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Making of a cover portrait

An opera diva, roasting temperatures and vibrant colour… this cover portrait assignment in Aix-en-Provence was a fiery one. My photographer assistant and I travelled from Nice, and the magazine journalist from Finland, to spend a sweltering afternoon with internationally renowned opera soprano Karita Massala on her South of France tour. Continue reading…

Page layout of the cover of Finnish women's magazine Kotiliesi, showing portrait of Karita Mattilia

Toddler TV Hero

You may not recognise this man, but you’ve probably come across his creations. The smooth, British inventor of Bob the Builder and Paw Patrol lives in Monaco. I was sent on assignment to take his portrait for a German business magazine. During the shoot, I got banished from a superyacht port (for disobeying Monaco photographer regulations) and later watched helplessly as a storm gust carried off my studio flash. Yet, by the time our gin & tonics were served, I was shaken, but not stirred. Continue reading…

Portrait photograph of Keith Chapman, standing on the quayside of a luxury yacht harbour

Mission to the Moon

Last Saturday, I was as close as I’ll probably ever get to space travel. American space artist Richard Clar had come to the South of France on a mission. Commissioned as photographer, I was to take his portrait and make press reportage of a rather exceptional event. In the middle of the night, high in the mountains above Grasse, my photographs would witness an extraordinary happening, unique not only on the French Riviera, but worldwide. Continue reading…

Night photograph of a silhouetted observatory sending a green laser to the moon

Art in Nice: Ben, Blues and a Repurposed Abattoir

Art has long enriched the image of the South of France (photographers may be as inspired by the light and colours of Provence as painters) but does a contemporary art scene thrive here today? Or, with so many of its art museums devoted to past masters such as Renoir, Picasso and Matisse, does the French Riviera rest on its laurels? Stern recently came to write a travel feature on art in Nice. The artworks that I saw and people that I photographed during two days in Nice with the writer were all a far cry from the painters normally associated with Provence. Continue reading…

Photograph of an old TV in a garden with 'Faux' ['False'] painted on the screen

In the footsteps of painters

It is said that it was the quality of the light that brought Renoir, Matisse and Picasso to the South of France. I’m sure the quantity – and warmth – of the sunshine in Provence helped too. They were not alone: over the last century or so, a host of artists have, through their paintings, immortalised countless scenes of the French Riviera.

Curious to revisit the spots where some of these painters had set up canvases, I recently shot a set of images to put their art back onto the street, and bring their scenes to life today, from a photographer’s point of view. Continue reading…

A couple walks past a blank easel on Quai Amiral Courbet, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France.

Tower of a Thousand Bottles

Well, 1,200 bottles actually. After the festive period of over-excess, this 2.5 metre high representation of alcohol consumption could be an interesting January reminder to anyone who has been struggling with New Year’s drink-less or drink-never resolutions. Continue reading…

Artist Mike Marshall with his Bottle Tower at dusk