Friday, 30 March 2012


When it comes to having my work shown to the public I have only done this a couple of times and it's an area I'd like to expand on. After my first year at College a friend and I exhibited some of our work from the year, and we were supported in the area by the Devon Artists Network. For a relatively small fee we were given gallery space for a week in Teignmouth South Devon, I chose to exhibit 5 images mainly about formalism and perspective and I made sure they were printed/mounted correctly to exhibition standard.
The only downside to holding the exhibition was the time of year, it pretty much rained for the whole week and it was at the wrong end of the Summer! Teignmouth is the sort of town to draw in tourists and we could have taken advantage of this, we could have made a better effort to promote the event, or even had an opening evening with wine and time.
More recently I have joined a local online gallery CYMK Digital Art and Photography run by Chris, a man who is very determined to make a success of his new venture by promoting and selling affordable art created by local talent.
Yesterday Chis hosted an open evening at Thirst in Plymouth, where the public were invited to view and buy any of the art on offer, I'm glad to say I got a few sales and was pleased with the feedback I received.
An image of the Mayflower steps on the Barbican which I produced on Monday was well received and I had a local man say 'you've made Plymouth look interesting!' This I took as a real compliment.
Chris intends to hold more events in the future, and the next will be at The Royal William Yard, TBA.
He also intends to open a shop at some point when his company is more grounded, and I hope to support him with this, it's just something I'm glad I got involved with. Although Chris has had submissions offered by a lot of artists, he is keen to keep the imagery in keeping with his site, however it's well worth contacting him and showing your work.
The only downside from the evening was the lighting; as the space wasn't a dedicated gallery with spotlighting, this didn't spoil the evening but if I'm honest it was the the only thing I could criticise.
Mayflower ©2012Matt Elliott
I look forward to taking part in more exhibitions in the future, and may even end up having one dedicated to my work...not just yet though.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Be The Boss

As an Ex-Royal Marine I was entitled to business support from a branch of the British Legion known as Be The Boss. For this I had to attend a business course, run by Business Link, which allowed me to develop my business plan, cash-flow forecasts and concentrate on my strengths and weaknesses. In the early stages of planning I focused upon my brand name MRE-Photography with regards to what I had been doing photography which I will talk about at a later date.
After I had been assessed by a panel consisting of ex-bankers and members of Be The Boss I was given a small business loan which was spent on equipment for ongoing and future use. It's all well and good knowing how to do the job, but you do need the right tools!
As a result of my meetings with the Be the Boss team I was asked to cover an event in London where I was paid expenses and £250 to provide images in a documentary style, it was also a chance to meet other ex-servicemen who were in the same situation as me. At the time I would have been more than happy to cover the event for free, but as a professional photographer you have to charge and it's only right to do so. I did some research on freelance photographers in London, and their daily rates which on average was around £500. At the event I was only there for less than an hour, I don't think I've ever been paid £250 an hour before...great work if you can get it!
Attending the event was the business MP Mark Prisk who was keen to question me on the help I had received.
Mark Smith talking to Mark Prisk MP ©2012Matt Elliott
What I took from the day is how to work in these sorts of situations. One of my strong points is the ability to plan, and it's something I personally don't have to put a lot of thought into. Get your basics right.

  • Timings
  • Equipment
  • Batteries charged
  • Memory cards
  • The right lens 
  • Will I need flash?
  • Look smart
  • Remain professional 
Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not a big fan of the Conservative party at the best of times, but telling a conservative MP this while I was there in a professional role would not have gone down well!

As a result of doing a professional job, and providing the Be the Boss team with the images requested, I have been asked to work for them again. I wouldn't have a problem with that.

Meeting with Mark Prisk MP and Be The Boss ©2012Matt Elliott

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Show me the Monet.

Last year I entered an image for the TV show Show me the Monet. The piece I entered I created last year after being inspired by the work of the artist Chema Modoz, in simple terms he makes the ordinary extraordinary. If I'm honest when I entered my piece I didn't think it would be selected from the other 3000 entries. However I received a phone call and after a trip to London to face a panel for audition I made it through to the filming at Eltham Palace, which was an experience in itself!
The programme is due to be aired sometime in the Summer and although I'm not to sure how much of me they will use, on the day I was in front of the judges for 15 minutes. I couldn't have asked for more from the photography expert David Lee, who's doesn't suffer fools. 
Eating in the Street ©2012Matt Elliott
After looking back I don't think the judges really understood what I was trying to portray with my work, but in my opinion not everything needs justification! I would say one thing to other artists, it's no good creating work to sit on a shelf, portfolio case or hard drive it needs to be shared in one form or another. If you're ever unsure about entering work for an exhibition or competition...don't be! Any feedback is better than no feedback even if you don't like it! 

Monday, 26 March 2012

What made me want to pick up a camera in the first kids.
I first bought a DSLR with the intention of capturing my two children's early years, although at the time I owned a compact camera I wanted something with a bit more quality, and to be honest it was one of the best things I have ever done. My first DSLR was an entry level Sony a200 and it served me well. Although I have upgraded now to a full-frame a900 with Carl Zeiss lenses I would have no issues using my a200. As they say it's not the size of your camera, but how you use it, although having better equipment in certain circumstances helps...a lot!
I would say since I started shooting I've pretty much shot every day! At present I work freelance but I don't want to 'box' myself just yet until I've made a firm decision on what to do with my career. 
In the early stages I was part of on online local photography community which was part of the Herald (local paper). I entered a monthly competition and won on several occasions. This has now closed down, but looking back I would say my photography has matured and I and I have learnt a lot in a small space of time. A friend of mine once said ''If you're really passionate about something you will learn and improve without even noticing. The best thing to do is look back and see where you have been'', wise words.
Westminster Walk. ©Matt Elliott 2012