Slots Media Interview
Who are Slots Media? Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how it all started?
Slots Media is a media company specialising in content creation for commercial and private use.
We started out in 2016 with what was initially a ‘just for fun’ venture showcasing the hunting lifestyle of 3 friends (Jack, Lewis and Ollie) who’d grown up hunting together. This quickly turned into a small brand – making videos, taking pictures and selling clothing with our unique logo. We started with pest control content which progressed to deer stalking – now we film and photograph all kinds of hunting, both home and abroad. As we’ve developed as a brand, we have had some great experiences working with other brands, and these experiences have given us a deeper understanding of what hunting/countryside businesses want and need from a media perspective … and we thoroughly enjoy providing those solutions.
How did you get into photography and filmmaking in the first place?
Lewis suggested we start photographing and filming our own shooting adventures; if we weren’t hunting we watched videos of hunting, so it seemed to be a natural progression. It started slowly, just portraying our own trips and adventures lamping and up in Scotland. Then a few ‘jobs’ for fun came along and we started to realise that we could do this properly. So we updated our equipment and got to work.
What photographic gear do you use?
We currently use Sony cameras with a range of lenses, from wide angle to telephoto, to film and photograph hunts/shoot days and all of our adventures. We are also about to invest in a specialised videography set-up that will allow us to pursue new projects and document adventures in a more cinematic way, hopefully providing us with opportunities to create documentaries and online TV series.
How do you approach a typical shoot day?
We approach a shoot day with the same excitement as the guns. We love shooting. We love watching it, taking part, preparing for it, and missing it in the closed season. To us, taking photos or filming shoot days isn’t far from taking part ourselves, and we like to think that passion comes across in our work.
What is most appealing about your line of work; and what are the biggest challenges with this kind of photography?
What most appeals to us is the satisfaction of getting the right photograph. We’re obsessive about it and typically we end up choosing only around 10% of the photos we take, that gets slimmed down further in the editing process. The biggest challenge is often weather, closely followed by terrain. They both add drama and allow us to portray how difficult some environments are … but getting good content in tough conditions is what we really love doing, it’s just that much more satisfying!
What makes a good shooting or hunting image? What is your creative goal when you shoot?
Little moments are what we aim for, though the big ones; like a perfect shot or a falling bird make great photos as well. Our creative goal is the little moments. They portray small emotions that build a bigger picture of the day or hunt. For example, a look of incredulity on someone’s face, a frown at a missed shot, or taking a rest and soaking in the atmospherics after a difficult climb. We want to show the emotions, and the moments you don’t get to see unless you’re there.
What are some examples of your recent assignments?
Some of our recent assignments include a 5-day backcountry Caribou hunt in Norway; a Mouflon hunt in the Pyrenees, bowhunting Chamois in Bulgaria, and covering Denmark’s largest game fair.
We’ve also released a few videos of our own adventures through our YouTube channel, and done some filming for the US series, Blood Origins. We can turn our hands to any adventure, anywhere!
Are there any people who have influenced your photographic style or inspire you artistically?
There is a whole list of people on social media we’re inspired by on a daily basis.
If you could shoot anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Jack: I’m most interested by wilderness hunting and I love forests. So the perfect place would be Canada or New Zealand. I want to experience every wilderness I can, whether that’s filming or hunting it.
Lewis: I love waterfowling and the idea of public land duck hunting in America or New Zealand has always appealed to me! The variety of birds there are to hunt is also a great way of keeping things interesting all the time.
In addition to Slots Media, you also run the lifestyle apparel brand Hunt Epic. Under the Hunt Epic banner, you encourage people to share their adventures under the #huntepicweekends hashtag. Thinking of #huntepicweekends, if you had to pick one, what would be your most epic adventure so far?
Our most epic adventure so far has been the bowhunting trip to Bulgaria. The extreme terrain and cold, not to mention the total lack of sleep made it a trip we’re unlikely to forget. The hunt itself came to a dramatic end, and the experience of stalking such a wary species as chamois with a bow had the adrenaline pumping! It was also a son hunting with his father, so we got to be involved with the family dynamics, banter and of course easy rivalry… the bond is clearly evident in the pictures of the trip.
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