Back in SA...

I am slowly falling in love with South Africa. I am recently back from my second trip there and I am fully fascinated with this country. It's easy to see why Cape Town is such a popular destination for filming and photography - stunning light, stunning scenery and stunning people; the local wines and steaks make this even sweeter!

I had a few meetings with agents in Cape Town before exploring parts I've not been to before and getting to see some family at the same time. A few images of the trip are below, they sum up a fraction of who I met and what I saw - as always, trying my best to do things justice with my lens whilst soaking up the culture (and hiding my white British skin from that sun of their's!).

I also managed to shoot a few new additions for the Horizon series which is ongoing as I follow my work around the world. SA has some good horizons! I'm really treasuring this long-term project and as it slowly builds, it's starting to make sense. I plan to exhibit in 2027!

Deciphering Lenny Henry

I recently had the privilege of encountering (and attempting to capture) the many faces of Lenny Henry. Growing up with Lenny being a household name, it was an honour to be asked by Birmingham City University to photograph him as part of their announcment of him becoming the university's new chancellor. 

Lenny Henry Photoshoot

It is my responsibility as a portrait photographer to endeavour to document honesty above anything else. Personally, my journey into commercial photography came via the means of technical intrigue - at heart I had always been a technical photographer, striving for perfection in all that I do. I soon realised that this was not enough and my journey has changed course over the last few years, as I redirect to prioritise honesty and authenticity in my work. Naturally, however, the technical side of things has to be a given, so it's not ignoring that - just a change in priorities and adding a new layer to the work I produce. 

My biggest challenge with Lenny on this shoot was that he initially didn't want to be there (he is right in the middle of a PhD!). This is not uncommon, I spend a lot of time photographing various VIPs for whom a photoshoot is an interruption to their day, and they would really rather be doing something else, somewhere else. Being a true professional and having posed for 100s of shoots through his career, Lenny quickly gave me his professional persona - which could have easily been more than fine for the job I was commissioned to do. However, it struck me that he didn't want to let me in, and that I always see as a challenge. Portrait photography is as much about rapport, reading situations and people skills as it is about a camera - I feel the majority of the work is done without looking through the viewfinder. I wasn't simply able to settle for showing the comedic, instant, professional side of Lenny as this is something that's been seen over and over - I needed to get an honest reaction out of him, to catch him off guard. Not in a manipulative way, but in a way which was real - I simply being ready to capture whatever came of that.

I'm pretty sure he left the room slightly happier than he arrived and I feel like the shot highlighted above was a snapshot into the personality beyond the methodical and professional wall that naturally needs to be there for someone in his position. Lenny is an institution and he fully deserves to be able to put up any front he likes - I just can't resist trying to peak over the wall from time to time!

Lenny Henry

Wondering around Williamsburg

On a recent work trip to New York, out of everything I shot and saw in 10 days, mindlessly strolling around the backs streets of Williamsburg on a winter's late afternoon was definitely a highlight. Having absolutely no agenda, targets, deadlines or aims and equipped with one camera, one prime lens (admittedly this was a Phase One hanging around my neck so not exactly street-wise) is, for me, nothing but freeing. 

Literally shooting what I see, what I want, when I want with no thought of 'I'm meant to be this kind of photographer, I should be shooting this' etc... back to basics: look, learn, wait, capture, move on. I wouldn't call this street photography (every time I hit the shutter on this Danish machine, the pigeons 2 blocks away scatter), I wouldn't call it travel - it is simply just an interpretation of an aimless walk, purely for the pleasure of creating images.

So here is some of what I saw. 

 

Latest iSing cover shoot | Portrait Photography

I had the pleasure of shooting the wonderful Kelli-Leigh recently, for her cover of iSing magazine. As a photographer passionate about people, a good portion of the pleasure of my job comes from simply hanging/chatting/getting to know my subjects. You know this is going well when you spend twice as long as you're meant to on the shoot! Kelli is talented, ambitious and a dream to photograph - as much as I love a challenge, I also enjoy having my job made easier for me occasionally!!

The whole shoot was set up at her home studio in Greenwich and as usual with editorial photography commissions, there are always fairly strict guidelines of what's needed to best suit the text theme and layout. We got slightly carried away and ended up shooting a load more looks than initially intended, making use of introducing colour and movement to some shots to really make the most of one environment, producing a wider variety of options. This is one of the main challenges of an editorial photographer or on location portrait photographer - this is not your space, you often don't know what to expect when you arrive and you have to deal with it, make it work and turn the tables so you're in charge of what is happening from a lighting perspective. But, it's also what I love about it - I'm a problem solver at heart and it keeps you nicely on your toes!

Lifestyle Photography for Hertz & British Rowing Campaign

To help launch a new partnership with British Rowing, Hertz rentals commissioned a shoot to capture the essence of what this will mean at grassroots level. Queue adopting the life of a rower for a morning and a really early, really cold start on the riverbanks of the Thames! It's always good to be back on the River Thames as it has featured heavily in various work I've done over the last few years, thankfully we were awarded for our efforts with brilliant winter early sun. As challenging as this can be  (overcast is often preferable for capturing people), every advertising agency knows that sun just sells. We naturally associate happiness and good times with sunshine so getting it on a photoshoot in London is pure luck (fully deserved from plenty of rain dodging over the years)

advertising photographer london
lifestyle photographer london

Pulling out all the lifestyle photography tricks and quickly building a rapport with my real-life models, we got to work while the light was at its best, attempting to surmise what life is really like for rowing enthusiasts: teamwork, camaraderie, hard work and dedication - fun being central to all factors. The final images were used across Hertz's online spaces along with British rowing.

lifestyle photographers london
commercial photographer london

London Sleeps gets a 4-page feature in luxury magazine

Through no link at all to the previous post, and absolutely pure coincidence, the editor of The Savoy magazine recently got in touch after finding my London Sleeps series online. He wanted to run a feature on it and also interview me - I, of course, obliged. 

I started shooting the London Sleeps series a few years ago, and it has been picked up by others such as The Londonist and featured in my book Tideway, but for interest to resurface after a while without shooting or talking about it, was flattering. Though as a photographer, I don't shoot my personal work for anyone else - it is purely an expression of what I alone want to do and say, when others take an interest it does make it even more worth it. It's less of an ego boost and much more of a confirmation that others share your vision and appreciate your interpretation, thus making the cause/effort/hours/the cold/police harassment more worthwhile!

To see the whole series please click here, otherwise - see below for the featured article. 

Portraits of Dr Guy Meadows for British Airways' Business Life

Dr Guy Meadows

I was recently commissioned to photograph Dr Guy Meadows for British Airways' in-flight magazine, Business Life. The Savoy Hotel kindly provided us with a suite for the shoot and although the art director came with the concept, which we developed once in situ, you can never tell if the subject is going to be up for it... Fortunately, on this occasion, Dr Guy absolutely got on board and was a pleasure to shoot. When you're asking a grown professional to jump around on a king sized bed at the Savoy, whilst dressed in a shoot (over and over again), and also sit there very calmly whilst pillows are chucked at him - you can never quite anticipate the reaction! 

Above is the chosen image, which is now flying around the world, below is an outtake that didn't quite make the cut (but it made the blog!).

Dr Guy Meadows

Feature in Digital Photographer magazine

Thank you to Digital Photographer magazine for recently featuring me and my work in an article on 'habits of successful photographers'. I used to read this magazine years ago, when I was an enthusiastic teenager, to be featured is an honour - and they even plugged my book! I found this in WH Smith at Heathrow just before I was about to leave on a recent work trip to New York (more on that coming up) - a very nice way to say goodbye to the UK for a bit....

Olympic & Paralympic GB weightlifting shoot

I feel like the whole nation is still buzzing right now, off the back of the amazing achievement by team GB in the Rio Olympics this year. A truly amazing achievement - I'm really hoping Rio doesn't let us down on the Paralympics after 2012 proved what was possible. Before the athletes flew out, I got to meet up with the GB weightlifting team, near Leicester, to photograph them at the Cybex HQ. 

At the point of the shoot, the team were unaware who out of them would be flying off to Rio - despite this, there was no obvious tension in the air. The girls made it an absolute laugh and were all really up for getting stuck in. I also got to meet and shoot GB's Paralympian extraordinaire, Ali Jawad. Ali was born without legs - instead he put his arms to great use and became a champion powerlifter. Inspiring. 

Ali Jawad

Rebekah Tiler ended up winning the ticket to Rio and the 17-year-old did us proud in a group of very suspect athletes with quite a list of doping between them!  

Rebekah Tyler

In the press...

The River People exhibition finally came down on Friday 10th June, having been up for 7 weeks. I have been absolutely blown away by the response from the media, the press and the public towards the portrait series, detailing the lives of 12 people whose lives are connected to the Thames. It was heartwarming to revisit the exhibition one evening, whilst showing a friend around who was visiting from San Fran, and get to read some of the many kind words and comments various visitors had left in the guest book. It really does make all the difference when an idea I had 10 months ago transforms into a project that has not just intrigued people and put a great deal of attention back on the River Thames, but also genuinely touched people by causing an emotional reaction.

This was all helped by the attention it received from the press and media. The exhibition was recommended by Time Out, featured on Londonist.com, I was interviewed on BBC Radio London, ITV London news and also given a very generous full page 3 spread by the Evening Standard. It could also not have happened without the great support of the host venue: ICE.org.uk and the sponsors of the project: Tideway.London

I'm flattered. Now onto the next project...

river people exhibition

River People Exhibition Launch

It seems like an age ago now but as the exhibition comes down next week, I realised it's probably about time I blogged about it. The launch night on 21st April was an amazing night, with much thanks going to the hosts (ICE) and sponsors (Tideway) for helping making it all happen. The invite-only event saw over 250 people come out for the drinks reception, speeches, canapées and book signing - whilst everyone took in the exhibited prints to a soundtrack of sophisticated jazz. 

It was such a pleasure to see it all come together after so much time and effort was spent organising, producing and actually shooting the series. Then the release of 'Tideway' my first book was another challenging, yet thoroughly rewarding, experience - all having the same deadline was the stressful part! Having most of the River People subjects attend and meet one another was a huge bonus.

Load.Set.Race produced a short film of the evening and below are a few stills to accompany it too. 

Now award-winning....

I'm very pleased to have just been crowned RICS Infrastructure Photographer of the Year 2016 for an image I shot of the Lee Tunnel before its completion.

This image was captured as part of a commission for Thames Water last year and The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors' panel of judges awarded it first place from the hundreds of entries they received.  Lugging my gear laden in heavy PPE through awkward and tight spaces on a cold February morning was stressful... but... getting to view this amazing engineering in person was such a privilege. It's now full of sewage and probably doesn't look quite so pretty! More information at the following links:

http://www.building.co.uk/

http://www.rics.org/uk/footer/rics-infrastructure-photographer-of-the-year/the-shortlist/

 

And here's what you have to dress up in to carry out such duties...

Fitness Guru | Lifestyle Photography

Here is an unseen image from the shoot I did for Christine Ko. I call her a fitness 'guru' because she literally is the healthiest/fittest person (and bendiest) I've ever met. The brief from the designer was a contemporary fitness shoot that places her in London. Et Voila!

Yoga photography London Eye

Lifestyle photography in London is always a risk as we really can't rely on the weather at all but this time we just lucked out. I feel I was due this luck as we've had to shoot through so much bad weather over the last year so the sunshine was welcome. We shot a whole library of various poses and settings incorporating the landmarks as much as possible - hair and makeup on Westminster Bridge at 7am certainly drew some attention.

Westminster Bridge Photoshoot
fitness photographer London

Hub Health | Fitness lifestyle shoot

Here are a few images from a commission at the end of 2015 by Hub Health. We were shooting to add to their library of fitness and lifestyle photography to help promote their brand. It's my second shoot for the client and they are always a pleasure to work with. We shot a variety of images based around the treatments that they offer as a clinic (osteopathy, physiotherapy, nutrition guidance etc) and also the more fitness based side of their work whereby they use skilled personal trainers to aid rehabilitation after injury. All models were staff so it's very much a real interpretation of what happens and it makes it more personal to their brand. Of course it does help when they actually have a working model manning reception part time - the brilliant Henrietta Garnham making my job easy!

fitness photography london
lifestyle photographer london
fitness photographer london