Atlas Studios...a birthing story!
So how did this all come about??????
Approximately 18 months ago a friend of mine bought the ground floor of Atlas Mill number 6, and with this purchase came the second floor. The second floor, now Atlas Studios, was not in my friend's immediate business plans and as such was to lay dormant for a few years whilst the ground floor was renovated and transformed into a stunning modern facility for his global business.
My friend, knowing I was a photographer and realy liked old and decaying buildings, asked if I wanted to come and see his new purchase! A Victorian mill.
Well, of course I jumped at the chance and the first opportunity I had I was there like a shot mooching around the mill.
Now, like every photographer who was walked into Atlas Studios since, my first impression was the beautiful natural light in the mill. It is absolutely incredible, even on the dullest of days you are able to shoot without flash and capture images on a low ISO.
But Atlas Studios is about more than that!
Atlas Studios is about the feel of the industrial, grungy, organic backdrops and how everywhere you look there are opportunites shouting at you for a creative photoshoot. It is about the light which is diffused through mottled glass, or big and bold through tall expansive walls of glass. It is about the character captured in the wooden floors, the peeling paint, the colourful poles, the large grungy metal doors, the expansive stairwells with worn steps, it is about the original fittings and fixtures still located throughout the mill, it is about the clog footsteps from the 1880's which are in the forever sealed in the concrete in the Slate room. It is about the history of a mill which is nearly 130 years old. The stories those walls would tell you would be incredible.
This mill was destined to be a photographer and film company dream of a location. I could't believe my eyes, I was completely in awe of the potential this building had.
On that first visit I saw something that sealed for me the need to have a photoshoot within the mill. As I visited for the first time, the sun hadstarted to set and the suns rays started to draw across the main room. The sun's long golden fingers began to reach across the floor covering all 80 metres from window to back wall. Beautiful shafts of light cascaded across the wooden floor bringing the colour and character held within it to life.
That was it! I needed to do a shoot there. Now the mill then was not as Atlas Studios is now. Back then it was full of redundant equipment, mess, waste and a ridiculous amount of dead pigeons all left from the previous owners (I hasten to add i don't think the owners left the pigeon, well I hope they didn't!)
It was also very, very grimy and very, very dirty, but I just had to shoot there.
So I set about planning my shoot, for me it had to be something which would contradict the environment. Something that would highlight the dirty and grimy industrial feel of Atlas mill.
My first shoot in the mill was ' The Mill dance' with a very talented dancer, Megan. Using her talent across various dance forms we captured many images, to which I was personally delighted with.
I came away from that shoot bouncing on air, elated about the images I had just captured, this mill was stunning to work in and I had to figure out a way to get other photographers to enjoy this wonder. So away I went, research needed to be done and an idea began to formulate in my head.
A few weeks later with business proposal in hand, I ventured to my friend and Mill owner and broached the subject with him regarding opening the whole of the second floor up to the film and photography world. Needless to say he loved the idea, and so this long journey began.
It has taken 18 months to have Atlas Studios in a place where we can now start to fully open it up to the world of photography and film. 18 months of sweeping, painting, sweeping some more, wiping, hoovering and removing equipment/machinery/metal work/wood along with numerous tyres.
The office had to be emptied as it was filled with filing cabinets FULL of paperwork, folders, files, books, electronics and bric a brac which boggled the mind as to why it was even there.
All of this had to be removed down the two flights of stairs and all by hard graft and leg work for, unfortunately at that point, neither of the lifts were in working order. Needless to say, I was very fit by the end of this process.
A professional cleaning team was brought in to do a VERY deep clean in the toilets and kitchen. I would say what I thought of these area's before the clean, but we are trying to keep this a family website so I will refrain and just say the proffessionals did an outstanding job!
We are far from being finished, I have 100's of ideas I want to do which will improve Atlas Studios but will not detract from the organic industrial feel it has retained. However Atlas Studios is now in a place which it can be opened up to the the world and the work can carry on around it.
I know that should you visit Atlas Studios you will, as I did, fall for her industrial grimy beauty and see the astonishing potential for any style of photoshoot you can imagine.
Now this was not done on my own, my wife has been at my side when she can and has been involved in many days of grime busting with me.
Without her love, support and patience espescially on the days where I have been working late, whether it was in Atlas Studio building a pallet wall (Hours totalling 4 1/2 days, 40 pallets, 12 tins of Danish Oil and 5 hours in A&E for standing on a nail!) sat at the computer late into th night building this website or working on ways to improve and develop Atlas Studios, Atlas Studios would not exist.
Thankyou for reading the story of how Atlas Studios has come to fruition. We hope you join our story and book a shoot here with us, and become another member of our 'Friends of Atlas Studios' page.
I promise you, the only thing you will be dissapointed with is you didn't book yourself enough time.