Andy Simon aka Darkslide Photography

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How can I start this one? Well I came across Darkslide last year, dont know how I happen to stumble across him but I am so glad I did, his photography is wonderful, different but most of all you can see the passion he has for what he does. I will add it’s not the sort I would have dreamt up or even felt like I would want to take, but I am still inspired, even may join him one day, to see how he works.

For the past 3 years he has done so much work also for Help the Heroes by taking images for calenders and again amazing work, even better he has done it for free and I believe over £10,000 has been raised, here’s to 2013’s.

I now have him as friend on the social network sites out there and he is a truly down to earth guy who has a wicked sense of humour. Thank you Andy for taking the time to do this.

I have put just a few questions to Andy, hope you all enjoy

How are you feeling today?

Pretty awesome thank you! Apart from the aches and pains that comes from reaching the grand old age of 35 this week, I am rather optimistic and enthusiastic about the year ahead, plus I have just been chatting to an Alt fashion magazine who wish to use some of my work on a 4 page spread and front cover, so I’m buzzing off that too!

What is your favourite piece of camera equipment you own?

Tricky one! I’ve never really been the kind of person to think of my camera equipment as prized possessions, to me my kit is like in any business, they are my tools of the trade, as with any tools they are looked after and cared for and they will last, and of course there is the old thing of you get what you pay for, and in the past when i started out i made the mistake of buying cheaper equipment, but it was a case of quantity over quality. Now i am much more selective in my purchases. If I had to choose one piece, it would have to be my Minolta 50mm f1.7 lens. A 30yr old lens that is compatible with current Sony dSLR’s. It is the sharpest piece of glass I have ever seen, and has bokeh to die for! It’s pretty much always in my kit bag either for landscape or portrait work and is a dream to use.

What would you least want to be remembered for?

The one that’s kind of grating on me at the moment is being known as ‘The lego man’ A couple of months back i entered a 24 hour competition with photobox where i had to take a photo every hour of a set theme so i decided to do the whole thing with some lego figures i had of my kids, and whilst it was pretty cool i won one of the prizes, and came in second place overall (out of 7000 entries no less!) it is now stuck that i am the lego man, and yes whilst it is self inflicted as i do occasionally take random photos with lego minifigs etc i would much rather be remembered as ‘That guy from Darkslide Photography who is an amazing Alternative fashion photographer’

The reason people remember me.

What is your greatest acheivement to date?

Bar from the Photobox competition i mentioned above, 2 main things still jump out at me, firstly was being published in Vogue in 2010 when i had only just started to establish myself as a ‘pro’ was pretty amazing, even though the photo was the size of a postage stamp it was still pretty epic that a magazine as big as Vogue decided that one of my photos was of a quality that they would actually print. Secondly and also back in 2010 was winning first prize in the top level of the National City and Guilds Photography competition, which is open to current and former students on C&G courses.  A simple shot that i had taken with my mobile phone and submitted because i have always been a strong believer that the best camera to have is the one that is with you at that time, to capture one single moment, be it a pro dSLR, Polaroid, point and shoot camera or even a mobile phone. I never imagined the image would win, not in a million years but i submitted it anyway because it was something that reflected ‘me’. Yet to have a phonecall saying i had come in first prize was awesome and really bought home why i was doing what i was doing. Plus there was the added bonus of winning a £1000 lighting kit, week long exhibition at a gallery down in London, and a fair bit of publicity in the local and national press too. I think the two of those things together in such a short space of time really gave me the push and self belief i needed to kick my career into action.

If you could anywhere and take photographs where would it be and what would you take?

I am quite fortunte to live on the west midlands / staffs border so  i have the countryside right on my doorstep, and having a second home in north Wales near Snowdonia i spend most weekends in the summer there wandering around, mountain climbing and exploring with my camera. But i think in this country i would have to say the highlands of Scotland would be somewhere i would like to visit one day.  Further afield somewhere like Iceland or Norway, or possibly machu picchu in peru. Shot wise would be my eclectic style of landscape work which you can see a lot of on my facebook pages and website.

As I have mentioned you have done Pin up for Heroes to raise funds for Help the Heroes, who would you love to guest in it?

For this years (2012) calendar we managed to convince pro model and Help for Heroes Patron Peta todd to feature in it, and she was amazing to work with and looked stunning too. But to be honest i can’t really think of anyone i would want to guest in it. The main point of the calendar has always been that it features a strong all military linked cast, and i think that is one of the things that sets the Pin up for Heroes project apart from the myriad of other calendars, that it is all real people, from all walks of life, army / navy / RAF mums, daughters, wives and even serving soldiers, all wanting to do their part to help a charity that shouldn’t even need to exist but does because of the lack of support from the powers that be. As well as that doing it in such a tasteful yet cheeky way that

Apart from the Calender what other plans have you got at the moment?

I have a few projects in the pipeline at the moment. Working on a long term collaboration with Adam Bane from Baneology, a simply amazing makeup / special fx artist who like me is a complete perfectionist and has an pretty awesome (and slightly twisted) creative vision. We are currently working on 2 set ideas, Twisted Toybox, which explores long forgotten toys, and Gory Stories which are ‘alternative’ tales on classic fairytales. Both of these projects will form individual book projects i will hopefully have ready for publication later this year.As well as that i am currently looking at launching a non profit online Alternative fashion magazine with the name ‘Corrosion’ as well as starting to organise local networking events for local models, photographers, makeup artists etc. And i am currently looking into starting to provide teaching sessions for amateur and new photographers covering such things as studio and location work with models.
If you could collaborate with any other photographer who would it be and why?Of current day thats a tricky one, i have already met and shot with one of my ‘idols’ of fashion photography, Matt Cannon, a Birmingham based photographer a couple of years back. I will be honest and say i am not a fan of some of the more well known photographers such as Rankin and La’chapelle, Leibovitz etc. Whilst they are all talented in their own right, Nothing of theirs really jumps out at me. Going a few years back however when you have people like Bob Carlos Clarke, Helmut Newton and the like, now those guys are inspirational!

Finally, can you share something with us you have never told an interviewer/blogger before.

Ok, sad but true, back in the mid 90’s i had a brief stint as a model when i was at art college, did some modelling for some of the fashion designers there and a couple of catwalk shows. Thank goodness it was all shot on film and hopefully none of the photos still remain!

Thank you againfor taking the time to Chat with us today x

Darkslide on Facebook

Darkslide on Twitter

Pin Up For Heroes on Facebook

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