Making It in Manchester
Deniss Gimbickis is a 25-year-old photographer from Latvia living in Manchester.
He was born in Russia and came to England a few years ago to study graphic design at Burton and South Derbyshire College. He has always been interested in photography and using software such as Photoshop, and it was during his first year at university he decided to drop out, move to Manchester and focus on photography and video making.
“We need a guy who can make video,” his friends working in Manchester told him. He currently works for the photography company Studio 44 – based in the Northern Quarter of the city – and also does freelance work too. He told me: “I like it when I’m contacted for freelance work, it makes the job more interesting.” I asked him why he chose Manchester as the place to ‘make it’ and his reply was genuine: “Manchester is a great city and there are plenty of opportunities here if you look hard enough,” he said.
During our interview Deniss also told me what equipment he uses on his shoots. “Day to day I travel with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and a 1.8 lens. This was also my first camera,” he said. "I was also told that to take good photos you don’t even need an expensive camera, the camera on your iPhone or Samsung can work just as well as long as the natural lighting is good and you have a steady hand.
"Most of my photos are planned, I tend to look online for inspiration and then recreate the shots as I want. I love taking photos of people and I feel as though above anything a photo has to convey emotion as well as telling a good story.” Deniss also talked about the photographers he really admires, telling me that he loves the work of Tom Hoops and Sergei Sarakhanov.
I then asked Deniss how he takes photos when he doesn’t have his camera to hand and his answer was simple, his iPhone and VSCO Cam. VSCO Cam is an app for iOS and Android phones that allows users to add professional quality filters and tweaks to photos that you would normally pay hundreds of pounds for. “This really helps the transition between desktop and mobile, in shooting and editing.” It also syncs all your photos and works well with Lightroom so it really is a must if you’re serious about photography," he said.
If you visit Deniss' portfolio website, you can see a lot of work has been done on people and portraits. I was told that normally the use of the studio is the only thing that has to be paid for so shoots can range from £50 to £500 and up. As well as working hard in Manchester, Deniss has also travelled to many places in and out the UK for photography projects. I asked for quick impressions and quotes about some of the places he has visited:
Venice, visited November 2014 – “This place was probably my favourite, as soon as you come out of the bus station into the city, you want to get your camera out and start taking photos.”
Portugal, visited April 2015 – “Another amazing country, it was originally meant to be a romantic getaway for me and my girlfriend but ten friends ended up tagging along.”
Blackpool, visited April 2014 – “The only thing I would say about this place is that it’s good to visit once. Just once.”
I then asked Deniss about his recent ventures into video work and how that came about. He told me that he would choose photo work over video work, but enjoyed both. He has recently purchased a Panasonic Lumix GH4 to help him with his work. Many places in Manchester – local bars and cafes – such as Lammars have hired Deniss to make short videos about their business. Deniss told me that he has never been featured in any sort of exhibition but would love the opportunity to be part of one.
Deniss also gave me a teaser of an upcoming project he has been working on with two girls he knows who design clothes and bags and then sell what they make. He likes it when someone he works with has a clear plan of what they want out of him, and doesn’t constantly change their mind. He also has no video projects coming up just of yet but is always looking for new work.
I probed how social media has helped Deniss promote himself, he told me: “When I first came to Manchester and I was working for free for a while to build my portfolio, I started using Instagram to show off my work and soon after I had people emailing me about work. I like to follow others on the service to create connections and I have also used Adobe Behance to find two French interns that wanted to shadow me. They worked with me for three months and then went home to Lyon. I like to think of things like that as building friendships, more than just the work.”
In his future Deniss described to me how he would love to photograph people and couples around the world. “I want to use Instagram to publish all this to start with, and then maybe in a few years I will leave Manchester and move somewhere else, maybe move to Lyon.”
Deniss can be contacted about any work and enquires on:
His website on http://www.gimbaa.co