How did your professional career start? Was it luck?
What is luck? Luck is a bucket load of hard work to hopefully give you a break. Due to the Big Brother and reality TV generation, many people want a career NOW and not work hard and climb the ladder. Unfortunately, life is not like that. It has taken my 25 years of very hard work to get to the position I am in now. I see luck like telesales: the more phone calls, knocks on doors, emails you do, the greater the chance of getting the job you aspire to.
What is it about photography that makes you tick?
In a nutshell, being my own boss is a great part of my career. As my sitters are all famous faces, it is nice for me to try and capture something a little different, whether it be quirky or more thought provoking images.
Who has been your biggest photographic influence?
This is a bone of contention as I really don’t look at other photographers for inspiration. I like to watch old movies to see how they lit the actors or I love to look at the work of Caravaggio or Rembrandt, and the lighting they used. But also everything you see every day influences you somehow. Having said that, I do love the photography of Karsh, Albert Watson, Avedon, and the early work of Bailey.
How did you start using Elinchrom?
When I was a student of photography in 1989 I used to use another brand of flash heads. They were great but VERY heavy and bulky to carry around to shoots. When looking for a replacement or an alternative to the heads I used, I stumbled over Elinchrom and from then on I was hooked.
How did you develop your own lighting style?
By playing. I like either very soft or very hard lighting, and over the years it has been trial and error. I remember, I was in NYC shooting Christopher Walken (back in the days I shot film and didn’t use Polaroid). My light meter broke during the shoot so I mocked up a lighting set, not knowing if it would work or not. The resulting soft shot that was hashed up on the day is a lighting style I still use in case of emergency.
What is your most common set up for a photoshoot?
There isn’t a common setup for me, as most shoots are different. But usually I shall use three ELC Pro HD heads, using a softbox or an Octa as my main light source. Maybe also a grid on another light or a bounced light.
Original interview by TFC