The concept for this book came to me whilst I was photographing aspects of London, for my ‘London Photography Courses’. My new and yet to be published portrait of London, makes the case that London is undeniably the greatest city on Earth. I have devoted a year to photographing both the historic and the contemporary, the opulence and the decadence, the popular as well as the obscure elements of a city in constant motion. This 10″ x 10″ hardback book, is a glimpse into that search in defining London’s greatness.
I am currently seeking an appropriate literary agent to present my book project to publishers. If you would like to take a peak then click here, but please consider that this is very much ‘work in progress’. New photography is added regularly, whilst text is mainly ‘dummy’ text and those shots I am unhappy with, will be replaced. Do expect a few ‘typos’ and any feedback would be welcome.
Here is my book ‘Intro’:
As Samuel Johnson famously once commented in 1777: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. My portrait of London makes the case that whilst London is undeniably the greatest city on Earth, there need never be a time for boredom here. This book is far from being a ‘blue sky’ city portrait and still further from being an exhaustive exploration. However it is a unique glimpse into what contributes to London’s greatness. While many of London’s classic scenarios are here within, there are many more offbeat locations ripe for exploration.
Having grown up in London and returned half a lifetime later, I feel particularly well placed to view the city through ‘either end of a telescope’, both as a local and visitor. This book delves into the story of a city that has evolved over two millennia, following the Roman invasion and subsequent birth of Londinium in AD 47. Towns, villages and even hamlets once sedately set in open countryside, have long since been woven into our higgledy piggledy fabric of contemporary city life, with Georgian, Regency, and Victorian ‘grand planning’ enriching its history over the past three centuries.
However my book is not solely about our environment, as I also reflect on the city’s unique infrastructure, its pomp, its heritage and the extraordinary creativeness of its inhabitants. Having invented underground rail travel in the mid-1860’s, London’s transport system has long since set the tempo for such travel with innovative architecture, distinctive branding, ground breaking cartographic design, whilst together with the Royal Mail and the Household Cavalry, daring to embrace red.
We British have always been a creative species. Our culture, for example, has delivered Shakespeare, JMW Turner, Dickens, The Beatles, JK Rowling, and more recently Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Being inherently creative is almost a part of the British psyche; to invent, to be unique, to dare and to squeeze so much from our tiny plot.
As an island nation, chance has ensured our individuality endures, with London being the living embodiment of that idiosyncratic presence. Whilst other cities undeniably exhibit extraordinary beauty, magnificent modernity, ancient ruins, staggering skylines and even flooded streets, London’s greatness lies within its unparalleled diversity.
By Roland Blunk
These three images are part of a collection of seven images that I photographed after 5.20am on 27th August 2019. These are available as part of my large framed ‘Images of Suffolk’ collection for purchase. I have recently added some more framed images, which you can view by clicking onto ‘Read more’ below.
The mount window size is just less than A3 (415mm x 292mm) or almost two letters side by side, whilst the overall frame size is A2 (594mm x 420mm) or almost four letters side by side in two rows. The Images are available frame in either black or white for a total price of £59.50 each or £159.50 for a set of three + postage and packaging. Please contact me if you would like further information or to place an order. Read more …
I have recently been working, between commissions, to produce a portfolio book of my work. More an overview than a comprehensive story. Not so straight forward, as I’ve really had to be quite objective and set aside some personal preferences, that may mean little to others. It’s 72 pages of work ranging from social and portrait photography, through to landscape food, sport and business photography. There are also sections on my Italian photography holidays, as well as both Suffolk and London photography workshops. Just click here to view.
This has made me reflect on what was ‘once upon a time’ involved in setting up a meeting to show an Editor or Art Director, what one could offer. And that’s before one factors in the time involved in presentation meetings, not to mention the physical discomfort of lugging around London a large and weighty A1 plus portfolio.
So now I have a portfolio of my photography to date. And if I wish to change or add new material as it happens, I can edit and do so within minutes. Only we, of a certain age can really appreciate the ‘miracle’ times we are living in. The times they have a-changed!
It’s purely ‘virtual’ at the moment, but once I’ve lived with it for a while and confident with my picture selection, it will go to print. And readers may then request a copy. In the meantime, although it’s work in progress, you may see it here.
By Roland Blunk
The county of Norfolk in the East of England boasts the highest concentration of Medieval churches in the world, with just over 650 in total. Travel to any place in Norfolk, and you are very likely to find at least one such church. Norwich, the county’s main city, has enough Norfolk medieval churches for worshippers to visit a different one each week for the year!
This ruined church sits hidden away in a wood and even when within 40 metres, it was unapparent. It is aways a pleasure and delight to come across such a wonderful photo opportunity. We followed this by travelling to the coast to check whether the seal colony was in place, but apparently we were a little early in the season. So a return session is planned!
By Roland Blunk
I recently returned from a week of photography in Southern Italy and on this occasion, as a photography guide. Usually I’m booked to instruct as well as guide, but this time the team were all well established photographers. “Just take us to your best kept secrets”, was their mantra. However, they did concede that the Amalfi Coast could not be ignored and discovering great foods, was high on their list.
The food at our Agriturismo hotel, true to the ‘Agri’ concept, was all freshly produced from their own stock. Several days we dined at some rather extraordinary restaurants, from an exquisite Italian equivalent of ‘nouvelle cuisine’, to a Pizzaria. The latter, allegedly funded by the Mafia, always finds itself voted into the ‘top three’ in Italy. Perhaps that’s just because it could be risky to place one’s vote elsewhere, but nevertheless it was fabulous!
Other special ‘off the beaten track’ destinations included a dawn raid on a Roman mountain Amphitheatre, to gather fine morning light (see above). You can see more of these shots on my ‘Italian photography holiday’ page.
By Roland Blunk
I led a great group of budding photographers for my Walberswick photo course last weekend, as we explored on the shoulders of giants. The one-time fishing village was once home to Charles Rennie Macintosh with Phillip Wilson Steer and JMW Turner having both painted there. Walberswick proved once again, to be the perfect location for learning and improving those photo skills.
For more info on my courses and I’m now also offering courses in London as well as Norwich, please click here.
By Roland Blunk
Someone once said that ‘dance is sculpture visible for only a moment’ and Tango is perhaps that perfect moment. Gill and Nigel asked me to photograph and design a promotion for their joint Tango passion. The above is a double-sided DL format promo card (⅓ A4).
Gill and Nigel are both Argentine Tango fanatics who just happen to love playing, as well as dancing, to Argentine Tango. Having retired early, they hit on the idea of DJing to raise money for the ‘Maggies Cancer Centres’. Nigel Allen said: “Roland designed and photographed the most amazing promotional tango card for us. His photography is breathtaking, and his suggestions on design and format were so inventive, I cannot thank him enough, he is a delight to work with, thank you again Roland for everything”.
The centre (above) designed for no fee by Norman Foster, is part of a 21 nationwide group of Centres created to help anyone affected by cancer. By travelling anywhere and everywhere in the UK, as well as putting 100% of their performance income towards Maggies, they have been able to raise considerable sums for their local Centre in Cheshire. If you wish to book the two for a bespoke Tango event, you will find their contact details on the card above.
By Roland Blunk
These four shots were taken either side of sun-up near the Goodwood racecourses and just goes to show that there is at least one good reason why getting up ridiculously early, can actually a good idea! A perfect day!
By Roland Blunk
I have visited this location several times now, both reconnoitering and guiding group students as a part of my Italian Photography Course. Below, the early morning southerly view towards Naples, some 30 miles away and just out of view. However the valley between the two peaks to the right is Vesuvius, which gives an idea of just how much mountain was actually blown away. The photos showing recently abandoned derelict Roman homes in what was probably once a Roman street supporting the theatrics, are few hundred metres below the Theatre. These illustrate how easily buildings can be hidden from view within a landscape. I climbed up and worked my way through the growth to explore and take these shots. On the way down I snagged my foot on a branch, taking a fall and injuring a leg and shoulder, but no breaks!
Those of an uncertain age may well remember Dennis (above) if not his name, but as the worlds first ‘pregnant’ man, in the the Iconic Saatchi’s poster and ad campaign from the early ’70s. It went viral, even without the internet! Google ‘Saatchi pregnant man’ to be reminded of a great campaign!
By Roland Blunk
Why is ‘Wedding photography’ so disrespected? I have just completed another assignment as a Suffolk Wedding photographer and I cannot understand why the genre is treated as the poor relation of photography. The excellent ceremony was given by celebrant Dawn Rees (see b&w photo below).
A number of years ago, my photo partner, Andrew Florides, was commissioned to do a two day fashion shoot in Knightsbridge. The renowned Bermuda based clothes designer, rented a house with models hired from the much acclaimed ‘Storm Agency’. The house was filled with quite an entourage from the fashion world. Andrew set up a large backdrop with several studio lights and took a few test shots with the models. The owner of the company was delighted with the first test shots and after seeing another batch of images, said she would like to give Andrew some advice. Expecting feedback from the day’s shoot, she proceeded to critique his website: “Andrew darling, you must remove your wedding images from your site, if you want to be considered a serious photographer”. Andrew was taken aback with this and asked: “Why?” She then lit his fuse by saying: “Anyone can be a wedding photographer”.
Andrew, a Suffolk Wedding photographer, then responded with: “I beg to differ and the best way I can explain myself, is by referring to our fashion shoot. Look around us, there is a controlled studio lighting rig, where we have tested the results and it’s a constant. Also, there are plenty of staff around all focused on making our fashion shoot a successful one. In direct contrast, weddings are full of variables. Different lighting conditions, unfamiliar locations, changing characters all expectant and within a thoroughly ruthless schedule. Additionally, you are being hired by people who are likely to be employing a professional photographer for the first time. Unlike this fashion shoot, there are no opportunities to reshoot, so the photographer must really know his camera well. On top of this, one must coordinate sometimes several hundred wedding guests, whilst the venue caterers are breathing down your neck. From arriving at the bride’s home to sitting down at the reception, the work load is relentless, sometimes going on to 2 or 3am. Then after the wedding the topic of conversation is usually how everyone is looking forward to seeing the results, the memories. A giant responsibility. Isn’t it ironic that the hardest and most skilful work on my website, is the one you wish me to remove. The fashion shoot is ‘a walk in the park’ compared to a wedding photographer providing excellence, for his clients.” There followed a silence that rarely can have been so articulate. It was a ‘touché’ moment on a grand scale and on behalf of all belittled wedding photographers everywhere.
If you have an up and coming wedding in the family, I urge you to read our ‘Wedding prices’ for a Suffolk Wedding photographer. And ours together start from £1,700.
Advice that clearly explains what you may expect to receive, in return for some very differing price levels. You may also read our very pictorial ‘Wedding Photography’ book, with lots of useful advice.
By Roland Blunk