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Damian McGillicuddy And The OM-D

Damian McGillicuddy And The OM-D - Damian 'The BIG Dog' McGillicuddy will only use an Olympus OM-D to produce his images. Find out why here.

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Category : Advertorials and Promotions
Product : Olympus OM-D E-M5
Price : £749
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Stitched lips

What do you get when you combine one of the best photographers in the UK with a top of the range Olympus OM-D camera? Truly amazing photography, that's what.

Two names now synonymous with each other are Damian 'The BIG Dog' McGillicuddy and Olympus. Over the last year, Damian has been using an Olympus OM-D to create some of the most visually and technically stunning fashion, fetish and glamour portraits out there today.

You could say Damian caught the photography bug with Olympus as his first digital camera was an Olympus E10. "I was impressed with it, but I wanted the versatility of having interchangable lenses. I've always thought Olympus delivered the best quality," says Damian.

Girl in red dress

Damian started his career wanting to be an album artist. "I went to art school quite early to study for a degree in fine art," he explains. "I'd have loved to create album art for the likes of Iron Maiden but records were being phased out in favour of CDs so I had to think of another way I could express myself creatively."

'The BIG Dog' got his first taste of photography snapping the bands at college. "Believe it or not, I was quite socially awkward at college. I hid out in the dark rooms - which led me down the photography route. David Bailey has always been a great inspiration of mine, and my new - although somewhat childish aim - (I was still in my teens) was to emulate his success and strive to be an iconic photographer," he says. "A few of the bands asked me to take some shots of them, which in turn brought me to the attention of girls. I photographed them flatteringly. I suppose that's where the model photography began - suddenly little awkward me was becoming a little more popular!"

Frozen North

Damian is the ONLY photographer to hold 5 UK Master Photographer of the Year Awards, along with 7 Society Photographer of the Year awards and being one of only 3 individuals to be honoured with the title of 'Grand Master'. He has been a professional photographer for over 25 years, gaining a whopping 673 awards along the way!

So, why does glamour and fetish photography appeal so much? "I like the way it shines - it's not just because it's latex or leather," Damian says. "Fetish is like the last taboo - nudity just doesn't seem to have the same effect any more. I like how fetish imagery plays with the mind - and I get paid!"

Joining him now on his very successful fashon, fetish, glamour and portrait photography career path is the Olympus OM-D or, in Damian's words, the 'OMG OM-D!'

"I was initially sent the OM-D for review," explains Damian. "I took an initial shot, and printed it off in 20x20 format. I was impressed immediately by the quality and sharpness of the shot - even more so when I realised the shot was in fact a JPEG, and not a RAW file!"
Set up for shots
Above: Damian's sketches for two of his shoots. 

"Most professional photographers would look at the OM-D and immediately think that it's not big enough for their needs," adds Damian. "But it's not about the size, it's what you can do with it that counts! I myself initially wanted the camera to fall down at the first hurdle. I thought: 'it's trying to be something it's not'. I was soon proved very wrong!"

Damian first 'fell' for the OM-D when he compared the quality of OM-D shots to that of other cameras: "I was photographing showroom interiors, and I didn't have a wide enough lens at the time on the OM-D for the shot I wanted. I was forced to use another camera - and the difference in quality was apparent. The images on the other camera appeared soft compared to those on the OM-D. I was totally bowled over by the clarity you can get from shots with this camera."

Over his career Damian has had the opportunity to travel the world and photograph some of the top models in the world, as well as some of the most famous, and infamous, celebrities. He is a master of portraiture, among several other genres, and the OM-D has given him the creative freedom to achieve the best images around, with models all over the country clamouring to get in on the action. He has a unique style to his shots that is, quite simply, not matched by any other photographer out there today.

This is my hood biatch

"For the above image I wanted to prove that, with just a little thought and effort, some of the old maxims can be ignored - you can shoot a portrait with a wide angle lens if you use its properties to your advantage," explains Damian. "The narrative, posing and styling of the image all play an important part in the overall success of the image.  The styling, propping, pose and even the tilt of the camera all contribute to the feeling of 'Gangsta chic'."

Lay your hands on an OM-D and you’ll soon discover why it is the weapon of choice for this top Pro photographer. The electric viewfinder alone makes it super easy to check your highlight and shadow levels and your white balance, among other effects, without having to take your eye off the subject. Fast autofocus and 9.0 high speed sequential shooting make it a challenge to miss a shot!

There's such a wide variety of lenses and accessories available for the OM-D that, whatever your preferred area of photography is, the OM-D has it covered. From grips and battery packs to flash units, it’s all there to allow you to focus on your photography, safe in the knowledge that the OM-D has got your back.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 front lens
The OM-D delivers stunning quality while being compact enough to be carried anywhere. Like Damian, once you've picked up an OM-D you will soon be leaving all your old kit behind in favour of this all-encompassing mirrorless wonder. Whether you're shooting in a studio environment, or out on location, the versatility of the OM-D means that it can be used in almost any photographic situation to produce out-of-this-world results.

"The OM-D means that I no longer have to take huge luggage with me. I no longer have to drive around in an estate car. It's all there, in one small and perfectly formed package," enthuses Damian.

Girl stabbing cake

Damian's love for the OM-D has recently led to a collaboration between 'The BIG Dog' himself and Olympus, to bring photographers a series of unforgettable workshops on a wide variety of subjects where they can learn to shoot images that are as impressive as Damian's. The 'WOW! It's just the way we work' series of workshops, which took place last year, were a sell out success. Plus, that's not the end of this perfect partnership – they've got more fabulous events planned for this year!

"I'm very excited about what we've got planned for this year," says Damian. "We've got plenty of affordable hands-on seminars and workshops taking place around the country - with some chances to win fantastic once-in-a-lifetime prizes too. We'll teach you the truth about photography. No smoke, no mirrors. As important as your equipment is, you also need the right knowledge to succeed. Anyone can learn if they're given the right guidance and put enough effort in."

On top of all this, Olympus has got something big planned right here at ePHOTOzine. Watch this space - you won't want to miss it!

Visit Damian McGillicuddy’s website to learn more about 'The BIG Dog' himself and more information about the OM-D can be found on the Olympus website.

To Buy your OM-D now, visit the WEX Photographic website.

To sign up to be notified of upcoming workshops, click here.

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Comments


JackAllTog e2
5 3.5k 58 United Kingdom
11 Apr 2013 10:42AM
Really make me wonder how a Micro Four Thirds camera is the camera of choice for shots for such a well known pro, at all other levels we sweat about having a big sensor with super dynamic range etc etc, yet here is yes another example of a person producing great photo's with what seems to be an average spec camera.
Either this camera is just great for ISO 100 flash lit subjects, and DOF effects are added after in photoshop or editing bring this to better than life images - its a bit of an unknown for me at the moment.

I do wonder how prints would be at 12 by 20" but can't really see why these might be different to prints from a APS-c 18M sensor.

Are the Canikon fans missing a trick here? What range of Lenses are pro spec and how much do they cost?
ChrisV 7 721 26 United Kingdom
11 Apr 2013 12:39PM
There are some good primes from Olympus at the moment, but the only day to day workable high end zooms for m4/3 are the Panasonic 12-25 and 35-100 f2.8s [giving an equivalent FoV to 35mm format 24-70 and 70-200 respectively].

There's no doubt McGillicuddy does get very high quality images from using his OM-Ds, but it does beg the question what does his lighting rig weigh/represent in terms of bulk? That then gives a slightly different slant on the set-up.

Given that Damian [and this site] are sponsored by Olympus and this article is an 'advertorial/promotion' it would be wise to take some of the statements with at least a healthy smattering of salt. The statement: "I was forced to use another camera - and the difference in quality was apparent. The images on the other camera appeared soft compared to those on the OM-D. I was totally bowled over by the clarity you can get from shots with this camera." is a little meaningless for example, when we don't know what that 'other' camera is and whether we are looking at RAWs which [for example] on Nikons often benefit from a modicum of sharpening as a normal part of the production process.

We perhaps should not be at all surprised that there is an element of hype in any promotional activity - it's the way of the world. I'm not personally a fan of the advertorial format as it [seems to me] to blur the boundaries between what is explicitly commercial promotion and more objective analysis and endorsement.

The fact that it is flagged as such does mean there is no subterfuge about the nature of this, but the willingness of some to see sponsored endorsement as some sort of evidence of the merits of a particular product, does muddy the waters in terms of objective discussion at times.
JackAllTog e2
5 3.5k 58 United Kingdom
11 Apr 2013 1:04PM
Whenever I'm unsure as to the type I pop over to the 'objective' DXOmark.com site and compare the camera's I think I like with the one i'm looking at - and in this case in all the 4 main categories the OM-D E-M5 beats my 60D, However my current aspiration is the 6D and this is better than both - and for me means partial lens reuse.
But its still a very good result considering the cost and the sensor size of the OM-D E-M5

It must be said though that I have seen someone on here who produces really super shots from a 60D and nifty fifty 50mm F1.8 shots so there is still much more to get out my current camera.

Of course the OM-D lenses Chris mentions are also quite expensive as well, so that add to a system cost. With the inevitable loss of DOF i'm not tending towards this for portrait work apart from its neat performance from a M4/3 design.
What I do like about the Damian school of photography is the energy & great effects he gets in his shots.
Ade_Osman 11 4.5k 36 England
13 Apr 2013 4:54PM
It amazes me what photographers will say about a product when they are corporately/sponsored by the said company.
Andy Rouse will tell you there is no better wildlife cameras than Canon, but hell I'd say that if I were helping to advertise them as he does/has done!
The OM-D is a good camera, I won't argue the toss on that......But it ain't that good, for a start its flawed by it's electronic viewfinder, I've tried using a borrowed OM-D, (because I wanted to see how it compared with my current kit) to capture birds of prey in flight, it was useless, it wasn't much better as a macro tool either.....Don't believe all the hype!
sherlob e2
8 2.3k 123 United Kingdom
13 Apr 2013 5:28PM
Lets not forget that this guy is being paid by Olympus. At the top of the page it says 'advertisement'. This a promo intended to sell camera's - the photographers a pro wanting to make money - Olympus pays him to say the camera is great. Job done.
scottishphototours 10 2.5k 2 Scotland
13 Apr 2013 11:57PM
He's just a modern day Patrick Lichfield. Olympus has a long history of "stars" espousing their kit...
DouglasMorley 4 16 1 Canada
14 Apr 2013 1:59AM
At the end of the day what matters most is the photographer, not the camera. Far too much emphasis nowadays especially, is placed on equipment. Time and again technique and originality is what counts, not camera brand or pixels, or even digital.
rhol2 e2
3 282 1 United Kingdom
17 Apr 2013 7:28AM

Quote: At the end of the day what matters most is the photographer, not the camera. Far too much emphasis nowadays especially, is placed on equipment. Time and again technique and originality is what counts, not camera brand or pixels, or even digital.

I agree, but the equipment does have to be fit for the intended purpose... and in the current discussion that might include lighting and props,as well as the camera.
17 Apr 2013 2:13PM
I like the drawings of how the pictures were made better than the pictures.
17 Apr 2013 2:16PM
The pictures were technically superior, but spiritually inferior. There's not a spark of life or empathy or pathos--or anything--in those models.
17 Apr 2013 4:13PM
motomanx. Yes I thought that too-very sharp but lifeless. I use an Olympus E-520 as a very amateur but my portraits have smiling models which makes them worth looking at.
Paul_Anthony 2 342 4 Wales
17 Apr 2013 4:14PM
I like the photographs, but they are processed to hell, the models skin is smoother than the glass on my 70-200... more digital art than an accurate rendition of how the photographs actually looked. With that level of smoothing you would have to question how many other effects were added in post too. The images are a better advert for whatever photo editing software they were dragged through rather than the cameras sensor and lenses...
rhol2 e2
3 282 1 United Kingdom
17 Apr 2013 4:52PM
I like these alternatives to the usual smiling and "engaged" models, these are girls with attitude!

Whilst apparently relying heavily on post processing , my feeling is that skilful lighting is a factor too.

Remember the comment by Ansell Adams in the film days to the effect that for him, the negative was merely a starting point in producing the image he wanted. It's become a bit of a cliche, but still valid.
Presumably Mr. McGillicuddy has adopted a similar view in this instance, rather than going for "accurate renditions",which I have to say I usually prefer.
G6DDS e2
5 231 Scotland
18 Apr 2013 2:32AM
I've saw Damian in action with this camera and can say that no real pp is needed for his shots, the camera and his skills are that good.
He used a couple of oly flashguns and his own modifiers and got stunning images on the day. I saw some of the images he took on the back of the camera and the quality blew me away.
He's not praising the camera because he is paid to, Damian speaks his mind and doesn't hold back.
22 Apr 2013 10:49AM
I get that there is some scepticism because of the connection with Olympus, I get that the images are professionally processed and I get that if you want to paste the picture over a billboard then you might go for full frame. I have both, a full frame and a micro 4/3rds and just to kick branding into touch for a second, it isn't an Olympus, but I own both Panasonic ( 20mm) and Olympus ( 45 1.8 ) lenses, both exceptional optics.

The results are stunning, the sharpness is breathtaking and I am sat in my office looking at A3 prints side by side - Canon full frame and Micro 4/3rds, it is impossible to tell the difference - in quality - at A3. I also get gorgeous black and white conversions out of my M4/3rds.

In terms of use of depth of field, my canon 50 1.4, sigma 35 1.4 and Canon 200mm 2.8L knock spots off the micro 4/3rds, and for wildlife shots the EVF is less than ideal but if all I had was my M4/3rds kit I would not complain, it is what you can do with it that counts, and often I can take an M4/3rds kit where my other equipment would be intrusive.

Steve
flash783 8 11 England
23 Apr 2013 1:47PM
I would have to say having attended a free convention where Damian was a speaker and then to be in the lucky position, whereby after time had run out, he then invited those who could, to stay behind for a training session in portrait lighting and posing the man is a genius. The ability he has to see light, its effects, degradation over distance and to be able to light a scene with one flash head and other reflective surfaces was inspiring to watch. Ok he may sing the praises of his Olympus camera loudly but then if I were being sponsored with the equipment that means I can achieve shots of this ilk straight from the camera I would probably do the same. I am aware that the images above have probably had some post-processing but I have seen first hand what he can achieve by understanding light and its affects and the shots I witnessed had no processing whatsoever and were of the same standard.

Just my two-pennies worth! Grin

Wayne
steve_p 8 1.1k England
26 Apr 2013 6:07PM
It all falls into place now as to why this site is obsessed with the Olympus OM D. I wondered why the hype, I've tried one and I think it's very expensive for what it is.
RJM 1 5 Wales
30 Apr 2013 10:07PM
Damian has only just been paid to sponsor Olympus. He would not put his reputation on the line unless he believed 100% in the OM-D and lenses. He says himself that on first being given the OM-D to test (before being sponsored) he wanted the OM-F to 'fail'.

I have the OM-D and it just blows me away with what I get straight out of the camera.

Those knocking it, as far as I AM concerned, really don't know what they're talking about!

I've gone on a photoshoot with someone using a Nikon 800 and as far as I'm concerned, on seeing
what I produced and this 'pro', I wouldn't change cameras!!

I even use mine for Sports shooting which it is only supposed to be mediocre for, but even then
I have been pleased.

Personally, compared to other cameras, I think it's very reasonably priced.

Just goes to show we all have different opinions. It's what makes the world go round. Grin

Quote: Really make me wonder how a Micro Four Thirds camera is the camera of choice for shots for such a well known pro, at all other levels we sweat about having a big sensor with super dynamic range etc etc, yet here is yes another example of a person producing great photo's with what seems to be an average spec camera.
Either this camera is just great for ISO 100 flash lit subjects, and DOF effects are added after in photoshop or editing bring this to better than life images - its a bit of an unknown for me at the moment.

I do wonder how prints would be at 12 by 20" but can't really see why these might be different to prints from a APS-c 18M sensor.

Are the Canikon fans missing a trick here? What range of Lenses are pro spec and how much do they cost?



I attended the workshop for the shoot with Ulorin Vex (The girl in Latex at the Bar) with a Nikon D3X AND a tripod! Damian was working 'hand held' with 'rear sync' which is not available without an attached Speedlight on the Nikon. Many of the images were shot at 1/15 or less at f2.8.

Have to say that I think there has been a bit of 'enhancement' done to this image but that's par for the course in this digital age.

My images stand up o.k. at 13" x 20" but again Damian does everything in house and camera is matched to monitor to printer.

Sure the Rear Sync helps in these slow shutter speeds and this shot was done with 2 Olympus Speedlights!

Quote: There are some good primes from Olympus at the moment, but the only day to day workable high end zooms for m4/3 are the Panasonic 12-25 and 35-100 f2.8s [giving an equivalent FoV to 35mm format 24-70 and 70-200 respectively].

There's no doubt McGillicuddy does get very high quality images from using his OM-Ds, but it does beg the question what does his lighting rig weigh/represent in terms of bulk? That then gives a slightly different slant on the set-up.

Been on a number of his workshops and many of the images are created with Speedlights and his own designed light modifiers. - Latex Bar Image above, was produced with 2 Speedlights.

Damian travels a lot and all of his 'travelling kit' is designed to be Airline friendly, and as he comes from Liverpool obviously has an aversion, like most of us, to paying Airlines un-necessary excess charges!!!!
lemmy 7 1.8k United Kingdom
3 May 2013 2:24PM
If you want to see this kind of 'fetishist' thing creatively done, rather than a high street photographer's take on it, take a look at some of Helmut Newton's work.
8 May 2013 6:21PM
Am I the only one who don't like that pictures? I have Olympus OM-D, it's great for many tasks but action. Thanks God I'm not a sports photographer, but I'm thinking about buying Canon 6D for studio portraiture. But my OM-D portraits also not so bad =)

Quote: If you want to see this kind of 'fetishist' thing creatively done, rather than a high street photographer's take on it, take a look at some of Helmut Newton's work.

With Respect: would suggest Damian is not a 'high street photographer!'

Times and Styles change. Love Helmut Newton's work that was outrageous in the last millennium.

Again with respect, suggest you drag yourself into the 21st Century and appreciate the current styles and different techniques available with digital rather than film.

All photography is subjective and photographers have different opinions.
lemmy 7 1.8k United Kingdom
8 May 2013 7:21PM

Quote: All photography is subjective and photographers have different opinions.

Yes, I have my opinion and you have yours. I have the advantage in that I can say what I mean without resorting to petty insults.

I am well into the 21st century and in fact your own work is a great deal more 'outrageous' and 21st century than the high street 'fetishist' work I see above.

It certainly looks a great deal less 'high street'.
Paul Morgan e2
13 14.8k 6 England
8 May 2013 8:42PM

Quote: There's no doubt McGillicuddy does get very high quality images from using his OM-Ds, but it does beg the question what does his lighting rig weigh/represent in terms of bulk? That then gives a slightly different slant on the set-up

Very little Chris, two or three FL50R`s (I carry two) a few modifiers and a few stands and your away, most of what I carry fits in the bag along with the bodies and lenses.

Damien does a superb job and knows his stuff, he`s not the sort of person that sugar coats what he says.

Quote: All photography is subjective and photographers have different opinions.

Yes, I have my opinion and you have yours. I have the advantage in that I can say what I mean without resorting to petty insults.

I am well into the 21st century and in fact your own work is a great deal more 'outrageous' and 21st century than the high street 'fetishist' work I see above.

It certainly looks a great deal less 'high street'.

Was just stating an opinion. NEVER result to 'petty insults.' Sorry if you took offence, certainly none intended.

We can agree to differ and have our own opinions????
pjbw 2 United Kingdom
9 May 2013 7:16PM
Still looking from 2005!
I must have a 'live' EVF with deep eye-cup, swivelling screen, on- camera flash and at least the availability of a 24-120mm equiv. distortion-free zoom lens. No need for video but a vastly faster EVF would be nice...
17 Aug 2013 8:03PM
I thought that the images were a bit garish, but maybe they were intended to be.
oneill 6 155 Ireland
12 May 2014 2:04PM
just take time and count all the awards damian has recived over the past 25 yrs,, and you so called experts are running down this man,, just because he now works and get paid by Olympus, plus all the other work he does, 4 u 2 run down his work and style is unbelive able ,, damian doesn't mince his words if Olympus cameras and lens arnt up to the job, he will will say so,, a spade is a spade with damian, I have never meet this man, but I belive in that he says in his reviews,, and repect his views,,

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