Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Recent Assignment: Save the Children, Malawi

I was recently given as assignment to go to Malawi and produce a video and stills package for a healthcare award run by Glaxo Smith Klein and Save the Children. The deadline was quite tight, I had two days in which to shoot everything I needed (stills and video) and then had to edit and deliver on the 3rd day. These types of assignments are always a challenge because you tend to work solo and have to be capable of doing everything, wearing all the different hats, and doing so in an unfamiliar, sometimes difficult environment. On this occasion I was very lucky to find some great local help on the ground, including a fixer who also knew his way around a camera (always handy). Below are some of the images from the assignment and also an edit I put together from the two days of shooting. 

bCPAPMalawi 4 from Greg Funnell on Vimeo.

And below are some little behind the scenes snaps: With Esther and her son at her home in Blantyre, Malawi

Ernest (my local fixer) shows a previous video he shot with Esther, to her and her family, for the first time.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tips from the Road: Travel wallet

One thing that is definitely worth organising if you travel frequently is a travel wallet. For some this may seem obvious but hopefully for some others it may be useful. Below is a pic of my travel wallet.

Passport - two things I always try and make sure I have with regards to my passport is that it has a sticker on the spine. I use this to make it out in a pile; it's just a marker so I can spot it quickly. This is useful when you find your passport being mixed in with a number of others at things like checkpoints or if you're travelling in a group. It's a quick marker that allows you to keep tabs on it. I also try and always have my passport contained in a clear plastic bag. This is designed to keep it dry and clean from spillages etc or if your bag/wallet goes in the water. Another thing to check with your passport is to keep an eye on the expiry date (you normally need six months remaining) and the number of pages you have left (it's good to have at least two clear).

Spare passport photos - always worth having a few available as you never know when you're going to need them on forms, visas, applications etc. I learnt is the hard way having to find a passport photo studio in Beirut and the whole process being an utter faff. (Besides they're good to have a laugh at later - both of those in the above picture were from a while back now)

European health insurance card/air miles cards – just good to always have these handy.

Spare business cards – never know when you might need them and it’s good to always know you’ve got back-ups

Spare dollars – Dollars are king. Wherever you are in the world they can help get you out of a sticky situation.

Spare home currency - always good to have emergency cash in your home currency in case you return to find your wallet or bag lost.

Yellow Fever Certificate - a few countries need this for entry. The number of times I've seen people getting hassle because they don't have it on them – for that reason alone it seems always carrying it with you when you travel.

Vaccinations card - it's always good to know what you've had and what your up to date with

Paper clip - if like me you carry a spare iPhone for local sims then this is always useful. Getting the sim out is much easier if you have a paper lip to hand!

Copy of your passport and copy of your travel insurance documents (although worth keeping a copy elsewhere too otherwise it kind of defeats the purpose!)
That's all for now - hopefully there's some little nuggets there that will be of use to someone! If you found it useful you might want to read this article on what's in my travel 'grab bag'.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Recent Tearsheets: Another Escape magazine

I was lucky enough recently to be asked to submit some work to a relatively new publication called 'Another Escape' - I chose to submit some images from a trip to India I took in 2012. The above tearsheets are how it ran in the magazine.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Recent Commission and Interview: Making a digital Pinhole

I was recently commissioned by HUCK magazine to create a series of 3 images that they could run in their Special photography issue that was published in November 2013. At first we discussed what direction I would take with it as they wanted to do something that was a bit different and yet it needed to be something we could do in a short space in time and one that would reproduce well for the magazine. Initially we had been discussing some ideas involving a camera obscura - but felt it might be tricky to make something work in the time frame. I took this idea though and scaled it down - rather than create a room sized camera obscura - we could use the same basic technique at a more manageable size - the answer it seemed was to produce a pin-hole camera. Given the time frame it seemed sensible to do this digitally.

The drilled hole on the body cap (above) and the cinefoil behind the hole reducing it's size further (top)
The technique for doing so is relatively simple; you need to make a small precise hole that will allow light to fall onto the cameras sensor. After a bit of research I realised the optimum size for this needed to be about 0.3mm, and the best way to achieve this would be to use a pin to penetrate a material but not to pass through it. Obviously you don't want light being reflected and bouncing around inside so the material needs to be dark. I figured the best way to do this was to drill a hole in a spare body cap and then use a hole in some cinefoil which was taped with black tape on the inside. Another bit of tape on the front acts as a rudimentary lens-cap (but only for stopping dust entering and the shutter still needs to be fired). This technique gives you roughly an equivalent frame of a 50mm lens - not ideal for landscapes but certainly useable.   

Below are the images as they ran in the magazine

If you're interested in catching the rest of the issue (well worth a read in my opinion) look out for it in all good newsagents.