by Ian Shipley Published
‘I can’t think of a better photographer to recommend to anyone. I tried but I couldn’t’ – Simon Redley, Kudos Music
Ian Shipley (45) started out as a DJ when he left school. His parents bought him an Olympus OM10 for his 18th birthday (he’s still got it today) – and from there began his lifelong love affair with the lens.
After working his way up to director level in various sales and marketing enterprises, he started his own business with a fulfilment expert and a design and marketing guru. After successfully building a £3m turnover company, they followed up with Jig-a-Jig, a range of T-shirts emblazoned with music, sex and dance themes.
Explains Ian: “The dance theme included The Mashed Potato and for that we created a character with a hammer in his head and a ‘Go out and get smashed’ tag. People thought it was funny. We developed the idea into ‘Violent Veg and it went global.”
Ian handled the photography for each cartoon (To get the idea just think along the lines of: ‘the carrots had a pea against the wall’) and the brand, born in 2004, just exploded. Before long it was on greetings cards, calendars, clothing and gifts – and the trio recently sold the worldwide rights to the Carte Blanche Group in a seven figure deal.
That success enabled Ian to focus on building his own independent photographic studio, which could be hired out to other photographers looking for studio space in the Midlands.
He says: “I had been used to being commissioned by editors and clients to shoot in various studios that they had never actually seen. Sometimes I ended up having to take clients through a dungeon or a ‘top shelf’ soft-porn shoot area- and not all the clients wanted that.”
He adds: “I thought there was a gap in the market for going back to professional level photography and dealing with clients in a professional, business to business manner. I think you have to really add value now.”
Ian wanted IS Photographic to operate as a ‘photo-hub’ with people dropping by for a chat and a coffee as well as a shoot.
And he doesn’t mind sharing his experience and knowledge base. “I want to give something back so I’m not precious about my work or my style. I work with college students, but teaching them also benefits me because by linking with young, creative minds I can learn as much as they can.”
People say nice things about Ian ‘violent veg’ Shipley too.
‘I can’t think of a better photographer to recommend to anyone. I tried but I couldn’t’ – Simon Redley, Kudos Music.
And a photographic student recently added on her blog: “Ian has such an air of confidence about him you know he is a guy you can learn a lot from.”
but violent veg and a fabulous giant-sized studio aren’t enough.
“I’m getting involved in a new business called Back Alley Collective” he enthuses. It’s a medium to sell work printed on aluminium, acrylic and glass. And I am going to be looking for input from creative photographers who want their work licensed - rather than just me buying a print from them for a one-off fee. If the work sells they will see a much better return than that.”
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