Monaco Grand Prix: the name alone conjures images of champagne, speedy cars, big money and dashing, daring drivers. This May, under the bright French Riviera sunshine, I captured all this and more, on an unusual and privileged event photographer commission. However, most of the exclusive photos that I took behind the scenes of the race can never be shown.
A glass of champagne or two while you browse? A changing room big enough for you and ten friends to chill out in? A beautiful, trilingual personal shopper, effortlessly juggling your favourite designers’ shoes, outfits and sunglasses? Forget shopping malls, queues and fights during the sales: Monaco knows how to shop.
“Fantastic!!! Fabulous!!!” cried my client, as she caught sight of me. Its not often that I am greeted with quite as much gusto, but I’d just arrived at the ITV Studios stand in Cannes, where bubbly smiles, enthusiasm and exclamation marks abound. ITV, the UK’s biggest and most popular commercial television channel, has a big presence at MIPCOM (the entertainment version of a series of annual Cannes-hosted global trade fairs), and I provide their corporate event photography. Today, my first stop was a rendez-vous on Love Island.
When I was young, I once overheard the term ‘floating gin palace’ in conversation. My imagination conjured up a thing of wonder, and so I was disappointed later to learn that the term simply refers to the kind of luxury motor yacht plentiful in Antibes, Cannes and other South of France marinas. Last week, I was asked as corporate event photographer to spend the evening in Cannes on a vessel that could have been fairly accurately described as a floating whisky palace.
Last month I headed back to England on a corporate photography commission. My client, a leading national insurance company, was re-designing its brand and wanted to put its employees at the heart of a new marketing campaign. I was chosen as photographer to take over 60 portraits of insurance personnel. The intro to the brief was simple: “we want to make the idea of insurance fun, to capture our lovely employees laughing and smiling, at their natural best”. There were certainly some amusing outtakes along the way…
Senior figures from all over the world have business (and perhaps pleasure) reasons to visit the French Riviera, especially Monaco. One of the things I love about being an editorial photographer here is the chance to meet some of the interesting characters who come and go. A few weeks ago, I was asked to take a portrait of a businessman in a hotel room. But not just any businessman, and not just any hotel.
Up until this year, I didn’t know that regular stomach bloating could be a sign of anything more sinister than a diet too heavy in cabbage. Ovarian cancer may be less well-known than some of the other cancers, but its survival rate of this disease draws attention. Shockingly, once diagnosed, only 40% of women survive beyond 5 years. Symptoms often pass unnoticed, being as ordinary as feeling full quickly or bloating.
I met the head of marketing of Ovarian Cancer Action at the London ceremony where I won Professional Photographer magazine’s Press Photographer of the Year award, and she was now recruiting a photographer to breathe new life into the charity’s image. It was a privilege to be able to help raise attention to this cause.
I was commissioned recently by a boutique optician in Nice who wanted a photographer to shoot some portraits for a new advertising campaign. A creative brief to combine quirky humour with élégance in black and white made for a particularly French feel to this photography assignment.
Sitting on a sunny café terrace, if you overheard people next to you discussing Wally, Linda Lou and Queen M, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were talking about old friends graced with slightly unusual nicknames. However, I was on assignment in Monaco, just about to meet leading designer of superyachts Espen Øeino, and my companions (members of Centurion magazine’s editorial team) were excitedly discussing the yachts they could spot from our table.