Gary Geezer is a fantastic photographer I heard about Gary through a model he photographed and headed straight to his Instagram and was instantly impressed I was fortunate Gary agreed to be interviewed.
I see from your Instagram feed you primarily shoot in black and white. Was there any reason for this?
I’ve always been a big B/W fan! I do shoot colour using digital, but I will always convert most pictures to B/W because I find it isolates the subject from the clashes of colour that can confuse a picture. That’s not to say that colour doesn’t work for me, but I will always look for the B/W image if it’s there. I have gotten back into B/W film photography again, and I develop and scan my own film. It’s something I thought I would never do again after taking up the digital mantle, but I love that grainy film aesthetic and now shoot more film than digital.
Do you remember what the first thing you started to photograph was?
I remember having and using my Grandfather’s Kodak 127 Brownie when I was about 6 years old. I used to take pictures of my dinosaur models in the back garden. But my first serious photography was doing some weddings for friends and family when I was in my early 20s. After that, it was all portraits and some early nudes.
What advice would you give to someone that wants to get into photography (either as a hobby or professionally)
I have to confess that I’m not a professional photographer, i.e., someone who earns their living making pictures! It’s a massive passion for me. That’s not to say I haven’t made any money, but it’s more of a passion for me to create images and know that the artistic side in me is happy. If someone wants some pictures done, I’m more than happy to do them for a minimal fee, but that doesn’t happen very often. So I can’t really advise about doing this job professionally. As for a hobby, get a cheap camera to practice with and just shoot, shoot, shoot! You learn the more you do, and reading up on the subject really helps. That applies to digital or film.
If you could shoot any subject, what would it be and why?
I think I do what I love, that is, people and nudes. But if I could, I would love to shoot portraits of all the actors and pop/rock stars who are making names for themselves at the moment.
What camera equipment do you shoot with, and what software to edit?
I use a Hasselblad H1D digital camera and several analogue cameras; a Nikon F5 35mm film camera, a Bronica SQA 6×6 120mm film camera and an Intrepid 4×5 large format camera, all with several lenses each. I have been using a cheap plastic Holga camera with a fixed lens to shoot some of my nudes, with some very good results. My software choice is Adobe Photoshop online subscription which I’ve used for several years now. You will always have the most up to date version, and it’s great for digital imaging. As I scan all my films and digitise them, I can clean them up and make adjustments in this programme as well.
When learning your trade, what was the challenging part?
As I said earlier, it’s more a serious hobby than a trade. But learning is always a part of photography, and I’ve been learning all the time I’ve had a camera. Lighting is the main thing to try and master, be it in daylight or in the studio using strobes. I’ve got to a stage now where I always have an idea of what I need to do to light a subject and make it work for me. And that is all down to experience and learning as I go. I also think learning how to use a software programme (in my case Photoshop) can be difficult at first. I bought a load of self-help books on the subject with examples and instructions to do various things until I got the hang of it.
If you were not doing photography, what do you think you would be doing?
I’ve been working since I left school in several jobs, the last of which I was a postman for 20 years until being medically retired 2 years ago. And now I’m just doing my love of photography all the time. I don’t think I would like to have been anything else, to be honest, but I quite like the idea of being a book proofreader as I’m really into my reading.
How did you set up your studio?
My wife and I used to set up a mobile studio in our living room for several years, putting it up and then taking it down again every time, and then my wife’s daughter moved out of the large double bedroom and left home, so we had it converted to our permanent studio. It has white painted walls/ceiling and a new laminate floor. We were able to put up our backdrop permanently, and we bought 4 new strobe lights. I have also added some static lights and various flashguns over the years. There is shelving in 2 alcoves behind the backdrop for storage. We also have a dedicated changing room for the models and people who come to be photographed.
You have captured some fantastic images. Do you dress and pose the models?
I always have the models do their makeup and dress for the shoot using the charity shop finds, which I have accumulated over the years. In the changing room, there is a wardrobe along one wall which is full of clothes and props. It is important to steam clean all items after use to make them presentable and clean for the next model that uses them. I suggest poses for the models, and some are very good at what they do, then the shoot is fairly easy, and you get the shot you want. I always say that you have to shoot a lot of pictures to get the one you’re after.
If you do, where do you get your inspiration?
I have a lot of photography picture books and art books which inspire and give me ideas. It’s fairly easy to replicate some other photographer’s/artist’s work, but you should change it to something different using the original idea as a reference. I also doodle pictures and ideas I get during the day. Sometimes an idea is born out of something you are trying to do on the day of the shoot, or the model makes a suggestion, and it works better than what you originally envisioned. All these things help with the creative processes.
What are your plans for the future/next shoot?
I think I’m going to do a book of my nudes and maybe some limited edition prints. I think a small exhibition would be nice as well. I do have a few pictures ready for that, but it could be another year before I’m ready to actually do it.
Thank you again Gary for taking the time to chat with me.
If you liked this interview with Gary Geezer please check out interviews I have done with other photographers