Abdel - Selected for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2016 from 4,300 entries from 60 countries and exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery from 17 November 2017.
In order to explain the whys and wherefores about how the above image can to be, I have asked myself some questions and surprised myself by coming up with some answers. For more information, please use the CONTACT page
Where was your photo taken?
The image was taken in May of this year. I'm doing a tattoo parlour project and had just dropped off a print to one of my subjects and started looking for some footwear in a shop selling upmarket trainers on Shoreditch High Street, East London
Was it planned?
No, it was a chance encounter with a fellow shopper. Many of my photographs come about as a result of approaching complete strangers. The young man was so stylish with his wide-brimmed red hat and great dress sense, he was a photographer’s dream. After a few head shots, I asked him to stand sideways. The profile was the last of six photos.
How much time did you have to take it?
The capture took place over just two minutes, the whole encounter lasted about five minutes
Who is this man?
His name is Abdel. He was born in West Africa, raised in Portugal and is now living in London.
What gear and settings did you use?
My camera of choice is an Olympus OM-D EM-5. I used a 12-35 mm lens. Aperture f/2.8. ISO 800. Auto White Balance. Shutter speed 1/50th
How was this image lit?
I used the ambient light in the shop and looked for an uncluttered background
How did you find you’re gear helped you in this situation?
The 5 axis stabilisation on Olympus cameras is brilliant, enabling a shot like this to be taken hand held and the sensor renders skin tones very accurately.
Why did you decide to enter this into the Taylor Wessing competition?
I feel that this image is probably one of the best that I have taken, it is very special to me. I like the simplicity of the composition, the subject’s dignity and his far away gaze. I was encouraged by family and a few friends to ‘have a go’. So I did!
Have you entered before?
No, and hopefully it will not be the last.
Tell us about when you found out your image had been selected, how did it feel?
I was having lunch with my wife, my son and his family, I looked at my phone and saw the email message from the National Portrait Gallery. Elation and a sense of disbelief, I think that sums it up.
Did you receive a prizes, award?
No, but to be one of the 58 to be selected from the 4,303 entries submitted feels pretty good. Besides, my image was selected for the exhibition catalogue cover, postcards, the banner outside the NPG where apparently, it features Abdel prominently. I also understand that the image will feature on posters that will publicise the exhibition but at the time of writing, I haven’t seen them
Can you tell us about the exhibition?
The Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2016 exhibition opens 17 November at the National Portrait Gallery and runs until late February 2017. It then transfers to two other UK destinations. More info here: http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/twppp-2016/exhibition.php
Is there anything that you can tell us about yourself?
I took up photography about twelve years ago and my usual photographic forays are to the East End of London. I was born just a mile from the National Portrait Gallery, so I'm very comfortable in the West End too.
If there’s anything else important you can think of do let us know.
Tower Hamlets used this image to promote their 2016 Black History Month programme that ran for the whole of October. It was used for the events brochure cover and a borough wide street poster campaign.
Lastly, or nearly, my image is featured on my web site http://bricklanelife.weebly.com/ created for Photomonth 2016 that runs until the end of November.