Kit Harington

Just before the final season of Game of Thrones I got to shoot Kit Harington in south London.  I had sourced a location house with lots of options, and the excellent team from Emmy Magazine had come from LA to help out.  

Kit was right in the middle of playing Austin in the West End show True West, so he rocked up sporting his character's moustache.   A very different look from the rugged Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, but a look that suited him just as much.  A modern day Tom Selleck of sorts.  That’s what I thought at least until he said, “I look like Borat” and pulled a little face to show the resemblance.  The room cracked up laughing.  No doubt he’ll get the job if anyone is looking for an actor to play Borat in a film…. Ehr….

Shot for Emmy Magazine

Jeremy Vine

Jeremy Vine is one of the nation’s most loved broadcasters. He is the voice of BBC Radio 2’s midday phone in, topical issues show.  The show covers all types of subjects as well as a regular feature about allotments - (who knew the latter would take off??)   Jeremy also hosts topical shows on TV such as the  “Jeremy Vine” show, first aired in 2018.  

I was fairly confident that I’d meet a nice man, but little did I know that he’d be so full of energy, give so much for the camera and be genuinely fun to work with.  I should maybe have realised that he could give the camera some unusual moves after reading some of the comments he got  when participating in Strictly Come Dancing: “a stork that had been struck by lightning”..  

Jeremy totally got where we were trying to go with the shoot..  He played ball and he gave his all.  His body shape allows him to throw out shapes that fit somewhere between slap stick, carry on films, cartoons and high fashion.  Jeremy’s talent is wasted on topical shows and radio - he should be a show man.  Enter a stage with big red curtains rolling back.  He should be at a place where he is able to use his physique and give us a visual show.  Maybe he should have a workout video - although I have the feeling it may break a few backs….

Shot for Event Magazine

Joanne Froggatt

I photographed Joanne Froggatt at the National Theatre as a part of a series of Love Letters to the world, to celebrate 100 years of British Airways aviation.  The shoot was done in collaboration with the excellent team at Bridge Studio and was a part of a series of portraits of professionals and celebrities in the UK.  The shoot was a little rushed as I had to squeeze in between filming schedule, but Joanne came across as fun and easy going.  Admittedly, I have never watched an episode of “Downtown Alley” but she seems a mile away from how I imagine her to be featured there.  

Shot for Bridge Studios and BA

Sara Pascoe

Who do you think of when I say very smart, funny and blond?  Yea - ok, Dolly Parton - but also Sara Pascoe.  She came to the shoot with her little dog, 4 different Batsheva dresses, some serious high healed shoes and earrings unlike any I have ever seen before.  No stylist needed! 

Sara was promoting her book “Sex Power Money” - so what better way to promote that visual idea than to photograph her in a Batsheva dress to suit a Gingham backdrop.  For the last outfit we had a more blue look and finished the outfit with a pair of earrings made out of dolls’ heads.  Genius!!!!  

This shoot of Sara for The Observer Magazine had the headline “I wanted to be prime minister” - and I can guarantee you that she would be a 100% better prime minister than other blondes I can think of. 

Shot for the Observer Magazine

Chris Evans for Virgin Radio

If you live in the UK you know who Chris Evans is.  Either from having hosted Britain’s most popular Radio programs on Radio 1 or Radio 2 or for TV programs such as The Big Breakfast or Top Gear (where he was finally able to show his true love, cars).

This year we saw Chris move from Radio 2’s Big Breakfast show to Virgin Radio’s breakfast show.  For this occasion I got to meet the man and photograph him at his new studio near London Bridge.  

I have to admit I was expecting a man who was tired after having been on the radio for 3 hours, staring before sunrise.  However, a very tall, energetic, fun and friendly man turned, up after his early morning broadcast on Radio 2.  The images were used to promote the new show and could be seen on posters around London.  

Shot for Virgin Radio

Nigella Lawson

This is the second time I have worked with Nigella Lawson.  She’s known as a domestic goddess, she’s the queen of home cooking, and she’s the empress of deserts - (the latter is a title I have made up).  She’s known, respected and appeals to the young and the old and the rich and the poor alike.  She is the image of Britain that is adored in the UK and loved abroad.  So, when Nigella turns up at a shoot she knows what to do, and she know’s she’s in charge.  The rest of us fall in line.  If she were to be Prime Minister, then no-one in the UK or abroad would dare to question.  Her titles as ‘queen’ and ‘goddess’ are not titles that are just thrown out there without reason.  They are titles that she’s earned but through hard work, determination and total control.  If a cake was a currency, then it would have a picture of Nigella on it!

Shot for Waitrose Food 

 
 

Bill Pullman

Bill Pullman!  Where do I start?  What a legend!!!  This shoot, an early Saturday morning, was at the rehearsal rooms of the Old Vic where Bill was to perform the lead in the play All My Sons.

We had set up lights and backdrop and soon after, Bill turned up casually, with a plastic bag in hand filled with alternative shirts.  He’s a tall guy, and the beard I had got used to after watching The Sinner was long gone.  We shook hands and started to talk.  The problem with Bill is that he’s not only very interesting but he is also very knowledgable and interested in listening to whomever he’s talking to.  This means that we ended up talking for quite a while.  The dedicated hour for the shoot had slipped my mind.  Maybe I was thinking that we were both enjoying the meet, so we’ll always be able to get some more time on the end.  However, after a long chat I asked the publicist who was there if we could have more time after the shoot, and I was reminded that there was an interview to take place straight afterwards.  (Whoops!)

Down to business!  I was well prepared and ran Bill through the different setups and finished more or less on time.  We shook hands and off he went with the journalist.  After I had packed down I left my business card in his plastic bag with a note saying ‘Thank you!’.  A little later that day I got an email from Bill suggesting to meet again, inviting me to his mango orchard in California, of which I replied that he’s welcome to come to Hackney and see my purple sprouting broccoli.  

A few weeks later, Bill comes strolling off the train in Hackney.  He stops by the house and we enjoy a croissant and coffee.  The conversations were genuine and honest.  Bill is a true legend and a people’s man.   Celebrity status with Bill is just a byline - if not an obstacle - Bill is just that interesting and honest ordinary guy who you can imagine being a good friend for life.  

I hope I will get a chance to visit Bill in California one day, or he comes knocking on my door when next in town.  Until then I know I will be seeing him again, on a screen somewhere, doing an excellent job!

Shot for Sunday Times Culture

Romesh Ranganathan

My shoot with Romesh Ranganathan was to support an extract from his book published in the Guardian Weekend Magazine. Having read a little snippet of the book it focused on how Romesh had been criticised for a lot of his comedy by pulling out the race card. He explains his reason for this, mainly that there are a lot of racists out there, and tells of several of episodes where he has experienced blatant racism. So, we wanted to do a shoot with Romesh, not just pulling out comedy poses, but we wanted to bring in cultural references and the address the issue that Romesh feels people are trying to sensor his comedy as it may be uncomfortable listening.

The issue of censorship was the first one we tried to cover. Tape over the mouth and then some over the rest of his face should be a good illustration of this. I had purchased 3 different types. The last thing I wanted to do was to leave Romesh with a ‘waxed’ strip of beard, above and below the lips. Not only would this maybe look a little odd, but Romesh was also on the way to watch another comedian at the Hammersmith Apollo, and we though it would be rude if he stole the show with a new beard style. So, I volunteered. (If you wouldn’t do it to yourself then don’t do it to others.). I placed the gaffe tape over my beard and mouth, felt the sweat drip as I imagined the pain that was to come, and ripped off the tape. Phew!!! It only served as a beard trim, pulling out 3 hairs only. It was safe, Romesh had witnessed the procedure and felt at ease with the idea.

The shoot commenced, and as usual I try to strike up a conversation with my subject to make them feel at ease and to make the shoot a little more amicable. However, after a few minutes, a few questions asked, I was struck by how rude Romesh was not to answer any of my questions. He looks at me, wide desperately questioning eyes… then it struck me that it is difficult to answer when your mouth has been gaffa'd up.

When the tape was removed and we could commence (beard still in place), Romesh was chilled and fun to deal with. Apart from some straight shots I also wanted to include a 6x9 meter Union Jack flag, (made by my wife Gemma btw) and try to see if we could create a Union Jack turban that Romesh could wear. The latter would allow us to show the cultural integration of his Hindu heritage with his British upbringing. The iconic Union Jack draped around Romesh would also give him an iconic status as a British comedian and therefor contradict any racist comments he has previously received about him not being British.

As we put the large flag away and were to focus on the turban, I handed Romesh the 3 meter long union jack material. He held it for a few seconds before I realised that something wasn’t right. I then told him just to tie the turban on and we’d see if it worked. He looked at me questioning and said “I don’t know how to tie a turban…”. I realised that I had maybe been presumptuous. I had seen him wearing a turban for a TV show once, but it was of course someone else whom had tied it for him. I took out youtube, thinking I was smart. We followed the instructions, but either the problem was that the polyester material doesn’t fold as well as good quality cotton, or it is actually quite hard to tie a good turban. I felt like I was a part of some sit-com and I was the fool, so I soon gave up and called it a day.

Shot for The Guardian Weekend Magazine