This portrait of Trudie Styler for Country Life Magazine’s feature on Irish Wolfhounds, was taken at Trudie and Sting’s residence in Wiltshire on a filthy winter’s day in December.
Portrait photography in the rain is always a challenge. Standing in a fast running river with water flowing in over the brim of my wellies, Lucy precariously holding my lighting in strong gusts of wind, 6 irish wolfounds on a bridge eyeing up potential fun in the water below, all whilst being overlooked by Sting – made it all the more exciting! Trudie also had her hands full with these enormous hounds so I’m not sure who was more relieved when all the elements came together within a few minutes and we captured the shot without any of the wolfhounds joining Lucy and I for a splash!
This was a truly memorable evening in aid of www.childbereavementuk.org, with performances & contributions from musicians, actors and authors including: Sir Tom Jones and Jools Holland, Bill Nighy, Ben and Marina Fogle, Brendan Cox, Michael Morpurgo, the Taplow Youth Choir and The African Gospel Choir. As a portrait photographer specialising in children photography, a mother of three gorgeous girls and wife to a wonderful husband, I am aware of how lucky I am. It is a wonderful to give back to a charity providing a lifeline to bereaved families.
This portrait commission for Country Life Magazine, accompanied an article in the issue on 22nd November 2017 about the Country House Foundation which offers grants to help the preservation of buildings of historical or architectural significance. Indeed, this charitable foundation has helped the Nick Ashley Cooper, the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, restore the St Giles House Estate, Wimborne St Giles, back to its former glory. The earl explained: “During the restoration, we wanted to showcase one room in its unrestored state. The Great Dining room seemed the perfect space to do that, with its bare brick walls and layers of history.”
My aim was create an informal portrait from an angle which best displayed these ‘layers of history’, with particular focus on the juxtaposition between the bare brick and remaining plaster. What you can’t see are the two new layers of history on the carpet where Hettie (taking pride of place on the chair) was sick when she came in!
Another very enjoyable portrait commission from Country Life Magazine: photographing Cecily Offord at home in Devon for the frontispiece with my great friend and very talented make up artist Amanda Jackson Sytner.
Although the weather was rather dreary, the light was soft and there was little wind – so great conditions for portrait photography. The only set back with soft lighting is that it’s flat and lacking in shadow which adds a depth and mood I love particularly in close up portraiture. However, I found an ideal location under a pergola offering opportunity for creating soft shadows, a lovely wall with plants growing up in the background, and soft light flowing in from the front and right. I positioned the chair towards the front on the right, where there was sufficient light behind to avoid her her being lost in the dark background, and angled it so as create some soft shadow on the left of Cecily (from the viewer’s perspective).
We then worked through a variety of poses on & around the chair, which resulted in a wonderful selection of stunning portraits. The combination of a stunning model, make up, red velvet jacket and set up all worked in my favour. The one Country Life chose is but one of my many favourites.
What a privilege to return to photograph Kate Adie in her home town in Dorset, this time for a feature I was covering for Country Life Magazine, out this month. At 71 she looks incredible – perhaps her secret is keeping busy. Although her days of being a war correspondent may be over, she is certainly not one to sit still. Indeed she still works as a freelance journalist and public speaker, she presents ‘From our own Correspondent’ on Radio 4, is ambassador for various charities, and has written 5 books – including her best selling autobiography, ‘The Kindness of Strangers’.
I think this photo captures the essence of this remarkable lady – intelligence, humour, integrity, determination, strength and charm.
Very honoured to have met and photographing this inspiring young lady – Sophie Montagne. As covered recently on the BBC news, Sophie is part of the first all female team attempting to cross Antartica later in November this year. The team has just returned from 3 weeks training in the Norwegian Wilderness, where they have skied 463km and climbed over 6000m, pulling 50kg behind them (about 75% of their bodyweight).
In November, their 3 month journey will be cover 1,700km during which they will be battling temperatures of -50C with wind speeds over 60mph. Some feat. Follow them on twitter @exicemaiden.
One of the things I love most about being a portrait photographer is the variety of my work, the people I meet, and the places I visit. One day I’m photographing children, another adults, sculptures, interiors,weddings, etc. One day I’m in Dorset, another Wiltshire, Hampshire, Gloucestershire. No day or commission is ever the same.
A recent portrait commission from Country Life Magazine took me to the new gallery, Messums, which has recently opened in the Medieval Tithe Barn located in Tisbury, Wiltshire. Here I had the pleasure of photographing Lord Margadale, the owner of the Tithe barn and Johnny Messum the founder of the gallery. I was also asked to capture the stunning interior & ceiling of the barn, and their inaugural exhibition of stone and bronze sculptures.
A wonderful sunny day photographing Sandroyd prep school in May was made all the worthwhile when Country Life Magazine chose this image for the front cover of their School Life Guide.
Providing schools with effective advertising, marketing and website photography is one of my favourite jobs – it’s an opportunity to combine my skills learned from 10 years working in marketing, with my passion for photographing children. They are such fun to work with.
I had such a happy, quite intense, day photographing Lucinda’s gorgeous children and nephews and nieces for her new cookery book. This is potentially the front cover – deemed the winner by our Facebook followers.
Lucinda is a highly respected and sought after naturopath who is in the process of writing a book full of wonderful recipes to help children stay healthy and strong. I arrived with Amanda Jackson Sytner, my lovely make up artist friend, in time to photograph the children having breakfast, and staying until tea had been served.
Not exactly your usual frontispiece, but this is one of my favourite photos for Country Life. My great friend and hugely talented make up artist, Amanda Jackson Sytner, and I headed down to the dark depths of Devon on a cold wintery day in early March.
Publication was set for the end of April, so I’d been briefed to capture the colours of spring. but there was not a flower let alone a bluebell in sight. Fortunately the yellow derelict digger, aka “Custard”, caught by eye and invited some quirky compositions, and worked particularly well with Freddie’s bright green dress. The red wellies provided the final touch.
This portrait may not have captured any spring flowers, but the bright colours made a pretty good substitute on this bleak midwinter’s day!