PODO - a brief intro and exhibition!

I spent a long, hot, tiring, sweaty, ill-themed and emotionally draining 8 days travelling across Southern Ethiopia in October 2018 and it was all in aid of this. I can’t believe it’s finally here - PODO - the exhibition.

It opens this week on London’s South Bank at Gallery@Oxo (bottom of the Oxo tower) and is on from 24th April to 5th May. PLEASE come along if you are in town and passing through, I promise it will be worth it. Free entry, new work which I’m very proud of and you can only see in print until after the exhibition.

This is all for a very good cause and the whole project is about raising awareness of a terrifying skin disease called Podoconiosis. Find out more about the problem at my charity partner’s website: www.actiononpodo.com The aim of this work was to challenge the viewer through revealing the humanity within every sufferer of Podo - a disease which so often makes victims ‘unhuman’.

PODO exhibition Matthew Joseph

Watch this space for more news and updates but in the meantime, please come along and let me know what you think (nb. I won’t be there in person every day).

PODO by Matthew Joseph behind the scenes Ethiopia
Podo by Matthew Joseph behind the scenes Phase One portrait

Radiocentre 2018/19 Advertising Campaign

After the success of 2017’s advertising campaign for Radiocentre (nominated for a few awards!) we set about shooting the 2018/19 images to continue the brief and extend their photography library. I love working with this client as they know exactly what they want and fully entrust myself and my team to produce the shoot and deliver the final results…. just the right balance of hands off/hands on for my liking!

radiocentre boys playing on games console

As with many advertising briefs, due to limitations of the final asset application and criteria for brand placement, copy space etc, this set of images was very specific. This is good and bad - good because we know what we’re aiming for and when we’ve got it we can move on - not so good because I hate being glued to a tripod (I’m much happier when I’m running around and rolling on the floor with my camera). We got to recreate some great lighting scenarios testing myself and my assistants, but the challenge makes it all the more satisfying when it comes off and the client leaves with a smile on their face!

Here are a few behind the scenes moments

Lenny Henry for Comic Relief 2019

It was great to be shooting for Comic Relief this year - I spent the day with Lenny Henry (again) as the story was being told about the incredible charity Fair Share. Everything was very fast-moving as is the case with most things TV and editorial. I always relish the challenge and Lenny is a formidable force to photograph.

lenny henry fair share comic relief

Congrats to Comic Relief and the UK people for raising over £63m this year!

lenny henry fare share comic relief

Some out takes from the VT that was being filmed - I couldn’t resist shooting his hands, they seem to be able to say a lot.

Spotlight Awards

Proud to have been recognised by the inaugural Spotlight Awards by Production Paradise this year - having been shortlisted in two categories: People & Lifestyle and Travel, Documentary and Landscape. Big congrats to the winners, I was up against a lot of work and photographers I greatly admire!

jumping skateboarder new york city

This shot from my series ‘Skate NYC’ made it into the People & Lifestyle category. Shooting this image was super fun and risky at the same time. From memory, I was laid down on the sidewalk at the end of Wall Street in New York and Bobby Dash jumped right over us (and other passers by) and would stop just before hitting the road. We had to be quick, this is totally illegal in NYC, but those ‘run’n’gun’ shoots are always fun - especially with Bobby. Being a skater in New York means you’re always upsetting someone so pushing boundaries is natural. I love the moment, his hair, the silhouette and the unique light that Manhattan gives you. Nailing the focus was a pain! 

travel photography nepal

The second image shortlisted was shot on assignment in rural Nepal in 2017. This was day one of an epic 10 day adventure into the deepest depths of the incredibly beautiful country - documenting stories for Tearfund. We just went straight into it, I was perched on the side of a mountain shooting someone else and I turned around to see this group of people simply sitting and watching these strange Westerners interrupting their simple lives. I saw the shot, the mix of people and the range of emotions: happiness, nervousness, shyness, mischief, but ultimately - content. I couldn’t resist it. 

Coca Cola 2018 advertising campaign

It seems an age ago that England was encased in football fever and football nearly came home…. so very nearly! In the heat of the moment (literally) I was shooting Coca Cola’s latest campaign for Western Europe. Lifestyle photography at a location house in North London which was largely art-directed and pre-scamped according to the many criteria that needed to be ticked off to comply with the brand guidelines for one of the world’s biggest brands. 

advertising photographer london

Really thankful that Coca-Cola and the agency, Movement, entrusted the job to myself and as usual the whole crew worked tirelessly so get the very technical shoot completed in time (though I had to watch Tripier’s free kick go in whilst crossing Putney Bridge as I didn’t quite make it home in time for kick off!).

coca cola ad campaign lifestyle photography

Chuffed with the results and it’s nice to see some of the final images animated in post production for the live billboards they’re going to be used on. Framing for 9:16 ratio whilst lighting and styling a Coke bottle to perfection, getting the models’ fingers in the ideal position along with styling the set and getting their reactions and emotions to fit the moment and the environment… one of the more challenging sides to life as an advertising photographer. But I love a good challenge! 

Here are a few of the images and some moments caught behind the scenes.

Wavescapes - new personal work shot in Thailand

Whilst exploring the amazing country of Thailand a few months ago I was looking to explore underwater as a new medium to photograph through. I went knowing roughly what I wanted to capture but at the same time, still had no idea - this is a happy place for me to be as a creative, the pressure’s off and it leaves a lot of room or creativity and experimentation. 

Here is the series that followed - something a bit more abstract, a bit further away from my main work as an advertising photographer based in grey London!

Lifestyle Photography in Hamburg

I flew to Hamburg recently to combine some meetings along with surprising my wife (who was working there). I was really keen to make the most of this city that I love and have some fond memories of. With the help of Place Models, I managed to book the amazing Anna, Lilly and Theo for the afternoon to shoot some lifestyle photography out and about in Hamburg. 

girl in taxi on phone. Moody night. Lifestyle photography

I loved hanging out with these guys and they helped me explore the city to a new level. I always find that working somewhere rather than just being a tourist helps you see it in a new light. That light included Reeperbhan-based Christmas markets with all sorts on offer (hand carved sex toys, strip clubs subtly existing between the currywurst and glüwine!)

Here’s a bit of our day out exploring…

One Eyeland Awards

Thank you to the One Eyeland Awards for selecting two of my images to be a finalist across three categories:

  • Editorial Personality

  • Editorial Environmental

  • People Portrait

I have fond memories of producing both of these images and both were actually hugely challenging in their own way. The Lenny Henry portrait was a character/personality thing - he really didn’t want to be there and was only wanting to give me his famous ‘media smile’. I made it my mission to back him into a corner and catch him off guard enough to get a real moment from him - unguarded. The second image was tough because I was in a wetsuit holding a Phase One above the waterline of a freezing (and potentially lethally polluted) lake in the winter. Thankfully my subject, Chris was absolutely on form (without a wetsuit!)

Lenny Henry candid portrait photographer london
portrait photographer london music photography abstract

New BCU ad - billboards up!

Here is the latest commission for Birmingham City University shot on a very cold evening with a very willing model! Perched on the edge of a main road with wind and rain battering the equipment, we patiently waited for the desired twilight then sent the art director running around the brand new building to attempt to get all the lights on. It was very much a ‘whack-a-mole’ situation but post production sorted the rest out (along with the removal of the behind-schedule building works still very much in shot.)

Great to see the shot up and about on billboards - love the type and copy too.

advertising photographer london
billboard advert

New short film - From The Ocean, For The Ocean.

Very pleased to get this out there... a new film I produced for OCN

I was approached by OCN to produce a short film that highlighted the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans (very topical) and that paired it with OCN's innovate response: to make their product's plastic packaging purely out of recycled plastic retrieved from the ocean in beach clean operations. 

This took a lot of planning as there was a good five weeks between the two shoot days on different locations - the story had to flow, that was vital. Shot on location in Devon, London and a (hugely exciting) recycling plant, we (myself and co-director Tom Andrews) created this:

From The Ocean, For The Ocean. 

Please feel free to check it out by clicking below.

Uber Impact - BBC feature!

Having worked on the Uber Impact for over a year, it's fair to say that I'd put a lot of my heart and soul into this project. So when releasing and pushing it out to press last month, one was very much hoping for a reaction to some degree, after all, this project is all about awareness of human plight. 

With this in mind, I was absolutely chuffed when the BBC decided to feature the project on their 'Pictures' home page - remaining the headline story for 48 hours on their UK and world wide pages! 

The Uber Impact BBC

Sadly, due to bias issues and the very flagrant angle on a private company, the BBC had to re-dress the approach to the story and the 'impact' part of the project became somewhat diluted. However, all press is good press and by including a link through to the project on my site, it gave the viewer the option to delve further into the story. 

bbc taxi driver pictures

Glass Magazine

Thank you also to Glass Magazine who wrote up a great feature that can be seen here.


Creative Boom

And finally to the guys at Creative Boom who wrote a very thoughtful piece on the project. Click here to read it.


London in the winter Sun

Some recent work commissioned by ETC venues to place the context of their locations to the City Of London. A rare winter sunrise literally transformed what is normally such a grey view in the winter, to a scene more closely resembling New York. 

The City of London sunrise

If only we had light like this in London more often!!!

shard st paul's london sunrise

phase one iq150

Proving the power of Phase One... check out the zoomed crop (below) of the image above - someone nailed the best meditating spot in London!

The Uber Impact | Released Today!

The Uber Impact has been a personal project in the making since November 2016, and today I am proud to finally release it to the public. This has been a project involving planning and spontaneity in equal measure and has taught me a lot about the world/life/culture/politics in the process. 

The above image was the very last shot of the day before I finished shooting in Joburg. I was literally running for my train to get to the airport so I could catch my flight to Cape Town, but when I saw these two guys ( Peter and Elias) I simply had to chat to them. I'd asked them previously about being involved in the project but they weren't interested as they were very wary of 'BBC journalists' (as a white European you're often flying the flag by default) reporting on them and them ending up in the news etc. 

"I used to be a photographer for the SA associated press - I have seen many many bad things during the forced removals under Apartheid, which is why I do this now, a simpler life. But, now we have no cars. They were impounded by the police during a protest against Uber 3 weeks ago. Nearly 300 cars were impounded and the release fee is R3500 - this goes up every day. We are stuck."

I had to ask one more time. They were in this position when I saw them, I didn't move them - the pain and frustration on their faces is 100% authentic. The below is what Peter told me when asking him about his experience with Uber:

It really did sadden me to hear of their plight, especially at the end of a long day full of such stories. But a portrait series on taxi drivers... without their taxis (!!!) - this really did hit home. I had to have their story as part of the project - their testimony and expression has the power to portray the problem at the heart of The Uber Impact in just one image. I genuinely wish them both well and I really hope they manage to find a way to get back the tools of their trade so they can start making an honest living again. 

Matthew Joseph behind the scenes

Please click here to see the project in full. There may be more updates on the blog in the future - this is simply one image/story of 36 encounters across London, New York, Paris, Rome, Joburg and Cape Town. Please share it, tell your friends and let's continue the conversation about whether all tech-advancement is good for us and how convenience for you and me can sometimes have a negative effect further down the line. 

Lifestyle Ad Campaign for Radiocentre

advertising photographer london

How to make radio modern and relevant for 2018? This was the task set by the guys at Radiocentre ahead of shooting a new image bank for them a few months ago - for use in their ATL campaigns across the UK. Radiocentre are the governing body for all commercial radio in the UK and they've always struggled against the cliché stock-imagery 'eargasm' images made available in the stock world, hence commissioning their own set of images with very specific briefs for each. A big part of what I love about the world of advertising photography is being able to understand business, clients' needs and marketing techniques, then become a creative visual problem solver (aka - photographer). This brief was a great example of that.

It was a two day shoot with a big crew and a lot to do, but an absolute pleasure to work on. Brilliant production from ShootJam making things easier. 10 scenarios, and 12 models to portray all the various uses/situations that radio has in today's society - done! 

A few behind the scenes shots from the two day shoot...

A Vintage Drive in The Western Cape | Lifestyle Story

lifestyle photographer london

On a recent trip to (the very wonderful) South Africa to complete the photography for my upcoming new project The Uber Impact, I couldn't resist shooting some lifestyle making the most of what the Western Cape has to offer. 

1 x MG Midget in British Racing Green, 1 x epic wine estate with private roads and stunning scenery, 2 x annoyingly beautiful people and 1 x weather forecast which was almost accurate. The result is the story 'A vintage drive in the Western Cape'. There was wine, sun, laughter and some driving skills thanks to male model Morgan being completely at home in a vintage MG thanks to growing up on a farm driving tractors. It was a good recipe!

Big thanks to Boss Models Cape Town (Monika & Morgan), Paul Cluver Wines and my wonderful team of assistants: Emily, Rosie and Isaac. Here are a few from the series:

Economia Front Cover | Portrait for Graze

Here is the cover shoot of Graze CFO Andy Gibbs for the very beautifully designed and printed Economia magazine. Not only was Andy a willing and enthusiastic subject for this shoot, but I left with a goody bag of Graze snacks which supplied me for a 3-day wild-camping trek in the Lake District, which started the day after this shoot. Everyone loves a freebie - especially an edible one. 

I always appreciate when my 'real people' subjects bring an enthusiasm and vulnerability to the shoot. It's very much not part of the job description that they sign up for, so to trust a photographer they've never met before to capture their face/emotions/thoughts/feelings is a big deal. Andy hadn't told his wife about this shoot and was going to wait for the issue to arrive on their doormat in the post to completely freak her out! Love it. Thanks to John at progressive for the commission.

Infiniti in Italy | Cars and Chefs in Parma

Here are some of the images shot on location in Parma (and the surrounding timeless Italian countryside) for Infiniti a few months ago. It was a pleasure to shoot for the lovely people at TMW agency shooting for both Infiniti cars and Michelin in the same day. Many a slice of Parma ham was consumed amongst all the other Michelin-star food throughout the day, a small perk of the job. Infiniti being the brand partner for the Michelin guide in Italy, we were there to depict the joining of two major brands of sophistication, as well as have some fun with some of the cars too! 

Here's to 2017: Selected as Best 200 Ad Photographers!

200 best logo.png

I'm absolutely chuffed to announce that I have been selected for inclusion in the legendary Lürzer's '200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide'. This year has contained a lot - it's been an amazing journey. But, to finish it being featured in a book containing so many photographers and so much work which I hugely respect, which gets sold around the world for the next two years really is a big honour. The curated work really is stunning - get yourself a copy here. It's a lot of book for less than £30!

I was fortunate enough to have two images selected for the 2018/29 annual - both from projects not officially released yet. The first was taken on day one of a two-week assignment in Nepal earlier this year, with the charity Tearfund. This trip was absolutely epic. It was tough, tiring, uncomfortable and sweaty but also absolutely mind-blowing. The scenery, the people, the stories, the culture, the wildlife, the driving.... (the driving!!!) - all an amazing experience. However, I'll talk about this in a future post when more of the archive makes its way online. 

The second portrait features the face of London musician/artist Tawiah.  This was shot as part of a personal project I've been shooting throughout 2017 called The Changing Face of Music. Tawiah has tremendous talent and is an amazing soul who absolutely threw herself into this project so I'm so glad to see it gaining recognition already! I hope to launch this project in the new year so more to come in 2018 on that...

lürzer's archive best 200 ad photographers
Tawiah music by Matthew Joseph

AOP Awards Finalist | aGenda - makes it through!

Matthew Joseph

Those in this industry know the weight the annual AOP awards hold when they come around each year - this is one of those awards shows that people really pay attention to, at least in the UK anyway! I'd never thought to even enter a competition until 2016 - when I did, I won and was on TV, Radio, newspaper etc etc... I figured I could do with a bit more of that and just had thought in time to enter into this year's open category (for non members - I need to sort that out!) before the deadline arrived. 

So I was absolutely thrilled to receive the email stating that the aGenda project had been accepted into this year's AOP Final. This means inclusion in the exhibition at the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, and being featured in the awards book (see below) too. It was nothing short of a huge honour to have this personal project recognised, which had absorbed so much of my time, thoughts, resources and energy over the past 14 months. Then, to see the amazing array of talent hung on the same walls really topped it off. There was some serious work from serious photographers included in the exhibition - really nice to see that the industry seems so strong, it always inspires me to push myself and up my game!

Awards are funny... you have to make a decision to enter a competition yourself - there aren't some magic photography industry elves that knock on your door delivering you a golden invite. You have to make an active decision to say 'I think this is good - I need it recognised'. It's almost a validation for insecurity - but then it's not because entering awards is playing the game of the industry. In today's world you have to do everything you can to make yourself stand out from the crowd in a world full of ever-increasing talent. Then winning an award is another thing altogether! I didn't win my category this time, but I'm totally ok with that - it was enough of an honour to get selected for the final. But then I know of other work by other photographers, which is strong, brilliant work, that didn't make it through. It's all subjective, it's art and decisions are made by people with opinions - no right or wrong - just simple human opinions which are probably based on a myriad of emotions, experiences and general taste. All we can do is try!!

London Editorial Portraits for etc venues

Since being asked to shoot the CEO of London's finest corporate venue providers for The Times,  amongst other publications, earlier this year - I have recently returned to give the rest of the board the same treatment. We had the luxury of using every corner of their beutifully refurbished County Hall to switch up the enivornments and make things as relevatnt to the indiviudal as possible. County Hall is probably one of the most significant pieces of real estate in the world - overlooking Big Ben, Westminster Bridge and the Thames. I struggle to get my head around this place being derelict for so long, before etc Venues came in to take over.

It's the kind of venue that could inspire you time and time again, a rare treat for a portrait photographer - and it beats a clostraphobic hotel room with a colourama squeezed in the corner any day!