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Double Sport Star Portrait

Taking a double portrait is a rather different affair to taking a single portrait for an editorial photographer. This magazine assignment; a double portrait of a famous Formula One driver and ice hockey player in Monaco who didn’t know each other, got off to a shaky start. Blue sky was ordered but not provided, and an incident between photographer and one of the subjects made bystanding PR people and writers hold their breath. However, while unusual South of France summer weather had disrupted the original portrait plan, a red couch and a helmet saved the day. Continue reading…

Portrait of 2 sportsmen sitting on a red couch with their helmets

French wine under threat

The South of France has always been hot in summer. But scientists say that hot is getting hotter, and the effects of a changing climate are starting to be seen in France’s vineyards. What does this mean for the future of French wine? Stern magazine sent me on assignment to various locations in Provence as photographer, with their writer, to find out. While taking portraits and reportage photos for the feature, I learned just how long vines can live, how new grapes might start slipping into famous French cuvées and just how much some people will pay for a bottle of vintage wine. Continue reading…

Part of double-page magazine spread showing grapevines on a vineyard and a panting dog, title text overlaying the photograph

Swiss Sister in Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival didn’t escape the #metoo movement this summer, with Cate Blanchett organising a gender inequality protest on the famous red carpet. I felt privileged, as female photographer, to take a portrait of female director Ursula Meiers, who’d come from Switzerland to the South of France to be president of the Caméra d’Or jury. However, the Cannes Film Festival event doesn’t provide the ideal conditions for a photographer to shoot a considered, editorial portrait, and this magazine assignment involved 90% preparation and 10% photography. Continue reading…

Portrait of woman, Ursula Meier, sitting at a table

Rich List Portrait

You’d think that most people would be happy for an internationally-respected newspaper like the Sunday Times Magazine to write a feature about their life’s successes, and for a professional photographer to be assigned to take their portrait to boot. However, many billionaires on the Sunday Times Magazine’s Rich List are somewhat above the need for PR or press coverage. The Monaco portrait that I took of easyJet founder Stelios, 48th on the Rich List, involved persuasion and some hard negotiation, both before and during the photo shoot. Continue reading…

Full length, vertical portrait of Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou posing outdoors

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