People. (See – I didn’t really need the title on this page).
One of the great joys of professional photography is the incredibly wide range of people that you meet. And, therefore, the variety of techniques that are needed to tell their stories. The day after photographing a marketing manager whose hobby is fire-eating, I had to do a shoot in somebody’s office. When I opened my lighting umbrellas, the room stank of the remains of the previous evening’s paraffin. Sometimes, it’s better to use the lighting that’s available, especially if it’s a video production studio . . .
Jobs and activities are fascinating – but it’s faces, really, that are the most interesting bit of any person, and lighting brings the face alive; sometimes almost literally, in the modelmaking department at Wimbledon School of Art
I recently photographed a delightful man called Tim Andrews. Tim has undertaken a huge project over the past decade, getting himself pictured by literally hundreds of photographers. ( I was no. 384 ) This is because Tim has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, and (it seems to me) that he’s keen to leave some trace of his life – transient as all lives are. I did the shots on the beach at Saltdean, under the cliffs, and I asked Tim to bring that day’s newspaper. So I had a series of nested images: That day (proving he was there, like a kidnap victim), then Tim’s own life (presumably a span of seventy or eighty years), then the concrete breakwater (which will last for centuries), all overlooked by the chalk cliffs which are millions of years old. Tim loved the image, and came up with the perfect title. – ‘Here Today’. Thanks, Tim.
Lots of people need headshots – theatre people especially – and I photographed both Monty Python’s Carol Cleveland and director and trainer Mark Wilson in my studio.
Here’s a young Rowan Atkinson playing golf . . .
and here’s a younger Sir David Spiegelhalter, Cambridge University’s Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk, photographed for the UK Medical Research Council.
Some people try to make do with just a ‘selfie’, though actually this was shot in the studio too . . .
while other people need more than just one image of themselves.
I was able to use a theatre space, complete with a haze machine, to produce the ‘noir’ lighting for actress Emmie Spencer, here playing Ruth Ellis, the last woman in Britain to be hanged for murder.
Studio equipment can give special effects, but there’s an honesty to simple outdoor shots.
And I love working on location, too. More people pictured for the Medical Research Council. Sometimes you can see right inside a person’s head, as with this one – and sometimes you can’t see anything at all, like these Easter penitents in Granada . . .
The light makes this bas-relief look like stone, but actually it’s bronze. Soldiers are supposed to be ‘uniform’, but just look at the stubborn individuality on the faces of these Tommies. It’s a detail from the Liverpool Cenotaph, Lionel Budden’s war memorial to the dead of the Great War.