Friday, 31 August 2012

#FindOutFriday with...Andrew Shirley!

...Andrew Shirley!

You're a lot more familiar with Andrew Shirley than you realise. If you look to the right of this page, you will realise that you've seen his work everytime you viewed Deer Oh Deer Ltd's AW11 look book, as well included in every collection you've seen publicised, placed alongside the lead photographer

An amateur, turned freelance 'snapper'; Andrew's hugely talented eye is garnering him quite the interest in London's Fashion and Music circles; filling his diary well into 2013, even earning himself his first International booking in the old US of A next July.

Spot the 'Doe'...

Read about the quiet talent bubbling under the surface of Deer Oh Deer Ltd's very first 'Stag', who just so happens to be the hubby of someone extra special that you might just recognise...

Well it's quite the Family Affair this week - Welcome my favourite Stag! As you already know, I'm a big fan of your photographic work and I'm beyond excited at the opportunity to put you in the spotlight! You ready for your close up?!

1. What inspired you to pick up your first camera?

Thank you very much for including me in your #FindOutFriday.

Introducing Andrew J Shirley
I'm not sure it was any one thing in particular. I know that I have always been more of a visual person and enjoyed photos as opposed to novels and such...My way of saying I have never been much of a reader, haha! I do find it hard to concentrate a lot, being faced with learning difficulties, so a 100-odd-page book used to fill me with dread.

2. You have got one of the most interesting eyes for angles that I have ever seen. How do you find your focal points?

'Shaping the World'...

It's nothing that has been so intentional that I have thought: "Everything must have a different perspective", I would say it was more of a situation where, I have taken a few snaps in standard portrait and landscape views and thought "let's see what I can get out of holding the camera this way..."

3. What ONE thing do you love about Photography the most?

All Shall Perish guitarist Francesco Artusato,
live at Camden Underworld
The different fields and different ways you can portray the same subjects. There is an endless amount of things you can do to make a photo look different and when you add the processing through programmes such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, you can change the whole look of a photo, along with the subject and anything else in the picture.

4. You did the most amazing treatment on a set of landscapes that to me, were already breathtakingly gorgeous beforehand. Can you explain exactly what 'Light Painting' is and how you went about producing the effect?

'Bright Lights, Big City'...
Light painting is when someone uses a long exposure time to create strands of light from such things as car headlights or waving a torch to 'write' the words. There are other ways of doing this too, but to explain wouldn't be enough; googling would explain better than I could!

The camera needs to be quite, if not completely still as the effect requires everything but the light source to be still. Anyone who sat in of a Saturday night and watched X-Factor, would have seen Light Painting without even knowing what it was as the sponsors, Talk Talk did it in the adverts with all the colourful lights. The brand name is also a Light Painting.

Andrew's artwork provided the backdrop for this Jelli Facebook cover photo earlier this year...

5. I like to think that all artwork are stories being told. What story are you telling through pictures?

Not just in pictures - Andrew's storytelling covers EVERY canvas...
It depends on what I am taking photos of. In the case of live shows, it can be the pent up aggression that the daily grind our lives and times generate and the explosive outlet that live music can be. In portraits, I would say it is whatever the client wants to portray; I'm only there to help show whatever emotion they want to show. In the case of light painting, what fun and beautiful things we can capture if you are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing...

6. Is there anyone who has inspired you, style or method-wise?

From Rankin's 'Tuulitastic!' collection;
'an open love letter to wife Tuuli Shipster'
Photo courtesy of

Well although people like John Rankin Waddell (known just as Rankin), David LaChapelle and people of the like are big names who get paid by the bucket load that, let's be fair - practically everyone would want to be able to get when they need a job done; I seem to be drawn to the works of people that aren't so well known...

'Bridget' from Shurie Jenai's
'Don't Blush' collection.
Portfolio available at

I comb lots of different websites like Flickr, 500px, Pinterest, Tumblr, DeviantArt and Facebook, which does hold a plethora of amazing photographers and artists. People like Shurie Jenai, Daniel Barter, Miss Rain, Viva Van Storey, Al Overdrive and Craig Burton are an inspiration mainly because they are totally enveloped in their chosen fields, but throw them a different task and they can still floor you with the results...

I would like to say that Daniel Barter, Miss Rain and Al Overdrive are also amazing people who give me an unbiased critique, which I will follow and try my hardest to implement.

7. What's the most important lesson that you've learned so far?

One with Nature...

Probably 'Read, Practice, Repeat'. Just to take in as much information as possible; find out what appeals to you and then just absorb as much as you can without getting too bogged down in one particular area, where eventually things can get stagnant.

8. What do you find hardest about what you do and how do you plan to overcome it?

Stuck? Build a Bridge and Get Over It...with Lights!
I think there is a lot that plagues any artist in it's various forms really. They approach things like I do, with computer and console games. If I keep missing or not getting it right, I'll leave it for a day or so and come back to it with fresh eyes and mind, which is the moment you leap over that gap or figure out how to solve the puzzle. I do have to say these moments are the most ambivalent ever. Pure joy and utter rage that what can sometimes be tiny things were so easy to overcome; but because you were not in the right place mentally, you were just totally stuck...

The only problem is that if you were in a live music setting you need to keep going to gigs and concerts because that is the best way to learn them...unfortunately, hahaha!

9. What's your dream shoot and who would be your dream subject?

Actor Tim Roth ranks high on Andrew's list of shoot subjects
Well, you're gonna regret asking that question! Erm...I just don't know where to start, the list would be endless. People from all walks really...I would absolutely die if I could work with comedy legends like Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, models Radeo Suicide and Quinn Suicide (from the Suicide Girls website), Sabina Kelley, Elegy Ellem, actors Christina Hendricks, Emma Stone, Bill Nighy, Tim Roth, Julie Walters...Tattooists Joe Capobianco, Oliver Peck, Nikko Hurtado...Singers and bands like Katy Perry, Upon A Burning Body, Periphery, As I Lay Dying; Hip Hop group Doomtree, P.O.S., Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa...See? The list is growing!

10. Ok, Ok! I get it! Last one...How does your love of IT and what you can do with photo manipulation compare to your love of capturing different visuals? Do you have a preference?

I do love all my lil gadgets and such but as I am still learning (as we all are) and teaching myself new things; the heavy and hardcore manipulation that I would love to be able to do, is still a pretty far off idea! My friend Daniel Barter has incredible processing skills (he would argue this) and I would love to eventually be as good as him and artists of the like. I think I am still building my confidence in my work and finding my little corner that I excel in. Once I have that, I'll be able to build on it...

Tale As Old As Time - Andrew tells a
Love Story in entirely his own way...
As much as I love and totally dig the extreme processing that can be done, I'm not sure it's something that I want for my work; not at the moment anyway. Who knows though? In a few month's time, I may realise that I have a gift for getting the most insane and awesome angle that is something new and fresh, which I would be insane not to go for and push...


As always, a mahoossive Thank You to Andrew for taking part! Please be sure to check out his hugely inspired portfolios and connect with one of the loveliest guys I know directly, through his Social Media Catalogue below:


What do you think of Andrew's work? Let us both know your constructive opinions in the comment box below...

Until next time!
ES ;o)