When weighing up the pros and cons of being freelance, there are some commissions that instil a warm fuzzy feeling and make me feel incredibly lucky. Like any art form, photography is susceptive.
About 3 months ago I received an email from a lovely gentlemen explaining that he wanted to buy himself a birthday present. He was soon to reach half a century of life and thought a lovely way to mark this would be to get a portrait of himself done.
Clueless on where to find a photographer, he started by contacting The National Portrait Gallery in London. They suggested he look at the Taylor Wessing Portrait prize and see if any of the images took his fancy. They didn't.
He then looked back at the previous years of the competition and on reaching 2008 (or 2009?) he discovered my image.... He soon found himself in the lobby of his first chosen location to reccy with a very enthusiastic Laura Pannack there to greet him.
This commission really was an honour. Not just to be chosen among so many inspirational photographers but also to work so closely with a client to get what they wanted to commemorate such a personal celebration.
From the beginning I fully understood that an image of the self is a challenge to adore. Insecurities are natural and I needed to make sure he was both relaxed and himself.
This image is from a fantastic location. It s a pub in Islington called The Old Queens Head. I've used it a few times and the staff are the friendliest and most down to earth gang I've ever come across.
Fortunately, I was allowed to shoot film on this one...joy.... the biggest relief was the look of overwhelming content and excitement when the results were revealed. The reaction completed a thoroughly enjoyable project perfectly and I was proud when he remarked:
"Wow that's amazing! I look bloody fantastic!".... There is nothing nicer than making someone feel good x