The changing face of the photo-call.

The changing face of the photo-call.

Anyone who shares my interests in photography, serious theatre, and south-west London will understand why I was so pleased to be invited to a photo-call at the Royal Court Theatre right on Sloane Square, to capture some images from the new current production: White Pearl. (Plot synopsis: Six women having a bad day at work) Indeed, if one was to draw a Venn Diagram of the possible points of union of these interests, this event would be quite close to the very heart of it.

I say invited. It's possible some would say I invited myself, and it was not a run of the mill photo-call, but something new to me, a photo-call specifically set up for bloggers and other social media users. This kind of thing may have been going on for ages, but I hadn't come across it before.

As I tend to do, I arrived early at the theatre, and was hanging about in the underground bar and cafe (ever so good, and in case you don't know it, here's a photo ).


Rather than explain this, let's just say, I was so early, I was presumed to be there for a slightly earlier event, a press call for the mainstream press. I looked similar to the others who were there for that event, and I had all the gear, so it wasn't surprising. So, entirely accidentally I ended up attending two photo-calls, one right after the other. One for, what I presume to be the mainstream press, and one Social Media related event.

I noticed that the photographers for the first event, were behaved in a way that was familiar to me from my short spell working on Fleet Street, back in the day - as a group they all stood together (as they were in a Theatre, this had to be in the same row). It makes sense when attending a multitude of events to work out a mutual way of operating, as it means they all keep out of everyones way, but it also means they are going to be taking very similar pictures. It reminded of me of how surprised I was at my first Fleet Street press event I attended many years ago, when there was a discussion before-hand amongst all the photographers as to which lens they would use, so that everybody would keep the same comfortable distance from the action.

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First Session

At the second, Social Media Event, the participants were, on average, much younger and more diverse, (I felt noticeably older than everyone else there) and once set loose in the theatre they scattered around the auditorium, photographing on their phones as much as on any camera. More Samsung and Apple than Nikon and Cannon. I'm willing to bet the pictures are going to all be so different, if not so technically precise as those created at the first session.

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Second Session

Hopefully you will be able to track down their images, if you are interested in seeing them, on social media, by searching for #WhitePearl.

As for the production itself, I can't really comment, as we only saw a few short segments. It was press night later on, so there should be a number of reviews available now. I will say that it was an impressively colourful set and the dialog I heard was sharp and snappy, and it was great to see a main London stage with so many women on it, although this isn't exactly a first at the Royal Court.

As for my pictures from the event, well, I suspect they will be nothing out of the ordinary, but here are a few low resolution versions anyway. If one adds a section on messing about on social media to my interests, then the Venn diagram of this event is looking even more perfect. And yes, Royal Court Theatre, I'd love to be invited back, to any other kind of similar event, in the future. Thank you.

White Pearl, at the Royal Court Theatre until 15th June 2019
Written by Anchuli Felicia King
Directed by Nana Dakin

Not for public reproduction. All images subject to copyright protection.

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Nice use of an image.

Lovely full page photo used on client's website.

I was very pleased to come across this image filling up the screen on the client's website. It's the modern equivalent of the double page spread. I like this image so much I've added it to my permanent portfolio collection.


Foster Care

Foster Care Campaign

For a while now I've been working on a campaign to encourage more people into becoming foster parents for the local council. It's another project that is quite tricky because of the various sensitive issues involved.

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Fostering 2

Social Services Images in use

Recent Work

The following images were created, using real people in real life situations, while taking into account all the issues around consent, confidentiality and safeguarding.

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One of the more interesting photographs of the year

Social Services Photography

The original brief for the job was to create images that were to go with the line "Child Social Services, How Far Would You Go?" in a campaign that was to attract specialist child social workers to the south coast county of East Sussex in England, UK. The idea was that they wanted to attract people who would go the extra mile for their job, as well as suggesting to people that moving to East Sussex was worth thinking about if they wanted to progress their career. To this end, the client came up with the idea of showing a social worker in a space suit, to illustrate both ideas - dressing up in a costume to bridge the gap between a professional and a child, and also as a visual representation of someone who's willing to travel to get the job done. The pictures were also required to show the area as a desirable place to live for people who might be thinking of relocating. I liked the concept a lot. The location was to be Hastings, and a group of real social workers were pressed into service for a few hours and a selection of children were rustled up from various places. For images such as this, it's never possible to use children who are actually under the care of social services because of all the issues relating to confidentiality and consent, so in the pictures for this series, the children were played by "models".
We didn't have a lot of time, and the was a need for a quite a range of different images to tell the story. The lead image for the campaign was to be a simple image of a child running towards a social worker in a space suit with as little distracting detail as possible with lots of space for copy around the image. It took a while to set everything up and we pretty much had the shot, and then I thought it would be fun to try some with the child leaping into the arms of the spaceman. We tried it four times, before stopping, as we had other things to do. The shots were quite successful, and this was my favourite image of the four:

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However, although the client was pretty pleased with the image, I was unhappy with the way the child's hand was lost behind the spaceman's glove. Without discussing it first with the client, I made some adjustments to the image and also sent them this improved version. I think it's so much better, and it's pleasing that this is the image that they decided to use.

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The replacement arm was borrowed from one of the other images. It had to be adjusted to make it look real, but the result is quite satisfactory I think.

The image in use can be seen here on the clients website, along with some other images taken on the same day.

East Sussex Music Photography

East Sussex Music Service Photography.

I just stumbled across a document using my images from last year's job for East Sussex Music Service. You can download the whole pdf document here: Download


Trying to find a new angle

Trying to find a new angle.

So much of San Francisco has been photographed to death. Over and over again, day after day, millions of images of the same scene. The Golden Gate bridge is, apparently, the most photographed bridge in the world (Sydney's Harbour Bridge and London's Tower Bridge may raise a curious eyebrow at this claim, but let's not argue over the details here) Trying to find something that is just a little bit out of the ordinary is pretty hard. Here's an attempt I made today, to try and create something just a little bit different, with a modern feel that doesn't break too many rules, at one of the most popular locations. It's worth noting that back in 1989 when I first visited San Francisco, it would have been pretty hard to hold the details in the shadows on transparency film (in the image below), like we can today with modern digital cameras and software. Although not impossible, it definitely would have been a bit of a struggle.


Tea Tasting in Chinatown

I was just on my way back home today, right at the end of a pretty long and tiring day in the sun, when I stumbled across this image. I actually tried to ignore it, as I was feeling pretty tired, and wasn't really looking for any more pictures. I just didn't really have the energy to get all the permissions and explain what I was doing, and so I walked on past. About 200 yards down the road, I was still thinking about it. Reluctantly, I turned myself around and went back to start negotiating with everyone involved. Didn't take too long and I actually really like the picture.

TeaTasting2563Tea Tasting in Chinatown. 2016.

Cause for concern

This really isn't what one wants to read just after arriving in a new city. I'm not normally too worried about local crime reports, but this seems like a cameraman was deliberately targeted in a popular tourist area. I'm taking steps to reduce the visibility of my camera gear.


Glorious Mud

Earlier this summer, SIT Select asked me to travel down to Devon and take some images for an article they were preparing for their journal about Jill Smallcombe and Jackie Abey who together make the partnership AbeySmallcombe. They are two creative artists, who work mainly with mud, or to be more correct: Cob. The magazine has just been published in digital form, and has lots of really interesting things in it. You can buy a copy here. Here are just a few of the images from the session.


Good Neighbour Scheme

The latest edition of East Sussex's "Your County" magazine dropped through the letterbox this morning. Inside are two pictures of mine in that were taken last month to illustrate the story of Sue, Irene, Jennifer and Audrey all taking part in the county-wide Good Neighbour scheme. Lovely people, making the world a better place. If you are interested in the scheme, you can find more details here:


Can't enter a competition

I had a rather pleasant couple of hours at the Bexhill Festival of the Sea this afternoon. I was going to enter some pictures I took into their photographic competition, as a bit of fun, but have just noticed that the competition is only open to amateur photographers. Seems a bit unnecessary, as I was only taking snaps in an off duty kind of a way, but there it is. I thought I'd put them here anyway, so that although they may not win a prize, at least they can be seen.


Apprentices in Sussex

It's been a while since this job was finished, but here's a set of the images I created in use. I mentioned them in other posts on the old website, but this is the first time they have appeared here on the new website.
Thanks to
Madeline Whitty, the designer on the job, (and no slouch with a camera herself) for sorting out this selection of images. Client: East Sussex County Council.


Working at the Theatre

Tiny, interesting job at the Devonshire Park Theatre.

Devonshire Park Seating