Showing posts from 2013

Doctor Who-it's popular you know

Being even vaguely attached to this monster of a show is very strange. Like most kids of, well, a lot of generations, I loved the Who. Sci Fi and Monsters. Oh yes, what else was a boy to watch of a Saturday?
Back in the 90's, it came as a thrill to end up photographing John Pertwee (not shown here) as part of a minor reprise the show had as part of Children in Need, where most of these other cover shots were done. It was though, at the point, all a bit naff. a show from the past that was not holding up in time (sic).  Cut to all these years on and it's been a constant now since I was offered the chance to cover the shows images for the Christopher Eccleston rebirth. We shot for hours in Cardiff with Russell T Davies watching from the sidelines as I tried directing a series I had yet to see. Ecclestone's face when I tried to create more energy from his character was a picture. Still, the show wasn't going to last was it? Now all these years on and every time I visit th…

Shooting Problems

Just been watching a video by the great Gregory Heisler, expelling some shooting problems he had doing a Time Magazine cover. Whilst he went over the technical aspects, his biggest concern was, would the subject agree to the shot at all.

I get this. Whilst we have the inevitable technical glitch (don't talk to me about the Hasseblad H system meets P30 tethered..), the biggest shoot issues these days tend to be getting the subject to acquiesce and embrace our vision. I think part of why I get hired is that usually, I bring back that which we set out to achieve.

Being a portrait photographer, especially working in editorial, it is crucial to have the photos worked out in your mind ahead of the game. Sure, things change and the unknown could be a triumph, but transferring your belief in a visual idea is so much easier if you can explain the end result with conviction.

My brief stint as an Assistant (I was crap) was worthwhile if only for me to see a photographer walk into a blank bo…

Christmas shooting

And yes, we did clear up ALL that fake snow..


Whilst looking through the drives, I found the Stylist Magazine team photo that they chose NOT to use..

One in the Oven

Been a Mary Berry kind of week, what with two shoots in different locations with massively different briefs.
'Ah, you're the wonderful man from Good Housekeeping who is really quick' she said as I arrived for our second meeting at her house. Er no, I wasn't.
Still, great to see our first shoot out in print today. This was a tricky one requiring a flat persective from the subjects and yet a conveyor belt at a slightly impossible angle displaying all the goods.
Once the shoot was in the bag, we all had fun riding the machine at high speed till we hit the ground, along with several cakes. Mary would not have found that funny.

Going Live

New website up and running, which should be a bit faster and will now, finally, run on mobiles and IPads. Let me know what you think.

Here is a link to a feature that also appeared on the D&AD website under the 'Inspiration' section. Let's hope so.

More video to come soon.

Bloodhound Land Speed Record

Back to Goodwood last week for an incredibly hot day at the Festival of Speed. Other than a chance to nose about, it gave me the chance to meet up with the team that I hope to stay in touch with during the course of their epic Land Speed Record attempt.

An ongoing project, this project is awesome in it's aims, with a 1000mph car in the next few years (that's fighter jet territory).

After a brief chat with the pilot (Andy Green), I took a quick snap, trying to make use of the blistering sky:

Wilton's Music Hall

As  photographer, locations become critical. There is one that kept being mentioned, but I had never visited.
Pulling the car up at the back of Wilton's Music Hall, the exterior masked a truly wonderful heart. I was there to photograph the winner of Stylist Magazine's writing competition, and met the Hall contact before I entered.
'Does it get used a lot?' I innocently asked. "Er, Annie Leibovitz, Ridley Scott-yeah, a bit" he said.

Liz Jones, and ALOT of cats

I knew nothing of Liz Jones before this shoot. I know a bit more now, but only because I have read the accompanied interview-I don't think we exchanged any conversation on the day. This is partly my fault, as I hadn't picked up that she is partially deaf. I just that my repartee was running a little thin. Still, she smiled and did all that was asked of her. Oh, and I have now confirmed that the cats did not get paid as much as me.

Always charge your batteries beforehand

So there I was, 11am in deepest Sussex getting my wife's car fixed (again), when the phone rings: 'Get yourself to an East London Studio by 1pm for a cover shoot with Caitlin Moran'.

Wizzing home to pick up my kit, I prayed that the camera batteries were charged (just enough in the end), and rushed up to town.

Nothing worse than finding your subject waiting for you at a studio, but Caitlin's an old pro and simply smiled at my sweaty visage as she finished her article. The nice thing about this job was that although we had a bunch of Glastonbury props to choose from, we kind of made this cover up on the spot.

I used some big wide lighting from Profoto (now a must for all shoots) and went with no hair&make up as it seemed irrelevant to the piece.

I just hope it doesn't make her look like she is sitting on the loo..

Never work with

Animals and small children seem to have crossed my bows rather alot recently. We had 12 'professional' cats in on a shoot last week, and let me tell you, they were no more professional than your average moggie, and probably got paid more than me.
Having seen a promo poster on the tube yesterday, I was reminded of a book cover done for the lovely Barking Blondes girls.
The brief had lots of controlled ideas, but I found that eventually, we had to just go with the flow and improvise a picture.

Radio Times-Who again

The Who: First of two sequential morning shoots at Big Sky Studios a couple of months ago.
The shoots are forever frantic-and this one was no different. The pressure is on for shoots like these, with the need to produce a large variety of imagery in a fixed small amount of time. You are given a time slot to shoot in, which is fixed even if they are late. We therefore draw up a wish list of shots needed, given that this could be the only access this season. I plan the lighting positions and set ups rather like a dance, with Assistants rehearsing moving equipment and files seamlessly so that we go straight on from one shot to the next. Everything is written on sheets pinned to a polyboard and crossed off as we complete them.
Jena & Matt are both good at the whole performance bit, although the shot on the floor (done in the last few mins), was more tricky than it looks: Standing on a ladder, you need their chins to be raised a bit and their shoulders down as if they are standing. &#…

I need a Doctor

Two days of my repartee was the trial that Matt & Jenna braved through for two Who shoots the other week. One for Radio Times and one for the Times Magazine. You can imagine the confusion with all conversation involving the word 'Times'. Suffice to say that these were two pressured short shoots, but with a bit of sweat and tears, all elements shot and completed. Radio Times wanted shots for a variety of uses including composites (and very much in character), whilst the Times wanted a more 60's fashion feel along with an Augmented Reality film. The great thing about these two actors is that I explained the shot list once, and they just 'got it'. I can't tell you how unusual this is. To understand how cover shoots work you need a real sense of artificial closeness as required by layout, along with a varied of positions and presentation in sympathy with the lighting. Matt & Jenna are great and delivered all the right expressions and passion for the cou…

How to ruin their suits

Lovely boys these Ant & Dec fellas. Up for anything, which makes a change in the world of PR controlled shoots, where alot of stroking chins goes on at the slightest suggestion of anything different. So asking them to be squashed in a box built to resemble the inside of a TV set seemed straightforward. But, on, the state of those suits after..




Sometimes when a shoot goes well, the temptation is to put the whole damn edit on your website. Now as a well known Art Director once told me, 'I'd rather see only one great shot in your book than one great and 20 average' (I took note). So here is an extra shot from a recent PR shoot with Jacob Plant, musician & DJ. I took note of his request to keep it 'moody' and shot this with just the one light. The final edit can be seen on my website.

All around the globe

It's a Brian Cox month at the Radio Times currently, with a host of my shots being used in print and online. Lovely bloke, who was game on once we dragged him off the new Leica camera system that the studio had in stock.


A call from the BBC, who needed a pic of the actor Douglas Henshall to match a background already shot for a new police drama for 2013. Lighting and stance were tweaked to match the backdrop, and the rest was left to a retoucher. I have always wanted to go to Shetland, but these days it seems less likely that any travel is necessary.