Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Yes, Minister - press portraits of Nicky Morgan MP

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Clients coming back is always a pleasant feeling. And even more so when the client is the Education Secretary in David Cameron’s cabinet.


In 2013 I photographed Nicky Morgan MP for TopSante and I was very excited to be contacted by her press office just after the most recent cabinet reshuffle. Nicky had been appointed Secretary of State for Education and her team needed some more photos. Needless to say - I will always find time for a minister in her majesty’s government. My schedule however busy is nothing in comparison to Nicky’s so when we finally found a date we met really early in the morning before Westminster really woke up. Twenty minutes was all we had, so I had to make the most of the beautiful weather and the excellent mood the minister was in.

Nicky is an energetic and impressive woman. She is also so nice and approachable, which restores one’s faith in politics. Having said this, I often find I take best portraits when I ask the sitter something confrontational. In this case I asked Nicky to convince me to vote Conservative in the next general elections. She was given no warning I’d be doing this (I only came up with this idea when setting lights up) and expected her to take a moment of consideration. Instead Nicky launched straight into an argument, eloquently and persuasively laying out the main reasons not just I, but the rest of the country, should vote Tory. I won’t be telling you how I am voting, but I will tell you that we got some great pictures of Nicky. Keep an eye out on her as I get a feeling the name Nicky Morgan will keep popping up this year. Hopefully accompanied by my portraits.

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

What inspires you to do your job? Promotional portraits of Afroditi Krassa

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If you have ever grabbed a quick lunch at istu you will be familiar with their interior design. The clean and crisp lines with dapples of colour are a great addition to the otherwise rather uniform cafe landscape in central London. Who would have thought that the design was most likely inspired by … movies.

I met the mind behind itsu’s brand, product designer Afroditi Krassa, to take some promotional shots of her for Camron PR. Afroditi has come to prominence with her itsu design, but once you start looking around her style can be seen throughout London - from Heston’s The Perfectionists Cafe at Heathrow to Curzon cinemas - Afroditi has provided the hospitality business with her creativity and ideas. Design however is not her only passion and she draws her inspiration largely from film. Armed with this knowledge I knew exactly how I wanted to photograph her.

Afroditi’s passion for film means she is a frequent cinema-goer. I was keen to include this in my portraits, so after taking a few classic head shots of Afroditi in her studio, we headed out to a local cinema. I have always thought it must be fun to see your name in those big letters above cinema entrances. I guess I am not alone as Afroditi was keen to be photographed putting up letters spelling her name above our cinema. In the final image a whole team of Afroditis are busy getting ready for the night at the cinema all dedicated to Afroditi.

Designer Afroditi Krassa photographed in her London Studio
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Thanks to Camron PR for a fun assignment and to Afroditi for being such an approachable and friendly collaborator. You can find out more about Afroditi’s work on her website.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

2014 - A damn fine year

2014 - What a year

Happy New Year! It seems like my last year review blog post was only a glimpse away and here I am looking back at 2014. And what a year it was. Photography took me travelling for work and for personal projects, I shot some excellent personalities, met some great people and I am hungry for more of all of these in 2015.

Personal work

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Faces of the Flood

The beginning of 2014 was rainy and I waded through it. The floods in the South West of England really affected me and I wanted to contribute to the efforts made during the crisis. The story of the amazing people working in the Somerset Levels is my small part in raising awareness of the dire situation the region found itself in as well as a tribute to the amazing effort of the community. The project was featured on the BBC website, the Independent and It’s Nice That. More photos: http://www.charliecliftphotography.com/projects/faces-of-the-flood#


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Portrait of California

This was a year of travel - when cycling along Route One from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the summer I photographed the people I met on the way. Armed with just a white sheet and my camera I took portraits of the people who are as much a part of travel as sights are. The project was featured on Creative Boom. More photos: http://www.charliecliftphotography.com/projects/portrait-of-california#


Commissions

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UnitedHealthcare Global

The theme of travel was present in my commissioned work as well. I started a fruitful relationship with a number of exciting clients. UnitedHealthcare Global asked me to photograph an image library for their global launch which required travelling across three continents to 11 locations. From Dallas through Dar Es Sallam to Dubai, I photographed UnitedHealthcare Global’s multinational team and captured the business travel lifestyle so familiar to their clients.

Blog post 2 - Tanzania

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The weekend magazines

Editorial work remains one of my greatest passions. I am very proud to now shoot for both The Sunday Times Magazine and The Independent Saturday Magazine. The latter is a new addition to my portfolio - I thoroughly enjoyed shooting TV production designers for one of their issues in September. Shooting John Hamilton and his collection of cookbooks must also be one of my favourite commissions ever received. The Sunday Times Magazine has put me in front of their new wine critic as well as their god of small things among other commissions. These jobs are always tight on time and more than rewarding.


Tim - part of "Over the Hill", a photographic project

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And speaking of fascinating commissions I was contacted by Tim Andrews in 2014 as well. You may have heard of his project “Over The Hill”. Tim suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and he has kept a photographic record of his illness ever since his diagnosis. He has now been photographed by over 300 photographers and the exhibition of the works so far happened earlier in 2014 as well. I had the pleasure of photographing Tim after he saw my image of Clare Foges in The Sunday Times Magazine.

Molly the dog, photographed for Tatler

And now for something completely different...

Way back in January last year I took my very first portrait for Tatler. Do you enjoy Andrew Neil’s political shows on the BBC? Well, his Golden Retriever Molly certainly enjoys her visits to the set. I met Andrew and Molly on set of This Week and took a portrait of them for Tatler’s Pet of the Month in the January issue. A great opening to an even greater year.

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A big big thanks for everyone who made this all possible. I could not have had a better year and it would not be possible without the fantastic producers (Thirdberg, I am looking at you), assistants (you know who you are!), make-up artists, stylists, art directors and commissioning clients.


And finally thanks to Olga for being constantly there for me through everything, she is such an amazing woman.

Here’s to 2015 - I can’t wait for it all to happen!