Ball is Life

I thought it time to revisit a favourite shoot from a few years ago.

I’m not sure how it happened, but there was a period when I began re-watching films from the 90s that had a common thread; they were either set in New York and/or they involved basketball (White Men Can’t Jump, Above the Rim, and He Got Game, for example). 

image courtesy of Vanity Fair

I had also recently been to the excellent Basquiat: Boom for Real exhibition, billed as first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. One image that really stuck in my mind was the picture that was taken of him for a cover feature done by the New York Times in 1985.

image courtesy of The Guardian

I felt inspired to put together a shoot that involved the simple premise of getting someone in a suit playing basketball. My friend Javan fit the bill perfectly. Javan is one of the best-dressed people I know, and when I put the idea to him he was fully on board.

I had already scouted some locations to shoot in and a quick trip to a sports outlet to buy a basketball was the only other thing I needed.

We initially shot outside a hoarding opposite Bond Street station in London’s West End. I loved the blue colour and thought it would be a great place to get some shots of Javan dribbling the ball towards camera. As ever with shooting in busy locations like this, it took a little patience to wait for quiet moments in between the crowds of shoppers but we eventually got enough shots to move onto the next location.

And it was from West to East we went. Bethnal Green, to be precise. I got my favourite shots in a nearby outdoor court I’d scouted the week before. We finished up by shooting outside building covered in graffiti, where I was able to do my take on that New York Times cover.

A big thank you to Javan for his patience and for taking direction so well during the shoot. You can see more images  HERE.

5 Reasons Why Clubhouse Could Be As Big As Tiktok In 2021

If you haven’t heard of Clubhouse, lemme put it to you in a nutshell… it’s the professional version of Houseparty. Clubhouse is a platform for people to converse in groups (or ‘rooms’ in this case) and a place in which networking happens in a very different way to LinkedIn.
At the time of writing this article, Clubhouse has more than 2 million users and it’s growing exponentially with every passing week. 

There is a hunger for a fresh way for people to connect authentically 

Yes, we’ve got the likes of LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But, Clubhouse is built on audio-only chatrooms, which provides the immediacy of a phone call without the self-consciousness (and need to be camera-ready) associated with being on a live video platform. 

It is very addictive 

I have spent entire days just having my phone logged into Clubhouse, because the conversations that are being had are so genuine and in many ways, insightful. You can log into rooms where there are experts in every possible field, ready to dispense their wisdom, advice and tips

It has potential to be a new broadcast platform 

Influencers and popular podcasters are already hosting rooms on the platform, and it’s not inconceivable that Clubhouse could add things to the app such as the ability to host live podcasts that can then be recorded and re-purposed for use on other social platforms. One Tiktok user I spoke to with 600k followers says he already spends more time on Clubhouse than Tiktok right now because he recognises how popular it could become, and has decided he wants to get in at early adopter stage to establish his presence. 

This is not just for the GenZ or Millennial generation 

The age range of users on Clubhouse is not purely confined to GenZ-ers or Millennials, and we’re seeing plenty of people establishing a following and influence who are in their 40s and 50s, such as venture capitalists, business coaches and successful entrepreneurs. 

 It has monetisation potential 

Although there is no way for creators and influencers to monetise from Clubhouse yet, there is no doubt the app will look to build this in as soon as possible. Depending on how delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine goes, we could be moving about more freely in the latter half of 2021 and spending less time on our devices. However, with current restrictions in place across the world, our screen time isn’t letting up. Clubhouse is ideally placed as a platform to connect with like-minded people, have authentic conversations and share knowledge in a way that could keep us glued to our phones for some months to come.  

TAG Heuer brand shoot

There are times when jobs can come in relatively late in the day, as it was with this one. Tag Heuer had asked influencer marketing agency The Fifth and Jamie McCormack’s James & James production company to produce video content for them featuring Instagram influencers Sam Fane (AKA Seen Through Glass) and Melissa Holbrook-Akposoe (AKA Melissa’s Wardrobe). However, one week before the shoot Tag decided they needed stills photography captured alongside the video.

We shot at the amazing Duke of London, the car hub in Brentford home to an mighty array of vintage and classic cars. It just so happened that Sam had recently taken on a studio in a building in the same complex and had managed to negotiate us using DoL as a location for the shoot.

Jamie and his crew shot interview footage with Sam in the morning with me slotting in during breaks in filming to capture stills of him, with the same schedule applied to Melissa during the second half of the day.

I’d decided to bring my old-as-heck Mamiya C330 film camera to grab a few film shots alongside the digital images as I felt it would be a nice addition to the feel of what we were shooting. It seemed I wasn’t alone, as Jamie had also brought with him a Super 16mm camera for capturing film footage.

With a tight schedule laid out, I really had to maximise my opportunities to get a satisfactory amount of images during the day. Both Sam and Melissa were incredibly patient and hospitable in allowing me to get what I needed.

After the shoot, having narrowed down my selections that night I was told the next morning that the brand had decided to move forward the schedule of deliverables - they needed the first set of images by that afternoon. No biggy, eh.

The rest of that morning was spent sending edits over to Stefan at The Fifth for submitting to Tag for review and to do revisions. The brand were happy with both video and stills content and particularly pleased with how promptly we delivered the final footage and images.  

You can see more of the content here.

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