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
James Benwell, @jimpanda
I developed a passion for wildlife photography around four years ago. It has proven itself to be a very solitary pastime and I’ve found that I’m never happier than when lost in a forest, crawling among snakes or alone in a field as 50,000 birds paint patterns in the sky overhead. My photographs have become a scrapbook of memories of spellbinding encounters with nature that I never dreamed I could be privileged enough to witness.
When I discovered IGersBirmingham two and a half years ago, it opened my eyes to a new world of photography, of architecture and portraits, cityscapes and street photography. It has afforded me the opportunity to visit some truly wonderful photographic locations and experience things I never would have done otherwise. But more than all of that, it has shown me the joy of taking pictures alongside other people. Photography is universal yet so personal. If there are 20 people or 200 people at an instameet, taking pictures of the same things or the same places, they still manage to tell their own stories, and that is what is so wonderful about the community that IGersBirmingham has gone on to create. And above all else, should you ever stop at an instameet and take a look around at those people taking pictures alongside you, you will find that they are some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.
My exhibition shot was taken in the Custard Factory. I love this location at the Custard Factory and I wanted to capture the comings and goings of an early winter evening. I used a 6 second exposure to give the idea of movement and was lucky that the people in frame were walking at different speeds.
I am proud to have taken this photo simply because I was there, and because I was able to take other people to watch 6000 starlings murmurating above a car park in Redditch. The stunning experience lasted an hour and this lady came prepared – I did not, and the rings of my 50mm lens still carry the scars of a direct hit from one of the birds!
Jay Sidhu, @sidhu88
Photo credit: Kris Askey
Hi I’m Jay, a Londoner, car enthusiast, automotive engineer for Jaguar Land Rover, and amateur photographer. I’ve always had an interest in photography but only started taking it more seriously after buying my first DSLR. Automotive photography is my favourite type of photography, followed closely by astrophotography and sunrise/sunsets. I’ve been involved with IGers Birmingham for just over a year now, about the same amount of time I’ve owned my Canon for.
My exhibition shot was an idea, to match the red and white light trails of a car to the mailbox, turned in to a reality.
Being part of the IGers Birmingham community helped massively with my development in photography. However, as someone who is not a native brummie, it has helped me to meet new people in the city. There are some really really cool people in this community from all walks of life brought together by the same interests. Spending time with these people, photography related or not, is what I enjoy the most.
Being a part of Jaguar keeps me close to my passion for cars. I had a photography goal to merge both of my passions by obtaining a repost on Jaguar’s instagram page. I achieved that goal with this image!
Jo Round, @jo.round
I am an amateur landscape photographer living in Clent, but I am originally born and bred in Birmingham. I find that photography helps me escape from the day job and gets me out in the countryside with my faithful companion Bosco. I spend most weekends out walking with my husband and our two working cocker spaniels armed with my kit bag to capture the world around me.
My exhibition shot is taken from the Clent Hills overlooking Birmingham and the sunrise during the summer months
I enjoy being part of the IGers Birmingham community as I get to meet other likeminded photographers. In addition to this the meet ups enable access to some of the places in Birmingham that the public aren’t able to access.
My favourite Instagram post from the last month is this one as it was another stunning sunset over Clent but I was able to give it a twist by getting the reflection off the trig point
Jon Crampton, @joncrampton
Kris Askey, @krisaskey
My name is Kris Askey and I am photographer from Birmingham with a creative arts background. Before I started to pick up a camera on a regular basis, I graduated University with a First Class Degree followed by an 8-year journey working inside design agencies and the broadcast industry. I went full-time with photography in June 2016 and I haven’t looked back since. Since then, I have been lucky enough to have produced 2 solo exhibitions within my first year, as well as working with great brands such as Apple, H&M, UKTV & Birmingham Children’s Hospital. My photography mostly features people, but I am driven to always expand my skill set, adapt to the industry and create work that strongly reflects the best of my ability.
The Birmingham Skyline photograph that appears in the exhibition was the start of a turning point for me. My photography generally features people within the city, or inside a photography studio. So to take an image that is of a city skyline was a step out of my comfort zone. However, this also triggered a challenge within me to try and capture the best images I possibly can of Birmingham, mostly from places that not everyone is used to. Since I photographed this image, I have collected a few ‘skyline’ images of the city that i’m incredibly proud of and can say they fit within my best work as a photographer so far. This image of the Birmingham Skyline was shot around 10 miles away with a 135mm lens on a tripod for 20 seconds.
Since I was first introduced to The IGers Birmingham community, I knew it was a brilliant thing to be a part of. Photography itself can be a very lonely hobby or profession at times, where you are often working on your own or with just 1 other person/client. Being able to attend events, whether they are photography-based or just purely for social reasons can have a liberating feeling. With today’s heavy reliance on social mediums and online platforms, it is often overlooked that humans need regular interaction and face-to-face contact with others, not to mention with people that have similar interests and hobbies. For this reason (as well as many others) I think IGers Birmingham has played a massive part in helping myself and others to grow into the photographers and artists that they are today. I’m so pleased to call many of the people I’ve met through IGers Birmingham my friends. Thanks for all the hard work you have done and continue to do.
This photo is probably one of the best ‘moments’ I have ever caught in the city of Birmingham. When I set out to capture Birmingham in the candid nature that I’ve been doing for a few years, I could have only imagined to grabbed a shot like this. It is even more treasured by me as one of my ‘top images’ due to the fact it is not set up, and it was shot during a very slow and dull week of photography. The composition of the ‘Man In The Box’ is quite poetic and perfectly balanced with the New Street sign on the opposite side of the frame. This phone box is no longer there on New Street, so I get the feeling I have captured a small piece of history in the city. Gems like this can pop out of nowhere when you least expect it. I think giving up that control as an artist can be a big breathe of fresh air in the journeys that can often start to feel like an inescapable routine.
Martin O’Callaghan, @ocuk
At the time of the Best of Birmingham competition and judging, IGers Birmingham was run by Beth and Fraser therefore they didn’t enter the competition to be featured in the printed exhibition. As Martin wasn’t a member of the team that runs IGers Birmingham at that point, he was able to enter and was subsequently picked to appear by the judges from BMT and Brumpic. His profile will appear on Friday.
Matt Beach, @Matt_Beach_Photography
[Photo credit: GingerJam Photography]
I’m Matt Beach from Sutton Coldfield Birmingham, I’ve been creating images through my Photography for the past 3 years now, I enjoy Landscape and Cityscape photography. From as far back as I can remember I’ve always been creative whether it be through drawing or painting, for me there’s no better way of self expression. When I discovered Photography along with the image editing process I found a new way to express my creativity and engage with the viewer. I enjoy the freedom to interpret the mood of an image, to create an atmosphere or emotion and engage, if I can project this to the viewer I have succeeded.
I have been involved with IGers Birmingham for a few years now, the group is such an amazing platform for people to get involved in the Photography community and meet new people with the same passion. I would say the group itself has opened new doors for me and my photography in a big way, I have made some great friends and enjoyed some brilliant opportunities to help push my own passions to the next level.
All of my images are special to me in one way or another, but one of favourite images I have created is a shot taken earlier this year in a beautiful location called Long Mynd near Shrewsbury. Since the beginning of my Photography Journey there has always been one image at the top of my list and this is the stars in our sky, specifically the Milky way. The Milky Way cannot always be seen clearly by the human eye, but with the use of camera equipment and the right conditions this great wonder can be captured in all it’s glory. The final result can be seen above and it remains on of my all time favourite images to date.
Paul Martin, @Twonames
A born and bred Brummie now living in Alvechurch. I have worked as a graphic designer for the past 30 years but cameras have never been far from my side. I guess with the advent of Instagram and the instant nature of smartphone photography my passion for photography was reignited. Getting involved with IGers Birmingham (4 or 5 years ago) and meeting up on Fraser’s first meet was a revelation! Watching it grow over the years has been fun and getting to meet some great like minded people and talented photographers has been priceless! It is such a fabulous community and as well as getting to photograph some fun and interesting places I have made some great friends too.
I enjoy shooting most things but nature and people are subjects to which I am most drawn. On the nature side of things I mostly enjoy photographing birds and on the people front I guess I lean towards portraiture, mostly natural light street portraits.
The shot selected for this exhibition was taken in Digbeth at the City of Colours festival. I was lining up a shot of this fantastic work of art (painted by deed) of the musician Tricky when someone I was at the festival with (Josie) walked into my shot and stopped! She was lining up a shot herself of another piece of street art and hadn’t noticed me as I was quite a distance away. I was initially a bit annoyed but when I realised what I was looking at through my lens I was over joyed!!! With a slight realignment I got my shot.
The shot I am most proud of was taken at Millennium Park in Chicago this summer. It was the evening of the 4th July and everyone was in jovial spirits. There were celebrations going on everywhere and lots of families enjoying the water feature at the Jaume Plensa monolithic sculptures. These sculptures are about 30 feet high and face each other. Every now and then the projected faces on the sculptures spurt out a huge jet of water. The kids would all race from one end to the other to get under the fountain!!
The reason I am most proud of this shot is because I think it captures a real moment of joy. Kids from a multitude of backgrounds and ethnicities all living for that moment, having total fun together on a hot summer’s evening, nicely oblivious to the crazy country and world they will soon to be growing up into. I’m glad I captured this moment.
Sam McAulliffe, @sam_mcauliffe
I enjoy being part of the IGers Birmingham community because it has allowed me to get to know people who have similar interests as me but also because it provides an area where we can all contribute to help change the often misjudged perception
Satish Guddu @satishkguddu
As a self-employed web designer I’ve long been involved in creative pursuits, but up until a year ago, photography was something I did whilst on holiday or at home during family occasions! However, that all changed in October 2016, when following a family bereavement, I began looking for a source of distraction, and I decided to join Instagram. My daily life was never the same again and I’ve been out taking photos every week and posting at least two images a day! My gallery has a very random collection of images, including landscape, architecture, street, nature, artefact and portrait photography, and I enjoy the challenge that each style presents.
My featured image was an opportunistic shot taken on my mobile after spotting the sunset on my return to Birmingham, and just before getting a taxi home, with two rucksacks in hand I raced up to Victoria Square and took the shot!
The community has played a key role in the development and direction of my photography, and the support and encouragement received from the members has meant a lot to me. The opportunities provided by IGers Birmingham to visit a wide variety of places has also been great fun, and I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and making friends at each event.
I’m proud of this portrait taken at the Sutton Park Instameet with IGers Birmingham in August as it was my first attempt at shooting portraits with models. The good thing about jumping in at the deep end, is that it forces you to swim! Thankfully I learnt fairly fast and it gave me the confidence to take portrait photography further. Something I once shied away from, is now something I enjoy!
Teresa Dolan, @weezer.d
I’m currently a full time Mum, having previously been an avid traveller – visiting more than 80 countries including Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea. These adventures allowed me to pair my love for foreign cultures & people with my other passion for photography, which started with an old Olympus OM-10 on my 16th birthday.
Since my first instameet 2 years ago at Birmingham University, IGers Birmingham has made me appreciate what’s on my own doorstep and look more closely at the landscape around me. I’m therefore delighted to see my photo of Sarehole Mill in the exhibition. I used to walk past it on the way to school and now I get to take my own son there. It’s been part of Birmingham’s heritage since the mid-18th century and was the inspiration for Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
Tim Cornbill, @timcornbill
Having been brought up locally, I’ve been photographing Birmingham for over 15 years, and over that time my interest has developed from a small hobby to one that takes up most of my weekends! I work as an architect in the city-centre, and my love of buildings is something that’s very important in my photography – I like nothing more than exploring new places with my camera by my side. I recently won the architecture category in the Sony World Photographer of the Year competition, for a photo I took in Berlin.
My exhibition shot is a photograph of the sun setting behind Holloway Circus Tower, with the Rotunda on the right. I had spotted that the sun set in this position, and I waited for the right conditions to get the shot. It’s taken on a long lens, about 10 miles out of the city, making the sun look huge behind the towers.
Being part of IGers Birmingham is a great way to meet fellow photographers and share our ideas and experiences. I’ve been involved in the community for a few years now, and I’ve helped to organise a few Instameets along the way.
Choosing a shot is extremely difficult, but I’ve picked out a shot from a misty morning on Newhall Street. I captured the cyclist walking his bike across the road and the sun beaming through behind the now demolished NatWest Tower.
Tomorrow we’ll be meeting the first half of the photographers from the digital display.