Interview: Simon Kearsley of Creative Camera

It’s time for our latest interview, this time with Bolton based photographer Simon Kearsley of Creative Camera. A member of the recently-established Studio Circle, Simon concentrates his time predominantly on commercial, wedding, event and portrait photography. 

It’s a pleasure to continue our interview series with you, when did you first discover your interest for photography? Did your route through education play a large role?

My Dad was a Bin man in a really good area of Bolton and he used to bring home all the kind of rubbish that is now worth a fortune, because the rich people of Bolton always seem to want the best and latest stuff. So by the age of 7 I had my first Rolliflex TRL Camera, a couple of regular SLRS, a heap of lens and aSpectrum ZX81 Computer…. My Aunty was into her photography and would show me how to load the film, focus the camera and would show me how to lead people through my images … who can resist a little 9 year old pointing a camera at them and getting them to say cheese! I also had a Polaroid camera, which I used pretty much like people these days use instagram, pity I just didn’t have the money at age 9 to feed my Polaroid.

New york shot by simon kearsley

From their I just kept on progressing onto other cameras and back to old cameras, to underwater cameras, Advantex cameras (really awful picture quality but you could take the film out half way through, change if for a different iso or black and white film and then put it back in and finish the roll off…… awesome). My education in photography has been very hands on, I read books and any images that I saw that I liked and took the time to study them and learn how the image was created, I once saw an interview with Henri Cartier-Bresson and he said two things that really stuck with me: One was ‘your first 10,000 images are the worst’ and that one of his most famous images was a complete fluke as all he did was put the camera up to a hole in the fence and press the shutter. He had no idea that the man would jump at that moment because he could not see throughout the hole in the fence at the same time as poking the camera through. So its 90% composition 10% luck. So eduction is a great tool for learning the dynamics of a subject or device but to really learn you to need to get out there and try fail and reinvent yourself and your style daily. The ones that stay the same are the ones that fall behind.

New york shot 2

What areas of photography do you cover? Do you have a favourite?

I cover a lot of commercial photography, from famous German kitchens to food for large pub chains. I love to shoot portraits, I still have that cheeky child in me that wants to connect with people and bring out the personality and smile that is both natural and captivating. When I am asked to cover weddings I take this a approach with me. I also cover a lot of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) events, these really put you and your equipment to the test and it’s where your eduction really plays a big part. When you speak with the client you need to try and get into the event before the cage and lighting is complete because if not you could end up (like I did this weekend) with a cage that is so bright in the middle and so dark at the edges it’s almost impossible for you and your camera to keep up with the action.

mma photography by simon kearsley

Tell us more about your videography services.

Next time you go to the cinema look on the credits and you’ll find right next to the director, ‘Director of Photography’. He’s the guy who makes the lighting and the shot look the way the director wants it to look. So coming from a photography background and with most DSLRs now being able to take stunning HD video, it is the only way forward. I set lighting up or bounce lighting as required then tell a story in moving pictures instead of still images. I only wish I could take a full production team with me so I could always get the lighting I’m after and not have to worry about carting all the gear round myself … We take the same approach to videography as photography, we tell the story.

What do you think of the local creative scene? Do you participate in local events?

Bolton has a lots of creatives but there is a feeling that Photography isn’t an art so you aren’t allowed in the artist club… I tried to get a stall on Bolton’s art week but was told that Photography was on the art circles considered disciplines and as such I would not qualify for a stall. Make of that what you will, I made toilet tissue out of it. I have given lectures at Bolton Camera Club on Event photography and posing Models. I also help out with a number of local charities.

Mark Ross creative camera

Tanya creative camera bolton

What equipment do you prefer to use?

Well thats a funny question, if I’m Simon the Videographer I use Canon Equipment but as a photographer I prefer Nikon. It all comes down to who’s ahead of the game in what field. The frame rate on a Nikon camera is bettered by no one so if I’m shooting a MMA show I need 8fps to capture the moment the punch connects. With a Canon running a 4fps its a bit hit and miss, no pun intended. Where as if I’m filming I prefer to use canon because the sensor is a 16:9 ratio (which is your tvs natural ratio) and the control over the video is, or should I say was before the launch of the Nikon D4 and D800, much better. So I’m a bit of a mix bag on the subject. I love my Nikon for shooting photography, although I do love my Fuji X100 to shoot candids and street photography……

What advice would you give to an emerging photographer looking to set up their own business?

Go hard or go home. If you are half asred about it and only do weekends you’ll take forever to get to your 10,000 images and you won’t ever really get to grips with who you are in life. Are you an office worker or a photographer … If you choice to commit to this life of social limbo and lack of money it can fill your soul with joy.

But don’t expect to buy a Porsche from selling your work, if that happens then brilliant. But if you’re in it to make money use your photography to case bank jobs……

wedding photography bolton

What’s on the cards for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

We are revamping the studio, and learning new skills in both Photography and Videography. Fusing photography and videography is the future so thats a brand new set of skills to learn…… Oh and buy a quadcopter for my go pro……. 🙂

Where can our readers find you online? Which social networks do you prefer to use?

I love to blog and you will again start to see me waffling on about anything and everything on www.creative-camera.org or www.creativecamerastudios.co.uk as soon as the websites are looking the way I want them to. We also have an active Facebook page with loads of examples of what we’ve been up to. Twitter is something that I just can’t get my head around. To me it’s like texting the planet with what you had for lunch….. I used to work with a man who thought ‘mailall’ was a person who worked with us and as such everyone in the company knew that he would be happy to except a position in Inverness….. And thats what I feel Twitter is MailAll to the masses……

A light one to finish, what 5 items could you not live without and why?

Crunchy Nut cornflakes, Milk, Spoon and bowl. Oh and Anne my life partner and business partner as she puts the crunchy nut cornflakes in the bowl, pours the milk and passes me the whole lot with a spoon so I can eat them….

Thanks Simon, all the best from the BB team!

See more on the Creative Camera website and follow the action on Simon’s Facebook page and on Twitter @creativecamerap.

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