Looking back at 2015

As I did a year ago, I’ve picked out a few favourites from the year just gone – as much to remind myself of all that flew past as for anything else.

Some I’ve published before in one place or another; most I haven’t – they’re taken on a mix of cameras, from DSLR to phone, some as commissioned commercial work, others as personal projects for my own enjoyment. I hope you enjoy looking through them – they all bring back special memories for me. Hectic (probably 25% too hectic at times if I’m honest), but fun, year.

January – hard to get an earlier picture from 2015 than this one – the stroke of midnight, and the explosion of glitter cannons in the South Place Hotel. Great party – fun job to start the year off.

01 NYE

Featured in first team portrait session of the year – Gabbi Cahane – an exceptional character whom I met for the first time that day, and just knew, straight away. If you meet him, you’ll know too.

02 Gabbi

February – a cold beach on the South Coast, and I stumbled across the abandoned moped that Poseidon himself rode in on.

04 Noped

To a team shoot in Shoreditch, and it’s clear who the real boss of this lovely PR agency is…

05 Office dog

A job arrived in February which was one of those real moments of privilege – access to the London Transport Museum’s stores in Acton to find strong stock imagery for them. This was my highlight of their treasures – the old wooden blocks of type used to print tube station posters – complete with remnants of ink colouring.

11 Johnston Type

Now a regular March event, the Butler Trust Awards (in St James’s Palace this year) gave me a lovely moment of relaxation seen through the crowd…

06 Princess glimpsed

…and a character study of a face that’s certainly seen a few things in its time.

07 Terry Waite

Two hugely enjoyable portrait sittings that month for a project that didn’t end up happening as planned, but might still some day. Enormous thanks to Ann and Stephen for sitting for portraits and a range of character studies.

03 Ann

13 Stephen

At an unusual venue – the Central Foundation Boys’ School – for a tech event hosted by my friend Joe. There he is, up in the gallery, pondering it all. It’s a favourite of mine for the capture of the relationship between event organiser and their creation.

09 Joe at the event

Driving through the West Midlands in April, I just had to stop the car in Brownhills and use my phone to make something of this fantastic 46-foot sculpture of a miner. It’s by John McKenna.

08 Brownhills Miner

A portrait shoot with a difference. Wild garlic instead of rose petals, intense monotone instead of vivid red, but you get the idea…

10 Garlic Beauty

Beauty in the strangest places. A country tea shop, and a chance still life with probably the most photogenic tea I’ve ever seen – the Jasmine Fairy.

12 Jasmine Fairy

And out of the window of a job in Kings Cross, a chance sighting of the extraordinary curve of chimneys on Cartwright Gardens.

14 Cartwright Gardens

April also took me to Lancashire, and my old theatre group’s production of Guys and Dolls. Being able to shoot it from backstage was an honour.

15 Pleasure Folk

The day after the election in May, and Mick Jones’ smuggest cousin is wheeled out for some televised gloating. He usually keeps his chirpy face on. But not always, I found.

16 Unhappy Shappy

Different kind of hive of intrigue – in the garden the bees had a swarmtastic spring. These are queen cells. When the colony want to head off for a new life, they make new queens in these. Beekeepers often have to ‘manage’ their appearance in a fairly brutal fashion (you can make all those Game of Drones jokes now) or they face the departure of half their bees on the breeze.

17 Queen cells

Robin Ince did a turn last year, and made it into the end of year review. He’s done it again – we’ll gloss over the blurriness and admire his energy, won’t we?

18 Robin Ince

A fun day out terrifying tourists in the Mall…

19 Mall pants

…and a studio day with an old friend and super-talented martial artist, capturing her power, energy and focus.


An engagement shoot by Tower Bridge (that swirly blur is what you get from one of these).

20 Engagement

I also used that lens to catch Jay up a tree; an unexpected bonus when up in Birmingham for a job at the Victorian Law Courts. She’s one of my favourite photographers.

21 Jay up a tree

June was when it all really took off – a wedding in the glorious setting of Oxford’s Bodleian Library…

22 Xander & Miranda

…the incredible opportunity to accompany Kate Granger and her husband Chris on her tour of north-west NHS Trusts as part of the “Hello My Name Is…” campaign…

23 Kate Granger

…and running a big team covering the Hyde Park British Summer Time festival – with moments like this (she’s 67, and don’t you forget it)…

24 Amazing Grace

…and Damon Albarn from Blur delivering ice cream to the front row of the crowd (no, me neither)…

25 Damon's delivery

…and then the star turn, Taylor Swift. For complicated reasons we’ll just leave a gap in the flow of images here. Come and talk to me about it you want to know more. (Keen students of the tension between a Certain Act and music photographers this year will understand the subtext.)

On safer ground with a lucky one from an event in Notting Hill – Eva Pascoe, an internet business legend, eyeballing the audience.

27 Eva Pascoe

Home territory – we put on a dog show at our village fair in July – this gentleman won “Best Trick”. It involved that bell you see there. You’ll never guess what happens next, etc. etc.

28 Winning dog

“Singapore: Inside Out” was a travelling cultural festival that visited Brick Lane in the summer – Jason Lim is a performance artist with a big thing for stillness and fire.

29 Jason Lim

Another re-entry from last year’s chart, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Those “at the event” portrait shots are always fun – finding stillness amidst the activity, in this case an Open Data Institute awards evening.

30 Tim Berners-Lee

Sad one this – Brad, the drummer from The Specials – provided the beat for a lot of my early teenage exploits. I finally got to see him in the summer at Kew Gardens – he died a couple of days ago.

31 John Bradbury

Back from a couple of weeks escape to Greece to an unusual commission – an elaborate sand sculpture in a business park. Nice enough, but what it really needed was a passing poser…thank you indeed small person, and your mum for giving permission.

33 Sand sculpture

Another wedding in August – this time part of the South Bank Centre’s innovative “Festival of Love”. Groom wearing the best suit I’ve ever seen – the happy couple sneaking round to the oyster bus for a quick moment after the ceremony.

34 Oysters

You need to see this one large to get the full effect: half a dozen well-off gentlemen about to start The Great River Race in September. One is transfixed by the Daily Mail’s headline: “Men are the REAL oppressed sex today”. Of course they are.

35 Oppressed men

Two lovely bits of Canon glass went into the bag this year – a massively stubby 200mm f/2 (see the Jason Lim shot above) and the ridiculously wide 11-24mm beast. When the sun hits that in the right place, the flare is incredible. There are lots of pictures of the Temple Church – I wanted one that was a bit different.

36 Temple Church

Another of London’s most pictured landmarks – seen in the back window of a van as I was cycling, camera in hand, chasing an ambulance on a travelling shoot around town. I said this year was varied, didn’t I?

37 St Pauls

Down to Bournemouth in September for Silicon Beach. Matt Desmier puts on a great event there, and this year a few friends were speaking. Here’s the talented technologist and all-round lovely guy Chris Thorpe, shot from the deep shadows behind him with the audience as a backdrop.

38 Chris Thorpe

Portrait shoots with friends are harder than you think. Like selling them a second-hand car, but riskier, if you think about the emotions and dynamics at work. This one was a dream though – Emer’s had a great year, and needed a strong set of images for her portfolio as she takes on some new leadership roles.

39 Emer Coleman

October, and another annual landmark in the calendar – Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of women in science and technology. This diffraction demonstration gave me my favourite audience photo of the year. It turns out that those glasses can be nicely taped over a small pancake lens to allow the camera to see what they were seeing, incidentally.

41 Conway Hall

Party job in north London, and they’ve booked the best Marilyn there is – Suzie Kennedy. I had to get a quick shot as she emerged. Top events artist, and highly recommended.

42 Suzie Kennedy

Down by the beach, the light was weird and stormy. Three container ships were lined up, at anchor far out to sea. A yacht was passing quickly across the horizon. It was just a matter of waiting.

43 Three ships

Arriving at the BFI for a very early start, the dawn light of London was irresistible.

44 South Bank at dawn

Whizzed into Madrid for an overnight set of portraits – in the 10 minutes that wasn’t airport, taxi or hotel I found a juggler at the traffic lights.

45 Madrid juggler

Big team effort to shoot Mozfest for Mozilla in November – the very last image of the weekend said so much.

46 End of the party

Quite a few author portraits this year – poet Isabel Rogers gave me my favourite.

47 Isabel

One for the political library – Matthew Hancock, Cabinet Office Minister – a version of this appeared as his profile picture within hours of the event. A good sign.

48 Matthew Hancock

A very old friend, spotted in the shadows at a hack event in the School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Harry’s someone I would enjoy doing a lot more pictures with.

49 Harry Harrold

There aren’t many anxiety dreams in event photography. Being picked out by the comedian as the butt of her jokes is probably one, though. Shappi Khorsandi threw plenty of poses and shapes for me. Thanks, I think. Mortifying at moments though.

50 Shappi Khorsandi

Family gathering in December, and I discovered a previously unknown family game – rolling a Malteser down a steel tape into the waiting mouth…

51 Chocolate game

I had a great weekend making pictures with honey – this is what happens when you get the sun shining right through it as it drips from the spoon, with the lens stopped down a lot to give it such vivid contrast and colour.

52 Honey tongue

Quick street shot with the compact camera – London’s wildlife, naturally camouflaged.

53 Where is courier

That’s all – tides and energy levels rose and fell. I made a lot of mistakes, and turned a few of them into new Terms & Conditions and hopefully a few more into lessons learned. Going with the flow usually seems to work out though.

54 Tides

Massive thanks as always to friends, clients, and many others who’ve given support and advice over the year. Especially due of course to Tracy Howl, Susannah Wheeler, Olly Newport, Laura De Meo, Sam Lane, Natalie Shaw, Dave Bird, Daniela Fleckenstein, Benjamin Glean and the others who’ve worked so hard over the year – especially on the Hyde Park marathon in the summer.

(Clicking on these pictures should open them up in a lightbox–you can then use arrow keys to jump between them.)