Commissioned Work

Last weekend saw the publication of two portraits that I’m not only proud to blog about but both meetings were also proof that pop stars public images rarely equate to their actual personality.

Jamie T was as unpretentious as a guy with so much talent can get. He was uncomfortable with the staged shots, though I still think they captured his essence and the magazine chose to publish the candid shots as he waxed lyrical in his studio space. Animated and funny as he was they chose this one looking “thoughtful”. I like this set of images but feel slightly disappointed that they don’t represent what I normally do.


We had the run of a recording studio too so I had to take the opportunity to recreate one of my BBC radio sound technician images and rearranged the sound baffles and mics accordingly.


The one in the lift I love and is testament to what you can do with such low light and simple shapes. Out of maybe thirty frames this is the only one I would have shown as all the rest felt like I had forced him into the space.

JamieT_030In reverse chronology, the Times Magazine published an image I had taken the week before of Bernard Sumner of New Order. Knowing that as a band they refused to do encores and didn’t do merchandise and that they never (maybe once) appeared on their record sleeves I assumed that this was going to be a hard one , and harder still as I was about to meet someone who I admired and been a huge fan of their music for years. Being hired by the magazine is not the same as being chosen by either a label or the artist to handle their image and beyond an early attempt at doing press shots for Rough Trade Records my contact with musicians has been limited. So it was a huge relief   that Bernard had even taken the time to look at my website and a long and fruitful discussion ensued that I think ended in trust on both sides. The shots we took at a hut in a nearby park are my favorite  and this was the reason for the title of this blog as Bernard had a flashback on route triggered by a passing stranger  (Jamie T is the comeback by the way) though his current autobiography will shed more light on this than I can sensibly divulge..


Paddy Considine studied photography before falling into acting. The Observer magazine ran a feature on him in early September.  The portrait they ran was good for lighting and fairly flattering but I wanted to show also a shot that was maybe too busy for magazine protocol and out focus too.

Observer_Considine_51141Can I also mention that an artist contacted me called Owen Lennox who is doing an oil version of this one which I will tweet once it is finished. The work in progress already looks great.

Observer_Considine_51098Aware that this entry is getting long I want to include a recent commission for Wired Magazine and say what a pleasure it was working with studio Githero ( Inventive and very creative and pleased that they and the magazine felt I captured their playful spirit.

Wired Designers50891-Recovered Wired Designers50798_2and I think it good to end with another unpublished image of the Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford. Shot in Corcosonne, during the Tour de France. “Why by a roundabout?” demanded the publicist, “because I like roundabouts.”I replied. Despite the publicists best efforts to quash the idea, Brailsford, it seems, also likes roundabouts…and why wouldn’t he?


I’m finally happy to launch my new website which was live this week. It does happily feature a lot of new work especially some experimental short films that I have been testing with.

As well as the site I have embarked on a new project which I am planning to drip feed into the public domain because like any project I think it needs some publicity to get me access and to generate excitement, hopefully amongst possible subjects.

So in keeping with this philosophy I will just publish one image and combine that with a tweet and hashtag and that will be it…@phil_fisk #roundabout


The National Theatre has again been gracing its walls with images that almost seemed impossible when we got the brief. A Taste of Honey was shot on a cold morning in East London chosen purely for the cobbles and the rest we managed to shoot on several different streets on a day out in Manchester. Then we had the unenviable task to find 1950’s and 60’s signage with the usual limited budget. I was hoping they could just update the play to the present day at one stage. However we finally made a sketch that fitted together , creating a street and a perspective that worked, but it was down to retouch skills of Adam Orzechowski that we blended elements that came from old scanned film, different lighting conditions and different cities. Now I have said this the errors will become glaringly apparent…


The next challenge was A Small Family Business involving a forklift truck and a twenty thousand quid in used 1980’s £20 Notes…this was a fun one though.


And in the next  few weeks look out for a series of reportage style images promoting a new NT play by Richard Bean and starring Billie Piper. Three captured moments that involve the press, senior police officers and millionaire tycoons….

Editorially I have shot Jamie Oliver again but this time for the tech monthly. I couldn’t make him cry again but still had some fun making him eat a plate of spaghetti wires and cables.

Observer_oliver_123and for The Saturday Times magazine  a couple portraits which I like for being very open in their brief and involved going to people homes and shooting something that captured their story. In these cases the growing problem

of young adults living at home into their thirties and coping with elderly parents. I love the look the parents are giving each other..

Times_Home43983People1_02and finally, risking a blog that is too long I had the strange pleasure of photographing a couple who for years have been the most prolific art forgers in the world. The shoot took place

in their studio near Cologne, Germany whilst on day release from their 5 year sentence (the artists, not me of course). The interesting thing was they did not “copy” any existing works but took years to mimic the style

of established artists and produce “new” undiscovered works of art. They concocted a rather flimsy back story that these works were lost during the wars but the art world desperate

for sales verified these works as authentic. Not wanting to admit they had been duped the article estimates that hundreds of these paintings are still in circulation and gracing the

walls of art galleries around the world. Their names are Wolfgang and Helena Beltracchi..look it up.


Unable to release a lot of images as they are embargoed but on a weekly basis The Times and Observer have been throwing some nice portraits at me.

The Times images are not released yet but soon will be and involved a trip to Cologne to meet an art forger. Posted here for now are Thomassina Miers for the OFM a specialist in Mexican food..

and food writer Anissa Helou in her East London flat.


OFM_Miers_41713and in the beautifully restored Manchester Central Library a very humble Guy Garvey of Elbow..

OBserver_Garvy_and in the weekend just gone an image of coding guru Kathryn Parsons for which we had our own “code” gobos made, something so old fashioned that I didn’t think it could be done anymore

but Rosco in South London are brilliant and its not that expensive.


This gallery contains 4 photos.

I wanted to post up this portrait of Aoife Mcardle a video director who has been named “one to watch” in 2014 by an Irish magazine called State. The brutal exterior of the Hackney marshes changing rooms seemed right on a grey and wet day in East London.  Video cameras followed us around wherever we …

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It has been ages since I caught up so here is huge list of images that I been busy with.

three weeks ago I got to shoot The Arctic Monkeys for the Observer Review..


Kevin Systrom co founder of Instagram for The Times at The National Portrait gallery.


Channel 4 have just made a documentary about Liberty’s of London..


Also for Ch4 a commission about the west end with staged back stage scenarios if that makes any sense..

theatre2theatre1and a busy time for SKY shooting a billboard campaign for Trollied..

trollynew publicity for Mount Pleasant..

MP2and a new comedy called Give Out Girls …

GOGin the sewers of London, Tiger Aspect wanted something epic for their Restoration Man..

Restorationalso for Tiger Aspect but earlier this year a new concept for Prisoners Wives ..

PW2Finally, slightly old news (though I did tweet it) another billboard this time for UKTV…

YMTmust try and update more regularly. Coming out soon is a new poster for The National Theatre, a lovely shoot with the cast of My Big Fat Mad Diary (Ch4) involving a big bus in a very small space..back working with REV and a very real possibility that the Sound Effects project will get a proper feature in The Saturday Times.

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.
2012-11-14 11.21.18 2012-11-14 14.34.04
Special thanks to Rory Mulvey assistant and a huge support creatively, his work can be seen at
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

10542 Playhouse - HDD Call Out HD48 JC Decaux 48 Sheet 2990x605010542 Playhouse - HDD Call Out HD48 JC Decaux 48 Sheet 2990x6050A new post to follow soon

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