Theimagefile team have started a new blog series; “Focus On…”. We will be looking at some creative photographers, their lives and work. We hope you enjoy it!
The first in our series is Mike Black, a photographer based in Manchester. His work spans across all genres from portraits, press and PR to architecture, interiors and landscape (pretty talented we’d say!). He’s also an avid “instagrammer”.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography?
Well, I’m from Manchester. I first started photography because I found it a very relaxing and enjoyable thing to do! During my twenties I wanted to go off and do a fine arts degree but instead I did a communication arts degree which in truth, was probably good for me.
How long have you been a photographer?
Around 25 years now.
Did you assist? If so, to who?
I did a short stint with Gered Mankowitz and some others in London while I was at university, although most of my photographic knowledge has been self-taught.
How would you describe your photographic style?
I love paintings and I’m still heavily influenced by painters…more than photographers in some respects. I strive for my photography to be almost cinematic, abstract and “painterly”, in terms of colour and content.
Can we see some examples of your work?
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
Over the years I’ve used everything, but now, for commercial work…Canon 5D MK III usually. Recently, I’ve started to use the Fuji FT1 and XPro for more fine art work. I have to say I love them…I think they’re the best thing to come onto the market in a long time. We’ve just started to print these images actually and the quality is brilliant right up to A3.
What is your favourite editing tool?
If I do anything commercial or with the two Fuji cameras I use Capture One quite a lot. I also use Instagram obviously, although I don’t use it for the reason some people do. It allows me to photograph ideas really, that’s why I like it. In truth, I use Instagram as a visual diary, almost like my calendar year that I can look back at and think “oh yeah, that’s when I was doing that”.
The best part of your job?
The best part is taking photographs, which I still find really enjoyable. I get the opportunity to take pictures of lots of different things, like architecture which is really lovely. And I get to meet some really nice people!
The worst part of your job?
I’m rubbish at paperwork.
Do you make time for personal photographic work?
Yes, there is a website which is live but still under construction that will contain more personal work.
What advice do you have for a photographer just starting out?
Photography is a long winded thing…I would say just carry on and take what you like because eventually you’ll take good stuff. I get a lot of young people asking to come out with me, which I don’t really want to do if I’m honest, because I want them to find their own voice.
What is the best piece of advice YOU have ever been given?
I’ve been given two pieces of advice by photographers; never put your prices down (which I’m not entirely sure of myself) and to find your own voice.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
Probably one of two things; either football or fine arts. I’ve always loved football from a very young age and I’m still quite fascinated by it now, and fine arts I’ve always liked being around. Although to be honest, I’m pretty happy with my lot.
Are you a Mac or a PC lover?
What talent would you most like to have?
It would be nice to be a musician.
Your favourite film of all time?
The Alfred Hitchcock film, North By Northwest.
What do you love to indulge in?
80s cop shows. I’ve seen most of them, but they still amuse me.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I love Cornwall but in regards to cities, I really like Bristol. I really like the scale of the city and everything you want being there, but in truth probably Cornwall.
First thing you would do if you won the lottery?
Maybe buy a couple of bits but just practical things really…I’d pay off anything I owe and make sure my children were alright.
More work by Mike Black Photography:
Mike Black’s commercial website is available from www.mikeblackphotographer.co.uk
His personal, fine art website is www.lightandform.net (under construction).