Category Archives: portraiture

Night at the Museum

17th Dec 2013. Ed Vaisey portrait taken after his speech at a V & A party to Celebrate Qatar Independence day last week.

Ed Vaisey Portrait

Paul Bhattacharjee R.I.P

Paul Bhattacharjee portrait

Paul rehearsing at the Tricycle in 2011

I’ve just come home from Paul Bhattacharjee’s memorial service which was held for a packed out house at TARA Arts this afternoon. Paul was not only a fantastic actor but a political activist and a warm hearted friend. Over the course of the afternoon memories were shared, often hilarious, often very sad.

I’ve taken several photographs of Paul in the past but this is one of my favourites of him. He’s in action rehearsing a one-off piece to mark the handover of the English PEN Presidency from Lisa Appignanesi to Gillian Slovo in 2011. It was a fundraising event for English PEN also featuring actors Ben Kingsley, Matthew Macfadyen, Bill Paterson and Harriet Walter. I remember being somewhat intimidated by this formidable line-up as I entered the Tricycle Theatre to document it. However, Paul jumped up to greet me and with this trademark glint in his eye and hand on my back introduced me to the cast as his friend. This ice breaker made my job infinitely easier and sums up Paul’s generous and egalitarian nature.

I’ve included a link to his obituary in his beloved Guardian HERE. What the piece fails to portray was his culinary prowess; his theatrical nickname of “Battery Charger” (like Bhattacharjee but different) and his unflinching devotion and continuing work with anti-fascist pressure groups.

So long comrade – your work will live on.

(This document of Paul’s acting legacy was available at his memorial)

Clive Anderson portrait at RIBA

I was asked to cover the English PEN fundraising quiz at the extraordinarily beautiful RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) last week. The night was deftly hosted by presenter, author and former barrister, Clive Anderson. It was star-studded night, bringing together the great and the good of the London’s media and literary worlds. Mr. Anderson did sterling work with an exuberant crowd. I took his portrait at the end of what was a very long night – I think he projects an air of being simultaneously satisfied yet exhausted.

Clive Anderson portrait

Clive Anderson in reflective mood

RIBA

RIBA

Tense competition saw the Daily Telegraph’s team take pole position by just one point, ahead of teams from The Guardian/Observer and The Literary Review, which tied in second place. A team from the London Book Fair secured third place. Other teams taking part included: Agile Agents, Bob&Co, Suzie Boyt, Black’s Club, Bloomberg, Canongate, Carter Ruck, Amanda Craig, Daily Telegraph, Faber & Faber, The Guardian/Observer, HarperCollins, Orion, The Times, Little, Brown, The Literary Review, London Book Fair, Press Complaints Commission, Random House Penguin, Political Quarterly, The Financial Times, and Isabel Wolff.

Conference

Conference

Stoppard wins the PEN Pinter Prize 2013

English PEN just commissioned me to document this year’s PEN Pinter Prize at the British Library. The prize went to playwright Sir Tom Stoppard. I’ve been a fan of Stoppard since I discovered his early play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead when I was a teenager. I was impressed by the play’s irreverence, absurdity and its sense of other-worldliness which my teenage diet of Pink Floyd and beatnik literature. The 76-year-old gave an address at the event, which also featured readings from his plays.

I knew that I wouldn’t have long to take his portrait as he was in hot demand but I had sneakily set-up a single soft box in the green room and collared him as he came off stage. After about a minute the groupies descended on him and the shoot was disrupted but I had something to show for it at least. Stoppard then spend an hour signing books before attending a high brow dinner in the British Library restaurant with the likes of Antony Gormley, Melvyn Bragg, Trevor Nunn, Margaret Drabble, Martin Rowson, Antonia Fraser and many more.

Sir Tom portrait

Sir Tom portrait

Stoppard also announced he had chosen Belarusian journalist Iryna Khalip as the recipient of this year’s writer of courage award. The prize recognises an international writer who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs. The Guardian featured his acceptance lecture HERE and used my photo.

 

Melvyn Bragg and Trevor Nunn

Melvyn Bragg and Sir Trevor Nunn chin wagging

The British Library resaurant

The British Library restaurant

Miriam Margolyes portrait

Miriam Margolyes portrait

Miriam Margolyes portrait

Miriam Margolyes recently read some extracts from Barbara Pym novels in the library at St. Hilda’s University in Oxford and I was booked to get a photograph of her in action and then take her portrait. The reading itself was incredible and opened my eyes to the novelist Barbara Pym – the 20th Century novelist widely regarded as an overlooked great. The event was put on in close collaboration with the Barbara Pym society which is a very active and passionate organisation. I didn’t have much time to get the portrait but I been able to undertake a reconnaissance mission earlier and was able to get her into position super quick.

 

Miriam Margolyes reading

Little red riding shoot

My friend the artist Sara le Roy used me for some pics recently that she will base her next painting on. Like a lot of her work she is planning a piece which is an oblique observation of a mainstream subject or character – in this case Red Riding Hood.

Little Red Riding Hood

Inspiring Armitage and Heaney

On Sunday night I was covering an event at the Tricycle theatre where the two poets Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage selected 10 pieces of writing – verse or prose – that had inspired them. They were on stage introducing each piece which were then delivered by the actors Charles Dance and Jenny Jules. The event was a one off fund raser for English PEN, called Inspirations, and was sold out weeks ago.

It was a tricky gig for me as, unlike production photography, this was covering a live performance (instead of the dress rehearsal): subtlety was the order of the day although that is easier said than done. I was keen to get a least one charismatic image of Seamus Heaney – a veteran poet whose works I admire. Its always tricky to photograph live performance and actually enjoy the work but I did get a kick out of the extract of the Beckett play, Waiting for Godot. Just a few lines reinforces the fact that life is tragically futile yet the gentle simplicity of the writing somehow suggests that reason is restored.

 

Seamus Heaney and Jenny Jules portrait

Heaney enthralls

Seamus Heaney, Jenny Jules, Charles dance and Simon Armitage

Seamus Heaney, Jenny Jules, Charles dance and Simon Armitage present

Full house at the Tricycle Theatre

Full house at the Tricycle Theatre

Sameer Rahim covered it nicely for the Telegraph. They also used my photograph HERE

HI 5 2013!

From me and the latest member of my menagerie….

new years day photoshoot with my kitten

BAOBAB POWER!

This is Andrew Hunt and Nick Salter, the co-founders of a recently launched company called Aduna. Dedicated to providing the world with extraordinary African plants like the baobab, Aduna now supplies these fruits to a variety of UK stores. Their produce is sourced with close interaction with the small scale producers in Africa. Did someone say Fair Trade? These guys are the sequel to that tired mantra.

Aduna portrait

Aduna co-founder portrait

I first got involved with Aduna through this portrait I took for them last month. Since then they asked me to take some pics at their launch party at Shaka Zulu in the stables in Camden Town. Shaka Zulu is a massive South African bar and restaurant which is massively over the top (even the ceiling is a wood carving!) but somehow done with a bit of dignity. Aduna launched last week to a glam crowd. The baobab pina colada’s flowed freely long into the night. Check the zulu style party out

 

 

Camus Chameleon

This is my chameleon, Camus. She rocks (obviously). Funny story but I found her basking on the pavement of my local estate in Lambeth 6 weeks ago. Having had some chameleon experience from Morocco back in the day I felt confident to take in this stranger.
camus portrait

camus portrait

The RSPCA man in the Patcham Reptile Shelter gave her a clean bill of health but pointed out two parellel scars on her head probably caused by claws. I suspect that local tabby I see with the swagger. Be warned kitty….