Thursday, 23 October 2014

California - 400 miles on my bike

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Back in March over an impromptu dinner my friend Oscar announced that he was planning on cycling down Route One in Californian. He casually asked if anyone was interested in joining him and I said: “Why the hell not?”. June seemed a long time away and the first few weeks after that dinner I gave the plan little attention. The closer Oscar’s departure loomed the more I realised I had a fundamental problem: I had no bike. Well, I had a mountain bike but that would be of no use for the 400 mile tour we were embarking on. I also had no tent, no gear and no clue about cycle touring (see the mountain bike from sentence above). Fast-forward a few weeks of frantic email exchanges between my friend and I, many trips to many cycles shops plus much last minute research and I found myself arguing my passenger rights with United Airlines (whose bike travel policy is hugely unfair and I would recommend you looked at other providers if you are planning a cross-Atlantic bike transport).

The one thing I did have a clue about straight away was that I had to travel with my camera. I was keeping equipment to the essentials to save weight, but that was most definitely essential. You may have already seen my Portrait of California but on top of taking pictures of people we met, I also photographed this strange land. California is a place of contradictions: we started in San Francisco, a wonderful city that is surrounded by miles of suburbia that would have tired even the most curious of eyes. Then followed the impressive redwood forests - trees bigger than I have ever seen and forests so lush us Brits can only be jealous of them. And then there was the Big Sur with its dramatic coastline, amazing wildlife and pristine beaches (when not full of sea lions). I think we also saw what is probably all of the world’s strawberries and cycled through the artichoke capital of the world (yes, it is a thing) before hitting LA, which blows your mind with its size. We got off the train and still had a 20 mile cycle ride to our hostel.

Trying to capture the whole 400 miles is an impossible task, but luckily California is a photographer’s dream. The light is dramatic and the views are never boring. And on top of that almost all of the people we bumped into were friendly. One thing is for sure, I will certainly be back to the Golden State.


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See what I mean by all of the strawberries?

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Look carefully here.

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And finally here we are after 400 miles of cycling at 7am in the morning. Thanks Oscar for the amazing trip!

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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Billy Twelvetrees for Crew Clothing

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It is not every day that you get to dunk an England rugby player in the sea. A task made even better when they are sporting a tight white t-shirt. That was exactly what I did as part of my assignment for Crew Clothing in July. My relationship with Crew goes a few years back and I was delighted to be invited to photograph their brand ambassadors in Salcombe during the launch event for their Paddle Board Tour.

Billy had been busy on the beach all day: trying SUP himself, signing autographs for what looked like all the girls in South Devon and representing the Crew brand in all ways possible during the sunny day. When I finally got a moment with the man himself it was clear he could do with a break. I love the sea and believe the best way to relax is to go into it, so Billy and I took a board and paddle, walked away from the crowd and into the sea we went. Despite his career battling on the pitch Billy is a quiet guy. It took a moment to convince him of my ideas, the water was pretty cold after all. However the more we splashed about the more he seemed to be relaxing into it. He is incredibly friendly and all it took in the end was a bit of a team spirit for us to get some great results.


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Thank you Crew Clothing for another fun assignment (you can follow their Instagram here) and thank you Billy for being Salcombe’s Mr Darcy for a few moments with me (and all the girls watching)

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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Portrait of California - Personal Project


You may have noticed my blog disappearance this summer. The reason for this is simple: travel. Work took me near and far but I also travelled for myself and I wouldn’t be myself if I had not taken a camera along. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that it gives me a great excuse to meet new people. One of the things I enjoy most about travel is meeting new people. So when my mate Oscar and I decided to cycle along the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Route 1, I made sure to squeeze a white sheet into my already full panniers - it was going to serve as my background to the portraits I intended to take.

People react to a guy armed with a camera in his full cycling gear differently - some pretend not to hear me asking if they would mind having their photograph taken, some look very confused, others are intrigued, a good proportion of them seem flattered. Along the 400 miles we cycled I met people of all ages and races, young ones and old ones, tourists, immigrants and locals. I talked to excited surf-instructors, teenage posers, shotgun wielding park rangers, currant-loving homeless guys, fellow photographers and many more. Of course, not all agree to have their photo taken, but the ones who do are generally a friendly bunch, happy to share a minute of their day with a complete stranger. 

Here is just a selection of the portraits I have taken of those strangers I encountered cycling from San Franciso to LA on Route One. Travel is not just sights and landmarks - it is the people who make the place you visit, the place it is. You can see more Portraits of California on my website.

Take a look at the whole project here: LINK





Massive thanks to my friend Oscar who inspired the trip and accompanied me on the journey. Here we are 400 miles in at 7am in the morning...



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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Production Designers for The Independent Saturday Magazine

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This weekend saw the publication of my first feature in the Independent's Saturday Magazine. It was a pleasure to capture portraits of production designers Donal Woods and Anna Pritchard for a feature on those behind the scenes in British TV.

Donal is the production designer for Downton Abbey - he is tasked with making it look and feel real and interesting. From choosing the big locations to the colour of the a room's wall it is his ideas that have created the look of Downton. A quiet man who is lost in his internal thoughts he was none-the-less a pleasure to photograph. I met him at Ealing Studios where many of the Downton sets are made and we chose the best location to showcase his behind the scenes influence on what we see on the screen.

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For the same article I also photographed Anna Pritchard. Having had experience on a vast array of TV and film productions Anna is full of stories - she decorated streets in The Matrix and was a runner on Star Wars before starting her career as a production designer. She now creates the look of TV series such as Top Boy and loves conjuring the past in period dramas. I met her first in Twickenham Studios where we photographed her in a huge empty stage before heading off to one of her favourite prop stores where she guided me through many things including cereal packets and detergents of the 70's...

You can read the full feature online here: LINK


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Thanks so much to Donal and Anna for being so accommodating and to The Independent for the fascinating assignment.

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Damian Barr for The Sunday Times Magazine

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The Sunday Times Magazine has a new wine man and his name is Damian Barr. Writer, food lover and drink taster the man welcomed me into a new home that was not really furnished yet. On the floor was the debris from their moving in party a few days before. I moved the bikes aside and set up my portable studio in the middle of it all then sat down to chat with the tea and croissant that he offered me. This is not what I normally get offered when meeting someone to photograph them, but I guess that is what happens when you photograph a food writer.

When we finished the more "formal" photography I wanted to do something a bit different so I looked around at what I saw. Damian has pets, but he is allergic to cats and dogs, so he has pet chickens. A fine way to finish the photo session - one man and his chicken.

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Many thanks to Damian for welcoming me into his home.

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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Barry Dickins for British Airways

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It is a little known fact that I have played guitar on stage in the Royal Albert Hall. Ok the hall was empty and I did it whilst I was waiting for my subject to arrive at a photoshoot. But none the less - I've played the Albert Hall!

You see I had taken my guitar along as a prop for a shoot. The person I was photographing was Barry Dickins. He organises concert venues for musicians and has worked with a truly amazing list of talent: Bob Dylan, The Who, Adele, Neil Young, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Mumford and Sons, Black Sabbath, Paul Simon, Yes, Gun n' Roses...I could go on all day (see here).  This man has met Jimi Hendrix afterall.

I decided I better keep calm and not get carried away asking him annoying questions so instead we took some photos together whilst I tried to play it cool. Barry is a gentle and calm man who was a pleasure to photograph and always looked great in front of the camera. We moved our way around the fantastic venue trying to capture the backstage nature of Barry's job whilst still showing the astounding auditorium it all it's glory.

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Massive thanks to British Airways Business Life for commissioning me for such a wonderful photoshoot.


Me onstage at the Albert Hall


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