With their exhibition images about to be revealed, you may well want to know more about the people behind the shots. Stay tuned all week to meet a number of the featured photographers, as well as the trio behind IGers Birmingham (Beth, Martin and Fraser).
We asked each photographer to tell us a bit about themselves and their exhibited shot, as well as the photo that they are most proud of. Take a look at their accounts to see the photos in their original glory.
Looking for information on a particular photographer? The blog posts are broken down as follows:
- Part 1: Photographers in the printed display with first names from A to H
- Part 2: Photographers in the printed display with first names from J to T
- Part 3: Photographers in the digital display with first names from A to J
- Part 4: Photographers in the digital display with first names from K to W
- Part 5: Beth Astington
- Part 6: Martin O’Callaghan
- Part 7: Fraser McGee
Andy Smart, @colatron
[Photo credit: Kris Askey]
In every day life, I work in Telecoms, having a background in Astrophysics and is someone who yearns to live the creative and artistic lifestyle away from the office desk! But I’ve always been a highly visually driven kind of guy with a huge interest in art and photography of all types since I was a young kid and I remember in careers guidance at school when asked what I wanted to be, I once responded ‘a photographer’. Little did I know many MANY years on I would finally get around to trying.
I used to have a basic point + click camera which I never took seriously but living in Digbeth, I suddenly became aware of my surroundings and how much graffiti and street art was around me. And so that being a passion of mine, I decided to start taking photos of the area as something to justify the existence of my barely used Instagram account and to highlight the works of my graffiti and street artist friends.
Eventually however, I became envious of the high resolution snaps I was seeing on Instagram compared with my low res pixellated efforts and so I decided to take the plunge and buy a DSLR and have a go at teaching myself how to use a nice camera. I now really enjoy taking photos of the non-obvious sights that Birmingham has to offer alongside my passion for graffiti culture; the urban landscape, the ‘ugly beautiful’ and mundane snippets of every day Birmingham life that people pass and take for granted are my thing (we’re not just the city of a 1000 trades – to me we’re also the city of a 1000 stories!), and I hope it helps people who view my feed see Birmingham in a whole new light.
In my exhibition shot I’d always been captivated with the view from a friend’s apartment which looks out across my beloved Digbeth towards the skyline of Brum, and so I wanted to capture a view that others wouldn’t have the chance to see. I was heavily inspired in its composition by a scene from one of my all-time favourite movies, Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Akira”, to try and recreate a neon-esque light-trail venturing forwards at speed through the industrial-vibe suburbs towards the imposing light-flooded city (as per the “Neo Tokyo” setting of the movie).
I’ve been attending IGers Birmingham meetups where possible for nearly 12mths now and really appreciate the opportunities that the group offers to see parts of the city that would usually remain hidden from everyday view, and have a go at shooting subjects I wouldn’t normally approach. The community are super-friendly too and constantly help and inspire each other which has really helped with my learning and growth as a budding enthusiast.
I think this may be my personal favourite shot from this year as it features all my interests in one place; a beautifully painted mural, interesting but unknowable people going somewhere, and an often neglected backstreet within the city that most people will never stop to look at or admire, all wrapped within an air of mystery of a story that the viewer can only guess at. That the colours of the mural matched the colours of the mother and her daughter, giving a simplified colour palette across the frame was a happy moment of serendipity which I guess prove sometimes it is all about being in the right place at the right time! And the clue is in the art itself – “A Celebration of Birmingham”
Ayesha Siddiqua, @s01ash
I’ve been taking photos, ever since I got my first mobile phone, those crappy androids back in the days. I discovered the art of ‘editing’ soon after, and I just loved the whole idea of just creating something & sharing it. I definitely over edited the photos back then! But I’m now a featured VIP artist & have 262.4k followers on Picsart!
My exhibition shows my love for Architecture with a hint of nature. The thing I like about being part of the IGers Birmingham community is seeing the beauty of Birmingham being captured from different perspectives.
This is my instagram shot that I’m most proud of. I loved this road trip to Paris! I loved every moment of it and this photo says it all.
Ben McPhee, @benmcphee
[Photo credit: Kris Askey]
I got into photography in my second year of university, when I did a photography module, and I’ve not put a camera down since. I’ve worked as a photographer and designer for over 10 years in a variety of sectors and capacities; commercial, events, weddings, corporate and more, I spent a while working in London which is why you see so much of that city on my feed and that place really allowed to push myself and develop, try new things. I only got involved with IGers Birmingham in December 2016 but the inspiration I’ve got from the talented people involved with the IGers community has been invaluable and led me a journey of development that I wouldn’t have gone on without their input. While I’ve photographed many different things over my career my passion is for buildings, architectural photography and man-made spaces (especially in Birmingham!) and this year I started working for an award winning, local practice Associated Architects. This job has put me right at the centre of the city’s developments and given me access to areas of Birmingham that I wouldn’t normally get to: abandoned places, hidden spaces and the tops of some of Birmingham’s tallest buildings.
For my exhibition shot, the atrium of the cube is a shot that has been done before, but my enthusiasm for ultra-wide lead me to try and get even more of the atrium into the field of view than is normally achieved, I wanted the lower level escalators in the shot and to bring a larger sense of scale to the vantage point.
The people I’ve met through the IGers Birmingham community have been amazing. There are some extremely talented people in the city and it’s nothing but beneficial to be around them. It gives everyone a chance to learn from each other, be inspired by one another and become friends in the process. Birmingham is a relatively small city and this inevitably leads to the same areas being photographed by lots of different people; but this simply serves to drive the creativity of people, to look at it differently each time; never descending into competition or envy, just appreciation and encouragement from fellow members of the community. When you do something right they are all right there to make sure that you get the recognition you deserve.
This shot is one of my favourites, taken at Heal’s Department Store on Tottenham Court Road. I have a thing for a good spiral staircase and this is one of my favourite ones. I happy with the composition and the angle and I’m proud of the coverage and feedback that this image received; it was featured by 12 different feature accounts and has a total of over 11K combined likes.
My name is Callum Bourke, I am 20 years old, I live, study and work in Birmingham. I am currently in my final year at Birmingham City University studying Building Surveying whilst working for a fantastic local charity, Headway Birmingham & Solihul.
My passion for photography has developed over the past 6 months and am always looking to develop and further my skills with each and every day. I have recently developed a passion for portrait photography, however, architecture and cityscapes will remain my favourite styles.
Greeted with clouds and the chance of rain. I walked through the streets of Birmingham to find some inspiration amongst the poor lighting and clouds. It didn’t take long before I decided to lay on the tram tracks and capture this classic view which ended up in the exhibition.
Being part of the IGers Birmingham community has enabled me to meet new people and explore new and hidden spaces through fantastic meets across the city. I have been part of the community for just under a year now and feel that the community has helped me in developing both my technique and style.
This isn’t my best photo, but it is one that I am most proud of! This is a section of a panoramic image consisting of 7 photographs; taken from approximately 7000ft up Mt Albert Edward, Vancouver Island, 2 days into my 4-day, 100km Hike with Tom Bradley. This is the only image I have left from my recent trip to Canada, and is one that I will treasure forever! To describe why this photo makes me so proud would be impossible in such few words. I went from sitting in a pub talking about travelling to Canada with a good friend from Uni, to 6 months later sitting 8000ft up one of the highest peaks on Vancouver Island with my best friend taking in the breathtaking views.
Chris Fletcher, @cpf_photography
Originally from Redditch I moved to Birmingham in 2006 picking up a camera for the first time in 2011. Over the years I have tried my hand at many subjects but nature is the one thing that I love to shoot more than anything else. I first discovered IGers Birmingham in 2016 when I went on my first meet and it has helped me discover the city more and appreciate the architecture and people of the city as well as making some new friends along the way.
My exhibition shot was taken in my favourite stretch of canal near Olton train station one early Autumn morning, got very lucky with the timing of the barge as it came passed me.
This shot I am most proud of as it was the first shot I took that made me realise that perhaps I could do more with my hobby. Shot in 2012 in Balsall Common it still stands out for me as one of my best shots from the composition to the editing. The actual title of the shot is Titan.
Clifford Darby, @CliffordDarby
I have been part of the Igers community for about 2 years (I think?) and making photographs for about 4. I work as an Account Manager at a local marketing agency. I enjoy documenting society and people’s culture, within Birmingham but all over the world when given the chance.
For my exhibition shot, I wanted to give the Town Hall an even grander sense of scale, so I returned every evening for about two weeks until I managed time this image the way I wanted, with the commuter passing the doorframe. I had to be patient, particularly given all of the other commuters travelling through Victoria Square and how far back I needed to stand to get everything in the frame.
The IGers community is all about learning new skills and exploring areas of photography I’d never otherwise consider from a talented and diverse group of individuals. And of course, photographing some of the more ‘exclusive’ locations and buildings in Birmingham.
For this image it just goes to show that great light will give you a headstart when making a good photograph.
David Bashford, @dpbashford2015
I am from Birmingham. I have always been interested in all things creative since I was a child. I work as a teaching assistant in a primary school. I have always been creative minded and photography allows me to be creative wherever I travel. I don’t have a favourite subject to photograph but more recently I have spent a lot of time perfecting my macro photography. I have been attending instameets for around a year now.
My exhibition shot was taken on route to an instameet. The light was fantastic that morning and I took my chances taking a few snaps around Birmingham. I took a few shots from different angles till I got the light just as I wanted.
With IGers Birmingham its great to have a the support of other photographers. I get tips, and tricks as well as inspiration.
This shot took me a while to get. Bees don’t tend to stay very still and there was a wind but I persevered. I knew if I waited I’d stand a good chance of getting what I had in my mind. New to macro I was really pleased with this.
David Stephen Evans, @dsevo
I split my time between the North West and Birmingham, with the vast majority of my photography being in and around the city. By day, I’m a project manager for a healthcare company but I dream of making a living from photography. I’ve liked taking pictures for longer than I can remember but its only been in the last 14 months or so that I’ve really pushed myself to learn more about my camera, factors that influence the quality of a photo and the impact of post-processing. It was only when I joined Instagram and discovered the incredible talent on display from the local community that I decided to leave my camera’s “auto-setting” well alone. I like to photograph landscapes, both natural and urban but really want to push myself in other directions and I’d like to try my hand at studio portraiture.
My exhibition shot of St Martin’s and Selfridges was taken from Moor Street car park just as the sun was at a perfect angle.
The city of Birmingham and the wider area is stunning to photograph; with everything from iconic architecture to beautiful landscapes. The talent on display from the artists in the IGers Birmingham community as they capture their shots is incredible and inspirational.
I’m not sure whether “proud” is the correct term for how I feel about any particular photograph. Rather, I’m proud of how I’m developing with my photography and I am happy with how many of my shots turn out. This shot of the big wheel from last Christmas stands out as one of my favourites and it sprung to mind this morning as I saw the Christmas lights starting to go up in town.
Deano Moore, @deano_mooreuk
I’m a wilding from north of the wall living in the West Midlands in order to gain a little more culture in my life. I started photography a long time ago back in the film days at school for GCSE. I quickly dropped photography in order to study sports science (aka playing football at college) and then become a sport science teacher. In 2015 I bought a digital camera and have never looked back, photographing everything and anything. My first igersbirmingham instameet from memory was the spaghetti junction meet in 2016 and I have been going ever since to all sorts of meets around Birmingham and beyond!
The shot that was chosen for the exhibition is a shot that I was never going to take as it was raining and I didn’t want my camera and lens to get wet.
Being part of the igersbirmingham community has allowed me to do three things; 1: make new friends and being part of a community 2: has helped me appreciate Birmingham more and come to love the diversity that this culturally mixed city has to offer to all, 3: push me to develop my photography skills further with all the positive encouragement and advice from the igersbirmingham community.
Of all my images I’ve taken it’s this image of my nephew that I can get lost in viewing and brings a big smile to my face, so much so that I’ve ended creating a personal project called home.
Ella Mullins, @ellamullins
I have been a member of Instagram since 2010 and been involved with IGers Birmingham since early 2016. I am yet to find my photographic niche and tend to photograph whatever catches my eye. I do enjoy gig photography and would like to explore that more in the future.
My exhibition photo was taken on an Apple Photo Walk around the Bullring Open Market earlier this year using my phone. I was drawn to this butcher’s stall by his many signs, particularly “Smile You Look Great”, which presented a perfect photo opportunity.
IGers Birmingham has offered me many photographic opportunities I would otherwise never have had, such as access to Aston Fire Station and backstage at the Birmingham Hippodrome. The social aspect is great both on and off Instagram and it is wonderful to meet so many like-minded people of all photographic abilities.
Fay Loewy, @faylouiseloewy
Born and raised in Birmingham I currently work as a PA for a Director of a global engineering company. I have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember but always admired other peoples work. It was only recently that I decided I wanted to turn my love of photography into reality so I invested in my first camera and joined IGersBirmingam in April 2017. In August I won my first photography competition and was awarded The Cube photographer of the year 2017.
It was only the second time I’d gone out with my camera when I took my exhibition shot. Me and Andy Smart (@Colatron) had taken a Sunday stroll around the city and I noticed all of the narrow boats in a row and that I could capture the Regency Wharf sign between them with the refection in the canal.
I joined IGersBirmingham in April and over the past 6 months my photography skills have improved. Through IGers I have met some incredibly talented and inspirational people who offer support and encouragement. These people are always there to offer words of comfort when you start to doubt yourself and your work. I have had some fantastic photography opportunities over the past 6 months that wouldn’t have been possible without IGers.
This is the shot I am most proud of as it was the winning photo in the Cube photographer of the year competition. The cyclist rode through the puddle just at the right time.
Harsimran Singh, @mr.simsingh
[Photo credit: Kris Askey]
I am a 27 year old doctor born and bred in Birmingham. I have been interested in photography for the past 5 years. I’m not quite sure where my interest stemmed from, either from my cousin who is an amateur photographer or my father who likes buying expensive tech, not using it, but buying it. I try to utilise different styles and techniques to capture significant moments, big or small, throughout the year. Therefore when I look back on my feed at the end of the year I can reminisce and also see how (if) my photography has improved.
For my exhibition shot, I had gone to shoot the cherry blossom in Brindley Place and was fortunate enough to come across this moment.
My favourite part of the igerscommunity is how it has opened up a side of Birmingham that in my 27 years I never realised existed. I have met many like minded people who have helped develop my photography. Plus its definitely taken a hit on my bank balance with all the equipment I’ve been temped into buying.
My favourite shot that I have recently taken is of the Milky way galaxy near Santa Cruz. Looking at the photo it instantly takes me back to the beach and to the feeling I had looking up at the stars. It was also technically a more challenging shot and I was able to build upon my lightroom and photoshop skills.
Tomorrow we’ll be meeting the second half of the photographers from the printed display.