A softened approach to Corporate Portraits

I was very pleased this month to be commissioned by Southbank BID, (Southbank Employment group) to photograph all their new company profile portraits and team shots.

I understood the brief that the portraits were to convey both professionalism and warm approachability. A friendly group of people that are focused on contributing to the regeneration of positive use of the surrounding public realm for visitors, businesses and local residents and therefore needed a softer look. I decided against the traditional corporate portrait shot with a bright plain white backdrop and went for the softer subtle interior look, still keeping it uncluttered but featuring posters commissioned by Southbank BID’s marketing team in the background and a natural feel to the lighting.

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The skill to photographing portraits of people not use to their picture being taken is beyond the technical aspects of handling camera and lighting. It is firstly the ability to communicate warmly and relaxed, putting them at easy and actually making it fun. It always puts a smile on my face when editing images later to see the laughter in the ones that do not make the final cut, as they look like they are having far too much fun! It is the hardess thing to capture that fleeting subtle smile across the eyes and in the corners of the mouth. Once achieved my feelings soar high that I captured it in camera.

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Another essential ability of a portrait photographer is to find, but not force a pose from the subject that communicates to the viewer, and recognise different poses suit different personalities and body types. After 21 staff portraits it was an achievement that day that every one of them found their best side : – )

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Capturing the pose in portraiture is all about the eyes, arms, shoulders and the hands… the most important aspects that reflect a lot of what is going on inside.

I enjoy people – meeting new and interesting charactors to photograph, and look forward to all those I am yet to meet and photograph.

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Glasgow Grandeur

Glee tearing open my early morning post today to feast my eyes on my complimentary January issue of Conde Nast Traveller – quick to thumb to the pages with my published images for yet another ‘In Britian’ feature, this time ‘Glasgow’.

I recall getting my 5am taxi to City London airport excited to see a new Scottish city for me. Slight butterflies how it would be as it was just days before the Scotish referendum. What questions would I get asked in the street… what discussions to avoid! It all turned out good in end with a taste of great interiors, art, and stylist new eateries. The odd sip of Whiskey, and only twice on the receiving end of sharp Glaswegian wee blether.

Here, I would like to share some of the images…

Kelvingrove Cafe

Kelvingrove Cafe

Above: Not too far from the Kelvingrove Art Gallery is The Kelvingrove Cafe a converted ice-cream parlour with lovely tactile wooden parquet flooring, tangerine walls, deep burnt chocolate coloured leather booths and service of delicious cocktails. Great stop for brunch or a livelier stylish evening crowd.

Below: My next stop was The Crabshakk seafood restaurant, Argyle Street where I could not resist asking this member of staff to step into one of my shots.

Crabshakk

Next photograph to set was this wonderful seafood dish below which conveniently made a very good late lunch option for me : – ) Looking at this image now makes my mouth water.Crabshakk

A short walk away is the grand Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum who’s entrance hall has your head in a spin gazing up at the gloriously huge Art Deco lighting. Suddenly music bellowed around the walls as a diminutive figure sat at the far end playing possibly the largest church organ I have ever seen! Off to the right hall a grand staircase leads you up to high surround balcony where I was amused by the floating heads instillation.

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Whilst the Original Glasgow school of Art designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is still under repair from a fire, across the road is the Modern Seona Reid Building which forms part of school of art today an exciting place to study with a large international intake.

Seona Reid Building

Byres Road is the location of Kember & Jones’ delicious custard tarts, macaroons and meringue with summer fruit…

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Further along Byres road the Nardini’s ice cream parlour…CNT_Glasgow_2014-1030

The Drygate Brewery – craft ales The Drygate Brewery CompanyThe Drygate Brewery Company

Below: Style and glamour of Blythswood Square Hotel restaurantThe Blythwood Square Hotel

Stroll through Gardens of Pollock House, Pollock parkCNT_Glasgow_2014-1153

Vintage finds at The City Retro boutiqueThe City retro fashion

CNT_GlasgowJan2015Issue

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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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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The Decorative Ceramics of Karin Moye

When I have been commissioned to photograph Artist/designer’s profile features I have often found myself loving and wanting to take home with me a piece of the work by the artist. Karin Moye’s work I love not only for it’s decorative quality and gorgeous colour pallet and combinations, but because of the illustrative folk art feel of her motifs, (http://www.katrinmoye.com). I use to be a published illustrator, so they are very appealing to my taste. I really regret not picking up one or two pieces of her work. I am sure they would make me smile every time I should go to sip my morning tea.

If anyone was lucky enough to be at the Bovey Tracey contemporary craft fair in Devon this past weekend, 7-9 June (www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk) then you may well have been lucky enough to come across her stall. It truly enhances my experiences as a photographer, to have a small creative memento to my day’s shoot. Here below are a few images I shot at the time for the BBC Homes & Antiques magazine up in Karin’s Nottingham studio…

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http://katrinmoye.wordpress.com

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.

Cuba covered…

The Malecon, Havana, Cuba

I discovered this week that the image above that I photographed on the Malecon in Havana, Cuba has been bought for a cover of a book. I always get excited when I see an image of mine republished. Although I have shot both Time Out ‘Havana and the best of Cuba’ and ‘The Rough guide to Cuba’, this was a personal image I took on a much earlier trip, back in the day of ‘film’ photography. I once entered it into a Guardian photographic competition and it did make it to be featured on their website. See below a handful of some other favorite photographs I have taken in Cuba…

Afro Cuban Dance performance about to start in Havana Vieja

A road trip to Suffolk and beyond…

It was great to be invited by Country Living magazine to photograph one of their first ‘Dream Business’ features. I could not have asked for a better visually beautiful business to shoot than ‘The Pump Street Bakery’ in Orford, Suffolk, (Issue February 2013). They are the winners of BBC Food Awards – Best Food Producer 2012. I was blessed to have a bright Autumn day for my shoot and thought I would share some of the images I like to wet your appetite…

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I arrived at 6am after a VERY early start driving out of North West London. These guys though had been there from about 2.30am! They held back some of the product for my arrival but very rapid photographing was required as rising dough needed to be put in and out ovens with specific timings. I dashed between floors in the bakery photographing pastries on the ground level and breads on the first floor. I grabbed sips of a freshly made coffee and did not say no to a freshly cooked doughnut straight out of the machine whilst at the same time re-setting up my tripod in different spots around the busy workers. There was just so much that caught my eye to shoot.

Once Cedric Citroen, (the mobile bread shop) was loaded up, we took a short trip down a country lane into Orford itself to the shop and cafe. The staff were so friendly and very patient as I had to pick my way around customers and cake stands fully of wonderful crafted eccles and a variety of pastries to get my shots.

THANK YOU! to all there that day. For my wonderful homemade soup, the interesting conversation exchanged with locals and accommodating my efforts to do a good job. Cheers!

Country Living Feature Feb 2013

http://pumpstreetbakery.com

@pumpstreetbakery

A taste of Istanbul…

Last month I had the great commission from Rough Guides to shoot their new Pocket guide to Istanbul. I was very excited to be going to photograph a city I had never been before. Arrived at my five star bunk bed in my very own hostel room, and off I went for 13 days traversing the different neighborhoods by antique red tram, the tunnel, electric T1 and ferries of various shapes, sizes and quality. Here are a handful of images to share the wonderful delights and food! of Istanbul: Click on thumbnails to view larger size.

Travel photography is seen by some as a glamours job… but the days are long, carrying
a tripod for hours, passing tourists sipping tea in their best holiday clothes. Then at the end of the day downloading, captioning, and editing into the night. But heck! I can not complain – the highs are getting lost in the back streets, eating the food you photograph, and the interesting encounters with other travelers on ferry crossings, hearing their tales of where they have just arrived from and their hopes to where they plan their travels will take them; swapping tips on good places to check out. Another late afternoon after getting my final shot of the day, I got to watch the sun set over the mosques and the Maiden’s tower from the Asian shore of Istanbul, whilst sipping my own sweet tea. Getting on a VERY local bus that would wind its way up through the hills to drop me off with a 20 minute vertical walk to a view of where the Bosphorus meets the Black Sea. As the sun was dropping fast zig zagging back down the Bosphorus missing and catching wrong ferries to eventually arrive back to my Hostel to edit with a nice cold bottle of beer… or two.

The best bit is once home home, working through all your images, smiling and appreciating the opportunity you where given, and sharing my pictures and stories with my son.

Ladies Of The Rise – April

Living in such a creative neighborhood full of energetic talented ladies is never more apparent than popping along to the group ‘Ladies Of The Rise’, a new monthly soiree in Kensal Green. I was invited to photograph their second event with guest speaker Juliet Kinsman, Editor and chief of luxury travel specialists ‘Mr and Mrs Smith‘ interviewed by television and radio presenter Gaby Roslin. Rebel Bakery supplied us with very tasty cakes. Lucky I was very busy photographing or I would have eaten too many! Here is a handful of the images I took of the night.