If you would like to come then please RSVP to Alyson@alyson-jones.com.
Released this month is the new album from musical artist John Smith for which I did the album artwork.
His manager Bernadette Barratt contacted me to find a day for some portraits for press with the suggestion I sit down and discuss some ideas with John for the album cover.
It was brilliant to be given very little in the way of a brief, but to just suggest the kinds of things I like and what was inspired by just listening the album. The impression I took away were of a journey, often solitary with references to England and its geography. Selfishly it reminded me of a series of images I did with a dishevilled tramp like figure roaming through forests and caravan parks (The Alan Project). John liked these but was keen to try and keep some humour in the image and to try and hint at the references to water.
Lakes are in the title of the album but it was my memory of learning about ox bow lakes in geography that suggested something stranger and google maps came in useful in locating them in Sussex. After a recce to the river Cuckmere in Sussex and with an idea of having John in the landscape I remembered reading about a project with a Swan pedalo being pedalled around the English waterways by the writer Iain Sinclair. I felt this had the right nod to an English sense of the ridiculous and then had to sell that to John without the whole thing descending into farce..somehow it still had to have a beauty and sublime feel to match Johns music.
Anyway..the day did descend into farce but i love the images we produced..luckily they don’t capture the comedy of trying to pedal this vessel against the tide and then trying to pull it across a swampy field without offending the wildlife and then amusing ramblers who congregated and took videos of us from the banks.
Special thanks to Rory Mulvey assistant and a huge support creatively, his work can be seen at http://www.rorymulvey.com
and to Sara Laak who just came for the experience but gave us some of these great behind the scenes images..and a big thanks to John, who trusted me and umped in wholeheartedly.
Johns Music is available to download on iTunes . and this little video features a clip from his single “Salty and Sweet”
Up now but just for a few more days are two billboards and digital six sheets across the country for two one off plays commissioned for Sky Arts. The first features Vanessa Redgrave and Stephen Graham in a soft tone that belies the slightly dark nature of the film but hinted at in the wallpaper which if you look closely is not all that it seems. The second features Kylie Minogue , Matt Horne and Peter Serafinowicz who all play highly strung actors in an amateur dramatic production of a play about Andy Warhol.
Nick Allen from Sky Creative was art director and calmly coped with a logistical nightmare involving 4 shoots over several weeks, Leicester , London and New York. Adam Orzechowski did the retouching and Adele Rider from Shoot orchestrated the production. Its normally all about me, but this was a team effort…joke btw
I’ve done it again and left it too long to know where to start..so November and December will be ignored but not forgotten.
..lets start with some nice editorial projects courtesy of Ink publishing and their Eurostar magazine.
The first was a hugely enjoyable series of portraits of chefs and their tattoos. But not content with just any old tattoos the mag wanted food or kitchen inspired tattoos. I will let them speak for themselves but suffice to say a t-bone steak in the shape of Brasil sounds nice on a plate the jury’s out if its on a mans chest.
the other idea they threw at me was a series of portraits of David Bowie fans and involved a day on London and day in a Paris studio where true to form everyone was really skinny, wore black and smoked. I suggested we project images of Bowie onto our subjects, which although not original proved to be effective here with some nice synergy between the people and Bowie. It was very low fi, so no makeup artist or stylist , just people coming form work and getting into the idea..
Commissions from The Observer and The Times have been thin on the ground, no surprises..
(sorry) which bring us neatly to Thom Yorke. For Observer Review..it was very last minute and would have loved to have done something with more of an idea attached but my attempts to get him involved on the day were batted back. During the shoot I persisted , as did Thom , who insisted that ideas need to be put on the table weeks before and discussed, with which I completely agreed and so so admitted defeat. Otherwise it was really relaxed and he seemed in no hurry to wind it up..
Channel4 in keeping with their public service remit have had the good sense to send me to the outer reaches of the isles and across the class divide in a series of commissions for their documentary strand.. To begin was Made in Bradford. Meeting the contributors to the films before the film has aired means that you have no preconceptions of their personality or their views. Its interesting too as some of them feel that the shots used for publicity are their first step to fame and that’s something you need to control if the portraits are to reflect the program and not that persons agenda.
Apologies to Bradford Tourist Board but it did rain for 2 days..
The round Britain trip continued with some strange pictures for the new series called The Audience. I like the viewers had no idea what to expect but was intrigued when told they need an image that would capture the concept of 50 strangers following someone around for a week.
Following on from this was the chance to do some portraits with the emergency services of Blackpool for another new show called 999. Simple portraits to accompany the more heroic composite shot of the services in action. These were quieter moments in their places of work or on the beat. And we got to taste the nightlife of Blackpool knowing we had these guys watching our back..
The Circus and the Art of Sound project have dominated the blog since it started but there have been other shoots and some of the more interesting or high profile ones are below.
In January I shot Florence Welch for The Saturday Times Magazine at Spring Studios..
A nice commission from Waitrose Magazine took me on a tour of London’s finest producers of food and drink. The “Meantime” brewery, Formans Salmon, Sipsmith Gin and Union coffee. Lovely brief from Oliver at John Brown. Thanks.
Followed by a great series for the BBC to accompany their “Secret History of London Streets”. The beautiful maps we used as the background were hand painted by William Booth a Victorian philanthropist who wanted to show the social class and level of poverty of every London street.