It’s a Monday! So time for another Monday Minute with feature. This is the last one for a few weeks as I’m taking a well earned break to the South of France, so expect some sunny snaps and a few wedding posts to populate this space on my return.
What has been the most memorable assignment/project you have photographed and why?
Probably the most memorable was memorable for all the wrong reasons. I took Bernie Ecclestone’s photograph for Management Today in which he successfully met his reputation. On meeting, he made demands on what was allowed and what he wanted and made it very clear he was not happy to have his photograph taken. With little time allowed I made a judgement for the full frame head shot. With his face big in the frame and after asking a number of times for a happier, more approachable look, he retained the unhappy moody look into the lens. Instead of looking a gift horse in the mouth I clicked the shutter and captured the unhappiness within. He then left by insulting my assistant. Still, it got the cover.
What do you love most about photography?
For the most part, the people in the industry and getting a great picture in print. Although print has taken a battering over the past few years I’m very positive about the future of photography. It is an amazing medium and captures and conveys an idea in a second, something that video can never do. It’s that immediacy and versatility which keeps the medium of photography alive, and as long as people value communication, then this medium has a long life.
What’s the best photography lesson anyone gave you?
The best lesson anyone ever gave me was to build a relationship with your subject before you get down to photographing them. This can’t always be done as you’re often fighting time, but it’s during this time that you understand who they are, but as importantly they start to understand the type of person you are and this is where trust, respect and admiration is created. By listening to the subject and who they are, the shots start to happen by themselves. Also, it helps by paying your relationship more attention than constantly being worried about the technical aspects of the shoot.
Name one picture that made you say “I wish I could take a photo like that”?
There are so many great contemporary photographers, and I hate to hark back to an earlier age. But one of my favourite shots is one that Richard Avedon took of Marilyn. We are so used to seeing Marilyn toying seductively with the camera that it became an easy shot for any photographer to get. But on this occasion Marilyn thinks she has a spare moment with her thoughts whilst Avedon changes film, but he just snaps her before she has time to put her happy face back on. Lost in her thoughts she seems a little more vulnerable, concerned and perhaps unhappy. Not the look of her we are familiar with.
If you could choose to shoot with just one lens, what would it be and why?
The 50mm. Its the closest focal length to that of the eye but restrains the eye to have a black border and framing. It’s the lens that everyone should learn on because you don’t have to learn the added element of wide and telephoto lenses which have their own rules. 50mm is not as fun as a wide angle but it will not suffers fools easily. So you will learn composition and framing and how to communicate well with your subjects.
All images (c) Haymarket Julian Dodd