I'm really looking forward to speaking at Clifford Chance, one of the official sponsors of the Rugby World Cup, next week and being chosen to judge their photo competition in the lead up to the tournament being held in the UK later in the year
I have been honoured to work closely with a charity Rays of Sunshine which grants wishes to terminally ill children and those with severe disabilities for a number of years. I recently helped on a wish with a charming young man named Lewis who had asked to be accompanied by a professional photographer to learn how to photograph wildlife, specifically his favourie animal giraffes. Despite the slightly cold temperatures, we therefore took him, with the wonderful staff from Keech House Hospice, to Whipsnade Wildlife Park just north of London which is a drive through safari and allows you to get very close to many different animals.
To start the day and to Lewis' total surprise, we presented him with a DSLR camera. The look of surprise and joy on his face was priceless and it was extremely fulfilling seeing how happy the gift had made him. I then preceded to show him how to use his new camera, demonstrating the various settings and explaining the fundamentals of digital photography before we set off to photograph some wildlife in the field.
Of course, we headed straight to the giraffe enclosure (no surprises there!) where the surprises kept on coming. Lewis to his amazement was told that he had adopted one of the giraffes and presented with a certificate. We then spent a lot of time photographing that giraffe to his delight as I continued to help him make better pictures through talking him through framing and compositional techniques. We then continued around the park photographing everything from hippos to rhinos to lions before heading back to the cafe for a much needed warm up and to review the photographs taken and buy Lewis some gifts from the zoo store.
It is Lewis' dream to one day produce an exhibition of his work. Indeed, who knows one day I could be there as the person who provided him with his first camera and contributed in some way to help his dream come true!
I was recently commissioned by Natwest and M&C Saatchi to create an advert to showcase the vibrancy and energy of the Natwest Winter Southbank Festival which runs along the length of the River Thames in London.
Working closely with some of the creatives of M&C, I created a number of shots (shown below). These were then narrowed down by the agencies to the eventual image that was to be used in the commercial. The designers then added the appropriate copy and the final result is below. It is always rewarding to see your work displayed in print and to a wide audience whilst also being part of a large team to produce a piece of creative work.
Some of the Original Images for Selection for the Final Advert
The Final Advert
With the film, "Paddington" released today, I am able to publish some of the images that I was commissioned to shoot a couple of months ago by the agency ThinkJam that make up much of the advertising and campaign work used to promote the film. The photographs have been used across all social media channels, each with its own humorous caption, helping to build hype around the movie whilst also being distributed across various other PR platforms with distribution gaining gradual momentum before the film's release today.
The concept of the shoot was to photograph all images from a 'bear eye's point of view' whilst remaining true to the iconic brand by using authentic props from the film alongside various other miscellaneous items that we felt complemented each shot. Thus, the images represent Paddington Bear's life as he gets up to mischief both around London and mainly within the Brown's house after arriving in London from deepest, darkest Peru.
The shoot was great fun surrounded by tons of baked goods (Paddington likes his shortbread and cakes!), ALOT of marmalade and a great team of people. Now, off to the cinema to see the movie!
Below is a behind the scenes video made by my trusty assistant for the day Tutti Del Monte. We spent the day shooting The Concession Golf Course in Sarasota, Florida for a feature for the largest golf magazine in the Arab peninsula, "Middle East Golfer" that involved mainly photographing the signature holes of the Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin designed course but, also some of the delicious food offered in the award-winning restaurant that guests can enjoy after their round. We also got to taste some of the delicacies once we were done.... Yum! Thanks to The Concession for their kind hospitality and accommodating all of our requests.
I finally made it a few nights ago to the Tower of London to see the ceramic poppies which form part of the "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" installation created by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper - better late than never!
The evolving exhibition which commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War was an amazing sight with each handmade poppy representing a fallen hero. I found it particularly poignant as my family have purchased a number of poppies for my great Uncle Dr Aaron Simeon Cohen who after qualifying at St Guys Hospital, London enlisted as a doctor and died on the battlefield at the Battle of Loos in 1914, helping others. He was only 24.
However, it was a shame that by the time I visited, many of the 888,246 poppies that had filled the moat had already been removed. This meant that I didn't get to see the full impact of the installation. Nevertheless, here are a couple of shots from vantage points where you can still see the moat pretty full. I also went back the next day to photograph the impressive arch cascading over one of the main drawbridges that leads into to the Tower. Here, the poppies are being kept illuminated until the end of November providing them with an added mood and poignancy.
If you haven't seen the installation yet and live in London, I would strongly encourage you to make the trip before all of the poppies have been removed and delivered to the various people across the country who have purchased them with proceeds going to help various military charities. Don't fret though; even if you don't have a chance to visit, part of the exhibition will be touring various parts of the UK throughout 2015.
Part of the thing I love about being a photographer is the diverse and eclectic mix of exciting assignments you often get asked to do. An example of this was a commission I was sent on for The Royal Navy aboard one of their newest ships, the HMS Diamond. Working on an active, military ship presented some challenges, notably setting up lighting in extremely confined spaces, movement at sea and a severe lack of sleep! However, I got to spend some time getting to know those working on the vessel and was blown away by the work and dedication that these men and women show on on a daily basis and left with a new found respect for all those who serve in the armed forces. Below is a photograph of the HMS Diamond courtesy of the Royal Navy along with a few of my favourite portraits that I took aboard the ship.
The abandoned Lillibridge School situated on the East side of Detroit was built in 1905 and houses some impressive spaces including a gym, auditorium, assembly hall. The school was closed in the 1970s and the occupancy of the building was taken over by an outpatient day treatment centre. However, this was closed in 2007 leaving the building as one of more than eighty abandoned schools scattered throughout metro Detroit.