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About my photographic journey

My photographic hobby began in 2008 when I borrowed a camera to photograph a friend, and this inspired me to buy my own camera.

Due to limitations imposed by long term health problems I was never going to be a prolific photographer, so my aim was to focus on quality.

I began by taking portraits - experimenting with many different types of portraiture, trying everything from gritty to glamour, fashion to nude, female and male, seeking to capture the desired photograph by using different lighting, poses, props, backdrops and/or locations.

I also started attending and photographing at events, such as the Manchester Fashion Show.


Manchester Fashion Show - October 2008

I met Cassie Jade, who was a shop assistant at the time, in November 2008. We began collaborating on lots of photo shoots, including a week's photographic holiday in Jersey in May 2019, along with recently qualified make up artist Sonara Parker. Cassie went on to become a professional model and Sonara became a professional make up artist.


Cassie Jade - taken at Rozel Bay, Jersey in May 2009

In summer 2009, I decided to test how the development of my portraiture skills were coming along by submitting a panel of photos to the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), and they were coming along fine as I was awarded my first RPS distinction (LRPS).

In April 2011, I photographed Mary Davidson (aka Mary HD), a former full-time professional model who was embarking on a singing career, at Plas Teg Jacobean Mansion in North Wales. We became good friends and photos I have taken of Mary have been used on a number of Mary HD music covers.


My first photo shoot with Mary HD - used as the cover for her album 'Resolute'

In May 2011, I was awarded a second distinction by the Royal Photographic Society, this time an 'Associateship' (ARPS) for a panel of sport and music photos (two of which are below).


Unsworth versus Milnrow in the Wood Cup Final at Walsden Cricket Ground in August 2010

Martyn Campbell of the Lightning Seeds at Rochdale Feel Good Festival on 14 August 2010

In 2012 I began what became a very long-term project lasting many years, that of documenting the major changes that took place in Rochdale town centre, from the construction of Number One Riverside (the municipal building housing Rochdale Borough Council), the building of the new Transport Interchange, the demolition of the old municipal building (aka the 'Black Box') and the adjacent bus station, the opening up of the River Roch (previously covered for over a century) and the development of a new town centre retail and leisure area, subsequently named Riverside.


Number One Riverside under construction in June 2012

A photo I took of Ant Wainwright in September 2013 subsequently gained me an 'Honourable Mention' in the 2020 International Monochrome Photography Awards.


Ant Wainright - 'Honourable Mention' in the 2020 International Monochrome Photography Awards

In February 2014, I photographed one of my favourite singers, Lisa Stansfield.


Lisa Stansfield

I did a photo shoot for ITV (Independent Television) in May 2014 for an episode of The Speakmans that was broadcast in July 2014.

In autumn 2015, I spotted a local Rochdale Photographic Society competition that was also open to non-members and so I entered a couple of photos I had taken previously and came first in what was the society's 125th anniversary competition. My winning photo was of Rochdale lacrosse player Georgia Greenhalgh. I also received a commendation for another photo in the same competition, that of a disabled cricketer playing for Lancashire Disabled.


Rochdale Lacrosse player Georgia Greenhalgh - taken in April 2014 - first place in the Rochdale Photographic Society 125th anniversary competition


Disabled cricketer - taken in June 2013 at Middleton Cricket Club - commended in the Rochdale Photographic Society 125th anniversary competition

In June 2016, I photographed Xara Taylor, a fashion designer and part-time model who designed and made the majority of outfits she wore for the many photo shoots we collaborated on.

I was given an 'Honourable Mention' in the 2020 International Monochrome Photography Awards for a photo I had taken of Xara in July 2017.


Xara Taylor photographed at Brabyns Park, Marple Bridge in July 2017 wearing an outfit she designed and made herself
'Honourable Mention' in the 2020 International Monochrome Photography Awards

Mary Davidson came to Rochdale in October 2016 for a photo shoot for the cover of her music single, 'That's What They Say' - I was assisted by Greg Couzens and Jackie Meredith. Tinkerbelle the Rottweiler came courtesy of OnTrack Dog Training in Rochdale.


Mary Davidson - taken in October 2016 for the cover of Mary HD music single 'That's What They Say'

Also in 2018, a portrait I took of Sam Briony at the Norton Grange Hotel in Rochdale was used on the cover of the first edition of Real Rochdale magazine. The second edition also had another of my photos on the cover, this one a photo of Xara I had taken in 2016.


Sam Briony - cover of Real Rochdale magazine summer 2018 edition


Xara - cover of Real Rochdale magazine autumn 2018 edition

A photo I took of an aspiring model, Jeanne, outside Number One Riverside in Rochdale town centre, in August 2018, gained me an Honourable Mention' in the 2019 International Photography Awards.


Jeanne -  'Honourable Mention' in the 2019 International Photography Awards

In September 2018, Greg Couzens asked me if I would take some corporate shots of him for business publicity purposes. At the end of that photo session I asked him if I could take a more gritty type of portrait for my own portfolio, to show what a dfference mood, lighting and pose can make, and the resulting shot is one that gained me an 'Honourable Mention' in the 2019 International Monochrome Photography Awards.


Corporate portrait of Greg Couzens


Gritty portrait of Greg Couzens
'Honourable Mention' in the 2019 International Monochrome Photography Awards

Also in September 2018, I took a photo for the cover of the winter edition of Real Rochdale magazine. Taken at The Baum, Rochdale, the model was Gwen Raby, Greg Couzens styled Gwen's hair and assisted along with Sam Kuterba-Wall. The lovingly restored Lambretta scooter was loaned by Councillor Billy Sheerin, who had owned the scooter from new in 1967.


Gwen Raby - photographed for the cover of Real Rochdale magazine winter 2018 edition

I took a portrait of local hairdresser Jade Hodkinson for the cover of the winter edition of Real Rochdale magazine in October 2019. Greg Couzens styled Jade's hair and assisted me, and Jade's make up was applied by local make up artist Tylaa Clements.


Jade Hodkinson - cover of Real Rochdale magazine winter 2019 edition

A short trip to Rochdale town centre in September 2020 saw the culmination of my long-term Rochdale town centre project as I photographed the completed Rochdale Riverside retail and leisure development.


Rochdale Riverside - September 2020

In January 2021, I was notified that I had been shortlisted for the Royal Photographic Society Science Photographer of the Year for a photo of an offshore windfarm I had taken in Skegness in 2013. Shortlisted photos were due to be part of the Science Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Manchester Science Festival, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic the exhibition installation had to be cancelled and instead the photos were part of an online exhibition between 12 and 21 February.


Offshore Windfarm, Skegness
Shortlisted for the 2021 Royal Photographic Society Science Photographer of the Year

In April 2021, I started a project photographing the locks, bridges and scenery of the Rochdale Canal with the help of my wife (canal tow paths can be tricky to get onto and off in a wheelchair!).


Rochdale Canal - Lock 37, West Summit - taken in April 2021

Thank you for your interest and I hope you enjoy viewing my photos as much as I enjoy taking them.

Malcolm

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