Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Boothnation in Style

The Sunday Times Style Magazine ran a four page fashion/beauty feature last weekend shot entirely in one of Boothnation's booths. Five of Storm Models finest spent a day in the studio getting into the party spirit. Everyone, including me, seemed to enjoy the freedom of shooting this way. Beauty lighting, no photographer and a curtain seems to do the trick. Stunning styling by Sharon Ridoynauth with hair by Lydell Mansfield and make up deftly applied by Andrew Gallimore. To see a larger version of the spread please click here.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Paper Portraits

In last Sunday's shoot I inadvertently did my bit for the environment. It's an age old dilemma for photographers everywhere. What to do with those giant rolls of paper once they have reached the end of their life. Out with the Stanley knife and on with a shoot. The red colour is a blatant nod towards the forthcoming festivities. Mouths to feed and all that. A fun shoot. To see the project please click here.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Not the nine o clock news

My second Fagin this year! How wonderful to have the cast and crew of the West End's finest in my East End den once more. As a long time fan of Griff Rhys Jones it was a deep pleasure to see him emerge from make up as an utterly convincing Fagin. He stayed in character throughout the shoot which created a very edgy atmosphere in the studio. Griff brings an incredible intensity to the role while at the same time being very, very funny. I'm no theatre critic but I will eat my hanky if he doesn't get the best reviews of his career. Griff takes over the role from Omid Djalili on December 14th. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Don't cry for me...

Often when people hear I give up my Sundays to hold my open shoots there is a palpable air of sympathy in their response. 'Oh, poor you' they say. Sometimes, I'll admit, I play along with the sentiment as all attention is gratefully received. My enormous Catholic guilt, however, dictates that I must once and for all admit that I am actually having the time of my life each Sunday. Although very happily married I have chosen this set of images, shot over an hour or two, to illustrate what I may have missed had I been brunching with the snooze papers a few Sundays ago. These shots come from a project titled 'Stars on Sunday'. To see more, including men and children click here.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Claude-Michel not miserable

Claude-Michel Schonberg is a living legend in musical circles. Along with lyricist Alain Boublil he is responsible for creating, among others, Les Miserables, Martin Guerre and Miss Saigon. Together they have played a major part in the revival of musical theatre. As he prepares for a new worldwide tour of Les Miserables (starting in Cardiff) Claude-Michel thought it was time for a new shot. His last one had served for no less than fifteen years. An involved yet enjoyable shoot with a man of obvious sensitivity. As someone who can't even play a tin whistle I am always a little in awe of those who really understand music.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Eyes wide shut

Yesterday saw the launch of the RNIB's new campaign which calls on all of us to contemplate the question, 'What would you lose from your life if you lost your sight?'. In the UK each day one hundred people are told they will lose their sight, only eight of whom can be given support. The RNIB want to increase awareness of the situation and need a great deal more funding to help many more people in coping with such devastating news.

Despite the sombre subject matter, the shoot was a great pleasure to do. All the subjects are real people (i.e. not models or actors) who gave up their time for a very worthy cause. Special thanks to the rugby players from Hampstead RFC who happily put up with hours of mud splattering and press ups.

As a portrait photographer I am conditioned to concentrating on eye contact in my subjects. Removing the eyes from the equation presented a new and fascinating challenge. It says a lot of the subjects that they could still communicate so well without seeing.

Working with agency St Lukes and the committed team at RNIB made this a dream job for an old snapper. To find out more about the campaign and to get involved please click here.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Beth the Boxer

Butter wouldn't melt in Beth Chalmers' mouth. Her honeyed Home Counties voice has guaranteed her a career in radio and in voicing audio books. Her acting credits include Midsummer Murders and a range of comedies. She is every inch the broadcast professional not to mention a fun girl to be around.
After work, however, things are a little bit different. A few years ago Beth took up boxing to keep fit. Spotted by trainer Pieter Vodden, Beth was encouraged to move from punching bags to people. It turned out she was rather good. Beth recently fought her first competitive fight in London's studio Valbonne. As a witness I can testify she is a terrifying opponent. She lost the fight by a mere point.
My brief, for the Readers' Digest, was to show the two sides of Beth, as it were. I'm a big fan of both!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Loving Squeeze

Another wonderful discovery from my Sunday Shoots; the amazing Liz Wilson and her lovely family. Liz, together with husband, Wellington and their two gorgeous children Marvin and Larissa were unwittingly recommended by me as the perfect family for an advertising commission I received. They got the job.
The brief, for the Vauxhall Zafira through agency Draft FCB, involved showing how cramped our family are in their existing car. Squashing everyone up against a huge sheet of perspex would be difficult at the best of times. Including a tiny baby and her toddler brother was asking for trouble. In spite of all this the family rose to the challenge showing endless patience and good spirit.
Liz, by the way is a very talented jewellery designer. Click here to see her work.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Malfoy not a baddie!

Poor Tom Fenton, best known as Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, is a much maligned man. I say man as he has come of age and is now ready for roles that don't necessarily turn an audience against him. Apparently small children still cower in his presence.
This shoot, for a piece in Reader's Digest, was one of the most pleasant I can remember. Tom is warm, bright and has a great sense of humour. Chillax kids!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Harry Patch

I was saddened this week to hear of the passing of Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier to have fought in the trenches of the Western Front in World War 1. He had reached the age of 111 and was briefly Europe's oldest man. I had the pleasure of photographing him in 2003 in his nursing home in Wells. Aged 105 at the time he was sprightly and entertaining and, if memory serves me, quite a hit with the ladies.
As a centurian Harry became something of a celebrity. He had a cider, Patch’s Pride, named after him, and was awarded an honorary degree by Bristol University, where he had worked on the Wills memorial 80 years earlier. He also received the Legion d’Honneur from the French government.

Harry became Britain's oldest author in 2007 when he published " The Last Tommy Standing". Radiohead paid tribute to him this week with a beautiful track entitled "Harry Patch (IN Memory Of)". All proceeds from the track go to the British Legion.

To find out more about Harry's life click here.

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Photostream has landed

This must rank as one of my all time wackiest ideas. Drawing inspiration from the moon landings (yo Buzz), the Jetsons, Marvel comics and  the Airstream caravan,  I am now the proud owner of what must surely be the world's most over designed (in a nice way) photobooth. The 'Photostream' is a celebration of the  retro-future design styles of the 50s and 60s, a time when modernity always came clad in aluminium and rivets. 

Grappling with the compound curves and design headaches were ace modemakers Applied Arts. Their patience and skill is a testament to their 'can do' attitude. So refreshing in an age of negativity.

The interior of the booth, which I have yet to photograph, continues the theme with moulds from 1950s tv screens forming the light sources and a number of other surprises. 

In keeping with Boothnation's tradition, 'beauty lighting' and a wind machine are there to ensure that the pictures are out of this world (sorry, very corny I know).

Sunday, 5 July 2009

I'd do anything!

My first foray into the world of musical theatre involved shooting the wonderful cast of Cameron Mackintosh's record-breaking hit musical 'Oliver'. Omid Djalili is taking over the roll of Fagin from Rowen Atkinson in mid July and our shoot was to be his first time trying the costume and wig. The transformation was startling. A new and very different Fagin emerged. Along with Omid I also shot three Olivers and three Dodgers. Quite a day!
A few days later I photographed the lovely Nancy (Jodie Prenger) and the amazing stage set at the Theatre Royal. The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd.... 

Monday, 22 June 2009

How I found Eric

I went to see Ken Loach's  wonderful new film 'Looking for Eric' the other day. The memories came flooding back. Back in the day (1996) I was commissioned to shoot Cantona for a Nike campaign which ran during the Euro '96 championship. Hero worship has never been my thing but there really is something about Eric that leaves you a little weak at the knees. Unlike a few 'stars I could mention, he was charming, witty and fully involved himself in the task in hand. 
Loach's film is a very funny tribute to one of football's real  characters not to mention a heart warming  reminder of the value of friendship. Do see it if you can.

Friday, 15 May 2009

On Broadway

Wonderful Broadway Market last Saturday for the Evening Standard. Charged with the daunting task of capturing the cutting edge of fashion on the streets of London, I ventured forth with fear and trepidation. I know little or nothing about clothes. I set up my little lighting rig and, ably assisted by Wizza, scanned the crowd for 'fashionistas'.  In seconds the first arrived....and so it continued. An inspiring series of people who don't just throw the first thing on in the morning.  I really must do something about my clobber.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Up Close and Personal

My Sunday Shoot on May 3rd got me up close and personal with a bewildering array or great subjects. A raft of babies and toddlers got the shoot going followed by a dog and the great and the good of Columbia Road Market. Stepping up to have your close up done in front of up to forty people takes some nerve. Many thanks to the brave souls who volunteered.
To see more images from the session click here.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

The Keepsakes Exhibition

It's been a privilege to have been part of a wonderful photographic project created by the Willow Foundation.
The charity, set up in 1999 by Bob and Megs Wilson in memory of their daughter Anna, provides seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds with special day experiences.

Nine  photographers were asked to take portraits of both beneficiaries of the charity and celebrities who lend their support.  My subjects were the lovely Alison, who has since sadly passed away, and a spirited young 'Girls Aloud' fan from Newcastle called Chris. I also shot comedy legend John Cleese and Hardeep Singh Kohli.

The project culminated in a great show at the SW1 Gallery and a book called Keepsakes. The show runs from 4 April-17th April 2009. Copies of the book can be purchased here.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Vertigo at Sunday Shoots

Last Sunday's offering was a sideways glance at that plunge pool we call the global economy. 'Falling with grace' is something a great many of us will have to get used to. Click here to see some fine examples of the art.
As you can see I had a go myself. Most liberating!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Bobbi Brown in the Booth

Boothnation's beauty lighting had it's ultimate test in Selfridges on March 13th and 14th. Bobbi Brown customers chose their favorite makeup look direct from the runways at Fashion Week. Following their personalised makeup lesson, the freshly made up beauties stepped into our 'Glitterbooth' and posed for four shots.

They then selected their favourite image which we printed up into  stunning 10"x 8" glossy prints. Customers were delighted with the results. From now on I'm only wearing Bobbi Brown.

Monday, 16 March 2009

The Grand National Fash Bash
A most extraordinary day spent at Aintree Racecourse in the company of no less than 2000 Scouse women.  A Boothnation Glitterbooth shared the stage at the annual, Matalan sponsored, fashion contest with a multitude of brightly robed ladies. Ladies Day at Aintree is all about dressing up and in this part of the country subtlety is seen as a weakness. This is me in the booth at the insistence of  a spirited entrant. "I'd rather not", was not an option. To see more of these life affirming images click here.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Anything you say......

James 'Gordon' Green had a long and distinguished career in the Metropolitan Police. Now retired  and very happily married to the lovely Eve (still a serving officer) Gordon unwittingly strolled into my studio during a Sunday Shoot. The couple enjoyed the shoot and ordered prints straight away. A few weeks later I was commissioned by advertising agency Publicis QMP to find and shoot three men for a poster campaign for their client Beamish Stout. When it came to the casting I remembered Gordon. The agency and client agreed he had the 'look' they were after. To cut a long story short Gordon got the gig- we had a very fun shoot-he is a natural- and he can now be seen on billboards all over Ireland. A new career beckons for this ex copper. 

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Nigella- double helpings

Newly revamped magazine Readers Digest commissioned me to do two shots (in one day) of the wonderful Nigella Lawson. As you can see we didn't hold back on the styling and sets. Nigella was game enough to immerse herself in the roles of snow queen and spring nymph. A very fun shoot all round, she even liked the catering. The snow shot graced the cover of the January issue. Big up to ace art director Martin Colyer.