Celebrity Portraits

Lou Reed RIP

Very sad to hear of the death of Lou Reed. I had the pleasure of taking his photo in 2007 for The Times, a bizarre but amazing experience. 

It was the most nervous I’d ever been before a shoot. Lou, as well as being a keen photographer himself, was renowned to be awkward at the best of times and it was no secret that he didn’t much like journalists and the interview process. True to form, on his eventual arrival, he refused to sit on the chair that I’d found and certainly wouldn’t sit crossed-leg on the floor as I also suggested. He told me he would remain standing and would only be shot from the waist up and also insisted that I count one, two then three when I click the shutter. This I did of course but it seemed unnecessary as he did not move or change expression in any way.

Me and Lou

Me and Lou

He also wanted to see each shot on the back of the camera so we ended up in a kind of creative stale-mate. One, two, three,  show Lou the picture, hmmm he doesn’t seem to like it much but won’t move or do anything, oh well, one, two, three, one, two, thee. After a few painfully long minutes doing this I think he must have sensed my stressful state or just realised it was worth making an effort to get a decent picture, so he changed into his stage gear for that nights performance, and adopted a bit of rock star attitude. One, two, three, click. I had the picture and once he’d seen it, I was suddenly in the company of a surprisingly friendly Lou Reed who wanted to talk cameras and agreed to have his picture taken with me while adopting what he called a RUN DMC pose. (This is now framed and proudly on show in my downstairs toilet).

Then straight back to grumpy mode, he made the nice lady interviewer cry, accusing her of not listening properly to his new album of ambient tai chi music. I didn’t care though, I was basking in the warm glow of  having bonded (for a few minutes) with a true rock legend.

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan tough ex-SAS geezer that writes books. I don't normally shoot people with their arms crossed but it seems to work here.

He was born in 1961 in a village near Newcastle. In 1984 he joined the SAS. During his ten years in the Regiment, he was involved in overt and covert operations and was also Sniper team commander of the anti-terrorist team. During the Gulf War, Chris was the only member of an eight-man team to escape from Iraq, of which three colleagues were killed and four captured. It was the longest escape and evasion in the history of the SAS. For this he was awarded the Military Medal. During Ryan's last two years in the Regiment he selected and trained potential SAS recruits, he left the SAS in 1994. His work in security takes him around the world. He has also appeared in a number of TV programmes, including HUNTING CHRIS RYAN, PUSHED TO THE LIMIT (Toughest Families) and TERROR ALERT (Sky TV, 2004).

 

JANINE!

The fragrant Charlie Brooks better known as evil Janine from Eastenders. She's actually really nice and about to enter the jungle with I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. A good punt to win it I'd say, she's currently 2nd favourite at 9/2.

Ashley Walters

photocrati galleryPeckham-born actor and former So Solid Crew member Ashley Walters who is currently appearing in the "quite good" BBC drama, Inside Men. This was shot for The Times, oh and the tattoo says In Memory Of The Street Fighter which is the title of his latest music project.

Lou And Me

In order to avoid further thumb-twidling in what is always a quiet time on the work front, I've been doing a bit of extra post production to give some new life to a few pics from the archive. Lou Reed seemed like a good place to start. The shoot was for The Times and took place back in 2007 when he was promoting an album of chill-out meditation music hence the "Walk On The Mild Side"  headline which The Times used to go with the interview. It was the most nervous I'd ever been before a shoot. Lou, as well as being a keen photographer himself, was renowned to be awkward at the best of times and it was no secret that he didn't much like journalists and the interview process. True to form, on his eventual arrival, he refused to sit on the chair that I'd found and certainly wouldn't sit crossed-leg on the floor as I also suggested. He told me he would remain standing and would only be shot from the waist up and also insisted that I count one, two then three when I click the shutter. This I did of course but seemed unnecessary as he did not move or change expression in any way. He also wanted to see each shot on the back of the camera, we thus ended up in a kind of creative stale-mate. One, two, three,  show Lou the picture, hmmm he doesn't seem to like it much but won't move or do anything, oh well, one, two, three......

After a few painfully long minutes doing this I think he must have sensed my stressful state or just realised it was worth making an effort to get a decent picture, so he changed into his stage gear for that nights performance, and  adopted a bit of rock star attitude. One, two, three, click. I had the picture and once he'd seen it, I was suddenly in the company of a surprisingly friendly Lou Reed who wanted to talk cameras and agreed to have his picture taken with me while adopting what he called a RUN DMC pose. (This is now framed and proudly on show in my downstairs toilet)

Then he went off and did the interview. Going straight back to grumpy mode, he made very nice lady interviewer cry, accusing her of not listening to his new album. I didn't care though, I was basking in the warmth of a few minutes of bonding with a rock legend!

As a courtesy, I sent some of the shots to Lou via his publicist and the feedback was that he really liked them but could I do a bit of work on his neck so it was less wrinkly. Sorry Lou, 4 years later, after I've upped the contrast and taken out the colour, your rock star neck looks even older and leathery!

Sit-Up Comedy

photocrati gallery Part 2 in the series "Keep Fit With Impressionists" is more comedy exercise from comedienne and actress, Ronni Ancona. She invited me to capture an outdoor work-out in Kensington Gardens with her personal trainer Chris and a pilates session with David. I'm not sure exactly what qualifications these "handsome young men" need to have to help ladies exercise but perhaps it's a career area I should have looked into a few years back.

Always worth a look. Ronni's Andie McDowell shampoo advert: Ronni on YouTube

Cat Woman

Actress, dancer and children's tv presenter Sarah-Jane Honeywell at home with Gandulph, one of her 3 cats. What a nice lady! As well as fronting ZingZillas on Cbeebies and supporting the Dogs Trust she's a big football fan and has a column in Well Red, the Bristol City FC match day programme. She's also the only person I've ever met who merchandises their own doll. Now that's an idea, but is there a market for soft toy versions of bald middle-aged men. Lots more about Sarah-Jane including the doll here: www.sarah-jane.biz