Underground Kickboxing

Kickboxing in the Toilets
Take that, Lambeth Council cleaning staff

Last week, after years of mucking about, I finally got to shoot in Laura’s Loo.  Laura is an architect friend of mine, who, several years ago bought a disused underground toilet in Crystal Palace with the intention of turning it into a bar.  Those plans never quite came to fruition, and instead work will start pretty soon on turning it into a house for her and her husband.  Until then, of course, it’s still in it’s run down state, and a cracking little place to shoot.  There are signs on the wall offering information about VD, and 2 little offices for the wardens to sit in, dust everywhere, cobwebs, peeling paint, and very useful skylights.  An ideal spot for a bit of kickboxing really!

Annabel doing her wraps
Annabel doing her wraps

There’s no mains power down there, but that’s much less of a challenge these days with my new Bowens gear, not to mention all my lovely Nikon Flashguns.  Mind you, since I’m trying to use my laptop on location more often these days, it did present a bit of a challenge to the battery  – 6 hours is a bit much when you’re shooting tethered!

Kickboxing in the Toilets
More wrapping. You’d have thought she’d have got the hang of it by now.

I’ve shot steadily less personal work in the past few years, for a whole host of reasons, but one of which was that I was either trying to do too much new stuff in a shoot, or, at the other end of the scale, wasn’t experimenting enough.  The trick with personal work, I’m finally learning (after many, many years) is to move things on a little bit at a time, rather than trying to take great leaps.  In this instance I’d been mucking around with grittier women’s fitness stuff a few times, washes of coloured lighting, and was trying out some new stuff in Photoshop.  A few months back I subscribed to the Kelby training site, and whilst most of the photographic training stuff is bread and butter to me, the photoshop stuff is gold dust.  I was never trained properly in Photoshop you see – it were before my time, and I’ve only learnt things very hotch-potch over the years.  The stuff you see here is the result of blending together different raw conversions, and using a very neat sharpening technique, along with a few things I’ve been doing for ages.

To get a feel for the shoot, check this little video out:


The video was shot by myself and my able assistant Marc Haydon. I did all the editing, in the freebie windows program, and although I think I’m getting better at it, I still reckon I need to make these things shorter!  There’s also a load of behind the scenes shots on Flickr.

>Overall, I’m very pleased with how it all went.  It’s always a bit of gamble shooting personal work, but then that’s the way it should be when I spend so much of my time shooting fairly safe commercial work.  Without it, things will never move forward.

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