Edward Taylor is a unique kind of photographer. He projects an air of professionalism when he walks in the room, camera bag full of carefully selected equipment, and understands that being a photographer is also about being human. He got into the industry not only to create great images, but to do what he loves, and to have fun around every corner.
With an impressive portfolio including portraiture, modelling photos, fashion, live events, gigs, weddings, his own Youtube channel, and not to mention 'Digital Flow Ltd.' - a media house created to cultivate fresh talent and provide photography services across Coventry and Warwickshire (and the rest of the UK!), Ed's got more than just a few tricks up his sleeve.
We caught up with Ed to get a snapshot (excuse the pun) into his work, and what drives him:
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Where are you from?
Essex, Brentwood. Spent the first 5 years of my life in Edinburgh. I used to have a proper Scottish accent as well. Then I moved over the Coventry (UK) in 2008.
How did you get into Photography?
Photography for me was a natural thing, I think it was always going to happen. My Dad's kind of a techie person anyway. He filmed a few weddings, did the editing. Just looking over his shoulder’s seeing him edit, I remember saying to him “just show me how to use Photoshop!”. That was a very young age, maybe 13-14. I was a bit too young to really appreciate what Photoshop was all about, but I still had the excitement and desire for it. He got me a very small camera, it was terrible. It used to record for 20 seconds. Me and my friend use to go out and skate and just film. We’d put the video to music like Eminem. We’d hack onto the school network, copy our videos onto the servers so the other kids at school would come across our videos on the network. When I got to choose what I studied, I chose media studies in A level, completely excited by the idea of being able to edit my own things.
How did your company Digital Flow come about?
I never wanted ‘Edward Taylor photography’. I love the experience of sharing and going out with other people and collaborating, and that’s always been there. We wanted to get the idea across that it was a digital company, but we didn't want it to be so serious. I always wanted it to be a collective of photographers and media artists working together to create this all in one media house.
What kind of projects does Digital Flow do?
Especially when you’re freelancing you’ve kind of got to go where the money is. Of course there’s the club photography, which is essentially when I first picked up a camera. I went into a nightclub with no idea, played with a few buttons and hoped to get something right out of it. Covered quite a few nightclubs. At one point we had 14-15 nightclubs covered on one night that we’d be sending people out to. So there’s the club stuff, studio, portraiture, fashion, and bit of video editing. Trying to find new ways to come out of my comfort zone.
What a typical day of shooting like for you?
The universe has been very good to me, and I'm very thankful that I get away with doing something that I actually enjoy doing. I’m not one for sitting behind a desk, so I’m always looking for something to do, to go out get involved in and meet people.
But it changes every day. I’ve always got the club stuff, but lately I’ve been freelancing for a few photography studios. I’ll be in the studio from 9am until 8pm at night, then going to do a gig, the club stuff. I’ve booked in a few personal projects. Just challenging myself in as many different environments as possible. Eating between jobs, sleeping for four hours then going to the next thing.
How important is it to you to make sure you’re doing your own projects?
That is what I think should drive any creative person. I think it’s always important to do personal projects alongside what actually pays the bills. If you get too caught up with paying the bills you might get caught up doing a job, doing the same thing every day and not being able to learn or grow. Adding things to your portfolio and growing is most important. If you don’t, you lose yourself. There are too many people in this industry that believe their own hype and they forget to be real people.
What kind of gear are you using?
I’ve got shelves full of camera kit, and I’d love to say it’s very organised, but I just put it on whatever space I can find! (Canon) 5Dmkiii which is gorgeous, which is game-changing and stepping up from my crop frame. Of course the best camera you’re going have is the one you have on you. No one should ever get too hell bent on what kit they have, but it (Canon 5D mkiii) is a gorgeous camera.
You’ve shot a lot of big artists and bands, who have you worked with?
I can’t even remember them all, honest to god! Miles Kane, Nero, Rudimental – one of my personal favourites, Jurassic 5, Parkway Drive, Kids in Glass Houses, Funeral for a Friend, so many! I shot pride last year in Birmingham (UK) which was good. It’s enjoyable. I’m the kind of guy that rocks up with a cider in his hand and am like “Right guys, let’s have a competition, who can get the best photo, let’s have laugh with it” and you get a mixed bag of responses. It’s so important, the main ethos for me is that you need to enjoy it and you need to be a person first and photographer second. We’re client facing, it’s personal. We need to be able to put ourselves in situation where people might not even be comfortable you being there. So being a human being should be everyone’s priority. I shoot with my personality, not with my cameras. My camera and pressing that button isn’t my work, my personality and getting myself to that situation, that’s what my work is.
Tell us about the studio work?
I’m a Virgo, so I’m a big fan of control over chaos. When I first went to study video in Coventry University (UK), that’s when I started to get my head together. I love the studio, and my end goal is to have a studio, have it ticking over a business, have other photographers shoot in there, and have my own space to just come up with something new. With lighting - that is the paint brush and paper. You can craft light and make someone look completely different just by moving a light from two foot to the left or two foot to the right. And being able to control a situation, craft someone’s body movement, craft the light and show someone an image back of themselves and them be like “Wow!”. For me it’s all about capturing something on someone that they would never see normally. That’s what I love.
Favourite photograph you've taken?
There are photographs I can show you and be like “this is me, that I my voice, that I what im interested in, that’s what excites me". I could probably get it down to about 20 images. But its just because im so critical of myself, and I think everyone should be to a certain degree, but we should also be forgiving of ourselves and allow flaws and errors as well.
Tell me about your Youtube channel?
Started around January 2016, and it features behind the scenes video of shoots and Photoshop tutorials. This recent video was shot over a few days when I photographed the Libertines in Birmingham, then did a couple a shoots over the next few days. Check out the latest episode here:
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You can find out more about Digital Flow and the rest of Edward Taylor's work below: