Sunday, 18 December 2016

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee for The Sunday Times Magazine


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It is not every day you get to meet a double Olympic medalist. Let alone two. I’m not sure what I expected from the experience, but I certainly didn’t predict the Brownlee brothers would be quite so unassuming and down to earth. Alistair won Gold in the last two olympics for the triathlon and his brother Jonny won a bronze in London and a silver in Rio. They are super friendly, relaxed, and approachable, with no ego to speak of. What a pleasure to meet these guys who quietly do amazing things.


I photographed Alistair and Jonny for Relative Values in Sunday Times Magazine. Thanks to Emily for the commission.
Find out more about the brothers here: LINK

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The Dickens Sisters for The Sunday Times Magazine

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“Can I dress you up in Dickensian costumes?”
“No way! That is taking it too far…”
“Go on it will be great fun.”
“No, that’s an awful idea.”
“Please, I really do think it would look amazing.”
“Well… um... maybe…if we were men and not women.”

I had had the same conversation with both Sophie and Lucy Dickens separately. Neither of the sisters had been that up for the idea of making the photoshoot all about their great-great-grandfather. However, if we had fun with that idea then why the hell not.

So it was a few days later I found myself in Angels costume store, surrounded by Victorian era outfits with two giggling sisters flashing their ankles at me from underneath petticoats and sticking fake moustaches onto each other. Exactly the kind of shoot I love.

Lucy and Sophie are impressive artists. Do check out their work on their websites:
Sophie Dickens

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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Full time assistant job



UPDATE This role has now been filled.

Dreaming of a career full of lights, cameras and action?
A natural born communicator with a talent for Twitter?
An efficient email enthusiast?
I have a job for you.
The Role
I am looking for a full-time assistant to join me on the ever-more-exciting adventure of capturing great personalities and creating awesome portraits. You may have seen my work in The Sunday Times, the BBC, and The National Portrait Gallery. I have photographed personalities ranging from homeless people in London to Nobel Prize laureates and I want you to join me on the next step.

A Typical Day
A day at my office will consist of supporting me on numerous tasks - from managing my diary and keeping an eye on my inbox, to arranging meetings with clients on my behalf. You will regularly produce blog posts and social media content and will help promote my work online. You’ll help with basic photoshoot production, from booking spaces to equipment management to finding the right models or hotels. And when I am out on a shoot, you can come too, carrying equipment, grabbing coffees, juggling files and suggesting ideas.

You are the right person if...
  • You are looking for a foot in the photography door.
  • You produce a tick list of tasks without being told to do so. You’re an inbox-zero type with time management skills to match.
  • You are as eloquent when facing a 140 character limit as you are explaining ideas to clients. You speak well on the phone. You write well.
  • You know your Adams from your Avedon. You do not need to know your Canon from your Nikon.
  • You are happy to take the lead, but equally happy to take on a menial task if it means a better outcome for the team.
  • A 4am wake-up call does not throw you and wading in icy-cold streams for a day isn’t an issue.
  • You are cool under pressure and level-headed when facing difficulties.

Extra awesome if...
  • Every day is a school day for you. Your eagerness will take you further.
  • You are great on Instagram, know a tweet from a retweet and appreciate the importance of LinkedIn.
  • You have a driving licence and don’t mind taking the wheel from time to time.
  • You like the dog at the studio and the cat that may occasionally visit.

In return I can offer you
  • A chance to learn a tremendous amount about running a photography business. From the daily grind to the red carpet - you will get a chance to experience it all and play your part in it.
  • A solid starting salary
  • A fun, relaxed environment to work in
  • An opportunity to develop your skills as a photographer - feel free to use the gear when I am not using it
  • Flexible hours

You will be working full time, but the hours are flexible. We’ll both be based in my studio in Hearne Hill, or on location wherever is required.
This is a 6 month initial contract (with an 8 week probation period) with the possibility of further extensions.

Does that sound like a match?
Send the following to info@charliecliftphotography.com
  • Covering letter: tell me why you think this is a job for you. Feel free to be as creative as you like.
  • Sample Blog Post: write about a photography project you have been involved in (e.g. a shoot, a trip, an event). Include a few tweets with it.
  • Your CV



Thursday, 8 December 2016

Ray Mears for the Sunday Times Magazine

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“Can you drive into that stream please?”
“Light a fire there please.”
“Sit in that mud please.”
“Do you mind if we pour water on your head?”

Ray Mears is not a man to complain. Maybe it’s because he is a photographer himself, but he was totally dedicated to getting the most from our shoot for the Sunday Times Magazine. After giving me a guided off-road tour in his Landrover we finally decided to shoot his portrait in a stream. He drove his vehicle into a ridiculous position, jumped out and proceeded to crack on with his bushman skills. In the time it took me to set up a softbox he had a fire going and coffee on the boil. Just to help matters the rain started pouring and the wind picked up. But Ray still didn’t complain and whilst my assistants and I waded around in the stream firing smoke machines at him and throwing leaves all over the place he just sat calmly and told us stories about his travels.

If you ever need someone to go to in a post-apocalyptic world, I totally recommend Ray Mears. A fine man with amazing skills who is full of stories.

Thanks to Emily at The Sunday Times Magazine for the fun assignment.



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Monday, 5 December 2016

Don't take a picture, give it - Help Portrait at The Passage

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Don’t take a photo, give it.

That’s the motto of the Help Portrait movement. Founded in the USA but taken up by people around the world it has become a way for the photography community to give back and use their talents to help others. A photoshoot is a wonderful way of paying attention to someone in a very personal way and making them feel significant. It's also a great fun experience and the memories from it can last a lifetime.
The Passage is London’s largest charity helping and guiding homeless and vulnerable people everyday. We wanted to give our time to those people who are often ignored by society and leave them with an experience to remember - as well as some great photos. So we descended on the center in Victoria and set up a full photo studio inside. Every person to step in front of my camera was amazing. They were awesome people who really embraced the experience. We had some singing Elvis to us, a few telling us their story, and others posing in the most exuberant way. I love the photos we made together. We printed the images for each of them to keep and we will be sharing the photos online to help raise awareness of the work the Passage does.

To donate to the Passage please head over here: http://passage.org.uk/donate/

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Mim Quin-Harkin - stylist
Pascale Recher - Make-up
Katherin Cotton - organising
Liam Bergin - production
Angela Dennis - photo assistant
Colin Chan - retouching
Pete @ Picturepulse.com - BTS video
Tildy Allan - assistant
Fotospeed - paper donation

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The best street in Shoreditch - Wileyfox Swift 2 Phone



God bless the people of Shoreditch. There is an amazing corner right outside Shoreditch High Street station that literally has hundreds of wonderful and unique people walking past it all day long - the perfect place for a photoshoot.

This story starts with me showing my portfolio to the art buyers at Hogarth & Ogilvy. Something must have clicked because a few days later I got a call asking me to shoot a campaign in the same style as my Portrait of California project.

This was for a tech company called Wileyfox who want people to see their mobile phones as different, fun, and exciting. So Dan at Ogilvy decided to make a video in a different way: using just still images - and all those images would be portraits. But how do you find enough people to photograph who are different, fun and exciting with only a couple of days until the shoot?

Cue a fearless team who could walk up to strangers and ask to photograph them, a white sheet stuck to a wall outside Shoreditch High Street, vast quantities of energy providing jelly babies, and a nearly endless supply of interesting people walking past. 75 portrait shoots later and we had everything we needed and more. Here is what Dan made with the shots - I love it.



Monday, 14 November 2016

Caught in the moment - Middlesbrough's promotion to the Premier League

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Everyone knew that the moment the final whistle went the crowd would go insane. The pitchside security had given up trying to control them. I waited, crouched behind the goal eager to capture the moment. The whistle went. One person made a jump for the barrier. Then another. Two more. Then a tsunami of fans poured onto the pitch. Grown men crying. People screaming with happiness. Euphoria took over the air as Middlesbrough celebrated.

I had been chosen by the Premier League to capture the feelings of the final match of the season. My brief was to watch the crowd and photograph them. It’s the strangest way to be in a stadium - you don’t know what’s happening on the pitch, but you do know the emotions of the people around you intimately. Every movement watched intensely, every goal a triumph, every miss a tragedy.

I finished the night standing on a seat overlooking a pitch covered in people, chants echoing around the stadium summing up what awaited them next season...

“WE. ARE. PREMIER LEAGUE. WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE.”

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Friday, 28 October 2016

BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2016

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“Don’t ask me about apple pie… it’s a bit too personal”

When you have to spend two days photographing the best of the best in new talent you don’t quite know what to expect. It turns out that you can discover some of their more intimate secrets. Did you know that Malachi Kirby is almost romantic about his love for apple pie? Florence Pugh on the other hand has a thing for the taste of unripe bananas. And there’s nothing like dancing with Kayode Ewumi. Not only can he move his hips in an alluring manner, but he also very good at playing air guitar whilst winking at the camera. He really is a flirt, as were a lot of the BAFTA Breakthrough Brits to be honest.

BAFTA asked me to photograph their new team of Breakthrough Brits. Selected by a star-studded jury this group of talented people from the TV, film and gaming worlds are definitely worth keeping an eye on. It was a total pleasure meeting them all and I can’t wait to see what they create next.

To find out more about the Breakthrough Brits head over to the BAFTA site: LINK


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Kayode Ewumi

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Malachi Kirby

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Tom Davis

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Ruth Madeley

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Nainita Desai
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Eben Bolter

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Vinay Patel

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Florence Pugh

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Kayode Ewumi
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Ellen Husain