Rob, what you have is too good to waste. I'm sure many of those "friendly souls" do understand that it's unlikely that you will ever take up exactly where you left off. What I and others over the years have been trying to do is to encourage you to move on, find a new passion and purpose.
Given the encouraging signs of late I'm sure we all still live in eternal hope ;-)
I thank you for that, Keith, and it's true that I have found a new outlet - at least until the head runs dry or bored - with the green lady. It's also something that plays at my rpm: when an idea comes to call I just have to figure how to do it, or where, and that's it - no pain, no tantrums, no client breathing over my shoulder or watching the clock. And better yet: I actually enjoy shooting it!
Apart from the situation re. availability of local models, there's another angle to the thing: I had the very good fortune to end up working with the best girls that money could buy in London. Pretty much every one of them got to the casting because she'd already worked with Lichfield or Lategan (Lich for Unipart and Lategan for Mintex or similar) - I don't think there's a single one on my website's pro section that hadn't been through the process of working for those guys. The chances of landing a dummy were well weeded before I began. And having said that, I realise that it's exactly the problem novice snappers face too: people (clients) are comfortable working with others that they know have the mileage. So basically, anything I would find here has to be judged against that level of alternative, and it's a tough call. In a nutshell, why shoot stuff that you know isn't going to be what it could have been in different circumstances? I think I eventually came to terms with that reality, but I shall never like
Mr Smith and Justin,
Yes, you both have a point. I came to live here because my wife and I were doing a lot of travel, I was designing and producing the calendars as well as shooting them, and it seemed to make sense to live in a place that had the beaches etc. and so that's what we did. It saved a lot of travel, and the non-model opportunities got me holiday brochure work and in that, apart from hotels and apartments, I had a place to sell a lot of stock outwith what I already had with Tony Stone (Getty-to-be). I also had a separate, rep contract with him. However, as with most everything, bubbles have a habit of bursting, and those did too, in time. Frankly, I've had experience of both most enjoyable highs and depths to which I wouldn't wish anyone. In retrospect, I think it's just the photographic life.
As for getting blind to where you live: absolutely. That was why location work was so good for fashion, too, where nobody ever asked me for beaches. New places stir your juices and that, in turn, gives you ideas and enthusiasm that pretty much dies after a week with a white roll of Colorama. Then it comes full circle: your home island/town/village is just another roll of paper and new alternatives cost money and it's not a holiday: it has to bring profit.
Further, it has never been my interest to shoot people and cultures just because they are different. I leave that to National Geographic!
Regarding the snap of the 'Real 60s' that I posted above: it was actually an Ektachrome, 'scanned' on my D700, and one of the last I shot on a Mamiya C33, or whatever it was coded, using a 180mm. It ran as buddy to my new 500C with 80mm for which I couldn't, at the time, afford a long lens. As soon as I could, I bought the 150mm and almost immediately wished I hadn't. The 150mm was great in itself, but too short: the 180mm gave me bigger heads further away, so no distortion, and the hassy coudn't. They didn't have a 180mm in the hassy range at that time, and 250mm was too long.
To illustrate how shoestrings worked in pro life: the shot was done with two heads. The 'brolly front one was a black, gent's umbrella with multiple coatings of white Dulux emulsion - obviously, you couldn't fold it! - and the modelling light was a bare hundred watt domestic bulb in a socket lashed to the wooden handle of the 'brolly. The electronic head? That was a battery Braun shoulder flash - I think an F700 (though it might have been a Metz)- and the rear light was a tiny grey Braun I'd had forever. Synch. was via a splitter plug that went into the camera socket. There were several cables lying around the place... And you know what? When the main flash eventually blew up - literally burst - and I bought a proper monobloc, I found I'd been better off with the F700: it was far faster a flash, could stop motion where the mono had such a long flash duration that it was pretty much hopeless for any leaping about. Not that I encouraged that sort of thing much: Colorama rolls cost money. Mine! Don't believe what they lied about in Blow-Up.
What was also very much of the time was makeup. Twiggy was the first time any of us came across the accentuated lower lashes. Lipstick was another product that was used rather dramatically - the false lip lines were usually done with a brush and filled in, and it didn't matter that the real, natural line was visible: that was part
of the game, showing the artifice. Hard to understand today, I suppose, but it was about yesterday, when yesterday was indeed today.
Frankly, I can't know, but I think it might have been more fun back then.