GRANDPA LEWIS – WORKING WITH CHAMPIONS

GRANDPA LEWIS – WORKING WITH CHAMPIONS

I CAN FINALLY REVEAL THE PORTRAITS I SHOT OF F1 WORLD CHAMPION LEWIS HAMILTON BACK IN MARCH THIS YEAR. THE THEME WAS #GRANDPALEWIS, A SHORT FILM OF HIM AS AN 80 YEAR OLD MAN WITH HIS GRANDCHILDREN, REMINISCING OF WINNING TITLES. THE MAKE UP ARTIST WAS MARK COULIER, AN OSCAR WINNING ARTIST KNOWN FOR THE FILM ‘RUSH’, AMONGST MANY OTHERS. IT WAS QUITE INCREDIBLE WATCHING THE TRANSFORMATION, AND LEWIS WORE IT WELL.
SHOOTING ALL THROUGH THE PROCESS WAS FASCINTATING, ESPECIALLY SEEING THE END RESULT AND THE CREW’S REACTION TO IT.
AS EVER ON ADVERTISING SHOOTS LIKE THIS, THERE IS NOT A LOT OF TIME TO CAPTURE THE PORTAITS, BUT PREPARATION IS KEY. WE SET UP THE DAY BEFORE, LIGHTING WAS CRUCIAL, AS LIKE MOST DRIVERS, LEWIS USUALLY WEARS A CAP, AND WE DID WANT TO SEE HIS FACE! SO WHEN WE ACTUALLY GOT HIM IN FRONT OF CAMERA, I JUST SHOT CONSTANTLY.
IT ALWAYS HELPS HAVING WORKED WITH SOMEONE BEFORE, THEY HAVE MORE TRUST IN WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO CREATE, WHICH WAS VERY HELPFUL CONSIDERING THAT ON THIS SHOOT MY BEFORE/AFTER IDEA HAD NOT YET BEEN APPROVED BY LEWIS’S MANAGEMENT. EVERY TIME I HAVE WORKED WITH HIM I HAVE GIVEN HIM A FINE ART PRINT OF EACH SHOOT WE HAVE DONE, WHICH ALSO GOES A LONG WAY TO MAKING YOUR SUBJECT MORE AMENABLE TO YOUR IDEAS. THIS TIME HE ASKED ME TO SIGN IT!

Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes

ZANDRA RHODES

My first ever commission my second week out of University was for You Magazine, I got sent to Paris to photograph the two sisters who own the Moulin Rouge. Exciting and terrifying at the same time, experiencing my first commercial shoot, where everything that could go wrong, bar the photographs, did go wrong. Snow, Paris air traffic strike, mad dogs, champagne sprayed over my cameras….

My most recent shoot with the magazine was about ‘A fashionista never retires….’ I had the great privilege of working with the model Jan de Villeneuve, still stunning and stylish at 70, and the vivid and amazing Dame Zandra Rhodes. An absolute inspiration, she at 74, and 50 years in the fashion industry, was wonderful to work with. I had a great day with her at her home and studio in Bermondsey, also the location of the Fashion and Textile Museum she founded.

Both these women were an inspiration, particularly showing that age is no bar to expressing your imagination and pursuing your career as a creative woman.

 

Competition

Competition

Earlier this year I had a fabulous shoot with Pharrell Williams.

It was for a longstanding client, Woman’s Wear Daily, to capture a great portrait for his recent collaboration with Comme des Garcons, the perfume, ‘Girl’.

It’s one of the great privileges of being a photographer that allows me to work with such a diverse mix of creative people and artists, often inspirational.

As usual on shoots like this, I had very little time, but I was prepared and got the portrait I really wanted.

Pharrell is a fascinating character, a real renaissance man and

I think this portrait captures the essence of his personality.

With the deadline for the Taylor Wessing Portrait competition fast approaching, this was going to be my submission. Out of 4200 entries, it was in the final selection of 200, and sadly just missed out being in the exhibition consisting of only 60 images.

Better luck next time!

Ben x

New, new, new…

New, new, new…

Well, new beginnings, new website, new work, new clients and first ever blog. It’s hard to decide where to start, so I will begin with a question.

There are some questions that people always ask when they find out what you do, Black Cabbies always get the ‘Just starting or finishing?’, ‘Had anyone famous in your cab’ etc. As a photographer there are several that get asked ‘who is the most famous person you’ve photographed’, ‘Who was the worst/nicest?’. But the one I’m thinking about today is ‘Who would you really like to photograph?’

The answer is my Dad.

Sadly that is the one photograph that will never happen. But I thank him for the support and encouragement he gave me at the beginning of my first steps into photography. My Mum was the artistic influence but my Dad was the technical one.

In his early days of flying, at the end of the Second World War, and his involvement in the start of commercial flight he always took a camera with him. As a child I loved looking at all the fantastic Agfa Colour 120 slides that he had shot around North Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe, long before there were tourists and concrete hotels. The colours were a little faded but that just added to the magic of them: the places, the clothes, the people.

Photography is a strange mixture of creativity and technical skills, you can’t make the images without the technology, be it digital or the alchemy of the darkroom. I have inherited that mix too from both my parents.

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