Saturday, 11 December 2010

Dear Bill,

The tin on the right of the photo belonged to my Mother. She wasn't an ardent Royalist; she used it to keep her buttons in, and it was part of her sowing box. I once mentioned this to a well known (female) garden presenter, and also said I thought it might make an interesting mini photo project; photographing the boxes and tins that women kept their buttons in. I was told, with an absolutely straight face, that it was a sexist idea, and that I should include men in the project. Actually, including men would be a good idea, but without them? Sexist? I took a deep breath at the time.
Anyway, it's a red herring. The reason for the photo above is that I saw an identical tin , for sale, in a cafe in Covent Garden, while I was waiting to go and photograph an actor there, so I bought it (it's on the left in the picture). I wonder if there are loads of them around? They'd make a nice collection; so, if you're sitting on one (figuratively speaking) and would like to sell it, please contact me.

This winter will doubtless have supplied enough images for Christmas cards for many years to come. What effect will the recent weather have on the sale of such cards? Everyone with a digital camera can now take a half decent photograph, so making your own has never been easier. Plus, I've received some e cards this year, a trend I'd love to see die, but I wouldn't bet on it. Definitely not the time to go into the Christmas Card business. Talking of Christmas Cards, have they been banned where you are yet? Or, at least been forced to be called something else, like a Seasons Greeting Card? Sad, innit?

Lastly, I can't remember if you were swishing about on the slopes of Verbier in the early 1980s? I'd love to hear from anyone who was, so I could have my memory massaged, or even re booted. I can remember the Farm club, and the Milk Bar, but precious little else, so please contact me if you can help.

Not yet received an e card for the season we're in? Feel free to treat the one above, as being specifically sent to you. No really, the pleasure's all mine.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Another 'time of year'

I hesitate to mention Christmas, because it seems to be so closely associated with commerce, and little else today. Ah well, a bandwagon has just drawn up, so I'll jump on it. If you want to give beautiful photographs to loved ones, or even other people's loved ones (?) you could do worse than a signed Charlie Hopkinson print, like the ones above for example. They're not hugely expensive, do give me call on 07976 402 891.

Photographers are corny too.

Sometimes, even people who make photographs for a living, just cannot ignore the beauty in front of them, even if half of Britain is taking the same shot, so with no further ado:

Don't judge a book by its cover

Good advice. Far better to judge a book by the quality of the author photograph, and check to see if it was taken by me. And if not why not?

Joan Brady, photographed by Charlie Hopkinson.

Monday, 15 November 2010


Hyde Park corner, London, 11.01 hrs.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Tony Benn.

The Times Magazine recently ran this photograph of Tony Benn from my archive. He was without doubt the most interesting politician I've ever photographed; amusing and interested. (Not always the case with politicians. Some are truly awful to photograph.)

I loved the little touches in his office, especially the coat hanger taped to the back of the chair to hold his jacket in place. The origin of the paper hanging from the ceiling goes back to his days as a pilot, when he would stick notes to the inside of the aircraft canopy.

We shot a few silhouettes illustrating some of the themes of his life, including pipe smoking, tea drinking and diary keeping (he videoed a lot).

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Dear Bill,

Dear Bill,

Good to see you at the Odysseus performance the other evening. Wasn't George Mann outstanding? I was amazed, not least by the sound effects that can be made by the human voice. Just shows how used we‘ve got to digital special effects.

You would have been amused by the call from an art department on a national magazine I got this morning. “We need your photo for the cover sent in a larger size please, at least 30 mb. Perhaps you could let me know the dimensions you need? Oh, we can’t do that, we’re going to blow it up you see…. You mean you’re going to crop it then? No, we’re going to blow it up. Enlarge it then? No, BLOW IT UP! And so it went on. I hope they put their fingers in their ears when they “blow it up”.

Don’t you dread the day when airlines just ban hand luggage? You can see it coming a mile off. Imagine what will happen to our cameras in the hold luggage, going through Thiefrow and all those other dodgy airports. Talking of Heathrow reminding the Pope’s staff of a third world airport, you'd also think that Wi fi was available for all at the airport. Not so. BAA would far prefer you to spend your time (and money) shopping in that grotesque shopping mall they call terminal 5. So instead of super fast broadband, what about better coverage of the existing? No wonder visitors think Heathrow is third world.

I can’t wait to get Cameron’s super fast broadband here too. But I wonder if it will get here before the slow one does? BT promised me a broadband connection by Christmas. Want to place a couple of bets on that coming off?

All those pumpkins reminded me of the time when my wife (ex I suppose) was studying for her British Citizenship test. I had a shufti at some of the stuff the Home Office send out. Apparently, we are a Christian Nation, and celebrate the following: Christmas. No mention of Easter, anywhere. Brits also celebrate the British tradition of Trick or Treat at Halloween. News to me, I thought that was an American invention. Much the same for the rest of the contents.

At least we can get out of the office and enjoy the fresh air. I was on the beach recently, shooting Polly Samson, but I can’t remember the breed of dog she had with her. Any ideas?

P.S. We were talking about wedding photography the other day, and how there’s a bit of a stigma attached to it, rather unjustly. What could be more important than recording someone’s “most important day”? I know there are some photographers who won’t even contemplate shooting a wedding, and one rarely sees wedding and editorial photography on the same website. And I agree that's there's some awfully naff stuff knocking around. But it would be nice to see a change on this one. Watch this space?

Monday, 11 October 2010

How to take photographs when driving on a motorway.

There are many ways to go about this, but the best way is to pass the camera to your passenger. Obviously.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Looks Familiar.

If you look like one of your parents, you must tire of the "you look just like your mother" greeting made by each new acquaintance. Predictably, it's exactly what issued forth from me when I went to photograph novelist Anna Stothard (above). Her second novel, The Pink Hotel, is being published by Alma Books next March, and is loosely based on her experience of living in LA for two years.
A few years back I photographed Anna's mother (also a writer), Sally Emerson, so apologies for the foot in mouth comment (perhaps understandable), and good luck with The Pink Hotel.

A Visit to an Artist

I can't be alone in relishing a visit to an artist's studio, especially one as interesting as Jean-Claude Courat's studio in Paris.
Jean-Claude's pastel pictures of all things horticultural are exquisite and his skill is self evident. I love his chosen subject matter, vegetables, allotments, trees, even tin sheds.
And who could resist an artist with such a twinkle in his eye?

His pictures remind me of many of the gardens I visit, and the attention to detail is fantastic.

It's not just the work that appeals though. Like many artists, Jean-Claude is an avid collector, and some of his collections litter both his apartment and studio.

Jean-Claude is also a fine photographer, but it is interesting to note that his paintings are composites of places and things he has seen and stitched together in his mind. They are not painted from photographs, and not even a hint of Photoshop, as he still shoots on film on his 35mm and 6x6 cameras.

Huge thanks to Jinny Blom who organised the trip and wrote about it in this month's Gardens Illustrated Magazine (October 2010) where you can find Jean-Claude's contact details.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Prayer Time.

Churches, by and large, don't appeal to me in an architectural sense. It may have something to do with being made to attend on Sundays, or it just might be down to all those pointy victorian gothic bits that festoon so many.
But I love wriggly tin as many others do, so when the two combine, all is well. I admit, it's not strictly speaking a church (rather, a chapel) but it has an appeal and charm that hits the spot.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Brazil and Suffolk.

The two sculptors I met earlier today from very different parts of the world. I was introduced to Brazilian Carina Ciscato (above) some time ago, and have seen her work in a number of collections. Her web site is here. Two examples follow.

We then gatecrashed the studio of Annie Turner, from Suffolk, photographed here with some fishing net. She was brought up on the River Deben in Suffolk, and the many aspects of the river inform her work. The piece shown here is about a foot high.

Lastly, a picture of the studio dog of Carina the lovely Chamo (I wish I could do that with MY ears):