Sir David Attenborough met a lion.
The thing about a commission is that it is rarely straightforward. A while back, Radio Times called to ask if I would like to photograph Sir David Attenborough (again), but with a few 'props'. Hmm,props ..ah yes of course-lion cubs, nice and easy.
The idea developed into a simple Lion face/David face picture, except of course, you can't quite plan what might happen.
We turned up at David's house on a rainy day complete with backdrops and the usual disturbing amounts of kit. David looked worried when he saw it all. 'Can't we just do a quick snap in the garden?' he said. 15 mins later after much convincing, David let us in to set up in the available space. Thing is, I just wasn't sure exactly what was possible. The lion keepers suggested that milk might be the answer, but endless shots off a milk bottle would not be ideal.
So, lights up and a table in place, I started to try and direct the shoot. Big mistake. David immediately engaged with the little beauties, but the head on head idea was just not going to be a reality. So we swapped cubs, but the second was even worse and not even interested in the milk..
Time was ticking and I needed to get some sort of relationship going between the two. After a background change to black, I asked if David could just try a profile to profile shot by picking a cub up. Thing is you don't want a cub too close to you, but of all the people to ask, David Attenborough is the one. He then started mouthing sounds at the cub until it gave little roars back. Bingo!
The final cover uses two sequential frames for the perfect match and to make them slightly closer together than was safe to do on the day.