Archive for the ‘5 Minutes With…’ Category

5 Minutes with… / Hayley Nia Thomas / Photographer’s Assistant

September 1, 2014

This month we spent 5 minutes catching up with Hayley Nia Thomas, a photographer’s assistant who has been working with our very own Kerry Harrison for 2 years.  Read on for her reflections on the skills required to be a successful assistant, the importance of admiration for the photographer you work with, and her tips for new photography graduates!

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How did you become a photographer’s assistant?

I was originally working in a studio doing product photography. I realised that shooting in a dark basement with backdrops, props and lights wasn’t for me and that I was more inspired by people and locations. Then a friend recommended me to LPA photographer Kerry Harrison who shoots people and lifestyle. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to change direction and to think about where I want to take my career.

What’s the best and worst thing about your job?

Assisting is great for me, I am able to gain an invaluable insight. Whilst I do have a lot of responsibility on shoots, I am also able to take a slight backseat and observe how everything is done. There isn’t much I don’t like about my job – I find it incredibly rewarding and fun. However, sometimes days can be very intense and exhausting.

What qualities do you think are most important in being a successful photographer’s assistant?

I’ve learned that you need to be adaptable, as you are always working with different clients across various environments. It is important to read situations well so that you can act appropriately. You need to be on the ball at all times and really pay attention to what your team needs. This way you gradually gain an understanding of how they work so that you can always be two steps ahead.

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© Hayley Nia Thomas

How important is it for you to assist a photographer whom you admire?

I think if you admire the photographer then it helps to motivate you through the tough working days. You may also find that working on shoots in which you love the work being produced to be more helpful to your own practice. However, I believe it is important that you aren’t too heavily influenced by them, as you need to develop your own way of working and adapt the skills you’ve learned to your own personality and work. I also think that all experience is good experience, and if you work with a photographer that you don’t admire then this can help you see what you don’t want to be doing.

What advice would you give to new graduates entering the industry? Do you think it’s important to assist when you’re starting out?

I think if you aren’t particularly experienced or confident then assisting is a great way to learn about the industry and develop relationships. It is also a good way to decide what area of photography you want to get into. When I graduated I took the first job I could find and ended up being in an area of photography so far removed from what I am about, so assisting allows to you experiment a bit more.

As well as assisting Kerry you work as a freelance portrait photographer.  How would you describe your aesthetic and influences?

I am usually inspired by what people do and who they are, and I aim to create an intimate moment in my photograph in which a hint of their personality comes to life. I usually stage my shoots, as I like to have control over the mood and composition. I love the work of Esther Teichmann, Rinko Kawauchi and Rineke Dijkstra. Their work is extremely evocative – there is a subtle tension, yet stillness. That to me is very powerful.

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© Hayley Nia Thomas

Where do you go to seek inspiration for your own work?

I look at a lot of blogs online, for example If You Leave, Wandering Bears and Self Publish Be Happy. I also read the British Journal of Photography and Seasaw magazine, as well as attending a lot of exhibitions. My favourite is the annual Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.

What is the most exciting shoot you have ever worked on?

Probably a shoot with Kerry Harrison for Sage where he was photographing an artist in her studio and her home. For me that is what I would love to be doing, so I really enjoyed watching how someone else approached the job and thinking about how I would of tackled it if it were my commission.

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© Hayley Nia Thomas

Thanks Hayley!

5 Mins With… / Cassie Gale / LPA Producer

June 25, 2014

This month we spent five minutes catching up with our new LPA producer, Cassie Gale, to see how she got into the industry and what her guilty pleasures are. Here is what she had to say…

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- Tell us a bit about yourself Cassie?
I hail from Yorkshire originally and studied Fine Art Photography at Manchester Metropolitan University. But I was tempted South by the bright lights of London as soon as I had finished my degree to pursue a career in photography.

- How did you get into the photography industry?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be in the industry and was fortunate enough to spend three years producing for the fabulous Gary Salter.

- How have you found time at LPA so far?
Amazing and hilarious, a great class room for learning more about the industry and honing my skills.

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© Julian Calverley

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5 Minutes With… / Rukmini Iyer / Food Stylist & Home Economist

May 23, 2014

This month we spent five minutes catching up with the talented home economist and food stylist Rukmini Iyer to discuss all things food and photography!

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© Simon Brown

- Can you tell us a little about yourself Rukmini?
Well, I work in London as a food stylist/home economist, and recipe writer – which I absolutely love, because I get to be around and talk about food all day. When I’m not working, I still do quite lot of cooking for friends and family, and grow herbs and vegetables – with varying levels of success (this year the pheasants ate all my brassicas, alas.)

- How did you get into the food industry?
I had a very lucky start into the food industry – Tom Kitchin very kindly offered me a job in the pastry section at The Kitchin after I’d finished a stage there. I’d only just finished my cookery diploma at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, so it was just incredible – and a bit overwhelming – to go into a Michelin starred kitchen as my first restaurant job. I really loved it and learned so much, but knew food styling was what I wanted to get into eventually. So I wrote to some food stylists who were kind enough to take me on as an assistant on work experience, and since then it’s just taken off.

- You’ve appeared as a contestant on MasterChef, can you tell us a little about your experience on the show?
Appearing on MasterChef was probably the most surreal thing I’ve ever done! When you arrive on set, you can’t quite believe that you’re actually there – you sort of feel like you’re inside the television. If you’re me, anyway. And then you realise you have to cook something – and cook it perfectly – with cameras pointing at you! Terrifying. The crew and production team were really lovely and encouraging though, and that really helped me a lot.

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© Pal Hansen

- You gave up a career in Law in order to pursue your dreams, any regrets?
None whatsoever. I only wish I’d changed career sooner.

- Who would be your dream photographer to work with?
Now that would be telling! All the photographers I’ve worked with so far have been brilliant – I’m always floored by how effortlessly they take such beautiful food photographs. I couldn’t name a favourite!

- Do you have any tips on food trends for the summer? We’re hearing a lot about chia seeds!
I have to admit I am not a massive fan of chia seeds… But I’d back fennel any day – for summer, it’s so lovey thinly sliced or shaved into salads, or baked into a gratin with beetroot, goats cheese, crème fraiche and hazelnuts, or finely chopped and sautéed and mixed into pork meatballs – I put it in everything!

- What is your favourite type of cuisine?
I could pick a different favourite for every day of the week – I’ll eat pretty much everything. My mum’s cashew nut pilau for comfort food, Japanese if I’m feeling adventurous, tapas over drinks out, Thai for chilli heat, big, Middle Eastern style salads for dinner parties, fresh, seasonal British produce cooked simply for weeknight dinners – I could go on, but should probably stop there….

- You’ve shot with our lovely LPA Futures Holly Pickering, how was it working with her?
Holly is so lovely and such a brilliant photographer! I really enjoyed working with her. Our shoot was so much fun, and I was amazed at how beautiful she made my food look through the lens. We definitely shared an aesthetic on how we wanted the photographs to look too, which made it a really good match. I’m very much looking forward to collaborating with Holly again.

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© Holly Pickering

- Where do you go in London to seek inspiration for your work?
I know it’s a bit touristy nowadays, but I still love going to Borough Market, where I make a beeline for Turnips, the fruit and vegetable shop. They’ve got so much incredible stuff; it’s wonderful to be able to browse and pick up beautiful, fresh produce, and feel inspired to take it home and make something wonderful. That – and the little section in Waitrose where they sell chipotle chillies and pomegranate molasses, which I have to veto myself from visiting when I’m in the shop, or I’d just go mad and fill an entire trolley.

- What can’t you leave the house without?
My speed peeler and my knife roll. Although that means I’m forever in fear that a policeman will stop me and think I’m up to something incredibly dodgy.

- Have you got any restaurant tips for us Londoners?
Downstairs at Terroirs, off the Strand, is my new favourite – but I think it’s been around for quite a while! Arbutus is lovely for a more formal meal too – but Dinner by Heston was definitely the best meal I’ve ever had out.

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© Simon Brown

- We love your recipes on your tumblr page – can you give us a nice simple one to follow?
Thank you, and of course! Here’s one of my favourite summer drinks – passionfruit lemonade. Enjoy!

Passionfruit Lemonade

-100g caster sugar
-70ml water
-3-4 lemons
-5 passionfruit
-400ml mineral water
-Small pinch sea salt flakes
-Fresh mint to garnish

1. Place 100g sugar in a small saucepan, along with the zest of one lemon. Pour over 70ml water, then stir gently on a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil, then remove the syrup from the heat and set aside to cool.
2. Juice the lemons over a sieve to catch the pips. You should have around 160-170ml of lemon juice. Halve the passionfruit, and scoop the seeds out into a sieve set over a bowl. Scrape the juice through the sieve using a spatula, leaving the seeds behind.
3. Sieve the sugar syrup into the lemon juice, then add the passionfruit juice and a very small pinch of salt. Stir in 400ml cold mineral water, adding a little more if needed to taste. Chill well in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving over ice, garnished with fresh mint leaves.

Thanks Rukmini!

http://rukmini-iyer.com/

http://missminifer.tumblr.com/

5 Minutes With / LPA Style / Claire Louise

March 27, 2014

We spent 5 minutes with LPA Style Hair and Make Up Artist Claire Louise to find out about whether a life of beautifying celebs and models is as glamorous as it sounds! Claire Louise’s diverse skill sees her traverse the worlds of music, fashion, film and TV with ease as well as working regularly on LPA photoshoots. Read on to find out more…

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Claire Louise working her magic on set

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I trained in the following areas..

Fashion and photographic, film and TV, SPFX, prosthetics, wig making and dressing and hair styling. Over the last 10 years I have worked in the West End, on music promos, fashion shows, films, TV, live performances, photo shoots and commercials. I have a keen interest in natural health, beauty and well being. I practice reiki and massage in my spare time (sometimes on jobs too). I also write health and beauty articles for various sites and magazines.

How did you become a Hair & Make up Artist?

I always wanted to be a make up artist but was never really sure how to get into it. When I was little I would use my Mum’s eye shadows to create bruises and black eyes on people (I was a charming child). I wanted to do all the gory make up you see on horror films, it’s come as bit of a surprise that I actually prefer to do beauty make up these days. I did various other jobs but could never settle so I decided to pack it all in and retrain, I haven’t looked back since.

What’s your favourite part about the job?

The amazing locations I’ve been lucky enough to shoot in and the experiences I’ve had… sometimes it feels a bit cheeky that I’m actually being paid to be there.

The constant flow of inspiring, interesting and fun people I meet.

The best feeling is helping someone feel better about themselves – I recently did a private lesson with a lady with severe Vitiligo on her face and body. I showed her how to use make up to even out the tone. She was so happy to learn how to do it she cried.

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© Jasper White

Which is the more challenging part?

The long hours or early starts and sometimes (very rarely) the lack of routine.

What are the main skills you need as a Hair & Make up artist?

Discretion, diplomacy and punctuality. To be able to work as part of  team – A shoot is a team effort and everyone feels passionately about their ideas, you have to be able compromise and adapt to get the best results.

To keep up to date with whats happening in the industry and keep your skills updated. A knowledge of art and fashion and colour theory are pretty helpful too. (more…)

5 Minutes With… / Bookbinder Cathy Roberts / Delta Design

January 27, 2014

Cathy Roberts is founder and owner of the wonderful Delta Design Studio, a professional bindery in Clerkenwell. She has lovingly crafted most of the LPA portfolios and so we thought she would be the perfect person to spend 5 Minutes With… this month to get some insider information. A key sponsor of LPA Futures, Cathy will also be creating the bespoke portfolio for our lucky final LPA Student Challenges winner this year!

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Cathy (second from left) with LPA Photographer Nick David (far left), LPA Futures Oliver Haupt (third from left), and Delta Design colleague Margot, at the LPA Futures launch.

- Hi Cathy. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company Delta Design Studio?

I have been in business for 30 years this year, and feel very lucky and happy to do my work everyday and meet some amazing people! it’s a small business and its all about personal service and custom made work.

- How did you become a professional Bookbinder?

I trained for 1 year at London College of Printing and set up my business in Clerkenwell, I also got a small grant from the craft council after being selected.

- What’s your favourite part about the job?

Talking with the client, understanding what they want and then giving input and using my experience to advise them as best as possible, then of course when they collect the work and the smile on their face … that is the best!

- Which is the more challenging part?

The blocking on the book is always a challenge, some foils are better than others so I very often make a sample with different colours for the client to choose from.

- What are the main skills you need to run your own company in bookbinding?

Believe in yourself and be passionate, I still learn many things and I am never bored, also patience sometimes is a plus!

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Above: Example of portfolio by Delta Design.

- Why do you think having a great portfolio is so important?

- A folio represents you, your work and who you are. Its going to sell your work so its very important, and if you know its right it will give you confidence too!

- Do you think digital will take over completely from print, or do you think seeing images in print will always be a bonus?

I think it will always be a bonus … who doesn’t like to look at a beautiful coffee table book!

- What are your best tips for making a portfolio stand out from the crowd?

A simple combination of colour, a very good font for your name or logo and with that your work should do all the talking? We add little details like embossing the front page, different coloured spine …

 

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Above: More examples of books bound by Delta Design.

- Originally from Provence, what are your favourite things about London and what do you miss most about home?

- I love London as its so cosmopolitan, and with so much diverse food, and there’s so much to see and listen to. It has a great energy, but I miss the sunshine and special light from Provence when the light is so blue. And the cigales singing when its hot!

- Do the eateries of Clerkenwell live up to the standards of French cuisine?

- Haha, well when I arrived in London the only things there was Indian and Chinese food… things have changed and the food is amazing now, we can eat anything at any time!

- Who/What are your biggest sources of creative inspiration? Any favourite blogs?

- Art books, special fairs where I source new materials and textures, exhibitions but very often the client has a specific idea and I need to search to make it work and its always a challenge I really enjoy!

- What’s the most unusual request you’ve had for a portfolio?

Formica cover with name hand engraved or fully padded cover in leather with specially made leather buttons to look like a Chesterfield!

A slip case with an old Aston Martin seatbelt buckle for enclosure!

5 Minutes With…. / Team LPA

October 25, 2013

After spending 5 minutes with everyone in the business from model agents and stylists to art buyers and even animal agents, we thought why not spend some time catching up with Team LPA. Here is what everyone had to say…

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© Nick Daly

1. What do you at LPA?
Lisa: Good question. As the LP in LPA my job is very varied, I get a bit involved in everything from marketing to shoot production to taking on new talent, recruiting and helping the team to general office stuff. I guess my main job is quality control, trouble shooting, delegating and moving the business forward.
Lauren: I estimate, negotiate and produce shoots.
Tom: I look after all PR & Marketing related issues, from taking folios to clients, to running the website and arranging events.
Jonathon: I’m a Producer.
Bryony: I assist the team with marketing, PR and client meetings and with producing shoots.
Georgina: Look after the accounts.

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5 Minutes With… /Jean-Michel Massey / The Forge

July 26, 2013

Jean-Michel works with LPA Photographer Iain Crockart, amongst others, on post production work. With his own company The Forge, and years of experience working in the industry, we thought we would ask him more about what is involved. Thanks very much for coming in Jean-Michel…

 

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- Tell us a bit about yourself, and what’s involved in the post-production process…

My name is Jean-Michel Massey… I run a company called The Forge, based in a converted church near Camden. I’m half French, half English. Born in London, but moved to live near Bath until I was 14, my mother and I went further South West to Totnes in Devon. By the age of 19, I was back in the big city.

Post-Production is basically giving images a bit of polish, and rolling them in glitter. Each image we produce would combine all or some of the following; Focus comps and pulls, comps for additional elements, removing elements and for beauty images; intricate skin work. We’ll remove anything unsightly or anything that detracts from what the image is focusing on. Then each image is colour corrected and if required, given a “look”…

We can achieve anything with post production, given enough time and elements to use. I’ve made mountains rise from the sea, bucking horses from hundreds of frames of water splashes, I’ve made apples explode and created stunning editorials with some of the great photographers working in the UK today.

- How did you enter a career in post-production?

I basically grew up in photographic studios. My father, Ray Massey,  is a well known photographer; in the 80′s & 90’s he was shooting incredibly complicated multi-exposure images onto a single sheet of 10×8 film, which even to this day bemuse most as to how they were shot without using any kind of post-production.

My first job in London was at Primary Colour, a film processing lab – I worked on E6 & C41 a little, but mainly worked scanning film, spending hours a day “dust busting” – I loved that job, it was so therapeutic. The experience of working with, and learning from, Mark Foxwell & Steve Macleod, has been invaluable to me.

I then went on to work for the fashion label Maharishi, to work on their fantastic DPM book – which  involved a lot of scanning and furthered my knowledge of colour; we had to match swatches to images, some of which were from the early days of colour photography, this proved pretty tough and sometimes very time consuming.

At the age of 21  I went freelance; it was a huge decision but one I have never regretted- suddenly  I found myself working for  agencies such as  BBDO, McCann’s, Saatchi & Saatchi to name a few, I also worked for great  design agencies such as Harrimannsteel.

- Do you work regularly with certain photographers, and do any of their styles particularly inspire you?

I work with numerous photographers from my generation & my father’s generation, I love working and helping young photographers define a style and exploring the limits of what post-production can do with them. I really enjoy working with photographers that have come from the film era too – they generally get more things right in camera, and are usually less reliant on what we do in post.  I find their approach to an image very different and inspiring. I wouldn’t say that any one of the photographer’s styles inspire me per-se, but I love to learn and find that style so we can keep producing consistently great images.

 

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© Matthew Beedle photography, The Forge retouching

- Are you able to put your own emphasis on the work you post produce?

Each brief that comes in will usually be fairly well defined by the art director & photographer, occasionally I’m asked to add some flare, my creative twist, the main challenge on more complicated images is to translate the Art director’s concept, the photographer’s idea of how to shoot that concept and supply something that they are both happy with.

- Do you have your own photography projects aside from post-production work?

My personal work is the antithesis of what I do as a retoucher; when I travel I shoot landscapes, simple, barren landscapes. I don’t retouch them, I sometimes desaturate or contrast them, then print them 60×40 and mount in a simple frame. I’m also worryingly addicted to instagram.


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© Iain Crockart photography

- Describe the high and low points of your job….

High points would include simply looking at where an image started and where it’s ended up, it’s always very rewarding. Seeing work in print, on billboards and on blogs is always pretty fantastic too.

Words of thanks from photographers I respect are always very nice, and even more so is receiving a phone call or email saying that they’d recommended me, there’s no bigger compliment.

The lows are usually due to my own inability to supply anything I’m not happy with, or my willingness to help photographers with tight deadlines. – these two combined usually mean I’m working late or working weekends when I’d rather be out and about! I do however make up for it by taking long weekends and holidays….

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© Chris Mosey photography, The Forge retouching

- What is the biggest challenge in post-production?

The biggest challenges I encounter are usually due to lack of foresight or impossible tasks in production or on shoot, but with good communication about the project before and during each shoot, this rarely happens anymore. Most things can be done, I’ve learnt how to deal with most situations and problems…

- Would you say technical prowess or creativity is most important in post-production?

I’d say it’s a blend of both, along with patience and a keen eye. I certainly started out as a technical operator; I was very nerdy in the early days – having a firm grasp of the techinical side of things is very important and it in turn has allowed my creative side to grow. The creativity isn’t just to do with the aesthetic of the image, it’s the approach to problems on the route to achieve the finished article.

- What are your other interests outside of photography?

I’m an avid cyclist, Mountain biking and cycle touring are my two favourite activities,  my mother lives near Dartmoor, Devon, which is perfect for mountain biking. London based activities – I took up indoor climbing about two years ago, nothing quite gets your mind off a days work and stress like hanging 20 feet up by your finger tips.

 

5 Minutes With… / Rich Hendry / Great Eastern Bear

May 24, 2013

We recently spent 5 minutes catching up with Rich Hendry, photographer and owner of the Great Eastern Bear where our LPA Futures exhibition is currently on display. Here is what Rich had to say…

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- Can you tell us a little about what you do?
I work freelance as a photographer for editorial, advertising and design clients. I also own a gallery in Shoreditch which I set up to promote fine art photography.

- How long have you been a photographer and what made you decide to become a photographer in the first place?
I’ve always wanted to be a photographer since I was a child, I undertook my first commission for an agency in Edinburgh when I was 17.

- What inspires you and your photography?
Most of my inspiration comes from people I meet and stories I hear, as well as books / films / music. I’m keen to try and produce work that conveys a certain emotion rather than a distinct graphical style or technique.

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© Rich Hendry

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5 Minutes With… Will Hudson / It’s Nice That

March 28, 2013

We recently had an opportunity to catch up with the lovely Will Hudson, founder of It’s Nice That, on TWO occasions. In addition to being one of our ‘magnificent seven’ which comprised the LPA Futures judges, we also spent time catching up with him this week, finding out more about him and his work. Here is what Will had to say…

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© It’s Nice That

- Thanks for joining us Will, can you tell us a little about what you do?

I’m founder and director of It’s Nice That, a London based publishing platform focused on championing creativity across the art and design world. We do this by publishing work online, through our quarterly magazine and programme of events. I’m also co-founder and director of INT Works, an independent creative agency all about understanding brands to deliver creative solutions with meaningful results. Clients include Nike, Channel 4 and MTV.

- It’s Nice That is one of our favourite websites here at LPA, how do you see your site within the cultural sphere?
We try and cover a real breadth of creative work, from graphic design, illustration, photography and art to fashion, film and product design. I think it’s really important that things things can be seen side by side and more importantly that we can stick a second year illustration student next to an established ad agency. It’s Nice That has never been about saying “this is the best” it’s much more about something that resonates and makes you look again.

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5 MINUTES WITH… Jordi Ruiz Cirera

March 1, 2013

After another incredibly successful year of LPA Student Challenges, we thought it would be fun to catch up with one of the winners from last year.

Jordi Ruiz Cirera won our 2012 LPA Student Challenge Number 3 and named the LPA ‘One to Watch’ which couldn’t be more true! Since winning the LPA Student Challenges, Jordi has gone on to win the AOP Student Awards 2012, the Deustche Bank Award for Photography 2012 and the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012.

Here’s what we gleaned from him in our ’5 minutes with…’.

⁃ Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

I’m a documentary photographer from Barcelona based in London. At the moment I’m combining personal long-term projects with editorial and corporate assignments.

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© Jordi Ruiz Cirera

⁃ You had an incredible 2012, what was your personal highlight?

Indeed I still can’t believe it, I had a year full of celebrations and good moments. It started just graduated from my MA, and not long after that I was on the Sunday Times Magazine which was fantastic. Just a couple of months later I was named the AOP Student of the year, another really good highlight widely celebrated. But of course the best was winning the Taylor Wessing portrait prize, I am truly honoured of getting such a competitive prize considering the high level of the entries.

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© Jordi Ruiz Cirera

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1 Oct 2014