Work Experience The Daily Telegraph: Friday 7th February

Today was an exceptional opportunity. I met Jane, an award winning Telegraph photographer at Christie’s the famous auction house in London. The job was to photograph items that were going to feature in an auction on the 13th February. The first piece was by Francis Bacon entitled ‘Portrait of George Dyer talking’. I was in awe of its physical size, a bit too large for my living room and a tad above my budget, with a guide price of £30 million. Not sure my student finance loan will stretch that far. _MG_56631 copy

The second piece was by Gerhard Richter entitled ‘Abstraktes Bild’, the price was available of request, something tells me expensive._MG_57321 copy

There were also other pieces available including; Domenico Gnoli’s ‘Black Hair’, as well as work by Damian Hirst._MG_57011a copy_MG_5752-21 copy_MG_5748-21 copy

We were not alone at the press call, there was a mass of photographers from other agencies and newspapers as well as  security, just in case we decided to try and slide a picture into a camera bag._9_701 copy_MG_57391 copy

One of my personal favourite pieces was Jeff Koons ‘Cracked Egg (Magenta)’ with an estimate of £10 to £15 million. It was quite hard to photograph as every surface was reflective, as well as the crowd of other photographers all vying to get a good position._9_111 copy_9_241 copy_9_56-21 copy_9_141 copy

At the Dale Chihuly exhibition, Paul had taught me that it was important to try to get people in the shot as this helps to add perspective and proportion and allows the viewer to judge the objects physical size, but I learn’t from Jane that with picture art, it is important to obtain a straight head on shot, something that I didn’t manage to do.

In the afternoon Jane and I were sent to take a portrait shot of Matthew Elliot, the founder of the TPA for a features article. I took a few shots around Jane, but I had a problem with my flash, which turned out to be flat batteries. It was impressive seeing how quickly she saw the correct signifiers in and around the office to pull a great portrait. She changed lenses so quickly that it was like watching a magician._9_94 copy_9_1131 copy

All in all, it was an amazing week, such a fantastic experience working with not one, but four professional photographers who all worked differently but produced superb results.  I gained some really valuable information from all of the people who I met throughout the week and found it a truly worthwhile experience. Now I need to find another five days to complete this assignment.

Work Experience The Daily Telegraph: Thursday 6th February

On Thursday I was working in the studio, firstly with a photographer called Chris, his first job was to photograph what is called a bi-line picture. It’s the little picture that you see along with the journalists name at the beginning of an article.  When shooting portraits at university, we always have to use a tripod, but it was nice to see in the real world that the photographer can have the flexibility to shoot in and around their subject without this restraint._MG_5538 copy_MG_5542 copy

The next session was with Andrew, a contract photographer since 1998.  His job was to photograph the journalist Hannah Betts for an article based on The Daily Telegraph’s vintage ‘page for women’. She was a really charming person and very easy to photograph. I sneaked a few shots around Andrew using the light of the studio. _MG_5551 copy_MG_5609 copy_MG_5552 copy_MG_5598 copy_MG_5590 copy

I was then working again with Chris, who is an award winning photographer.  The job was to photograph over 100 items of food packaging, front and back, for an article all about nutrition.  It is part of the remit of all of the photographers that they photograph whatever is required, even pack shots. _MG_5619 copy_MG_5624 copy    

For the final part of the day, I watched Andrew photograph various flowers, this was for an article for valentines day.  _MG_5645 copy

All in all it was a very good day and I felt that I gained really valuable information about different ways of working within the studio environment as well as having the pleasure of watching two consummate professionals work. (Thanks Christopher Pledger for taking my photograph)._MG_5634

Work Experience The Daily Telegraph: Tuesday 4th February

I was looked after by a lovely lady called Lisa, who allocates the jobs for the photographers at the Telegraph.  I was sent to the Halcyon Gallery in New Bond Street for 9am to meet Paul a contract photographer, to photograph the artist Dale Chihuly and his gorgeous glass work.  I was given free reign to photograph as I wanted, but I soon learn’t that other photographers will vie for your position and quite happily stand in front of you and take your shot.  This just seems to be standard behaviour, but everybody seems to stay calm and not get annoyed with each other, as most of these photographers have known each other for a long time and know the score. These guys are professionals and at the end of the day, their livelihood depends on getting great shots. I soon manned up and got amongst the fray to make sure I got some shots.   There was so much beautiful work on display in such a stunning space that I could have easily spent all day there.

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One of the keys to success is getting your images back to the paper or your agency quickly, but they still have to be great pics, nice and sharp, and show all the correct signifiers. In this case we sat in Paul’s car while he reviewed and edited his photographs, his work was fantastic, he had so many great images to choose from. His next job was to photograph a CEO of an internet company.  This company were in the process of relocating and their existing office was looking a bit tired.  But Paul managed to create a series of great portrait shots out of virtually nothing. He pulled bits and pieces together from around the office, set up lighting and went about his work.  I would like to have had a couple of shots myself, but I felt that it wasn’t really appropriate.  It was then back to the car for more editing and sending, before we went on to our final job which was to try and photograph Lord Smith, the environment minister. This was a speculative shoot, and we sat outside his house in case he returned.  After an hour, Paul very kindly said I could go as he would have to stay there in case he arrived.

It was a very varied day, but great to work with someone who had such vision and experience as well as being very generous with their knowledge.

Work Experience The Daily Telegraph: Monday 3rd February

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My first morning at the Daily Telegraph was spent with Shaz, he is an assistant picture editor. His role involves finding photographs to suit the stories based on the newsroom diary. In a day the picture editors will evaluate approximately 40,000 images. Any images he likes goes into a separate file, a kind of taster for the picture editor to review and choose throughout the day._MG_5145

There is a mid morning meeting with key journalists and editors to discuss stories that are likely to feature within the paper. These can change depending on what stories develop, but it allows the picture editor to focus on the main news photographs required as well as allocating staff photographers for shoots._MG_5153 copy

The morning had a surprise in store when there was a suspected fire within the building and we were all evacuated until the London Fire Brigade checked the five story building and made sure it was safe. Thankfully it was._MG_5211 copy_MG_5202 copy_MG_5172 copy

In the afternoon I was sent on my own to photograph Dave Lee Travis leaving Southwark Crown Court._MG_5247 copy

I arrived at the court about 3pm and stood on my own for a bit, before introducing myself to the other photographers. There was a slight bit of suspicion about my intentions, but I explained that I was a mature student studying a degree in photography.  There was a bit of banter about me being the oldest student in town, but they were a good fun bunch and gave me some valuable advice. I felt a bit lacking with my one camera and 24-105 lens._MG_5254

I also chatted to a couple of BBC News reporters, as well as John the BBC cameraman._MG_5267_MG_5257 copy_MG_5260 copy

The other photographers were there to capture ‘The Chuckle Brothers’ (to me – to you), but once they had discovered they had already given evidence and left, they decided to leave for other jobs.  That left John the cameraman, Olly from Getty Pictures and me waiting in the cold. It was about two and a half hours before Dave Lee Travis came out, I managed to take a few pictures and asked DLT if I could grab a quick photo, he very kindly stopped briefly and let me photograph him. It was all over so quickly after waiting so long. _MG_5281 copy_MG_5274 copy_MG_5287 copy

I got home after 7pm and then edited the pictures to send to the paper. Sadly none were published, but it was a very good first day and I gained some very valuable advice.