Finding light in the darkness

Although I wanted this book review to start off as some sort of parable for a meaning in life, I didn’t want it to come across as so worthy or as dull as that. ( as though you can bring genuine meaning to a book review..Ed)

cover

I was recently sent a copy of Céline Stella’s book, Nour by Justin Quirk who runs the photobook publisher, NOUFOS. It has a very simple premise, to document the shops and outlets around the area of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia at night. With the wonderful addition of neon light blazing out from all areas of the photographs.

introduction

The photographer who works in Saudi Arabia noticed neon-lit kiosks, food stalls and trucks whilst driving through the desert one night, she then shot the entire project over five days during Ramadan.

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It is slightly bigger than A5 in size ( 18 x 25cm) , printed on a glossy black paper with spot varnish giving lovely tone and reproduction. It’s 40 pages long and is £15 plus P+P.

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The pictures have a dreamy quality, I really liked the simple premise, the format and the way the book was designed and presented. Looking forward to more from NOUFOS.

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Book: Nour (Hey buy it here)

Photographer: Céline Stella

Publisher: NOUFOS

Print Run: First Edition 150 copies

Paper: Amadeus Primo Gloss 170gsm

Designer: James Edgar Design

Printer: Boss Print

 

 

 

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FIXPhoto opens with some very special guests

Last Thursday saw the grand opening of FIXPhoto at the Bargehouse on the Southbank , a huge exhibition of cutting edge photography organised by L A Noble gallery with 22 artists showcasing their work including Emily Allchurch, Lisa Creagh, Einar Sira, Robert Clayton and yours truly.

Picture: Neil Massey

The turnout was spectacular and one or two furries made an appearance which went down well. Zuki the gargoyle, Sticks the Fox, Edward Fuzzypaws, Bhavvels Bunny, Quartermane and Kreek put on a performance which people are still talking about. Yes I might have said, ‘explore the four floors of art and photography and have some fun’

Picture: Neil Massey

Outside the gallery. Picture: Neil Massey

 

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Looks familiar! Bhavvels Bunny with well…himself. Picture: Neil Massey

 

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Sticks, Zuki and Bhavvels in the gallery with Ed Thompson’s The Unseen project behind them

 

Here are all the details for the exhibition, which usefully has a coffee shop and bar on the premises.

http://www.lauraannnoble.com/fixphoto/

The writer David Secombe wrote about the exhibition on the London Column here. Here’s an excerpt: “A nod to Lewis Carroll isn’t inappropriate, given that the furry domain shares some of the dreamy charm, transformative power and moral complexity that he represents. That seems obvious enough. But the image of the stag invokes the iconography of the pre-civilized mind and a time when woods were feared and venerated. This stag is a forest god; one that might be worshipped as part of the sacred, time-honoured rituals of Summerisle

The exhibition closes on Sunday, the 22nd at 8.30pm.

The work is on sale as editioned signed prints, framed and unframed.

Thanks to Zuki, Bhavvels, Albrecht, Pickle, Edward and Sticks for the wonderful support.

 

 

 

 

The Furries, Fix Photo and L A Noble Gallery

So bit of a big update for the furry project on here.

Firstly Laura Noble, the photography gallery owner and curator has taken me on as one of her represented photographers, have a look at L A Noble Gallery. This is wonderful news for the furry project. As readers of this blog may have picked up on, it’s very important to me that the work is used and appropriated on the best and most suitable platforms whether that is print, online and now within the context of a gallery; essentially to reciprocate the trust the furries have given me over the years. Laura Noble has been following the project, since I started it and this gallery representation is a boost to the work and also the overall plan of making a book of At Home With The Furries.

At Home With The Furries

Secondly the project will be exhibited in central London from May 13th to the 22nd at the Oxo Bargehouse, part of the Oxo Tower on the Southbank. It’s being showcased alongside 17 other collections of work by some very talented photographers as part of a new photo festival called FIXphoto. It’s an honour to be showcasing At Home With The Furries alongside work by photographers such as Emily Allchurch, Lottie Davies, Marta Kochanek, Robert Clayton, Einar Sina and Chris Steele-Perkins to name a few.

At Home With The Furries

I’m very pleased to be working with Richard Wills at Photofusion who will be making all the prints for the exhibition. I started working with Photofusion about two years ago and their professionalism is second to none.

Fangorn, a Jedi tiger sits in his living room, Swansea From the series" At Home With The Furries" Throughout the year furries dress up in costume or fur-suit inspired by anthropomorphic characters from cartoons, comic strips, myths and videogames. The people inside the suits are by day computer programmers, engineers, mortgage brokers, lecturers even fursuit makers. Most furries have an affinity with animals but some also like to role-play or fursuit for fun. Over the course of a few years, I gained the trust of the furries in the UK and some of their members allowed me to visit them at home, these photographs were taken all over the country. Contact tom@tombroadbent.com for licensing rights

Who are the furries though? Read more here

At Home With The Furries gallery

Fix Photo is on show from the 13-22nd May, there will be a bar, a coffee shop and workshops running throughout the exhibition. See you there.

FIX Photo Festival

L A Noble Gallery

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Photo Salons

It’s always nice when photographs are selected for exhibition and doubly so when two of your images are picked for separate shows. One is from an assignment I did last year for Wired Italia and the other is a new image from my series, At Home With The Furries.

Portrait Salon 2015

At Home With Llamasoft
This image of Jeff Minter and Giles Zorzin from the independent video games company, Llamasoft has been selected for the Portrait Salon 2015 exhibition.

They left quite an impression when I met them in spring 2014, going down to their farm in West Wales and being given free rein to explore their working space, chockful as it was with old gaming and computer tech. An Aladdin’s Cave for the gamers among us. More here on a blog post about that particular shoot.

The private view is at 6.30pm on Thursday 19th November 2015 at The Embassy Tea Gallery in London and the exhibition will close on 22nd November 2015. It then continues to Tokyo in February 2016. All welcome!!

More information about the exhibition here: https://www.portraitsalon.co.uk/

Photofusion Salon 15

At Home With The Furries

This image of Sticks, a fox from Wimbledon from my series, At Home With The Furries has been selected for the Photofusion Salon exhibition.

Sticks is an explorer and what sort of explorer would he be if he left his house without a map and animal sidekick! As with so many of these furry portraits, when it comes to working with such a closely knit community, trust is paramount hence the gradual pace of getting to know furries who are interested in being photographed for the project. Sticks is a close friend of Edward Fuzzypaws, more on Edward here.  More on At Home With The Furries here.

The private view is at 6.30pm on the 9th December at the Photofusion gallery in London and the show continues until the 31st January 2016.  All welcome!!

For more information about the exhibition: http://www.photofusion.org/salon15/

Why Poodles and Labradoodles make the best of friends

People say never work with animals, well I’m all out of excuses this time around. There’s a first time for everything I suppose, remarkably the first actual animal to make it into the At Home With The Furries project. The others are not really animals I’m afraid, they’re to give you the dry version: anthropomorphised animal characters. That’s the furry version of dry i.e not really dull and academic at all.

All these shoots have happened organically, I go to a meeting and have a camera in hand. The furries love to be photographed, I ask them about their suits, I give them compliments, how could I not. The camera is a useful tool to have, it gives me an excuse to ask people questions.

At the last Christmas meeting, I met a poodle called Edward Fuzzypaws. We got on well, he had heard of my project. I slipped him a business card and a few days later received a lovely email from him asking if I’d be interested in photographing him for the project at his home in Richmond.

Well two weeks ago, I knocked on the door of a house at the end of a tree lined drive and was welcomed by the most beautiful looking dog I’ve seen in quite some time.

At Home With The Furries

His name is Teddy and he is a two year old Labradoodle. He even made me a cup of tea, no wait that was the poodle that made me a stonking cup of builders!

Edward’s friend came along: Sticks The Fox to help and what a help he was, he became my first assistant and on-set photographer!

Two ideas per character tends to be the format of these shoots and I wanted these two to be a couple of greyhounds. As soon as I met Teddy, the family pet I knew he would play a major part in the success of these images. Did I have an animal wrangler though? Er no. Was Teddy a primadonna? I’ve never met a softer dog and to photograph him, well a dream!

I asked Edward about his character, he explained: “Edward Fuzzypaws is a fun character, all about bringing joy and smiles, never worrying or feeling stressed. He can screw up and it’s all just games – I guess he’s a personification of myself. My career means that I live to tell stories every day, whether through writing, painting, animating, and dressing as him is no different. He likes to play, quite simply, he lives to bring happiness. I designed him as a child at heart in the same way a dog can come bounding in and wag its tail without a care in the world”

Picture by Sticks The Fox

Photograph by Sticks The Fox

“I found poodles are unusual in the furry scene, perhaps because of their style or character being a bit fancy, but they have always been dear to me. Prior to wanting to be an animator when I was a child, I wanted to be a poodle groomer. I met a standard poodle named Edward and it left an impression on me, hence the name (it’s also my late grandfather’s name). And I have always dressed up, even when I was young. Imagination is important to me, and expressing oneself as well. Edward isn’t escapism, he’s the opposite – he’s an outward demonstration of my passion for animals, art and entertainment.”

Edward Fuzzypaws, a poodle and Teddy, a labradoodle in their drawing room

Edward Fuzzypaws, a poodle and Teddy, a labradoodle in their drawing room

“I got into the furry scene kind of naturally. I hadn’t heard of it until I was much older, but I have been drawing my whole life, very often drawing anthropomorphised animals, especially where I work. Animation has so much of it, animals are everywhere in our world and in our childhood. When I found out there was a world of people dressing up and celebrating this, I was automatically hooked – I had gained an interest not just in costumes, but as I got older, an interest in how they are made. To me, it’s not about saying “why?” it’s about saying “why not?”

Sometimes an idea is all very well, research and preparation play an essential role in whether a photo is a success or a failure but sometimes, just sometimes regardless of an idea, the situation develops in a way you don’t expect and the picture just appears, as if by magic. Of course the prep work has led you to that place, but to let the image develop in front of you is as wonderful as the first time you drop a black and white print in the developing tray.

Photograph by Sticks The Fox

I always shoot with tucked in trousers…Photograph by Sticks The Fox

Edward brushing his dog’s coat down, a simple premise. As they sat together on the wooden decking bathed in dappled sunlight, Edward held Teddy’s head with one hand and Teddy caught his look. There was definitely something special there but it was only later, when editing the images my attention kept coming back to this one image. The project as a whole is about capturing something real, in admittedly unreal situations, but a moment of genuine emotion between furry friends, well that’s worth holding onto.

Edward Fuzzypaws and Teddy share a moment in their garden, Richmond, London

Edward Fuzzypaws and Teddy share a moment in their garden, Richmond, London

Thanks to: Edward Fuzzypaws, Sticks The Fox and of course, Teddy.

To see more images from At Home With The Furries, have a look on my website

Who are the furries anyway?

To order limited edition prints from At Home With The Furries, contact me here

 

 

Moon meets Marie Claire-At Home With The Furries

‘Meet The Furries’ in a fashion magazine usually means an article about the joys of fake fur accessories, so it must have been a bit of a surprise for the readers of this month’s Marie Claire UK ( March 2015) to find an article about my project, At Home With The Furries.

It’s always appreciated when a quality magazine takes a genuine interest in the project and writes a balanced piece about it. The features director, Tracy Ramsden conducted a short interview with me and I suppose, to coin a phrase ‘give good copy’. Impossible not to, with the project being as it is.

Moon, the deer from Sheffield features. We met at a London furmeet and arranged a shoot from there, it was off to Sheffield for the day!

This image, which is one of my favourites from the series was one of the last pictures I took on the day. I remember getting funny looks from walkers at the time…for some reason.

At Home With The Furries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MarieClaire

Thanks to Kelly Preedy, Tracy Ramsden and Marie Claire

To see more images from the project, have a look here

To read more about the project, have a look here

If you’d like to buy a limited edition print, contact me here

 

Jeff Minter and Ivan Zorzin from Llamasoft photographed for Wired Italia

Say Llamatron, Attack of the Mutant Camels, Gridrunner and Space Giraffe to a gamer of a certain age and you’ll get knowing glances and a special handshake.

All these games were created by a games company called Llamasoft, in the very early days of video gaming when Call of Duty and Halo were but a glint in a small child’s eye. When the idea of making mobile phone calls and checking where you were on the same device would be seen in sci-fi movies. And when floppy discs (remember them!) were quite literally floppy.

They were designed by Jeff Minter, ‘the Ox’. Lately he’s moved into Virtual Reality with his partner in crime, Giles/Ivan Zorzin, the ‘Goat’.

Giles and Jeff in their 'Retro Room'

Giles and Jeff in their ‘Retro Room’

Last year, I took a trip to West Wales on assignment for Wired Italia to photograph Llamasoft. The brief was that Jeff and Giles live with llamas, sheep and donkeys and that they, Wired wanted the shoot to be as mental as possible. Well the situation was certainly odd, and I had no idea what to expect. But then when one has photographed people like the furries, adapting to unusual situations is something of a forte for me.

Riccardo Meggiato, the journalist for Wired had been speaking with Giles for a few months, lining up the idea of visiting him and Jeff at home. We drove from London, picking up Riccardo on the way from Gatwick airport and met the two of them at their local pub, it was called The Slaughtered Lamb and was on the side of a dark track that led over the moors…kidding. It was however in the middle of nowhere.

At Home With Llamasoft

The following morning, we eventually found their house and as my assistant, the legendary Andy ‘Tito’ Donohoe drove our rented Ford up their drive passing their farmyard. We came across a wonderful old cottage, but what secrets did it hold?

Giles and Jeff playing a video game in their living room

Giles and Jeff playing a video game in their living room

Well if you were to imagine that over the past 40 years or so, Jeff Minter and Giles had collected every single console and game and random bit of gaming tech and stuffed it into every corner of his house, that would be an accurate description of his home. Essentially an Aladdin’s cave for gaming fans.

Jeff asked me if I’d like to see the retro room, as if you need to ask.

Riccardo got busy with the interview, and that gave me and Tito an opportunity to work out where we could do our set-ups. I was thinking three would be an ideal number.

One in the ‘Retro Room’, one in the living room and one outside on the farm. Did I mention already that they raise llamas, sheep and goats? Not to eat mind. Just because they like them, they’re good friends.

The Yak and the Goat in their natural habitat

The Ox and the Goat in their natural habitat

And to the llamas in question…I mean if you’re going to write a video game called Llamatron, then of course one would require the real thing close by, to inspire you.

At Home With Llamasoft

What would a photoshoot be without me hanging out with the boys in their front room, surrounded by pinball machines and random posters of Gridrunner!

Photo 30-04-2014 16 01 04

Thanks to:

Francesca Morosini, David Moretti, Andy Donohoe, Riccardo Meggiato, Wired, Llamasoft and of course the llamas.

Connect:

Tom Broadbent

Francesca Morosini

David Moretti

Andy Donohoe

Riccardo Meggiato

Wired Italia

Llamasoft