This spring, I travelled to Bulgaria’s idyllically-named Valley of Roses. On assignment as photographer for Aramco World magazine, I was to make portraits and a reportage. Yet, as in the South of France, Bulgaria’s climate was out of kilter this year, and what should have been a straightforward assignment about growing Damascus roses to produce rose oil, turned out to be a challenging mission indeed.
Some people collect stamps … others collect Ferraris. French magazine Le Point celebrated Ferrari’s 75th anniversary this year, and I was assigned as photographer to make portraits of both a Ferrari collector and a Ferrari caretaker – the latter an ex-champion racing driver – in the Lubéron. The loyalty and emotion that this brand inspires are impressive – as are the price tags of its products.
He is a celebrity doctor to the stars…she is his artist wife. I was the photographer commissioned by Donna magazine to make portraits of the Müller-Wohlfahrts at their South of France villa this summer. The couple have been married for 50 years, and friends say that Karin’s artistic career has always been in her husband’s shadow. Now, it is her moment for the spotlight. Karin’s French Riviera home is a haven to her sculpture and painting, and it was a privilege as photographer to capture pictures of this strong, creative woman, her artworks…and her husband.
When a magazine client asked if I had any ideas for a South of France, photography-led, travel feature, I didn’t have to think too hard. As summer in Provence heats up, and the Côte d’Azur gets crowded, there is only one thing to do in my opinion: wild swimming. I regularly escape inland, up to hidden spots beside mountain stream and lakes that are not too far from the French Riviera… but where the water is cool and peace reigns.
Few tennis fans may know his name, but Andrea Gaudenzi is one of the sport’s most powerful figures. I was asked as photographer to make his portrait in Monaco for Bloomberg Businessweek magazine. Executive chairman of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals), this former professional player is apparently drawing from his extensive experience in both business and tennis to lead the sport out of a financial hole. Andrea was an accommodating subject, juggling balls at the Monte Carlo Country Club in fierce sunshine for my portraits.
Editorial photographers’ schedules often depend on their subjects’, and my alarm was set for 04.00 the day I made a reportage about Frédéric Roy. A baker in Nice, Frédéric is known in France and beyond for his crusade to save the traditional, hand-made, French butter croissant from extinction. Wizz Air’s in-flight magazine dedicated a 9-page cover feature to him this month, and I was invited to Frédéric’s bakery to capture all the stages of his croissant-making, and to take his portrait.
Hundreds of rally drivers; a legendary race; 9 300 km of tracks; mud, rock and sand. As photographer, I went to Monaco to meet and make a portrait of the only woman who has ever won the Paris-Dakar, back in 2001. Jutta Kleinschmidt is a one-off. Her 60th birthday may now have passed, but she’s still racing – today in the ground-breaking, electric off-road series, Extreme E.
Contes, in the hills above Nice, is the last town on the French Riviera with a communist party mayor. As photographer, I visited Contes for the first time to illustrate an article about the current state of the left-wing vote in France in the run-up to the 2022 presidential elections. As the Die Zeit writer interviewed (and I made portraits of) several left-wing residents, it became apparent that disillusionment and contradictions are the order of the day.
BUNTE magazine commissioned me to photograph the founders of Maison Mirabeau in Provence this summer. From portraits to interior design images, my photographer brief for this colourful, VIP lifestyle feature was broad. Stephen and Jeany Cronk gave up corporate life in London to realise a South of France winemaking dream 10 years ago. Their success, as producers of one of the UK’s best-loved (and multiple award-winning) rosé wine, has made them trendsetters.
Working conditions were unusually plush (by an editorial photographer’s standards) on a magazine assignment I had in southern Portugal recently. Commissioned to make portraits of Swiss businessman Freddy Burger and take pictures of the beautiful hotel he’d just purchased on the Algarve, I not only enjoyed a warm welcome at Hotel Vivenda Miranda, but was also happy to be involved in an upbeat feature focusing on the return of a long-awaited optimism to the travel industry.