Latest Posts

  • The Way I Dress: Anthology

    Over a two year period I made about 20 short films for MrPorter.com, each one a study of a man dressing while a voiceover by each man allowed him to express his thoughts on style, fashion and work. This 4 minute cut features a few of my favourite moments from some of those films and features, Waris Ahluwalia, Nick Sullivan, Nick Waterhouse, Andrew Weitz, David McAlmont, Joshua Kissi, Simon Hammerstein, Douglas Friedman and Jed Lind.

  • The Full Spectrum

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    It was such a thrill to get an email from Janette at BAFTA in mid March asking me if I’d like to shoot this year’s TV portfolio.  I’d wanted to work with BAFTA for years. It was one of my bucket list shoots.  We had three days in early April and about 20 people to photograph.  The timings were insanely tight and a detailed bar chart prepared to delineate between arrival, interview, hair, make up, video interview and photo shoot timings for each person.  A proper military op. I had to approach it in quite a general way and set up a couple of different lighting scenarios that would work well for everybody – men, women, young, old – and then tweak each one as they arrived for their time with me.  Fortunately you can always get a really good look at them while they are in the make up chair and more than once I was regarded a little suspiciously by my subjects as I plonked myself down next to them and stared at their faces in the mirror trying to work out how best to light and approach each one photographically. The theme of the shoot was ‘The…

  • A Triptych of Confrontations

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        Three days in the same week, three well known people, three unique encounters on the confrontation/collaboration curve. All of these encounters are built from the same basic structure in that each was scheduled to last for a short period of time – one to two hours – and each took place in an alien environment, on the subject’s turf.   All have been doing what they do for a long time and it could be said are known for a particular integrity, as well as sometimes a certain spikiness.   What do I mean by the confrontation/collaboration curve?   In an earlier blog post on my portraits of Ray Winstone I alluded to it and it has been bobbling around in the back of my head like a ball on a roulette wheel ever since. All great portraiture has to involve a combination of collaboration and confrontation, represented by the imaginary line that connects photographer to subject and upon which it’s necessary for the two to meet if anything at all is going to happen.  If the two meet somewhere in the middle third I’d say that was a collaboration. Anywhere on the third at each end then it’s…

  • Have A Good Weekend, I’ll See You Monday

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      Late March 2003, a Friday, I am living in New York City. Been here for almost three years, my trips back to London confined to Christmas and the two months in the summer when the concrete and glass serves only to exacerbate the fetid and oppressive humidity of the place, rat people darting from one air conditioned refuge to another.   All my life, The Beatles have been here. They saturate my earliest memories. A babysitter playing ‘Help’ on my dad’s stereo that lived inside a glass cabinet.  Just the sound of ‘The Night Before’, the reverb, colours my impression of the sixties as a time of space, light and opportunity. Young men bombing about a deserted late night London in Minis, with beautiful girls in mini skirts and knee high boots, before going back to Habitat flats with record players on the floor. Who cares if it was true. The records made me feel like it was.   I became obsessed with everything about them: their accents, their wit, their hair, especially their hair. Even today I can have deep conversations with like minded types on what defines peak hair for The Beatles. My thoughts on this can…

  • All The Way Down The Line

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    When I was young and the world was wide open, I thought that  it would be enough to be able to tell people who asked, that I was a photographer, that I took or made pictures for a living. It seemed so perfectly succinct and circular. I am a…..photographer.  The word ‘photography’ is the joining together of two Greek words: ‘photos’ meaning light and ‘graphe’  meaning drawing. Going by these definitions  ‘photography’ gives us ‘drawing with light.’   Then I got older and, fortunately, I got a career. What fell by the wayside though, was the idea that I could just be a photographer. So naive.  I’ve had all kinds of work in my portfolios. People, landscapes, still life, reportage. Never any watches though. I couldn’t think of anything I’d like to do less than spend a life photographing watches. Literally seeing your life tick by at work. I did once photograph the stopwatch that timed Roger Bannister’s sub-four minute mile but that was different. That was a watch with a unique history and a charisma of its own.   As the years have gone by I’ve slowly evolved and narrowed my field of expertise down to one singular element of practice…

  • Whitney Bromberg Hawkings

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    Whitney Bromberg Hawkings has been Tom Ford’s PA and right hand woman for over 15 years and is now senior vice president of communications for his eponymous label. On dressing for Tom and work: “It’s like being ready for your first date every day of your life — everything has to be perfect.”  Watch the video, below, of Whitney in her London house sprinkling her assured Texan insouciance across the domestic landscape as she prepares for another day at the high altar of style.

  • Beaten Up And Bashed Around: An Afternoon With Ralph Steadman

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    A call from Esquire creative director David McKendrick late in the afternoon of Wednesday 7th August. Pure hundred percent Scot. Calls everybody ‘Big Man’, regardless of gender. Big man, wee man, the last time I saw him he was wearing a tartan pashmina. “Big man, ah’ve got something nice I’d like ye to do. A wee film of Ralph Steadman but it’s quite complicated in terms of how we want ‘e do it. Can ye come in and meet the team for a wee chat.” Sounds great. How about Friday, two days from now? “Ach, no can do, Big Man. Friday is the day we need to actually shoot it.” Right then. Tomorrow morning it is then. Following morning, off I trundle to London. I live out in the country now. Trips to London aren’t difficult but they’re a day out. I need to take sandwiches. Well, not sandwiches per se, more like my phone charger and a book.   In the meeting it’s explained that Esquire is to launch a weekly iPad version of the magazine. Original content, top deck material. They want me to produce two films; one for the iPad edition and a separate one for the…

  • Five Books I Love

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    I wrote this last year for the website It’s Nice That and I thought it would also be nice to place it here too. So, these five, among many, many others are some books I love. Lee Friedlander: American Musicians My all time number one favourite book. A masterclass spanning 30 years, from the late 1950s to the late 1980s, in how to photograph not only musicians but the greatest musicians of the 20th Century at that. Apart from my children, it’s the first thing I’d save in a fire. Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Mahalia Jackson, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, in studios, on the road, in their homes, boarding houses, hotels, buses, cars, city streets, country juke joints, gospel, jazz, country, blues, it goes on and on and on. The intimacy of the work is astounding. It could only have been achieved by someone that was liked and trusted, as well as brilliant. Only Frank is missing. You like soul music? This is soul photography. Richard Avedon: Evidence The diametric opposite of Friedlander’s work – detached, aloof, deadly. See his portrait of Marilyn Monroe, lost to the world in her solipsism. Avedon is the…

  • Gwyneth Leech for Anthropologie

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    A lovely commission from Anthropologie to make a two minute film on Gwyneth Leech, a New York based artist who draws intricate and beautiful things on paper coffee cups.  Each day she reuses her morning coffee cup to draw or paint a scene. She then signs the bottom of the cup and writes the date and event that inspired it.  Gwyneth has now done over 1000 cups and Anthropologie curator Wendy Wurtzburger asked her to allow them to reproduce eight of these pieces on ceramic versions of the cups for sale throughout the brand.  As part of London Design Week the Regent Street store in London also asked Gwyneth to hang 365 of them in their window and all this week she has been sitting among them drawing on new cups, allowing passersby to watch her at work. This film, ’365: A Year In Cups’, was shot in the window of the Regent Street store on Monday 16th September 2013 and the music on the film is by Kevin Cormack who makes up fifty percent of Half Cousin

  • Ronald David Wood

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    We are in a prime piece of four storey Georgian Mayfair, on the first floor, the second floor if you are American.  The place attracts a multinational crowd.  It’s not an art gallery. It’s a fine art gallery. As I said, a multinational crowd.  Cultured people with good legs and fine watches. I am here to photograph Ronald David Wood. He is the artist in residence at the gallery.  Up on the top floor is his studio. It has all his paints, his brushes, his canvases, a snooker table, and although he’s not actually living here, a huge bed should he wish to take advantage of the resources and crash for a while.  Later on I make a joke about how handy this must be if he doesn’t have enough money in his pockets for a cab back to Holland Park, especially after a big night out in the West End.  It went right off the cliff.  Sometimes I worry that I get too subtle at the key moments. I’ve been doing it for years. Everybody who works here calls him Ronnie. They tell me what to expect. Ronnie likes to be involved in the creative process. Ronnie doesn’t like to…