My List of People Who’s Portrait I’d like to take..
A Start… Peter Lord…
For those who follow my blog you may have seen my list of people who’s portrait I’d like to take..
The list is a bit of a mad mix of people and to some extent a mix of mad people… (!)… and there was a lot of waffle from me about why I wanted to take these portraits… I won’t put you to sleep by going over it again so if you want to read all about my totally selfish project then click the link above.
Anyway, I’ve actually made a start on the list thanks to Peter Lord. Peter has been a family friend and neighbour for quite a few years (we won’t mention how many).
To quote from wikipedia “Peter Lord CBE is a British film producer, director and co-founder of the Academy award-winning Aardman Animations studio, an animation firm best known for its clay animated films and shorts, particularly those featuring plasticine duo Wallace & Gromit“.
To me he will always be famous for his first creation, Morph. I grew up watching Morph on Tony Hart during my childhood so I’m a big big fan.
Peter agreed to let me take his portrait and after a few attempts to meet during visits home to Bristol we finally met up. Peter is currently directing Pirates! An Adventure with Scientists (see their facebook page here) so I got to meet him at the studio where it’s being made. Myself, my wife and my 4 year old son got a tour of the studio too! I can’t put in to words how cool that was…
I didn’t plan anything for this shoot. I just brought a camera with me. Canon 5dMKII and 24-105 Lens. That’s it. I figured it’s a studio, they have lights and stuff? I wasn’t wrong, they had lights and stuff (phew!). After a super duper tour of the studio/sets we came across an empty set and a solitary light (large ARRI). It was directed at a large piece of white polystyrine board. The board was about the same size as my fave softbox so it looked perfect. So a little bit of messing around to get the power up on the ARRI and move the board down and I was set. I just got Peter to stand just inside the pool of light being bounced off the board while also catching a tiny bit of fill on the left from the light itself. The set was too huge to do anything with the background so it just went to black. I would actually prefer not to go to total black but the option wasn’t practical. I took about 6 test shots then shot about 10 frames.
I was looking for something quite specific from the portait and I talk about it in blog article. It’s character. It’s that something in the eyes, the positioning and the look at camera that allows the viewer of the portrait to see something other than just a plain headshot – to see engage with the subject. It’s very subtle and I’m happy I got it here. I knew I got it while I was shooting as this is the last shot I took.
There is one more little thing to mention about the Portrait. There is a Blue Peter badge. It’s taken Peter Lord a long time but he has finally got one of these very coveted badges from the popular BBC Childrens program. He wears it proudly. It had to be in the portrait of course!
Here it is…