Monday, 9 May 2016

"Matt can you punch Tim in the face again please?" - 21st century cavemen for the Sunday Times Magazine

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A while ago I was a teenage boy and I used to question how manly I was quite a lot. Then I grew up, started working and stopped worrying about such things. So it was rather strange to be standing in a field with three other men discussing the “spear” points that I had gained that week from manly activities.


I was on a shoot with the Sunday Times writer Matt Rudd who was learning from Tim Samuels how to be a modern man. Or more precisely a modern caveman. Tim, is rather an expert on being a man - in fact he has quite literally written the book about it. He says that men are built for hunting and gathering and that modern life just doesn’t supply us with a chance these kinds of activities. So we were there to learn from him how we could claim back manhood as Tim took Matt through some testosterone filled activities.


We cut up trees with massive saws and axes - which certainly does improve how manly you feel. I then asked Matt and Tim to hit each other in the face - not something that I can regularly do on shoots. This was part of a boxing class where they were surrounded by men doing yoga poses. The modern caveman, it seems, hits other men but also does yoga. We then finished off in a proper pub with a pint of beer discussing the day's events.

The day made me reconsider how much time I spent doing activities that allow me to be a man - that let me release my aggression in a sensible way. The things I did a lot more of as a teenage boy and just stopped doing when I started having to work for a living. I’m looking forward to tallying up my “spear” points in the future and discovering I am now more of a man than I used to be.

Thanks to the Sunday Times Magazine for the fun commission. Read the article here: LINK

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Brits Abroad Exhibition in Edinburgh

Simon Williams - from the new project @ brits-abroad.com

My Brits Abroad exhibition showing the lives of British people living in Spain is travelling to Scotland for nearly a month. It is showing at Interview Room 11 in the Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh from the 29th of April to the 21st of May.


Come along from 6-8pm on Friday the 29th of April for the preview evening.




Interview Room 11
Ocean Terminal Level 1
Ocean Drive
Edinburgh
EH6 6JJ


Mon- Fri: 10 am - 4 pm
Sat: Midday - 4 pm

See the project online at: www.brits-abroad.com

Francesca Sadlier - A Brit Abroad
Carole Hesketh-Smith - A Brit Abroad
Linda Hutchence - A Brit Abroad
David Marshall - A Brit Abroad

Monday, 18 April 2016

The joy of creating - Kemal Yusuf

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Don’t take your shoot too seriously… photoshoots are about having fun and making stuff. Yes, sometimes they have big budgets, sometimes they have ten clients on set, and sometimes they are for large audiences to look at, but ultimately the most creative space is a fun place.


I enjoyed this in the best of ways when photographing composer Kemal Yusuf. The fun Kemal had when being photographed was so infectious. His creative brain was fascinated by the lighting and the different outcomes that could be created in the same room. We started to talk about the similarities between creating music and creating pictures. He plays with sounds from new instruments, I play with light from new modifiers; he hits a cymbal in a different way and I throw wine all over someone. It’s all about giving it a go and seeing what comes out, then using that in the right way at the right moment. It’s totally infectious to sit opposite someone oozing creative energy in your direction, and it’s great fun.

Kem Trio White

I decided to bring along a new toy to the shoot - a massive machine that could fill a room in about 5 minutes with very thick smoke. In the spirit of having fun we proceeded to fill the room until we could only just see each other and then started taking photos. Neither of us had any idea what the outcome would be like, but we wanted to try it none-the-less. It turns out that it’s quite difficult to focus the camera in this situation, however, it’s totally worth it when you can: the room falling away into white with Kemal emerging out of it with an excited grin on his face.


Kemal is a composer who has just been given his big break - he has been commissioned to write a symphony for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and The Festival Chorus it looks set to introduce the world of classical music to Kemal’s talents. He’s also one of the nicest people around and infectiously creative. Check out his work on his website: http://www.kemalyusuf.com/

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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Cuba

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What do you see when you hear "Cuba"? The colours? The rum? The revolution? Few places evoke such clear images to those who have never been there. We all get a feeling of Cuba, but how much of it is Cuba really?

There’s so much life in Cuba. It overflows into the streets: music, colours, smells. There’s also so much poverty: buildings crumbling, empty shops, begging on every corner. It is a country easily glossed over, easily made much more colourful, much happier than what I believe it actually is. Words failed me on numerous occasions, so how about I let the pictures do the talking...

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Sunday, 13 March 2016

Dr Chris and Dr Xand for The Sunday Times Magazine

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“We’ll do anything”

That’s the best thing anyone I’m going to photograph can say to me. It is exactly what Dr Chris said to me when I was talking to him about our shoot for The Sunday Times Magazine. Suddenly my mind was overflowing with ideas.

I was already excited about my shoot with Dr Chris and his twin brother Dr Xand. They are pretty well known for doing crazy stuff on TV in the name of science. They’ve changed diets, challenged their bodies in various ways and blown up a weeks worth of methane-farts. They bring science to the TV viewing audience in the most fun was possible. Oh, and they also consult with the UN on migration, get called up when Ebola breaks out and are generally very intelligent.

“What props can you bring?” I asked.
“How about dry ice?” replied Chris, ”or maybe butane gas? If you bubble that through fairy liquid then light it it makes for a fantastic flame… I’ve also got some giant beakers and a 3D print out of my own skull if that’s a good prop...”
“Bring it all...”

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You can read about Chris and Xand in today’s Sunday Times Magazine relative values column: LINK

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Fake moustaches for the BBC

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There’s nothing like looking through your lens at the beautiful Hannah Fry: long amber hair blowing back, blue eyes staring dangerously down your lens, a cheeky wink in her eye and a massive moustache blocking her face…

I’m a big believer that work should be fun. Particularly photoshoots. There’s no point in putting people in front of a camera – where almost everyone feels awkward – without making an effort to relax them. It’s even better if they can enjoy the experience. So I get the music playing, enjoy myself and do my best to share that feeling with my subjects. If people feel at home and relaxed we make the best images.

I photographed Hannah Fry and Adam Rutherford for their new BBC Radio 4 programme The Curious Case of Rutherford and Fry. Two exceptionally fun presenters turned up to the studio and we proceeded to laugh almost non-stop for an hour. This was improved even more by the programme’s producer bringing a selection of detective inspired props to the shoot. Playing around with detective props was excellent, Hannah made silly expressions extra big through the magnifying glass, Adam did his best Robert De Niro impressions and looked very dandy with a pipe, and everyone in the studio couldn’t stop laughing at the resulting pictures popping up on the computer screen.

Their programme is great, I thoroughly recommend checking it out: LINK

Thanks to The BBC for commissioning the awesome shoot and the Hannah and Adam for being so much fun to photograph.

The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry
The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry
The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Nigel Farage for The Sunday Times Magazine

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There aren’t many people in Britain who’s political views I disagree with more than Nigel Farage. So when The Sunday Times Magazine got in touch asking me to photograph him I was uncertain how best to proceed. A quick google shows many pictures of Mr Farage as a caricature: in a pub, a beer in one hand and a massive laugh on his face. I wanted to do something a bit different and capture the human side of this man.


I have never before photographed someone so aware of himself when in front of a camera. Photoshoots are a give and take between photographer and subject, each person pushes the shoot in a different direct. With Mr Farage when I tried to push beyond what he felt was right for his image he politely told me: “I’m not doing that.” But you keep asking, keep trying and eventually you find a balance. He was happy to chat and laugh, to puff cigars and share drives and ambitions in front of my lens. Plus a bit of flattery goes a long way. All I needed was for him to relax for a few minutes and show his real self to me.

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