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Monaco: ‘world’s biggest bribe scandal’

I regularly carry out editorial portrait assignments, in the South of France and beyond, and have the privilege of photographing all sorts of people. Although, each one has a reason to be of interest to the international press, I tend to think it is important, as photographer, to avoid forming too many preconceptions about portrait subjects before meeting them. A commission for the New York Times newspaper in Monaco challenged my resolve. Press rumours had it that this portrait subject in Monte Carlo was a very bad man indeed. Continue reading…

Thumbnail of portrait of Saman Ahsani, seated

marseille: feminist in a corner

The photo editor of the Guardian Weekend magazine called me at the last minute for this portrait commission in Marseille. Unlike most of my editorial assignments, which incorporate a South of France setting, writer and feminist Reni Eddo-Lodge was to be photographed in a studio environment. Hers was one of a set of portraits that would be composited together, so the photographer brief was strict. Unfortunately though, the location was no studio, and realising this brief turned out to be very difficult indeed. Continue reading…

Composite photograph of Nish Kumar and Reni Eddo-Lodge in discussion with empty speech bubbles against white background

Guantánamo to Nice

One of the privileges of being a photographer in the South of France is the wide variety of people that I meet on my assignments, from a celebrity in Cannes to truffle hunters in the French Alps, or a writer living in Provence. Earlier this year, though, I photographed, in a typical French Riviera village above Nice, someone unlike anyone I had ever photographed, or met, before. I was asked by the writer of his book to take the portrait of a man who, before his arrival on the French Riviera, had spent 7 years in Guantánamo Bay prison. Continue reading…

Portrait of Lakhdar Boumediene (former prisoner of US prison camp Guatanamo Bay)'s profile against a blue sky.

morocco: on assignment in cinema city

Do writers have an easier life than photographers on travel assignments? Yes – and no. Earlier this year, I journeyed far from the South of France with a good travel writer friend on an editorial commission. Close to the edge of the Sahara desert, we made a reportage about Ouarzazate, Morocco’s moviemaking headquarters, for an Aramco World magazine feature. Continue reading…

Photograph of a giant sculpture of a film production black and white clapper board on a roundabout

quantum theory at sea

As another wave hit, I hugged my photographer’s bag tightly to me. This was definitely not a French Riviera-style luxury yacht. 4 of us, journalist, photographer, assistant and portrait subject, were all squeezed aboard a tiny little pointu (a traditional South of France fishing boat) off the coast of Marseille, and the water level inside was rising. The Sunday Times Magazine was to run a feature on ‘rock star physicist’ Carlo Rovelli, and I had come over from Nice to make his portait. Continue reading…

Portrait of Carlo Rovelli standing on the bridge of his fishing boat

italian riviera: a village like no other

A short drive into Italy from the South of France, less than an hour east of Monaco, is a rather exceptional hilltop village. Not only does it claim independence from Italy, and have rich, historical connections to the Templar Knights, but today much of its property is suddenly being bought up by a mysterious religious sect. On a recent photographer assignment with FT Wealth magazine, I made reportage photographs and took portraits of a princess, knights and sect leaders. Continue reading…

Portrait of Brother Riccardo Bonsi, dressed in Knights Templar robes
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