A very special weekend of Photography

My dear friend Ray Spence FRPS has facilitated a ‘Wet Plate’ weekend for those passionate about Wet Collodion Process for a number of years, most latterly at the phenomenal location of Guys Cliffe House in Warwick where I too have held a number of workshops over the years. Last year I helped out and together with my dear friend and ex mentee Darcy Brown, put on a BBQ to add a further sociable dimension to this already popular event.

This year he has decided to make it an ‘Alternative Processes’ weekend from August 19th – 21st. I will be at the helm of my trusty catering BBQ once again but this year, after some persuasion from friends, have come out of my retirement to offer 6 places where I will facilitate a themed ‘workshop’ to develop the concept of Fine Art Portraiture. There have been themes shared by Renaissance Artists and the Pre-Raphaelites alike, I’m just teaching a select few how to celebrate and indulge in their own masterpieces!

More details are on the page on this site. Hope to see you there,


And so it begins…

It’s taken me something like 30 years to have a long, hard look at myself and I am sure you’d all agree that’s far too long. It’s not that those years have been wasted as I have achieved all I set out to do professionally…but not creatively! Apart from bursts of outright creative artistry I have stifled myself in pursuit of business. Had I learned much earlier that the poles could have been mutually satisfied, who knows what I could have achieved. But its not too late…

I’m less that a month into my new journey that has involved much soul seeking. Quite surprisingly having picked up a camera a day ago after doing literally nothing for the last two years, it has been as easy as getting back on a bike. My creativity and mind are as vibrant as a twenty year old. Ideas flourish. But its not quite as simple as that. I have helped so many, judged imagery globally (I still do for Master Photographers International) and supported creativity and inspiration. What I have also seen is an upsurge in gratuitous imagery obsessed by technique. And that my friends is no good thing. Other than other photographers, no one is impressed with photographers who produce meaningless, technique obsessed clever imagery with no meaning and no narrative.

I would much rather see raw, honest images loaded with and supported by narrative. It’s ok to say a picture is worth a thousand words, but an image supported by or illustrating a story is priceless! Just take a look at the paintings of the Renaissance and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. One inspired by the Biblical and the other by the Romantic Literature illustrating the age of ancient classicism and Mediaeval stories of Chivalry.

So, after a beautiful and heartfelt day with my lady, my muse, with a word of suggestion I picked up my camera. I knew exactly what I wanted. Something we share a deep passion for. Prepared a tableau, shot ten frames (I’m quite rusty) and side by side, we downloaded, selected and I processed my first two images…I’m not going to show them here yet but I will reveal the titles…

“Dreaming of Vampires, Praying for Absolution” and “I wait, Restrained, yet Hoping for Reward”

Onwards and upwards Martin

I’m Back!

It’s been far too long since I last posted anything on this site and we have also had to endure the trials and tribulations of Covid-19 for the best part of two years in which the world, its economies and indeed the photographic industry has changed, and not for the better!

So, instead of me simply rolling over and playing dead I believe its high time to re-invent myself too as a photographic artist. I may no longer travel across the globe as an inspirational teacher but I can still share what amounts to 42 years of invaluable experience. I want to re-connect with those people whom I have helped before and those I am yet to help so if you are still seeing notifications that I am posting, please get in touch and I’ll write much more very soon.

In the meantime, lets keep our chins up, not be negative and focus on what we love about our Harry Potter world of photographic magic.


MPI Ambassador for the UK – Back at long last!

It’s been far too long since I last posted. So much water under the bridge. A lot of soul searching and reflection on my long career and the general state of the industry, particularly in my own Country. Anyway, I’m back and want to shout loud about my association with Master Photographers International. I’ve been its Director of Qualifying for quite a long time and so overdue that I seriously promote membership of probably the most unpolitical organisation in the world dedicated to raising the standards in global photography.

More soon…….

Art for Art’s Sake – But not money for God’s sake!

It’s been a while since my last workshops but everything is changing. In the not too distant future I will be conducting a series for those who love the ‘Fine Art’ aspect and desiring to embark on their own journeys of discovery. “Art for Art’s Sake” will explore the inspiration and developing a brief from a literary subject, designing a shoot, costumes, props, locations. lighting methodology using canonical methods including “Chiaroscuro”, advanced subject posing, composition for output, retouching methods and much more.

Creative Fine Art workshops with a Pre-Raphaelite theme

With only 4 places available on each Workshop, this is a truly unique and interactive experience not to be missed and will only be repeated on demand with no more than 4 to 6 workshops per year. It’s not rocket science to work out that with just 24 places available in a year this really is an exclusive opportunity. So, don’t dither and contact me now for to enquire about dates and places. So there’s no guessing, each place will be incredible value at £300 including lunch, refreshments, two fantastic models in full theatrical costumes and the option (at additional cost) of reminiscing over dinner in the evening. There really is nothing like this on offer anywhere!

The first practical workshop will take place in the Spring of 2018 with a small number of ‘Taster Evenings’ on offer in the Winter of 2017 through to the end of March 2018. Watch this space for early notification.

Back online and back on track!

It’s been a while since I last posted. In fact far too long as I have been working on establishing a new, working photographic studio in the heart of Royal Leamington Spa. But I’ve also realised that there is still very much a demand for the kinds of photographic education I offer. However, instead of a focus on the business of photography I am turning my sights towards my passion – Fine Art using photography as an expressive medium. There are so many ‘trainers’ and ‘guru’s’ out there offering all sorts of solutions to the problems of marketing and business development so I am not going to play in that arena. Instead my aim is to inspire and stimulate creativity as ‘soul food’.

My new workshops will examine how to create images based on literary theme similar to this study based on the ballad “La Belle Dame sans Merci” – A popular Pre-Raphaelite theme

Very soon I’ll be announcing Workshops and other new style educational happenings for 2018 – so watch this space. In the meantime I’m going to get back to driving the new studio!

The right kind of image for Fine Art papers

Having ventured back into the world of ‘Fine Art’ the burning question is exactly what kind of media is suitable to output my art pieces. The choices are staggering with a wealth of manufacturers in the market place. But I want to focus on my own experiences rather than engaging in a debate as to what may or may not be the best materials available.

For my last project entitled “Ars Longa Vita Brevis” (Art endures, life is brief) which was founded on my love of Renaissance art, the pieces were inspired by the second poetry collection of my partner, Katypoetess. From the outset I envisaged a series of canvases initially in the form of scrolls, bound and sealed and later as sizeable fine art canvases. I could have easily handed the initial print work to my lab, OneVison Imaging in Coventry but at this stage I was determined to understand the processes of calibration and custom profiles – next stop, Alex Cullen at Permajet and re-establishing a long term friendship with their CEO, Robin Whetton.

Having purchased a Canon Pro1 printer after having seen tremendous results, (on Fine Art Paper, I must add at this stage) I tasked Alex with using his immense expertise in writing some custom profiles for me and my new baby. No matter what we tried, output on Canvas, my chosen medium, just wasn’t happening to create  the reds I envisaged, and as the entire collection were in the warm end of the spectrum, this was a huge problem. Drastic measures were required, so I made a further investment in an Epson P800, et voila! Perfect prints on Permajet Mercury Canvas. Still needed custom profiles, but the reds were exquisite!

The Unrepentant Penitent - Shadows of Magdalene Collection ©2016

The Unrepentant Penitent – Shadows of Magdalene Collection ©2016

There is no easy route to selecting the right paper for the right image except lots of ‘professional’ qualified advice, a smattering of trial and error, and maybe a few trips to art galleries and museums for inspiration! So, where to get that expert help? The first ports of call should be your pro lab if they are printing your work. One Vision Imaging use an extensive range of Fine Art papers and not forgetting my principal supplier, Permajet. Having the right profile is critical to ensuring the best results and if you print your own, consider having custom profiles made.

Please visit: www.onevisionimaging.com and www.permajet.com for more information on services and products.


Portfolio Reviews at Photography Live Dubai 2017

At the year’s Photography Live Dubai 4th-6th May Martin will be holding a series of Portfolio Reviews during the show. So, if you’re wanting an appraisal of your images from one of the very best in the world, here’s your chance. Whether it’s an opinion on your chances in competitions, awards or even qualifications, Martin Grahame-Dunn has helped literally thousands of photographers all over the world realise their potential. Martin first brought portfolio reviews to the UAE with HIPA and many photographers have enjoyed great success following his advice. Now you can book your one to one session with him at Photography Live Dubai. But remember, there are only 24 slots available over the three show days!

There is nothing better than a one to one portfolio review to discuss your work and your passion!

A 20 minute session costs only 200Dhs and is incredible value. To book your one to one session with Martin email him at: mgrahamedunn@mac.com

New Workshops for 2017

Throughout 2017 I am offering a number of workshops in the UK based at my Leamington Spa Studio. Easily accessible from the M40 and Train links. Plenty of reasonable accommodation and parking nearby. Each workshop is for a maximum of 8 delegates ensuring quality of delivery and enough time for everyone to absorb themselves into the content.
1. Posing Workshops – 8 places – £250 per place
2. Environmental Portraiture – 8 places – £295 per place
3. Studio Portraiture – 8 places – £295 per place
4. Fine Art & Photography – 6 places – £395 per place
Each workshop will include refreshments, lunch, 2 models (1 model in costumes for the Fine Art Workshop), materials where appropriate (printed output on the Fine Art Workshop) and notes. I anticipate that the Fine Art Workshops will be very popular as they are very intensive so early registration of interest is essential. In the early Summer and Autumn the Fine Art Workshops will also be available in a slightly different format in Pembrokeshire.
For further information and to register your interest please contact me via direct message on Facebook through my various pages or by email at mgrahamedunn@me.com

“I lavish in desire” – Art by Martin Grahame-Dunn & Poetry by Katypoetess

Formally, a study based on the ballad "La Belle Dame sans Merci" now retailed - "I lavish in desire"

Formally, a study based on the ballad “La Belle Dame sans Merci” now retailed – “I lavish in desire”

Recently, I have began a journey of research to use the art and literature of the Pre-Raphaelite era as an inspiration to create pieces of fine art via the medium of photography, in that distinctive painters style. My first reference was to look at certain stanzas in the Keats ballad, written in 1819, “La Belle Dame sans Merci” that in itself is a reworking of the 15th century piece by that name by Alain Chartier. The stanza chosen was:

“I met a lady in the meads,

Full beautiful, a fairy’s child;

Her hair was long, her foot was light,

And her eyes were wild.”

John Keats 1819

So, my Lady and I revisited a location we love, fully laden with a costume (although not in the colours I would have chosen) and props including beautifully crafted armour, and a head garland of white roses, that I had sat and made up the previous evening. The day itself was the third anniversary of us being together and what better way to mark the occasion than by doing something together we both love. Art & Poetry. Waiting for the ’sweet light’ of the day I took sufficient images to create the first test piece for my new collection.

Later that evening having completed the art piece, my Lady, unbeknown to me wrote a beautiful piece of what she has dubbed, ‘Micropoetry’ and Tweeted it to the world. It’s actually a perfect fit for the image and together I believe we have achieved what every artist and his muse desires, a harmony of vision and execution….

“I lavish in desire

for decay around me

in face or flower

cliff rock or body

or the sun setting on

another dying day”

© Katypoetess 2016

With great thanks to the lady and poetess in my life – Katypoetess. Please follow her on Twitter to enjoy more of her ‘Micropoetry’ @Katypoetess. Her first published poetry collection, “Of Lilith and Anthony” is available on Amazon.

© Martin Grahame-Dunn 2016