uk

aerial photograph by www.webbaviation.co.uk

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