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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

Cannes: an ‘impossible’ photographer brief

Sometimes, the gap between a picture editor’s vision of how to approach the photography for a feature (dreamed up in doodles on a desk in London) and the reality of what a photographer can actually achieve on location (at a giant trade fair in the South of France, for example) can be rather large. At the latest MIPIM, an annual real estate event held in Cannes, my magazine client’s photographer brief for a portrait-led feature verged on impossible to realise. However, “impossible n’est pas français”. Continue reading…

Sketch of a building with "I am a momument" written above it

Food photographer’s cover story

Its probably best not to read this post if you’re hungry. On a recent magazine assignment, I left the French Riviera and headed to Marseille with a food & travel writer to investigate the city’s vibrant, migrant-influenced cuisine. Working as both food and portrait photographer, I had the privilege of photographing – and tasting – some extraordinary dishes that combine South of France flavours with African and Asian influences, and meeting the Marseillais who created them. One of the courses, from a lunch with no less than 23 of them, made the magazine cover. Continue reading…

Cover of Aramco World magazine, showing a photograph of an haute cuisine starter

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