A $Multimillion high street fashion retailer has responsibilities both to avoid slavery in manufacturing – see Nike, and how it presents its brand to the buying public.

A $Multimillion high street fashion retailer has responsibilities in how it promotes gender equality. I am casting shade over The Gap and I am sure many more will be joining in this campaign of shame today on social media.

Who agrees on this garbage and lets it fly? You can’t patch it when it is out there. This is not an ad for this brand, it is a decision to boycott until they stop making all girls “the talk of the playground”.



A New Dawn…


With the first painful weeks of the new year under our wing, it’s all going flat out at Slaughterhouse Mansions. With so much learned from last year and with so much to look forward to in 2013, it’s difficult to know where to start. So I will keep a lot of the expansion plans under wraps for the time being, no point in diluting the good news when you all knew about it months before…but be rest assured there will be no room for Ikea furniture and a splash of paint on the floor. That is not how we roll here.

So what has been learned from 2012?

Well I learned how to know what to look out for and when to offer services to people when they needed it rather than thinking I had all the answers all of the time.

That spending £1000’s on hard copy advertising is pretty pointless when all you guys do is Google Search to seek Studio Hire. So don’t expect to see an add in BJP any time soon.

Not even the oldest of American Snack Foods are secure in this changing market.

That a man in a Space Suit can fall to earth and have 16million people all hold their breath at the same time.

That London can put on one of the finest world events and turn the East End back into a vacant lot.

That I can now add car mechanic to my CV, owning a 14 year old car teaches one quickly.

Gaining market presence in many more sectors as well as fashion and magazine editorial has been a great asset to the studio and will increase throughout the new year.

Being less aware of what I want from my business and more aware of what the customer requires, this is often a bitter pill to swallow, especially when the business is so young. However, it has been more of an issue of late, when it comes to working with those who have continuously changing payment agreements and reducing budgets.

I also found that my continuous encouragement of local photographic talent is starting to pay off. Just as much as I have found new designs on how I can help and encourage people outside of this industry sector. Case in point, the young girl we had on work experience in July and August 2012, Natasha arrived a quite and rather shy, unemployed young girl and left a confident, erudite, employed young woman. A job in Manchester, excellent presentation skills – proven at an event at Portcullis House in September, in front of over 80 people, including CEOs and MPs.

Natasha has gone on to pursue her career in Acting, gaining a place at the celebrated Manchester School of Acting. Not bad for a girl from Irwell who back in Summer (and I am sure she will support me in saying this) was quiet and the epitome of a ‘Wall Flower’. So mentoring is proven to help even those who think the world is against them.

This week will see the Slaughterhouse Studios New Year’s Honours List – something I cannot do without you as my opinion counts for nothing in a democracy.

So let me know who you have enjoyed working with this past year, it could be a photographer, an assistant, a studio Director (hint) or even the Make Up artist that works so well with your own visions. All in all I want to see who is moving and shaking the world of photographic image making in the UK, it is often a lonely place running a studio and often one can only fix one’s attention on the client of the day. I get asked often if I have access to Photographers, Assistants, Digi Assistants, MUA’s, Wardrobe Specialists (inc Seamstresses) and on the odd occasion, Art Directors. So let me have your list of favourites and lets keep them all busy throughout 2013.

No matter what we do this year, lets work together to support all in the industry and allow them to have a busier year, a brighter year and a much more financially successful year. Let us champion those who are not afraid of putting in the hours, bringing in the contracts and keeping the talent in the UK.

Something to keep an eye out over the coming weeks is a Redeye event at Slaughterhouse Studios. For those of you connected to Redeye or those of you wishing to become a member, I am proud to announce a two day masterclass with Celebrated Photographer Liz Hingley on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd February. This is a unique opportunity both for me and for Redeye: a weekend workshop with a leading photographer, including a portrait of you – or someone you nominate – by Liz, as part of her series in progress, Spiritual Object Portraits. Numbers are strictly limited to eight participants.

Liz Hingley is one of the most celebrated photographers of her generation; her sympathetic approach, curiosity, and insightful visual storytelling has won her numerous prizes and accolades over the last five years.

Details can be found here on how to book a place on the weekend event. Please hurry however as places are limited and going fast.

Looking forward to seeing you all back in the studio this year.


Papa Simpson x

three things that make me happy….

Three great things have happened today.

© Pete Defty – 2011

I have just had word that our very own Layla Sailor is exhibiting in Le Printemps, Paris as part of a Nick Knight exhibition. So if you are or you find yourself in this incredible city take time to pop along and see the show, its on until 24th March and if you are there from 21st – 23rd, you may even get chance to see her there. We at Slaughterhouse Studios could not be more proud of our Layla. She is a great talent and one that should be exploited (for money). Recognition like this from our peers, contemporaries and our mentors is a wonderful feeling. One that I hope you all get to feel at least once this year. it gives one that well needed shot in the arm to carry one creating some wonderful creative, outward looking work.

Cast your mind back to the lighter months of last Summer, after a series of long telephone conversations and the odd trip over the Pennines, Mr. Pete Defty and I began to talk about installing his most recent purchase. The camera in situ was something to behold. Just short of 100 years old, standing proudly on it’s purpose built hydraulic platform and fitted with it’s own 700mm or 640mm portrait lens (!). It produces the finest, most delicate images from something that requires two people to operate and appears quite brutish and clumsy in comparison to say a Hasselblad or Phase One camera. So, in October 2011, The Outlaw Project began in ernest. Initially relying on friends and fellow photographers; artists, musicians and theatre directors, a growing body of work is slowly coming together. Now with the support of Ilford Photo, Deardorff & Sons Inc, Process Supplies Ltd, Robin Bell and Richard Freestone at 139 Printroom the series of portrait sittings can increase. More details of the progress and process will follow so keep watching for the next chapter…All images are not for taking, grabbing, stealing, Facebooking, in fact any kind of removal of these images and using them to promote anything is deemed as theft of the highest order and will be dealt with in the firmest of ways. You have been told! (Jana, Jonathan and Kat – you will be receiving your digi files soon)

And finally, its always a day of nostalgia on one’s anniversary so to cast my own mind back five years and remind myself just how happy I was to meet a young vivacious girl, wait far too long to meet with her again and like some hormonal teenager, awkwardly find the words to get her to stay…fast forward five years, a wedding and two beautiful children (with the induced sleep depravation) later, I not only have a great and busy business to rattle on about, I have a wonderful wife and family to return to each evening.

Life is good.


whiter shade of pale…


For some time now, any studio with windows and the ability to let in the light have been announcing themselves as “the only daylight studio in ….enter city here….” So here’s my “daylight studio” in Manchester.

Bookings can be made for hire by calling 0161 745 4232 or email info@slaughterhousestudios.co.uk. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Papa x

spectacular in its simplicity…

Edwin Land was once quoted, “Marketing is what you do when your product is no good”.

Bold words from someone who was the founder of Polaroid I hear you exclaim, but there is a vein of truth in his comment. Ok, Polaroid is known by millions and used by just as many, it has been in and out of favour by the public and the professional set. Now fashionable again, all of us wished we had kept and cherished our SX-70 or still had the attachment to the work horse Hasselblad. You will not be shocked then to hear that I too have accessed equipment older than most of the buildings in central Manchester, incredibly taking images with such clarity that standard digital platforms could only wish to achieve and with the adaptable rear of the camera offering a chance to shoot 14×17 transparency down to 5×4 transparency, polaroid or paper.

The Outlaw Project is all about people, people who have or are still making a difference in their chosen direction. If you are or know anyone of this calibre and wish to see you or them captured for prosperity with this phenomenal contraption may I suggest you contact me as soon as is humanly possible. So – actors, musicians, entertainers, photographers, film makers, scientists, circus performers, surgeons, teachers, sports men and women; even unicycling court judges – anything you think I would like to see become a legacy.

So easy it has become to plug in and snap away. A renaissance of film, chemicals, patience and skill (or alchemy) is required to see that time can slow right down and still deliver something wonderful.

So lets stop living at a million miles an hour and start looking, really looking at the world. You may just enjoy it.

Papa x


extended credit…..

At some point in any artist’s life, one hits a moment where funds are, how can I can I put this..shy.

For centuries the creative community has been pilloried and chastised for not putting money before everything, more today that is a real issue. Yet, creativity, like time has to go on. Without it we have nothing. Photography is my chosen art form, my preferred method of making pictures. This process costs money, it is costly in time, effort and by entering into this industry with either a prize fighter’s eye on the purse or with a more existential, bohemian attitude, at some point you are going to need to eat.

Since artists started to hang out in trattorias, bodegas or cafe’s around the world, they have found a synthesis between chef/proprietor and their own work, many ageing and smoke stained walls of eateries around Europe are still littered with objects of desire, captured moments, scenes from the turmoiled, boozed addled brains of those who once were too impoverished to afford a plate of Tapas, Chicchetti, Pinchos or Meza.

So what did they do? What would any discernible creative do in moments of need? Easy, they offered work for nourishment – commonly known as “extended credit”.

The house gets to sell the work for the cost of all the meals and ubiquitously, wine they have consumed each day they were not in their studio or darkrooms.

So to those with need of a darkroom, to those in need of a test day in studio much larger than your living room and some old bed sheet why not consider offering something lovely for me to hang on the walls and fundamentally sell for your time here? If it worked for Hemingway, Picasso and well, me. It will work for you.

So get in touch.

The images must be framed and able to be hung on arrival – (T&C’s apply)

Papa x


Guess what we are doing on the 1st December?

It doesn’t matter whether it’s raining or it’s fine, just as long as you’ve got time to P.L.A.Y. play away way, play away way, way way…

Yes, due to popular demand and a lot of you missing out on the event last month, the lovely boys from Broncolor and Hasselblad are back to show off their new kit.

In the studio you will be able to play with Broncolor’s Scoro packs and giant parabolic reflectors, to battery packs ideal for location shoots. Linked to the lights will be the new H4D-60 camera and Eizo’s new 27″ monitor.

So make some time in your diary to enjoy a bit of studio hospitality, the chance to speak to the technical support team from all three brands and don’t forget your memory card.

Let me know if you can make it. The doors open at 11am, until 5pm.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.