Back in January I had the privilege of shooting a portrait of Giles Andreae (childrens author & creator of Purple Ronnie and Edward Monkton) for the April edition of ELLE Russia!
The portrait was to be included with a feature on fathers who also successfully work with children, as the series featured people who lived in Russia, America and the UK they needed a team from each country to photograph them so that they could eventually all look part of the same series!
The photoshoot took place at Giles's writing studio in Oxfordshire so on the day I met Melissa from ELLE Russia and Elizabeth from ELLE Uk at Paddington to catch the train out to Oxfordshire.On the train we had a closer look at the other photos that were already shot for the series and discussed our ideas for the images we planned to take with Giles!
We met Lara Himpelmann our make-up artist & Suze my assistant for the day at the train station, from there Lara drove and the rest of us got a taxi to the location!
When we arrived we met Giles who introduced us to his son Jackson who would be at the shoot and his daughter Freya was on her way back from school!
Melissa and Elizabeth began by showing Giles the clothing they had so he could chose what he would be wearing - and also a selection for Jackson to chose from when he arrived. Whilst they did this Suze and I set up a temporary studio and the lighting for the photos!
When everyone had got their selected outfits on and were ready to shoot Lara did some light make-up for Giles and Freya and then we begun shooting!
My aim was to keep everything quick during the shoot to keep Jackson from getting bored - so we worked quickly talking to them throughout the shoot.
There were some really funny moments during the shoot - trying to get some fun photos - at one point Giles said that Jackson could say the rudest thing he could think of to make everyone laugh, after double checking he wouldn't get told off Jackson smiled to himself and then said "f**k off you Russian idiots!" to us - here is the reaction photo;
Here's another funny moment..
Here's another favourite image from the shoot!
For the shoot I used the Canon 5D MkII with the 28-70mm F2.8 L lens, 1x Canon Speedlite and 2x Interfit flash heads. As you can see from the behind the scenes photo the backdrop would not be wide enough for the final images, which is where photoshop came into the equation, here is a before and after photoshop shot;
Here is a translation of the text in the magazine article!
Dad's schoolIn an executive poll of the most touching/moving/emotive images, that of man and child came top of the list. The heroes/subjects/stars? of this project have already achieved the most important thing - they've become great fathers. But they went even further, and have dedicated their time to improving the lives of other children.Text: Olga SiplivayaPhotos: Timur Artamonov, Temma Hankin, Oscar MayNext page:Giles AndreaeThe English children's writer, author of the bestsellers "Rumble in the Jungle" and "The Lion who wanted to Love". Freya, 12 years old. Jackson, 6 years old.It turned out that the books that had the biggest influence on me were those I read during my childhood. They were short stories, but in the depth and strength of their emotions they portrayed they could give adult literature a run for its money. It's probably because of this that I decided to become a children's writer.I have four kids, and they are my most important influences and source of inspiration. Before sending a book off to the editors, I always read it to them first. Once my youngest son declared that my newest opus was "a bit dull" and that I should write about Batman instead, since "all the boys love Batman". Of course my son was still unfamiliar with copyright laws.I see a lot of myself in them, especially in those born redheads, as was I. Also I remember the day when we revealed to our three older kids that there was going to be an addition to the family. They were thrilled! Later they confessed that it was the best present we, as parents, could have ever given them.They ask me so many different questions, that I as a writer feel I should have the answer to. The hardest thing to discuss is religion. When a three year old looks up at you, wide-eyed and without blinking, and asks "Daddy, is God real?" you are stumped for an answer. "Yes" sounds too straightforward. "No" seems intuitively dishonest. Maybe the joy of fatherhood lies in exactly that - playing games at the same time as being borderline honest. It's a challenge, an experiment and the most unimaginable happiness.