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King of the Cannes Jungle

A magazine assignment recently led me to Cannes, to photograph none other than the King of Bling. Hot young fashion designer Philipp Plein may be German but he is utterly at home in his sumptuous villa in the South of France. As a property photographer, I couldn’t dream of a better subject that the self-styled ‘King’s Jungle’ that consitutes his workplace, home and playground. As a portrait photographer, I would have liked my audience with the king to begin a little earlier and last a little longer. But in any case, my experience was memorable. Continue reading…

Portrait of Philipp Plein

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

french riviera lunch with a finnish economist

Björn Wahlroos is considered to be Finland’s top businessman. An arch-capitalist economist, he has very little time for poets, and not much for photographers either. In fact he has precious little time at all, even when holidaying in his South of France villa. Commissioned by an editorial client to go to Nice and take ‘a quick portrait’ of Björn before the writer conducted his interview, I was thus suprised to find myself leaving over 3 hours later than expected, with a full stomach and plenty of food for thought. Continue reading…

Photographic portrait of Bjorn Wahlroos, seated

keeping the ‘real’ in real estate photography

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a property on the market for €3.35 million in Monaco would be a pretty plush pad; a joy to work with, for a photographer. Monaco’s status as a fiscal paradise and its resultant real estate prices means you’d be wrong. The ‘dream home’ I was sent to photograph recently, right on the border between Monaco and much-cheaper-France, was underwhelming, to say the least. Making it look spacious and desirable, without resorting to photographers’ post production tricks, presented a real challenge. Continue reading…

Photograph of bathroom and bedroom with bath and glass partition separating the two spaces

humble pissaladiere of nice

For a food photographer, South of France ingredients such as basil and sun-kissed tomatoes can make for colourful, highly photogenic subjects, especially when shown off in dishes created by fine French Riviera chefs. I wouldn’t count the subject of a recent food reportage that I did in this category. Pissaladière originated as a humble pesant’s dish from Nice, and isn’t ever going to win first prize in a food beauty contest . But there is more to the preparation of this tasty, no-nonsense dish than meets the eye. Continue reading…

Photograph of Niçoise speciality dish 'pissaladière

monaco: mission control

Something rather exciting is happening up in the sky at the moment. The first ever round-the-world flight of a solar-powered plane is being attempted, and the project’s mission control centre is based right here on the French Riviera. You might think that Monaco’s 2 km² wouldn’t be ideally suited to housing a space station, but you’d be wrong. I was one of many photographers and journalists to visit Solar Impulse’s Mission Control in Monte Carlo recently, to take a portrait of engineer Michael Anger. Continue reading…

Portrait of engineer Michael Anger in front of a world route map