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Kylie Minogue for the Observer

Kylie MinogueKylie Minogue 3rd of January 1998

In the shadowy lounge of a London club, curled-up dozing like a kitten on a big leather chair, Kylie waits patiently to be photographed for the Observer whilst her management explain why I must sign a contract selling them the copyright of the shoot for £1.

Assuring me they just want to be able to prevent bad images being used,
I reluctantly put pen to paper.
I know I should stand strong but I don’t want to cause trouble
and I’m confident they will like the pictures.

Quiet, demure, like a ballerina going through her steps Kylie performs for me and gives me what she thinks I want.

The pictures look good.  The magazine are happy.

When some time later the Australian National Portrait Gallery ask if they can have a print of Kylie for their archive, I remember the contract.

When her people refuse to let me supply a print, I’m shocked but sanguine.  An important lesson learned.  Maybe they didn’t like the pictures?

4 years pass and suddenly I get an email from Kylie’s people.

They want to use my images in her forthcoming book Kylie La La La.
Of course I have no say in the matter as they own the photographs, but as a matter of curtesy, they are letting me know….

I’ve no idea what this enigma is really like.

I’ve no idea how involved she is in her business dealings.
Over the last 20 years she’s been a polymorphous presence.

Cleverly using talented and creative people to keep the Kylie brand alive and relevant.

Sad then that she tacitly sanctions the theft from those of us lower down in the creative food chain.

You can buy a used copy of the book on Amazon for 1p.

I notice Kylie Minogue split from her Management Company in 2013.

Dermot Morgan for the Sunday Times

Dermot MorganDermot Morgan 18th February 1998 Soho.

It’s difficult to believe it’s been 17 years since Dermot Morgan the eponymous hero of Father Ted died.  I happened to photograph Dermot a few days days before his untimely death of a heart attack at 45.  I loved the program but my enthusiasm for meeting ‘Father Ted’ was tempered by fatigue.
We’d just moved house and were adjusting to the sleepless nights that come with young children.
The 5 miles from my house in Hackney to the West End were a daze.
It was only at Calumet (I think they were called KJP back then) buying film that I realised I’d left my equipment at home and they had no cameras at the Soho branch.
We hired a portable flash system that I strapped to my then assistant Sarah Dunn and I ran to Jessops and bought a secondhand Fuji 6×9 rangefinder on my credit card thinking I would return the camera the next day.  In the carpark adjacent to the cafe where we were due to meet, we plugged in the lights.
There was a pop and then they started smoking.  We were now late and it was getting dark.
Sometimes, I experience scenarios like this, in anxious, panic ridden dreams from which I’m always relieved to wake.  Now it was happening for real.  Although magazines usually wanted colour, I decided to shoot B&W and hand-held. My Tri-X film rated at 1600asa.
The pre-shoot madness meant I didn’t really calm down and spent a frantic 20 minutes darting around damp streets, shooting in the seedy doorways before being moved on.  Although Dermot was easy-going and compliant, it was a slightly melancholic shoot and we said our goodbyes as it started to rain.
Driving home I pondered how I would explain to the Sunday Times the obvious photographic shortcomings.
10 days later and his death was all over the news.  The article became a eulogy.  The pictures seemed to have a poignancy that would have been missing were they in colour or lit with flash.  Sometimes in a difficult situation you learn more than when things go really well.  I decided not to return the camera.

Dermot Morgan 01

Dame Helen Mirren for the Sunday Times

Dame Helen Mirren, 26th October 1999 or just Helen Mirren as she was back then.
Shot for the Sunday Times.  She was in a play at the Cambridge Arts Theater.
Always engaging and playful to photograph, we started in the Theater then strolled over to the grass in front of King’s College.
I shot this picture with an old Polaroid 195 on Type 55 film which yields a print and a negative.  You had to pop the neg in a bucket of Sodium-Sulfite solution whist shooting to fix the image.

Helen Mirren

Andrew Linzey for Newsweek

During my shoot with Andrew, we stopped for tea and discussed religion.

At one point the academic gently said, “At the risk of appearing bumptious, I think you could benefit from attending one of my tutorials”.

It’s a shame I don’t live in Oxford, as I can’t think of a better way to spend a couple of hours.

Here’s the article.

Andrew Linzey

 

Boris Becker for the Sunday Times

Every frame from my 2015 shoot with Boris Becker.
Photographed in London.  Along with tennis balls for him to juggle, we sourced a pair of vintage Oliver Goldsmith Tennis Racquet Sunglasses.

Boris Becker

Fara Williams for the Observer Sport Monthly

Fara Williams

My shoot with a 17 year old Fara Williams 2001.

From the series ‘Contenders’ originally shot for the Observer Sport Monthly.

After a tough period when she was made homeless, Fara went on to become the most capped international in the English woman’s game.

After a kick-about (and some photos) on Tooting Beck Common, we did this portrait in her bedroom.  Every time she was selected for England, she kept the shirt.

Zadie Smith for Io Donna

Zadie SmithZadie SmithZadieSmith01

Thomas Heatherwick for Management Today

Thomas Heatherwick Thomas Heatherwick Thomas Heatherwick

Harry in the Royal Photographic Society Journal

This month I was interviewed by Clare Harris for the RPS Journal.

You can read the piece here along with a selection of other articles that have been published in the past.

R P S Journal Cover

R P S Journal

R P S Journal

R P S Journal

Sir Bob Geldof for the Guardian Weekend

The interview that accompanied the shoot can be found here

Bob GeldofBob Geldof