Take a chair…

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Another year I get to spend a fun morning meeting and shoot the portraits of some interior designer talent of the future at The Interior Design school founded by Iris Dunbar, (Director) http://idschool.co.uk

Each student gets to select a designer chair that they would like to sit in and my part is to photograph a relaxed, approachable yet professional portrait that will introduce them to the interior design community from the launch of their end-of-year show right on through to  their first commissioned post and beyond.

It is amazing we get all 15 or so portraits wrapped up by lunch and everyone feels like it was a whole lot more of a fun experience than they were expecting. As a portrait photographer I always tell my students that once the bells and whistles on their camera and lighting is learnt to level of second nature, the true skill of Portrait Photography is the communication with the subject and being able to read what shape/pose suits them best. There is not one posture suits all. We come in all different shapes and sizes and there is always a great pose for us all. Some subjects are a challenge, that find it hard to relax and not be self conscious, but after a bit of my irish banter I manage to bring out a moment just right for the shot. Above, Interior design student Anya was the opposite and a natural in front of the camera… finally selecting the image top left as her profile image.

I am very much looking forward to meeting all the present year students and tutors again and looking at the work at The Interior Design school’s end of year show early summer 2016. I will also be sharing how I took these shots and more on my up coming ‘Portrait Photography: Studio & location‘ course @MorleyCollege starting on 11th April this year:

https://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/1264-portrait-photography-studio-location/1725

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Trace… snip… fold… POP-UP!

When I am commissioned by Quintet to shoot a new craft ‘makes’ book I get to work in many lovely location houses with lots of opportunities for me to style my own shots. The very recent new Pop-Up card book I was commissioned to shoot I especially loved photographing against interesting backdrops, with an abundance of nice details/items for me to place in the frame in a supporting role to graphic cut-out cards themselves.

Here are a few I shot that day…

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I am sure my 10 year old son would especially like to make the last one!

Wishing all the best of luck to Quintet at this October’s Frankfurt book festival.

A taste for travel…

PHOTOGRAPHING FOOD ON LOCATION

On many of my travel & location lifestyle commissions I get to shoot some wonderful chef creations. Understanding how to work the natural light, and styling on the spot is a great asset. My background as previously an Art Editor has served me very well when sent off on a commission alone, never knowing what I will find at a location and then make the most of it. Here I recall some of the images I have captured…

JW Marriott Hotel, Venice

This beautifully presented Panna cotta above I photographed when on assignment for Conde Nast at the JW Marriott Resort in Venice earlier this year that appeared in their July issue of Traveller. With a quick glance around I placing and turning the dessert in a lovely softly diffused light area of the restaurant. Then I tweaked how I wanted the papery leaves to fall for nice shapes and so that the light shone through them. The final touches were adding the spoon on an angle and placing the potted herb just into the top of the shot with a very soft aperture to create some interest and sense of being on a real table setting and not in a studio. These seemingly little details I love to play with.

Pescheria San Pietro, Florence, Italy

Above is a wonderfully fresh seafood platter I shot in Italy. I decided it worked best from an aerial perspective. I like the main circular shape clipped off on the left side. I placed in the natural muslim fabric napkin to soften the shapes. Then I positioned other circular shapes of the glasses, in top left each partly filled, which along with the fork was a conscious decision to capture a feeling that I had just casually grabbed my image as someone was enjoying this lunch. Two empty glasses would have looked wrong. Plus, always enjoyable to sip some of the wine to achieve exactly the right amount I want visually in the image : )

JW Marriott Hotel, Venice

Great restaurants always present such attractive food, but when photographing reportage style, I like to add my own touches such as above a little bit of the food spilling onto a fork, and twisting around the clam shells to capture different shapes and textures – a glimpse of the shells’ exterior colors and pattern, and at same time the soft edible centre. Once happy with the fine tuning I then explore different angles to frame the shot, and how close to come in on the dish.

SOME TRICKY LOCATION LIGHTING – Interior locations can offer tricky light for shooting food & drink, such as hard light pouring through windows into a darker interior or too many different artificial light sources. But I try to play to what I visualize working with the quality of the object I am shooting and what available light I can find at the time.

The image below I shot in a wonderful cocktail bar interior lit by day with only a very low light spilling in from just one small exterior window, but it worked well as a very directional backlight to shine through the cocktails, which ‘lifted’ them against the dark upholstery and created sparkle.

JK Place & Cocktail Lounge, Florence, italy

Below, Natural light spilling in through frosted window out of shot, on the righthand side. The rich textures of the furniture, and placing a black area in the background helped ‘lift’ the brightly coloured cocktails in the foreground.

Dublin

I really enjoyed my shoot to The Pump Street Bakery in Orford, Suffolk for Country Living Magazine – spotting the quality of the harder sunny light shining through the cafe window and their wonderful clear glass teapots, combined with extra luminosity it gave the gilded vintage cup and saucer with delicately tinted herbal tea I pushed them further into the pool of light to capture this image, which I hope does emulate a true sense of what it was like to sit there sipping lightly fragrant tea with sunlight on your face.

The Pump Street Bakery

Below: The bakery sold their own delicious cakes but the counter area was lit by vintage light bulbs. As food is best shot in daylight the solution was to move them, still on their glass stands to a window on the other side of the room with a much softer natural light than the image above, so as to remove any moody shadows. If you can not find such an ideal softer light then you can always use a diffuser to place in front of a window to create this light as it passes through its fabric.

The Pump Street BakeryThe Pump Street Bakery

TIME LAPSE – Some times after I have photographed first the complete dish I like to deconstruct the food, slowly breaking into it with a fork or spoon until there is just a smear of sauce and that one final mouthwatering piece left to savor…

Lydia Evans wedding pudding

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FOOD MARKET CLOSE-UPS – There are so many great graphic shapes and textures to photographing food in street markets around the world, from Istanbul to right here in London Borough market…

Pomegranates, Istanbul

Street Food on Istiklal Caddesi, Taksim, Istanbul

Simitci bread roll, Istanbul

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

ON A FINAL NOTE… just take one cupcake… This is one of the simplest but favorite shots of mine taken in a cafe in Stoke Newington Church Street, London to represent in just one shot: the feel for the interior, its vintage mismatching crockery and yummy cakes.

The Tea Room, Stoke Newington Church Street

The Tea Room, Stoke Newington Church Street

 

 

Dublin city cooool!

I am very please I can finally share my images published in this November’s issue of Conde Nast Traveler, a feature I photographed for them in Dublin to capture the city’s renewed ‘sassy swagger’ fueled by the entrepreneurial flair of returning bright young independent venturers that had gone overseas to seek new things and be inspired.

With a brief to capture this new cool dynamic energy I spent a great couple of days amongst one of the friendliest nation I know. Never short of striking up a conversation. Great quirky interiors, and wonderful brunch served at The Fumbally – a plate of scrabbled eggs, avocado, chilli & tomato on toast I photographed then simply could not resist eating.

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Even on time-out for a lunch break my lobster risotto at Super Miss Sue looked too good with fresh basil leaves on top not to be photographed! Yes, it was delicious. The Diver and Siren black and white photographs in the bathroom here also added a WOW factor.

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Below: The Marker Hotel Dublin

Below: Vintage Homeware at ‘Find’ in Temple barDublin Dublin Dublin

Below: Cow’s Lane Designer Studio in Temple barDublin

Peruke & Periwig’s barman Robert went beyond his call of duty nearly setting light to his gristly beard as he repeatedly lit his flaming ‘Walking dead’ cocktail for me to capture it at the ‘decisive moment’, at one point leaping backwards as the amber flame shot high into the air. I will spare him blushing by not showing that image.
His cocktail mixing skills were super and adventurous!

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Impossible not to drink a guinness when in Dublin and one of the best places for this was The Kehoe’s pub where I got to share a pint and some good Irish banter with the subject of my photograph who thought he was just quietly sipping his guinness whist waiting for a friend until I spotted the photographic potential with a nice light flooding through the door. The three of us swopped a few good tales, then off home I went to my lovely room at Guesthouse Number 31, for an edit of the day’s shots.

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Below: Guesthouse, Number 31Dublin

A huge thanks to the Conde Nast team for this assignment, meeting great people and feasting my eyes on fab interiors, cuisine and cool quirky buys. I hope readers of my blog enjoy the images and you are tempted to visit Dublin for a long weekend. xx

The Talented Mr Oldfield

This month You Magazine published a lovely feature on the ever stylish and talented Bruce Oldfield. It was great to be part of this, to meet Bruce to take his portrait and details of his glamorous creations at his showroom and atelier around the corner from Harrods.

Here below are a small selection of images I shot that morning.

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It’s all in the detail…

How does one capture the essence of a place?
Here is a second taster of my Insight City Guide to London… Borough market, Kew, Ham House, Hogarth house, Chelsea Physic Garden, Westminster Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, Hampton Court and Chiswick House. I just laugh at the three elderly ladies in Chelsea Physic Garden with the busk of a man’s head amongst the flowers. I often am trying to get low and shoot through layers to create atmosphere. Trying to remember to look for all the angles; the graphic shot from above, or the low down close up where you can almost smell those cakes! Feel free to write to me at the foot of any of my blogs.

Beyond my commissions I teach a few short courses at Morley College, London. Why not come along to one of my ‘Street Photography’ courses? Two Saturday workshop 21 & 28 Sept 2013, and better still a 6 week program, working to themes within Street photography,  3 hrs a week from 4 November 2013.

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

Insight City Guides, London

The House Of Wolf

Earlier this year I was commissioned to photograph the very funky eclectically styled bar #houseofwolf, (http://www.houseofwolf.co.uk) in Islington’s Upper Street, London.
My brief was a nice relaxed portrait of the owner Matt Fleming plus, some interior details of the multi level bar and restaurant, and two close-up food shots of a nice cold pint of beer coupled with their chef’s bar snacks: pork filled doughnuts or chunky chips with a chocolate dip… both great yummy combinations, trust me, (dabbing my mouth with the napkin once the shot was done).

After a quick scout around for where to shoot the portrait I fell in love with this first floor room as the backdrop, with it’s gloriously rich swirling coppery embossed wall paper, mustard coloured leather armchairs and huge circular mirror. The natural light spilling in from the open roof top doors sealed my decision. The crucial thing for me as photographer is directing the pose but at same time capturing a relaxed subject. Hopefully I achieved that here… absolutely nothing to do with sipping delicious cold beer. Matt was great, and very passionate about his work which shows in how he has created the locations aesthetics and what original cuisine to serve in the restaurant as well as the bar food.

A very enjoyable shoot. Very inspirational as hopefully something like that multi stranded, multi bulb light feature in one of my images below will soon be making an appear in my home.

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Another wooly story…

Following close behind the book ‘500 Crochet blocks’ (Quintet Publishing, Autumn 2012)
I also was commissioned to photograph ‘HandKnitted Letters’ published earlier this year worldwide. In my photograph above I liked the twist on the old craft of hand knitting a cover but for the modern day Kindle.

Next stop was having fun and games trying to capture kids in whimsical brightly coloured hand knitted hats that took on various shapes and sizes…

The project was started back in October, and thereafter we battled with keeping toddlers and babies from frost bite on various very cold UK winter days – come March still little improvement. You know what they say about working with kids and dogs, well, add freezing temperatures and bitter winds… However, hurrah! Come April we completed it, and the result for us I must say is a very good looking book. ‘Fun Hats’, Search Press (UK) and ‘Whimsical Hats’, Barrons (USA) will be published Autumn 2013. Below, is a small selection of my favorite shots.

To spin another yarn…

What I love about this job is one minute I am shooting a portrait in a pub in Hackney, or ferrying up the Bosphorus towards the black sea, then a summer knee-deep in boxes of 500 crochet blocks and a different sea of colorful knitting yarn…

I had a great commission to shoot a new book ‘500 Crochet blocks’ by Quintet Publishing. As anyone who has photographed a whole book before knows, once you hit the first scheduled day’s shoot it is full on. But working hard at it I loved the opportunity to draw on my professional past experience as an Art Editor along with being a photographer. I propped, pruned and tweaked my way through over 80 main shots. I dreamt of wool and it stuck to me whereever I went in this summer of 2012, but very happy with the results, (nothing to do with the fact I was off to Istanbul for two weeks afterwards : – ) honest!). Thank you to the team for inviting me to work with you. Everyone worked so hard.

‘Highly professional and endlessly creative, Lydia has produced just the right images for our projects. The books have truly benefitted from her involvement – the photos are eye-catching and perfectly arranged.’ – Margaret Swinson, Production Editor, Quintet Publications.

‘500 Crochet blocks’ search Press Publishing 31/01/2013 UK release date.

Chelsea Flower Show 2012

A great day had at the Chelsea Flower Show press day yesterday. The light may have been a bit flat and dull until late in the day but still the glowing plant and flower combinations were amazing. Also a great opportunity to catch up with lots of familiar faces that I have know from my time as a freelance Art Editor on Gardens’ World magazine and others very talented freelance writers. Many now doing some very interesting blogs.

I did spot the odd famous face but most of time I had my eye looking down the lens at a flower or two. Enjoyed a refreshing complimentary cocktail at The Caravan Clubs garden… very nice , very strong! Waited about an hour before sipping a champaign at the David Austin Stand. Could not go the whole day without a little indulgence.

Here are a few of my images taken on the day: