As things wound down for Christmas and seeing in the new year, I found some time to mess around with some Brandy. Fitting for the season! Enjoy!
In recent years, consumers have become ever increasingly conscious about the effect that their habits have on the environment. Possibly none more than the use of single use plastics. A hot topic of the moment.
Plastic bags and straws have provided large talking points, and pressure has been put on businesses to make small changes to help protect the environment.
Things as small as changing plastic straws to paper ones. It’s crazy to think that the plastic in a black straw is non recyclable, and here have been a few videos circulate on social media to highlight the damage done from such a small and seeminglessly harmless product. The one that sticks in my mind was the turtle that had a black straw lodged deep into its nostril. A distressing watch which provoked thoughts that this could easily be prevented.
I've wanted to do a project that looked at these single use plastics for a while now, but I wanted it to be more than just plastic bags. I popped into a few shops and managed to find a whole host of cheap, single use plastic objects, most costing less than £1 for a whole pack of things. I couldn’t believe how readily available and unnecessarily cheap it all was which makes it even worse. 30 plastic forks, spoons or knives that cost just £1 would be around for the next few hundred, if not thousands of years.
Single use plastic is becoming a huge accumulative problem.
Here are the range of things I managed to pick up in about 20 minutes in various high street stores.
Here are a couple of test images from over the summer months when I decided to shoot some Whisky. Both based around a pour, one a more clean cut studio image, and then the other a more lifestyle based image.
Both came with some challenges, the pour into the glass being the most difficult. Getting the pour to meet the glass in the exact spot I wanted proved testing, but with some patience and persistence we got there in the end. Thats what still life imagery is all about!!
When I was younger, I remember my mum saying things like "I've just thrown a cake together." I'm not sure what it was that jogged my memory about that, but it got me thinking about how that could be bought to life in a visual way. Maybe I should have started with throwing a cake together, or, maybe thats something for another time. I thought about the idea for a few weeks and then threw myself into it.
After I'd sat on the idea for a bit, in December 2017 I started to shoot what would turn out to be a long and testing body of personal work.
Starting with breakfast. A full English to be exact. This image would set the framework for the project and how I would execute more of these thrown together images. The trouble was, at this point I wasn't sure how many I wanted to do, or what was going to be next. Things seem to work nicely in three's, but I've got a bit of a habit of shooting series of work that always come out with three final images so I wanted to go further with it than that.
The first image took me two days to shoot. There was a lot of tinkering as you can imagine, but I wanted to make sure that this could be an elaborate and real talking point within my portfolio. As is always the way with the first step of a series or new body of work, you have to find the best ways of doing things. A bit of trail and error, probably lots of swearing as things didn't quiet work out and a bunch of patience goes a long way with this kind of thing. Everything had to be shot near enough where it is positioned in the frame in the final image. Perspectively things wouldn't line up otherwise, something might just look odd about the images, but it would be difficult for the viewer to figure out what if they weren't "visually trained". It was the perfect challenge for me, offered up plenty of problems to solve, which in turn appeals to my precise way of doing things. I guess thats what really makes still life photographers tick.
I can't remember which image I shot next, but after doing so it started to become clear to me that I could do a whole days worth of food. Maybe an indulgent day, but that seemed like a logical way to go with and it would give me a natural order for the images. Now not only did I want to do the dishes, but I wanted to throw in a drink for each stage too. This obviously started with the brew on the breakfast which I didn't really have to think about with a fry up, the rest went from there.
After about 6 months I'd ended up with the images you see below. A little bit of an epic, but worth all the tinkering and eating all the food afterwards!
Sometimes the best work just seems to grow organically.
Full English Breakfast
Cheese Toastie with Tomato Soup (very American)
Surf and Turf
Cheese and Biscuits.
Recently we've been shooting some drinks work for the Savoy. Using the Kinghts Bar which is located above Simpsons Restaurant and looks out onto the Strand. The bar has a Art Deco feel to it and they serve a host of there own signature cocktails such as "Put the Kettle on" inspired by tea and "Don't make a fuss" where the glass has a lipstick lips style glaze added.
Premium Food & Drinks Photography
Back in the Autumn we were asked to put together a shoot that helped Simpson's In The Strand restaurant, which is part of The Savoy hotel in London. The client's brief was to show the craft that goes into the food and drink at the restaurant. We shot both food and drinks photography as well as video to really show off the talent and the restaurant's processes.
Ominous Art Direction
The art direction required a dark and moody feel to the images with some extreme close up's too. It was a pleasure to work with head chef Will Hemming and his brilliant team. The food, as you would expect, was incredible.
Take a look below to see a selection of the stills and a cut of one of the videos. Just be warned: don't look if you're hungry...
We also had some help form DOP Mark Pullon on the day to help create some moving images of the processes we shot stills of. All in all, a very satisfying day with some beautiful food.
2017 was a great year. I was lucky enough to work with some great people and some pretty awesome projects throughout the year. So thank you to everyone who put there trust in me to get the job done! Here are a few little personal highlights from the year, sorry I can't put everything up here, theres just way to much of it and you'd still be looking at this in March.
Better By Bike.
I was commissioned at the start of the year to shoot a campaign for, Bath, Bristol and North Somerset councils for their Better by Bike initiative, the council want to get people to commute to work using cycle paths in the area and its also a great way of keeping fit. Picking up with a similar feel to how we shot for them last time back in 2015, 6 days on location was a fairly chunky project, the weather was mostly kind to us too which is a bonus!
It was a bit of a strange job when I was approached about shooting some cocktails that were inspired by flavours of crisps for Burts Chips. Even stranger was a Martini with cheese instead of an olive but anything goes in the 21st centuary. We shot them on location in Bristol and there was lots of product on set, which is only a good thing. Super fun job and all of the cocktails looked stunning.
I was lucky enough to find a bit of time to shoot some personal work and tinker on things. Much of 2017 was about drinks on a personal level. I love how technical you can get with these images, spending time refining the lighting and then once the drink is poured it's all done in a matter of seconds. Different story with the bottle images however where you can tinker for an age... Love shooting this kind of thing and want to do lots more so if you've just rebranded something liquid/ booze based, lets talk about creating some awesome imagery for it.
Reach Robotics: MEKAMON
I shot product, lifestyle and campaign images for Reach Robotics new augmented reality based product MEKAMON. These are now available from the apple stores.
I spent 3 days in Winkworth Sherwood's office on the bank of the Thames shooting portraits of fee earners for the rebrand. Art Direction wise we wanted it to feel editorial, New York Times kind of relaxed interview. I think we managed that despite spending only a short amount of time with each sitter. Always a pleasure to work with art director Anthony Mullinder.
Strasbourg Christmas Markets
I was commissioned to shoot a large scale paper model of Strasbourg, created by the super talented Sam Pierpoint. It came in at something like 1.6m x 1.6m, pretty big for something so delicate. A whole lot of patience and skill had gone into crafting it. A day in the studio to assemble the model and then a day of shooting all the elements to bring the city to life. There's also a version where the smoke moves and shooting stars ping across the sky. The model is now actually in Strasbourg for all to see and scratch their heads about how it's all put together. Loved this one - heaps more of this kind of thing please!
The Gift Of Cake
The Gift of Cake is a brilliant start up based in the South West. Send cake to loved ones to say a little something, instead of the predictable flowers. There was an awful lot of cake on this shoot, I tired it all and it was all delicious! Very much looking forward to working with their team on some more of this next year as they produce seasonal ideas. Check out there website, all the photography work on there is from yours truly. www.thegiftogcake.com
I've been lucky enough to start shooting for The Savoy. These drinks were shot over a couple of occasions in the Knights bar, which is part of Simpson's In The Strand restaurant. I'm looking forward to going back this year and shooting some new signature cocktails that they may have up their sleeves. Back in 2017, The American Bar, which is part of the Savoy won the coveted title of best bar in the world. A little goal for myself this year is to try and shoot some cocktails for them too! Though the greatest shame is that every time I've been driving, so I can't even sample these...
Its been a hectic and colourful year. Again, thanks for the love and trust. Can't wait to work with you all in 2018. Lets make it even better, brighter and crazier than the year just passed.