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Project Portrait: Day 102

Day 102 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Jennifer Fernandes-Cole – part 2. This was at the end of my photo shoot with Nana and the lovely people at Social Concierge. I only had a few minutes and I never got to chat with Jennifer as much as I’d like to with subjects for this series. But from the brief time I had Jennifer was warm and friendly. For this shoot I wanted to try and capture that in its simplest form. A white background with Jennifer looking into camera. I’ve also never done any photography that could be classed as beauty or fashion so this is my first tentative dip in these waters. I like it!

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Project Portrait: Day 101

Day 101 of Project Portrait. I can’t quite believe I made it this far! It’s taken a lot longer than I thought it would, but I’m still just as engaged in spending all my free time going out and re-connecting with people who in some cases I haven’t seen in 20 years. I’ve also had the chance to meet people I would never have had I not taken on something as bonkers as this. Which brings me nicely on to today’s shoot of Ben Ashenden. Ben is a friend of Jonathan Petrides’ brother – I love degrees of separation wink emoticon. Ben is a freelance writer who crafts comedies and scripts for the likes of Channel 4. So a proper writer – unlike my scribblings. As a result I wanted to try and depict the life of a solo writer, scribbling away on whatever table they can find. So I lit Ben via two small spot lights – that I then built custom gradients for to create those lovely halos – and gave it a lovely warm glow and threw in a few props for good measure. When I look at images like this and compare them to where I started I can’t quite believe it. I’m super excited to see where I get to by the time I get to 200. I want to say thank you to everyone who has volunteered thus far and if anyone else is interested (and lives in London) get in touch!

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Learning how to create Jill Greenberg images

I’ve been trying to do a lot of training courses over the past few weeks to help me get to grips with the monster that is Photoshop. This is the result of one of them. It’s an ode to Jill Greenberg, who made a name for herself by developing this unique style that makes people look like they were made of plastic (you can see it here)http://www.jillgreenberg.com/children/#gallery-59). While it’s not my usual style of photo, it’s been an amazing thing to learn and I’ve been learning how to make skin look more even while keeping it natural. There are worse ways to spend a Sunday.

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Project Portrait: Day 100

Day 98 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Aaron Davies. I met Aaron way back when in journalism school and he now helps startups with everything from coding to copy. Aaron very kindly came by the studio to sit for me. We both talked about our numerous attempts to find different career paths than the one we’d chosen ten years ago. Journalism has changed so much since I first started out. There are no longer those institutions that people can grow into and have a career in it seems. So it’s either diversify or die. Photography is just a hobby of mine but I’ve tried a whole raft of different careers from carpenter to entrepreneur to even a therapist. With this photo I wanted to create something that was once bright that has now faded and fragmented. So I achieved that with the background but I wanted to make Aaron feel almost timeless. So the world has changed but Aaron has stayed the same. He’s still Aaron but the Aaron who emerged as a journalist has been distorted by time. Man, sometimes even I tie myself in knots with these concepts. But it’s good to try things, right? RIGHT?

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Project Portrait: Day 99

Day 97 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Chris Warner – Chris recently set up his own education company. I actually met him through Robert Delamere as the two used to work together on Digital Theatre. I wanted to shoot Chris outside as it’s something I don’t know do great deal of and I wanted to try and incorporate flash to add some shadows on this weirdly lovely sunny day in London. I also wanted to learn how to gently nudge colours so that they become complimentary and make the image feel a bit more harmonious. Chris was going through a lot of the challenges I had when starting my own company so it was good to share some of those startup stories. But since the last time I saw him, he’d moved away from the mania of Dalston and the parties to a leafy suburb. I I kind of wanted to create something to reflect that: to be quietly in balance. Not that I’m saying Chris has become a Buddhist – or that he was a party animal. But just that he seemed to have found a sense of calm. Sorry Chris if this a bit waffly wink emoticon Really enjoyed capturing this one.

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Project Portrait: Day 98

Day 97 of Project Portrait. Next up we have Adam Reed – an old school mate of mine. We used to do IT together – or not in my case. I much preferred using Microsoft Paint to draw pictures of my teachers, terribly. Adam got in touch with me after my last shout out for people to help with my project. He very gracefully came down to my studio and sat for me. Adam trained as a designer and now works for John Lewis. With this picture I wanted to try and create something that was completely ageless – no giveaways with colour or props to suggest this was taken in a specific time or place. This project has allowed me to reconnect with people I haven’t seen, in some cases for 20 years. So I wanted this picture to feel a bit like a memory in that it’s not particularly grounded in a space or location, but rather an image that lives in our heads and nowhere else. I remember Adam but my memory isn’t about something specific. I just remember him being part of my life while at secondary school. This photo is an attempt at trying to capture that idea.

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Project Portrait: Day 97

Day 95 of Project Portrait. Next up we have the awesome Jonathan Petrides – a very old friend of mine and a serial entrepreneur who has worked all over the world. We used to spend our summers as poor teenagers trying to become table tennis masters – as you might have guessed, that hasn’t worked out. With this photo I had a concept I wanted to shoot that was dark and broody. But within spending five minutes with Jon, I realised that’s just not who he is and that just isn’t the person I see when we hang out. It was a pretty awesome lesson. I’ve been trying to learn new styles and ways of lighting people to become more technically proficient. But I’ve also learned that for me, it is far more important to depict someone in a way that feels relevant to them rather than trying to force a concept upon them. So what does this shot say about Jon? Well, he’s one of the friendliest people you’ll meet, has always tried to good things for good people professionally and is just an all-round great person to hang out with, even if it was just for an hour. So hopefully that comes across in this image.

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Project Portrait: Day 96

Day 96  of Project Portrait. It’s been a fair old wait – sorry about that – life has just been getting in the way and it’s becoming a bit tougher to organise my time to match someone else’s. But, saying that here is my shot of Jim Butler. Jim is a freelance journalist whom I first met while working on the development of ShortList.com way back when in 2010. Like any freelancer will tell you it can be a fairly precarious existence when it comes to who you work for, for how long and whether you can pay your bills, raise a family and go out from time to time. Jim moved out of London a while ago due to cost and has found a lovely home in Hastings. But, he still works in London so it’s a fair old slog each and everyday. As a result I wanted to capture Jim in a way that reflects that. For many, freelancing seems like a dream – you’re your own boss, you can pick and choose who you work for and you can avoid (most of the time) the politics of the workplace. But the reality is much tougher – so this photo tries to depict Jim in a steely, more gritty light. There’s almost something heroic about this shot. Hope you approve Jim!

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Project Portrait: Day 95

Day 95 of Project Portrait – and it’s from my first actual commissioned shoot! These three portraits are of employees at a film and TV production company based in London. This was the first time I needed to create a consistent look and feel to each of the portraits – as well as making sure their heads are all roughly at the same point so it doesn’t look weird on the company’s website. I loved the blackboard they had in the offices as it gave this lovely swirling texture and I added this cool blue feel without managing to drain the colour too much (new photoshop skills ;)) Very pleased with the result and the company is too! So if anyone is looking for some new corporate headshots, come at me!

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Project Portrait: Day 94

Day 93 of Project Portrait. Next up we have the lovely Katie Paterson. Katie was looking for a headshot she can use on LinkedIn and elsewhere. She showed me the one her former employers used and it was well… not great. Katie was convinced she was the most un-photogenic person ever and that she absolutely hates having her photo taken. So I took this shoot as a bit of a challenge to a) convince her that it was possible to take a good picture of her and b) that it wouldn’t be as painful as she had previously thought. I also wanted to try and add a bit more to the standard headshot by using a lovely pink light and applying it to the left-hand side of her face to compliment her skin tone. Despite her protests – and the complete inability to keep a straight face wink emoticon – I managed to grab this shot. I was super pleased with the result and I hope I’ve managed to convince someone else that there’s no such thing as an un-photogenic person – just bad photographers.