Just telling it how it is.
In case you don’t already know, I’ve published a fantastic book of portraits.
A dazzling and unique collection of photographs of many of the worlds greatest entertainers and creative geniuses. From Ricky Gervais to Keith Richards, R.E.M. to Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravitz to Arthur Lee or Ray Davies to Amy Winehouse, they’re all here in an incisive and beautiful document from the first years of the 21st Century.
Here’s the introduction from the book:
HOME ENTERTAINMENT: In late 2001 I was asked by the Guardian newspaper if I fancied doing the photography for a new column that would run every week in the Friday Review. Journalist and writer Will Hodgkinson would do the interviews and between us we were to meet (usually well known) singers, songwriters, musicians, actors, film-makers, authors and comedians wherever they lived and ask them to reflect upon their relationship with recorded entertainment, be it records or films or books. The experience was almost always interesting, often exciting, sometimes dull and occasionally enlightening.
The interviewees would reveal much about themselves in having something as safe as a record collection to talk about. They found themselves at ease and, in the case of the more celebrated and press-savvy amongst them, off guard.
It ran for almost exactly five years and it felt for me like a five-year school outing. Whizzing up and down the motorways and A-roads of Britain, occasionally flying off abroad, always getting lost and always starving after we’d finished. It was a rare thing to be offered a cup of tea and rarer still some lunch.
What the Guardian needed from me and what I found quite hard to deliver week after week was a beautifully styled photograph of the artist in their home environment amongst their collection. I now understand that I just have no idea how to have a concept for the image and a sense of what it is to look like before I’ve seen it. Realising this has turned my photography around. I now know that my skills are in looking and seeing. People-watching is my number-one hobby: watching mannerisms and empathising with what someone is feeling in order to make a worthwhile portrait are thrills indeed.
I hope that Mark Bygraves, my picture editor at the Guardian, saw something of this in the pictures. I can’t think why else he let me carry on for five years.
I’m very glad to have had the opportunity to meet so many interesting people but, really, we all meet interesting people every day. We just have to see it.
Have a look and I’m hoping it will make a great Christmas product unit for someone special!