For the past five years I have been going to the BAFTA’s. I have never been nominated for an academy award but I have had 5 consecutive, access all areas passes. I have had the privilege of being stationed on the in the wings to the right of the stage practically on the red carpet. I’m often one of the first people the award winners see after exiting the stage. Elated and dumfounded they pass, often stopping in front of my table for chats or photos. This prime real-estate has offered up some unforgettable moments, from Helena Bonham Carter a doing some kind of weird curtsy/bow at me (she must have been pretty distracted), after being asked why everyone keeps smiling at my assistant; Russell Crowe replying ‘coz he’s got a winning smile’ looking down at me sitting to his right (that moment caught below, Brad and Angelina so happy for Barkhad Abdi (the Somali actor from captain phillips) for winning best supporting, to my favorite moment, when Meryl Streep came off stage asking if anyone had any gaffer tape. I had some and ended up fixing (padding out) her shoe. Unbeknown to me she had just lost it on stage. I’m sure she hasn’t forgotten that moment either. Maybe I’ll get to take her portrait and tell her about It one day.
I have to be clear. This is one of the few time where I am not employed to take pictures. These are just snaps on my phone. This job is a remnant from my assisting career that I haven’t cut absolute ties with just yet. Never say never and all that. I suppose this my first post about assisting but I want to do a lot more. I owe nearly all of experience and knowledge to assisting, a combination of photographers and others I have worked with in this field.
On that note, this one goes out to Rich Hardcastle. A fantastic portrait photographer with a kind of, old school talent with new ideas. I have worked freelance with Rich since we met on the set of the first series of Extras, a long time ago now. I’ll tell you more about Rich at a later date. He and his work deserve a bit of thought, and we have done a lot together. For now let me say that he doesn’t usually do documentary but he does it well enough to be asked back by BAFTA every year to keep doing what he does.
For now back to this job. I’m essentially an operator (Capture one). I’m paid to turn up with my computer (macbook pro), receive, edit, ballance, and process the images on site. We (photographers) shoot RAW files and they need to be processed into other, more readable files like jpgs. I sort through the hundreds of shots taken and selecting the best ones and make them look good. This can sometime be tricky as the majority of the shots were taken in really low light were handheld and thing happen fast. These three situations do mean that it’s not easy but Rich did produce some crackers.
This year did prove even more of a challenge as the event is now sponsored by Leica and Rich was charged with mastering the brand new Leica SL in the week prior to the event. As any workman knows, it’s parrorment to know your tools capabilities to be able to put them through there pases. And what a tool the SL is. Quick to focus in low light with an amazing feel to the files once on the computer. More like an old film scan than a 35mm digital frame. It made me think about investing some time and research into Leica. I could be a possible convert.
Around this post are a few the small phone snaps I have taken over the years. Just a few, I’ve been busy. Some moments and a few to set the scene; where I sit between the pre-stage makeup area and the red carpet. At the top are some of the shots that Rich has taken.