I have a confession to make.
I only own one pair of New Balance, a collab they did with the musician Donald Glover/Childish Gambino (does that count???).
It turns out that NB (as I’ll refer to them from now on) have this thing called Grey Day, in which every year they make a lovely song and dance about releasing a bunch of grey designs of their sneakers. I was commissioned to shoot the images for their latest edition of this campaign, in collaboration with END Clothing.
It was an opportunity to work yet again with the wonderful creative director, Livvy who I’d worked with previously on a campaign for the NSPCC. The concept was for us to shoot four setups (dubbed Friday/TV Chill, Saturday/Party, Sunday/Brunch and Monday/Work) featuring four different models.
The assets we needed to shoot included images of the empty setups, the models (of course) in the gear and close-ups of the footwear. Big shout out to the art designer and set designer, Michelle and Hara who did such a great job of keeping the grey brief so strong (yes, we had grey popcorn and grey tea).
This shoot was my first time trying out a new feature on my go-to tethering software Capture One, which is its Live feature. Put simply, you can now share a folder you’re shooting images into directly with someone simply by using their email address. They get an invite, which gives them access to everything you’re shooting in realtime with the ability to rate, colour code and add comments on the fly. You an adjust access based on what privileges you feel are appropriate to the person you’ve invited. The best thing is that if you pay for the monthly add-on, you can keep shared access to the session for up to a month.
No more having to export and send across gigabytes worth of jpegs or contact sheets. It was especially useful on this shoot, as we were able to get NB to see what we were shooting in realtime and give us immediate feedback without the delay of having to take screenshots of the computer and potentially delay getting through all the setups we needed to shoot.
Amazingly, NB were so happy with the images that we had to get their final selections edited and over to them more quickly, because they wanted to have them up on their website a week early.
I have to say a really big thanks to everyone who worked on the shoot. We were on a pretty tight deadline and everyone worked incredibly well together on what was a really fun shoot. It was also a joy to work with the agency This Here, who I look forward to working with again in future.
You can see images from the shoot here.
I was recently approached by Kyle, the founder of the food brand Jam N Vegan, whose mission is to deliver culturally rich meals to consumers throughout the UK (in an increasingly crowded ready meal food space, one recent reviewer described them as being ”so much more exciting than anything else that’s on the market right now”). Kyle said he reached out to me because of how much he liked what I did on a previous shoot with the brand Misfits.
Kyle was planning a major rebrand. The previous packaging for his products was variation of functional brown packaging. The new design was based on street art that represented the regions from which his dishes originate. After several initial talks, it was clear that he wanted new imagery, short videos and model photography based on a 60’s/ 70’s aesthetic. We managed to nail down the concept he wanted - at a risk of sounding cheesy as f*ck - “fashion meets food”.
Seeing Kyle’s initial moodboard, ideas and drawings, I recommended the Set Sisters to build the set. Having enjoyed working with them on the Misfits shoot and the fact that they are incredible designers, it was an easy decision. They in turn recommended Deimante Sprainaityte, a lighting designer and technician they had worked with on previous projects.
Everyone had been sent the moodboard and deck in advance of the shoot date to ensure we were all on the same page. The studio booked was Hackney Studios in East London.
On the morning of the shoot, the crew got to the studio an hour before the models, chiefly because the Set Sisters had to finish installing the first set, and to enable Deimante and her team to position lights for the first setup, the product shots.
It quickly became apparent that we were up against it from the get-go, as we needed to do a number of lighting adjustments to get angles on the product that we were happy with.
Also, in hindsight, the studio space we had been booked in was not big enough to accommodate both set designs (and crew). We ideally would have fared better in a larger commercial space, where we could have each set at different ends of the space to go between each one as we liked. We therefore needed to factor in a hour to change to from the first set to the second, and with it the required change to lighting.
Unfortunately, one of the main lights hired was discovered to not work. We spoke to the hire firm, who although profusely apologised said they would not be able to get a replacement over to us sooner than an hour. Deimante was quick-thinking enough to create a workaround whilst we waited for the replacement, so we could continue shooting and not fall behind schedule (honestly, she and her team were exceptional and I can’t recommend her highly enough).
In what was a challenging shoot, Millie from the Set Sisters ended up having to take on art director duty, which really helped us get through the day and get the required results.
This has been one of my fave shoots this year, purely based on the concept, the team and the way everyone worked to ensure that not only was the day productive, but incredibly enjoyable for all involved.
The models were all excellent and really brought the kind of personality we needed from them. We captured plenty of great stills and video content (courtesy of videographer Jake). Big thanks to our stylist Katie and Olivia, our makeup artist for doing such a great job creating the looks for the models that Kyle was after from the beginning. Also not forgetting the food styling by Nitisha Patel award-winning chef and food consultant, no less (the food was the important element of this entire shoot, let’s not forget!).
You can see more images from the shoot here.
Street photography’s an unforgiving game. You can scour the streets for hours and hours, hoping to come away with a bunch of meaningful images and end up with nothing. And yet, you could take a casual walk about for less than an hour and come back with absolute gold. This is also what makes it such an irresistible form of photography – you never know what you’ll come across.
I started doing street photography with a bunch of like-minded people I’d connected with through communities on Instagram (I realised early on that the London photography community is a small world indeed). We had pretty much exhausted our love of photographing buildings and landmarks and were looking for the next thing, that new thing that would compel us to chuck a camera in our bags and get to shooting.
It’s easy to envy those who live in other parts of the world like New York or Paris with their elements of cinematic looking (in the case of NY) or romantic aesthetic (Paris, obviously) and wish you could be living and capturing images there instead. But it’s been easy for me, particularly as someone who grew up in London, to dismiss the potential of what I could discover on my own doorstep.
We did tons of outings in various parts of London either in large groups or smaller pairings, be that in Chinatown on a cold weekday night in the middle of winter or a South London outpost at the height of summer. We got to know very quickly that no one day would be the same. It was often a case of feast or famine when it came to whether you got something you were happy with.
But it was a great way for us to get to know each other, learn from each other and get out of our comfort zones. Some notable members of our little crew were Mohamed Abdulle (@mabdulle), Toby Ziff (@tobyziff), and Zahhar Borouhhin (@borouhhin). The fact that Zahhar was twelve years old at the time we first started shooting with him was by the by (God knows how he managed to get his parents to let him out roaming with a bunch of guys he barely knew, but we always looked after him).
We all wanted to develop by trying different forms of photography, and street photography became just another discipline to add to the others. It’s certainly benefited us all, as we’ve all gone on to work in varied fields of photography; me in portraits and fashion, Mohamed working for brands as varied as Adidas and Daily Paper, and none other than Lewis Hamilton, Zahhar for publications like Soccer Bible and Toby for…well Toby gets around.
If you’ve ever felt like street photography is something you’d like to try out, just do it. Don’t worry about having the latest camera gear either. Me and most of my peers started with smartphones before we were sure that we even wanted to progress to using proper cameras. Just set foot out of your door and take photos.
There are already numerous sources online about the great street photographers, so I’ll leave you with some of my current favourites:
Andrew James Campbell
Below are some sites worth looking at for some good insights and information:
Framelines - the youtube channel created by the aforementioned Shane and Josh covering many good things related to street photography, including camera reviews
Craig Whitehead/@sixstreetunder - Craig has run regular workshops here in London, but has recently created a course on Skillshare
The Candid Frame - youtube channel run by the podcast of the same name
Sean Tucker - to be honest his channel is really great in examining all aspects of photography, not just street