I last photographed Lizzie Deignan in 2017, a cover portrait for the Guardian Weekend magazine. This spring, I returned to Monaco, where she lives, this time as photographer for Cyclist magazine. A racing cyclist, Lizzie is currently the top ranked rider in the world and is a prominent figure pushing forward professional women’s cycling. We both rose to the challenge of doing an environmental portrait shoot during the Covid lockdown and, so doing, fittingly celebrated another International Women’s Day together.
The South of France was particularly bleak and wintry when Die Zeit sent their journalist and me, photographer, on a journey across Provence to make a portrait of France’s leading ecofeminist researcher, Émilie Hache. Our destination was the small town of Die, a 4 ½ hour drive from Nice, and my preparation for this assignment involved, besides photography, finding out what ecofeminism meant.
It was a privilege to photograph Sara Hannig Nour, founder of a flagship organic food company, in Egypt recently. Corporate portraits (for PR & marketing) and lifestyle photography (to illustrate her upcoming cookery book) were the order of the day, and we prepared stacks of fresh, organic produce from the farm to turn her bright, white kitchen into a riot of colour. Swiss-born Sara’s dedication to caring for the planet, fair trade and healthy living – along with extraordinary work and determination – make her an inspiration. Indeed, Sara has not gone unnoticed: in 2017, she won Cartier’s prestigious Women’s Initiative Award.
French magazine Le Point assigned me as photographer to make a portrait of the CEO of H2O Asset Management at his office in Monaco last month. Bruno Crastes’s reputation in the finance world precedes him: 5 years ago he was named the best bond manager in the world. Yet since this summer, Bruno and his high-risk hedge fund firm have been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Australian cyclist Caleb Ewan is one of the world’s top sprinters. I was delighted to be sent to Monaco this summer to photograph him. Portrait photographer, sports photographer: both sets of skills were required to meet this brief, and I had very little time indeed to capture the pictures for Rouleur magazine’s 17-page feature. From the mountains above the French Riviera to his bike garage in Monte Carlo, I took portraits of Caleb, pictures of him in action, landscapes, reportage with his family & more. After two hours I felt as if I’d done my own stage of the Tour de France.
L’Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, near Antibes, is one of the most exclusive hotels in the South of France. As photographer on portrait assignment for Bunte magazine, I recently had the pleasure of meeting and working with its owner, Maia Oetker. In residence since 1969, and still with an active role in the hotel’s direction, Madame Oetker has come to be known as the grande dame of luxury hotels.
Not all my portrait assignments are for editorial or corporate clients. From time to time, individuals commission me as photographer to help build their own professional identity: a strong profile picture will support their social media presence and PR goals. The traditional industry term of what’s required might be a headshot, but I approach a profile picture as a portrait. For me it is an opportunity to make an image that represents various aspects of who my subject is and what they do – not simply a shot of of their head. Here’s how…
The man whose portrait I took recently in Nice is on a mission to save the world. From his South of France observatory, Dr Patrick Michel is part of an international team working to protect Planet Earth from being obliterated by an asteroid.
As the world pauses, and half the planet is confined with Covid19, international sports matches are a distant memory. Many photographers are struggling with inactivity; for athletes I can imagine staying isolated indoors is especially tough. In recent months, just before the Iockdown, I made portraits of three stars in a single sport: rugby.
Every summer, I head to Les Rencontres d’Arles. Arguably the world’s most prestigious photography festival, Arles is a great chance for me to see a range of new, contemporary photography and catch up with friends and clients. Many travel much further than I, from the French Riviera, to come to this event in the South of France – photographers and photo editors alike. This year was special: not only was it the event’s 50th birthday, but I was among the photographers with work on show.