After four years in Colombia, my very good friend Amanda has come home to the UK with her two, now grown-up children. She arrived just in time to celebrate her 50th birthday and decided to mark the occasion with a studio shoot. Beyond the clothing choices, including Colombian football shirts!, Amanda gave me free reign to try different light setups and compositions to deliver a portfolio of individual and group portraits. Thanks to my very obliging models, In just a couple of hours we’d got plenty of images in the can. These are some of my personal favourites.
Awards events orchestrated by Barker Brooks always tend to be epic affairs. At the Manchester Hilton last month it was the turn of the personal injury teams to take time out for dinner, dancing, entertainment and a pat on the back for another year of hard graft. For them (and for me!) the evening was action packed, from the champagne reception to the presentations. With comedian Justin Moorhouse compèring there was never a dull moment – he was hilarious! Just before the pumpkin hour I headed back up the road to my digs to turn round the awards pictures for morning media and finally fell into bed in the wee small hours. Another sparkling night courtesy of Barker Brooks and great to be part of the team.
I’m always up for a street party, especially one with bands, buns and…complimentary TVs! As part of a special Freeview promotion, 50 residents on Sheffield’s Freedom Road were offered free televisions – a ‘thank you’ for being an existing customer or an incentive to become one! Needless to say local residents were more than happy to take up the offer and to enjoy the associated, presentation celebrationI Thanks to Little Red Rooster PR for inviting me to join in the widescreen celebrations.
8.30 am on the 18th September and I’m camera ready amid the lush greenery of Tropical World, Roundhay Park, in the company of some rather unusual insects. This was the press call for Cirque du Soleil, on the Leeds leg of their OVO tour but I was actually there on behalf of promoters Live Nation, shooting publicity pictures for the world renowned circus troupe.
The performers were fantastic to photograph in their ‘natural’ habitat. Colourful, exotic and obviously extremely flexible they created a gorgeous visual spectacle and were brilliant to work with. The shoot required special permission from Leeds City Council but let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a larger than life cricket, spider and ladybug with celebrity status taking up temporary residence on your doorstep. I would love to have spent more than an hour with the Cirque gang but sadly they had to hop, skip and jump off to their next gig. Thanks, one and all for the impromptu show.
Leeds creative agency Enjoy Digital are celebrating their first decade in business. They were one of the first agencies I worked with when I made the move to Leeds around seven years ago and since then we have partnered on a number of really fantastic projects. So, it was great to be asked to photograph the Enjoy Digital big, ten year bash at Headrow House. It was a fairly laid back, summer affair up there on the roof-top garden, with the usual drinks, speeches and barbeque food plus creative word association entertainment and piñata bashing to add to the fun. Enjoy Digital continues to grow, with a team of around 50 currently delivering creative solutions to a broad range of clients. They are a super-talented bunch with a special team spirit and I think that comes across in the pictures.
I’ve just finished a 3-day stint on the inaugural CBBC Summer Social in Liverpool and it was brilliant! Across Croxteth Country Park there was so much to photograph from Mr Tumble and his adoring crowd to workshops and music in the Clangers’ Garden. The official, lanyard style schedule had a section free for collecting autographs at the various meet and greets and there were two, main stages surrounded by a huge range of activities.
The Raven section was an amazing adventure space with tree climbing, rope swings, walkways and clue based challenges, just like the show. For the wee ones there was the CBeebies village with snuggly places to nap and bed-time stories read by their favourite presenters. Inside Croxteth Hall – magic potions at the Worst Witch spells academy and a Horrible Histories Tour. I got lost in the Pet Farm learnt how to make slime and hung out backstage with the legendary Hacker T.Dog. In short – wall to wall, family friendly action and I think I’ve set a new record for miles covered and shots taken at a festival…I wouldn’t have missed it!
London may not seem like the most attractive destination to visit on one of the sunniest days of the year but when you’re photographing some of the city’s coolest eateries it suddenly becomes a much more appealing prospect. This is the latest chapter in my work for property agents Daniel Cobb http://www.danielcobb.co.uk/locallygrown, who are continuing to develop their customer loyalty card scheme, Locally Grown.
Anyone buying or renting through Daniel Cobb on a private or commercial level, can sign up to the scheme and gain access to exclusive discounts and offers at a whole range of local businesses in the Kensington and London Bridge area. Daniel Cobb are always brilliant to work with and on this occasion George Cobb led the way on our gastronomic tour of the Capital’s west side. There were some amazing venues which were brilliant to photograph, including Bob’s Lobster where the servery is fashioned out of a classic, VW camper van. Of course, we had to sample some of the amazing food along the way and, as always, I left wishing I could sign up for membership of Locally Grown myself. Thanks to George and co for another, really inspiring shoot.
Barker Brooks are all about engaging events and trusted media. Around the UK they are running the regional Accountancy Awards for 2018 and this month, I was in Leeds Dock to cover the big night in Yorkshire.
Hosting the awards, standup Comedian Ellie Taylor is perhaps better known for the show ‘Snog Marry Avoid’. Fortunately, on this occasion, none of the award winners required a Pod makeover. Barker Brooks Director Alex Gray, played his part in the on-stage line-up, as did ‘Voice of God’ Roger Tilling. Roger’s voice is recognisable from University Challenge and Family Fortunes and it was great to finally see, and meet him in person. In short, there was plenty of excitement, a room full of highly engaged people and plenty of recognition for the role the profession plays in continuing to build the region as a centre of financial excellence. A great event to photograph and there will be more to come, as the awards roadshow continues.
Based in the Round Foundry, Leeds, Morgan agency have been a regular client for some time now. I’m often chatting to them on the phone about the latest project but this month I got to spend a bit of quality time with some of the team as they took centre stage in a portraits shoot for their website and brochure. There’s a great vibe at Morgan where flexible working arrangements seem to be an integral part of creating a successful, creative culture. It’s always nice to work with Morgan and their clients but felt a bit special that they liked my style enough to let me do their agency pictures. Thanks to Leah and co for a great session.
Saturday, April 7th and the latest episode of Sheffield’s ongoing tree saga. For anyone who has missed the story, Sheffield has a long standing issue with pot-holed roads. Last year, Sheffield City Council signed a £2.5bn contract with Amey to sort out the problem. Unfortunately, one aspect of Amey’s strategy is to cut down thousands of the trees which line and characterise the cities neighbourhood highways and byways. And that’s where this ongoing dispute began.
Sheffield was once known as Europe’s greenest city. Whilst there’s recognition that some, well established trees are creating an access problem on pavements for some sectors of the population, there’s a huge resistance to Amey’s, and the council’s wholesale tree-felling plans. The strategy appears to have been developed without proper and transparent public consultation, many of the trees earmarked for felling do not seem to conform to the ‘diseased or dangerous’ criteria outlined, and some were planted as a memorial to the local men who died in two world wars. In short, public perception is that this is a cost-cutting exercise pushed through under the guise of improving public access and safety.
So, on Saturday, Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker and Green party campaigner Natalie Bennett, joined STAG (Sheffield Tree Action Groups) and hundreds of protestors, marching on the council with the message of ‘Get off my tree’. It was a very peaceful protest, with a great sense of solidarity and community. The majority of people were there because they feel it’s just not fair to use their council tax contributions to pay for something that will effectively cut through the heart of Sheffield. Yes, saplings will be planted to replace many of the trees but it will take decades before Sheffield reclaims its green heritage and character. Looking around it was hard to believe that there have been numerous arrests along the way, including parents, pensioners and local residents who objected to the chainsaws firing up outside their homes at 4am in the morning. But judging by the energy and commitment demonstrated, including the appearance of a rare red squirrel, it’s fair to say that this battle is far from over.