I love music, even since I was very very young and my mother brought me up on The Sweet and T Rex, and my father brought me up on Black Sabbath and The Who. It was no surprise I tried to be a Rockstar, but thats a story for another day. Being so attracted to music means I witnessed and appreciated a lot of styles… so Marilyn was no stranger to me when I got the call from Disorder Magazine to shoot a campaign.
But… how to you tell the story of such a long and turbulent life in a photograph? It’s was actually quite easy this time… as Marilyn was so open, once he got used to not being the only guy in the room rocking eyeliner, that it made my job really simple.
With Marilyn the personality just poured out, I guess all those years being in the 80’s club scene of London means you HAVE to stand out, else be left in the shadows (I know the scene wasn’t exactly the same, but when I think of any 80’s club scene, I think of the movie Party Monster, which is worth checking out, I love it)
Taking to the streets of East London with a Profoto B2 meant we could do what we wanted, where we wanted, with no compromise, and we could do it fast. It also helps to have a team around you, because man, this stuff is bulky to carry on your own, and on shoots like this, a stand in for the shots is essential. Whilst your main subject is having their outfit and makeup tweaked, you want to be set up and ready for them to step in, not faff about with the lights once they do. In the professional world, each of these people job titles, Lighting assistant, Digital tech, etc, but when you are starting out, even a mate to carry your bag will make your shoot twice as easy.
We used four streets, all within two minutes walk of each other. The beauty of the Liverpool Street and Spitalfields area is the diversity, each spot we shot in look like they could be worlds apart, but all tied together by the use of the lighting and the style choices.
More and more these days whilst I am shooting, there is also a video and an interview taking place. If I was to give one major piece of advice in this post, it is to not stop paying attention when you put your camera down and the video team pick up theirs. They will chose different angles, and will get different responses from your subject that you may not have thought of… watch and notice those moments… and then get those shots too.