Thursday
Feb052015

DOES A BEAR SIT IN THE WOODS? (not this one)

This one takes the tube. Here by popular demand is my blog on the Polar Bear that took over London and all of social media. They say never work with children and animals this one was no exception. Its own dressing room, constant brushing, only allowed 20 minutes of work before rest, in short a total diva. Well I can be pretty demanding and at least it did not maul me.

It was a freezing cold winter on the top Hampstead Heath, as the sun came up through the mist, it could not have been a better for a Polar Bear. The bear which (SPOILER ALERT) was manned by two extremely strong and talented men controlling an animatronic head took a little while to get ready but the result was almost unbelievable. It not matter how close or far away whether through the camera or in the flesh it looked like a real bear. It is a testament to the jaded Londoner that no one ran screaming, though we did get a tweet complaining about the clear cruelty to animals we were perpetrating.

 

Having been chucked off Hampstead no real nor indeed fake animals harmed (unless you count a couple scarred dogs) we moved on to a secret location deep within the underground. I can only give you a small clue, one of the last commuters who passed through was James Bond. We had the iconic location, a huge bear for the perfect PR picture only one more thing was needed, a cute child, oh wait we had one of those too.

Sometimes you know you have good pictures but you just can't predict the response, 3 shots in the Standard, Guardian, Times and round the world. Contacts from people on Polish magazines, Chinese publications and I just had a friend from New York tell me it was NBC this morning.

Now I just have to persuade him to go home. "Just get on the damn train"

Tuesday
Jan202015

VIEW FROM THE TOP

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings when you turn a corner in London and realise why you live here. It started like most peoples London morning I donned every layer of clothing I possessed, jammed myself on a rush hour train full of the tired, the passive and the enraged. Stepping out in to fog at Bank station, grey suits merging into stone, steal and cloud my job at a nearby office building was not looking good.

Then I walked out on the roof of Tower 42 and the whole day just changed.

London can occasionally be the most beautiful place in the world. I was shooting George Clarke for PA and Shelter as part of their Vertical Rush campaign. This was a truly amazing space despite the slight draught. If you can't run up 42 flights of stairs for a great charity and a view like that, you never will.  

 

Thursday
Jan012015

NEW YEAR, NEW OLD PICTURES.

First of all Happy New Year everyone, last year is gone, forgotten welcome to 2015.

In the spirit of all this renewal here are some brand new pictures, that I took last year. Just think of them as the highlights of 2014 that I never got round to highlighting before now, rediscovered treasures unearthed in the light of a new dawn. Yes that’s right they are old, so enjoy them while you can as in the coming months I hope to be making them redundant and irrelevant with newer better ones.

Vicky Price at home talking to the FT about the economics of going to jail

Adrien Niyonshuti who competed for Rwanda at the Olympics in 2012 and Commonwealth Games in 2014 on a training ride in his home town. Shot as part of a series of portraits of survivors for the Aegis Trust.

Sandy Lieberson, Inaugural Chairman of Film London and Stephen Frears, Director of The Queen and High Fidelity share a joke at the top of the Gherkin.PA


Ai Weiwei's Moon is setup in an empty turbine hall for The Space. PA

Dick Mullender a former detective and hostage negotiator and now a business coach outside the FT. The staircase has always reminded me of old film noir back alleys it just had to be done.
Black Friday for PA
Griff Rhys Jones in his local barbers.

 

Monday
Oct202014

THE MIGHTY NILE

I am not known for my love of Disco and quite frankly legends are often not what they appear to be. What it takes to be legend in your own lifetime is single-mindedness and belief in your own ability that mixed with critical acclaim can create a monster of ego that is the enemy of good photography. For me the two most important things for portrait photography is time and the character of your subject. I could wax lyrical about eyes being the windows to the soul but the truth is you are just trying capture a piece of who they are on camera but when you are their lowest priority and that bit character is buried deep below their projected public image, it just does not work.

Anyway I digress, these are the expectations I had going in to shoot with Nile Rodgers legendary producer and king of Disco for over 4 decades. As he walked on stage holding a Nikon SLR and a huge grin I began to understand that this would be a different kind of legend altogether. Throughout an almost 2 hour set he created a party out of nowhere, his love for life exuded from every pore. He made every fan part of what he was doing, when most bands scream "this is best concert ever" the insincerity is not hard to detect, but without a word it was obvious Nile was loving being there. My music taste could not be any more different from Disco, but it just did not matter, his enthusiasm for the music became yours, so for 2 hours I was Disco Dave before heading back to the dark. 

 

He was every bit as gracious of the stage as he was on, talking to all his fans, a large grin on his face and time for everyone. So when asked for his portrait on the way out of the room he stopped, stood to the side smiled at me like a friend and let me take his picture. He stopped only to play air guitar as a riff caught his notice from a track playing on the PA, he had given me his time and his character. 

 

He is a rare individual, a true gent and a living legend. 

Thursday
Sep182014

THINGS I HAVE BEEN UP TO

After a prolonged absence from my blog, I thought the best way to enforce the idea that I have been far too busy to blog is to collect a roundup of what I have been doing. Enjoy and I hope in the next month I am busy enough to provide you something else interesting to read and not too busy to write it.

 

John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons doing an exclusive interview for the FT on controversy surrounding the employment of a new clerk for the commons. I wanted a shot reflecting his forthright view on commons reform surrounded by the history of his post through hundreds of years.

 

Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts relaxes in a bath of fruit for Blossom Hill. Just one of those things you do, help arrange fruit on a bikini clad (sorry if that is a spoiler) pop star in a bath, normal quite frankly. Went for a bit of backlit Marilyn Monroe in bed look just to add a bit of class.

Living legend Quentin Blake showcasing the the great things going on culturally this autumn. A charming and interesting man clutching a drawing he did in 5 minutes that instantly evokes all the joy every time you read a book he illustrated. Genius.

All original members of Spandau Ballet reunited at the Blitz Club where they did their first gig to unveil a PRS heritage plaque. A bit of musical history in the home of live music, small sweaty venues that become legendary via the creativity that comes out them.

A Rainbow made out Samsung tablets appears on the southbank. There is always room for a pretty picture, even if it does mean a very early morning.

 

Jessie J, does her thing for the Girl Effect charity. The most surprisingly nice person to photograph ever.

Velvet Underground founding member John Cale performing a new composition involving musical drones at the Barbican for The Space. I am always up for pushing musical boundaries, shame I did not actually get to hear it.  Think on the whole drones are probably best kept to aerial photography and away from music.

 

 

And finally a photograph of Nadeem Shamim of Standard Chartered I took for the FT. Some influences just seem to find their way in, all I can say is I think I watched too much Utopia


 

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