Richard Boll

Author Archives: Richard Boll

Six of My Favourite Corporate and Personal Photography Projects in 2022

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Filed under Corporate headshot photography London, Corporate Photography, Corporate Portraiture, headshots, Location Photography, London, Portrait Photography

When a new year starts, I like to look back on the year before and review photography projects that I’ve worked on. I’ve handpicked 6 of my favourite corporate and personal images from 2022, depicting a range of different photography styles, including corporate headshots, corporate products, corporate portraits and two portraits from my personal UK visual artist project series.

1. UK Visual Artist Portrait Series: Gavin Turk

A double portrait of the artist Gavin Turk in his London studio.

This portrait of Gavin Turk forms part of a personal project from my UK Visual Artist Portrait Series, inspired by his own work including the ‘Portrait of Something That I’ll Never Really See’ (1997). I love this double portraiture combination shot particularly in black and white, as I think it’s more graphically powerful giving a direct, punchier effect to the stripes on his shirt. Both of these elements also echo Turk’s previous work using combinations of double portraiture and stripes. What I like about portrait photography is quite often, an unexpected result can emerge either during the shoot or in post- production as in this case. There’s a need to be open to chance and not overly plan the end result.

2. Corporate Headshot Photography: Octopus Energy

Corporate photography for Octopus Energy, taken by Richard Boll in London.

Octopus Energy is one of my regular corporate photography clients and this image is from a series of shoots that involved photographing staff in 3 of their offices based in London, Manchester and Leicester. Working alongside an Art Director, we collaborated to produce a whole library of corporate headshots and lifestyle imagery. This shot shows a flavour of the natural, documentary ‘fly-on-the-wall’ photography style that I think suits the Octopus brand really well. What I like about this particular image is the employee looks very relaxed and is clearly having a real, natural conversation with a customer, oblivious to the fact that she’s being photographed.

3. Corporate Product Photography: Kin Chairs, designed by Pearson Lloyd for Allermuir

Kin chairs around a table in a studio, photographed for Allermuir by Richard Boll Photography.

Allemuir came up with the original design concept for this image. Taken in their Preston studio, I attached a camera onto a scaffolding tower looking down onto this range of Kin chairs. What I like about this shot is that it shows off the products in an interesting and visually intriguing way. There’s the play on colour of the chairs around the table and it was fun choosing the props to co-ordinate with the chair colours. Having to direct a model was an interesting aspect of the shoot, in order to get a good range of images that worked. I like this particular photo of the model reaching into the bowl as that worked well compositionally, as a focal point in the middle of the table.

4. UK Visual Artist Portrait Series: Adam Chodzko

The artist Adam Chodzko in a pond in Whitstable, Kent.

This portrait of Adam Chodzko, is another favourite image of mine from the UK visual artist portrait series. It was a particularly enjoyable shoot with a strong collaborative element to it. We discussed the images at some length beforehand with Adam letting me know what he thought would work and wouldn’t work. I like this particular image because it highlights the collaborative approach to the shoot, and echoes Chodzko’s love of water and use of crossovers between different spaces. The recording equipment he’s holding picked up both urban and rural sounds within the space and I plan to use the sound clip as part of the installation for a future exhibition.

5. Corporate Product Photography: John Lobb, Frank Sinatra’s Wooden Lasts

The wooden lasts of Frank Sinatra, carved by the London bootmaker John Lobb.

John Lobb is a bespoke, traditional shoemaker to celebrities and royalty alike. Central to their process is the creation of a pair of wooden lasts, shaped to the exact contours of the wearers feet. What started as a purely personal project, initiated by asking if I could photograph the wooden lasts, has now developed into a regular commission shooting images for John Lobb’s marketing and social media.
This photograph of Frank Sinatra’s wooden lasts is one of my favourite images from the project. It’s not just the fact that they belonged to Sinatra who was an icon that many people can connect with, but I love the fact that they’re well-worn with interesting textures that suggest that many shoes were made from this pair of wooden lasts. In a way, they speak of a history and a life well-lived.

6. Corporate Portrait Photography: Elrige, Master Last Maker at John Lobb

A portrait of Elrige, master lastmaker at John Lobb, London.

This was a commissioned portrait by John Lobb who requested photographs of their Last Makers. I’m particularly fond of this image of Elrige, Master Craftsman and Last Maker. He is a real character and I love the intensity of his stare in this photo. I also think this portrait captures the essence of the traditional establishment of John Lobb with its traditional working methods, where each wooden last is carved by hand.
Elrige may appear to be wielding a lethal weapon here, but the tool he’s holding is essential for last making and is known as a Last Knife. It’s used to get a block of wood down to the rough shape of the last. Afterwards, a surform, various grades of files and sand paper would be used to get the last down to its final shape and measure.

See more of my corporate portrait and corporate lifestyle photography projects taken on location in London and around the world.

How I started my career as a professional photographer.

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Filed under Commercial Photography, Editorial Photography, Photography career, Photography education, Uncategorised

portrait of the photographer Richard Boll in Bolivia

I’ve always loved photography.

It’s been a passion of mine since I was 16 years old. I knew then that I wanted to turn my hobby into a professional career. In 2005, I realised my dream and set up as a freelance commercial professional photographer. I often get asked for advice by budding photographers thinking about turning professional. Here, I share my personal journey and answer some of those questions.

Q: How did you get into photography?

I’ve had various cameras from an early age and always took pictures, but it was only a hobby at that stage. The turning point was meeting a teacher at school who was very passionate about photography. So much so, that he set up a darkroom in the school to give students the opportunity to find out what it was like to shoot film and produce prints. I started with black and white film, using a 35-mm SLR camera and I was hooked, especially producing prints in a darkroom. It’s a bit of a cliche, but to see the image appearing in the chemicals is spellbinding when you first start printing. Producing prints in the darkroom is something I really miss now because it’s just not practical for my commercial work. Digital is far more efficient, but I miss the certain unique elements of using film that are not always carried over into digital photography.

Q: Did you do any photography courses?

I started with a City and Guilds photography course that the teacher was running. He recognised there was sufficient enthusiasm in various students to set up an A-level and I progressed onto that course. It was a very good pathway into the rest of my education along with A-level Art. That combination set me up for my Art Foundation year, which then led on to a degree in photography.

Q: How did you transition from hobbyist to professional?

When I finished my degree at Edinburgh College of Art in 1999, I got a job as a Junior Technician at the college. I then progressed to a Senior Teaching Technician role. It was a great job because teaching the technical aspects of photography is very good for your own technical grounding and personal education. Whilst working there, I started to carry out small photographic jobs on the side. I picked up work for magazines shooting portraits, food, interiors, etc. When I left to become a full-time professional photographer, I already had a portfolio and that’s something I would encourage students to think about.

While you’re studying, think about what happens next. Consider the equipment you own, because a lot of photography students finish their studies and realise that they’ve been relying on the equipment from that course. Some students don’t even own a camera, whereas other students, even though it can be challenging, save up to buy some of the camera and lighting equipment that they need before they graduate. When they leave, they’re ready to hit the ground running.
Having a findable website is really key. You’ll have your professional portfolio online and can get found for the right keywords. That’s how I started to get work.

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?

I’d advise shooting some black and white film and using a darkroom to produce at least one black and white print. It’s central to the language and roots of photography. There’s an ethos attached to shooting film, that can get lost with shooting digitally.
For example, if you’re using a large format camera, you can only shoot one sheet of film at a time. It might take 20 minutes to take one photograph, potentially a great deal longer. It makes you think about every element more carefully including focus, exposure and composition.

When you take two hours or more to produce a print in a darkroom, it’s a more meditative thought process. I’m not saying that level of thought can’t be applied to digital photography, but when you’re shooting high numbers of images on a digital camera, it’s possible to end up shooting pictures without engaging your mind to the same extent as when shooting large format photographs. Even though I don’t shoot film throughout my working life, I still shoot film for personal projects. I still hold on to that element of extra consideration and thought that it requires. That’s why I would recommend people starting out to shoot some film and produce prints in a darkroom.

Q: What tips would you give to budding photographers?

I would encourage young photographers to hit the books and do a lot of research. I found that really beneficial to my work. During my time at Edinburgh College of Art, I spent a lot of time in the library, working my way through lots of different photographers’ monographs, getting to know their images, and also reading in these books about their work, whether it was an interview or theoretical assessment by art critics. I found all of that research really valuable.

Assisting a range of different photographers is a good thing to do because you will learn different things from different people. I believe that carrying out personal projects, as well as professional work is really important too.

I encourage students to remember that there are many different types of photography you can carry out. Most people see photography as commercial, fashion, or press, whereas there are dozens of photographic roles available. I’m an editorial and commercial photographer, but there’s a need for forensic, archival, medical, and museum photographers for example.

Q: What’s been your career highlight?

My highlight was the combination of winning the Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize in 2006, which led to a commission from the National Portrait Gallery to shoot a portrait photograph of Sir David Attenborough.

Q: What challenges have you had in your professional career?

The challenge of working as a freelance photographer is the consistency of work. You can have ups and downs with very busy periods followed by lulls. When it’s relatively quiet, I try to appreciate having that time. If you’re busy with commercial work all the time, you can’t work on personal projects and I feel that’s really important.

Q: What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given?

I was given many reasons not to become a professional photographer, such as I’d never be able to afford the equipment or go on holiday because I’d lose all my clients. It was very negative and pessimistic advice that luckily, I didn’t pay any attention to. I’d always wanted to become a professional photographer and turn my passion into an enjoyable, rewarding career.

Read the full story of ‘The Day I Photographed Sir David Attenborough’.

 

UK Visual Artist Portraits 2 of 4: Adam Chodzko – Conceptual media artist, YBA and Saatchi 2007 ‘Sensation’ Exhibitor

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Filed under Artists, Editorial Photography, Editorial Portrait, Environmental Portrait, Fine Art Photography, Location Photography, Photography Award, Portrait Photography

UK Visual Artist Portrait Series

When I first became interested in photography and started learning about well-known artists and photographers I appreciated seeing portraits of them taken by other photographers. Initially, I might not have known who these people were, but an interesting portrait can tell a visual story and open a window into that person’s world. I found it really intriguing and was curious about why that person had been photographed in a particular way. I decided to continue this rich photographic tradition, by taking a series of photographs of well-known visual artists, currently working in the UK.

Adam Chodzko

The second set of images in this series features Adam Chodzko, a Kent-based, highly acclaimed conceptual artist working across a wide range of media, including video, installation, photography, and performance, and considered to be one of the Young British Artists (YBAs). The YBAs are a group of visual artists who are noted for shock tactics, the use of throwaway materials, and wild living. They attracted considerable media coverage and dominated British art during the ‘Cool Britannia’ scene of the 90s. Chodzko’s art relies on the viewer’s imagination and personal experience to create the meaning behind his work. Using elements of science fiction, he explores the space between documentary and fantasy, conceptualism, and surrealism. His art explores the interactions and possibilities of human behaviour by investigating the space of consciousness between how we are and what we might be.

Spotted by the art collector Charles Saatchi, he was invited to take part in ‘Sensation’, the highly controversial, contemporary art exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts (London) in 1997. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, this significant exhibition drew a lot of media attention at the time and showcased work by 42 different artists, including Gavin Turk, Damien Hirst, and Tracey Emin.

The photographic concept

This time, the approach was slightly different from the previous Gavin Turk shoot, in that Adam doesn’t work out of a traditional studio. I couldn’t take shots of him working in a studio, so we focused purely on portraits. Chodzko was really good at engaging with my ideas and very clear about what would suit him. I really enjoyed the collaborative elements of this project, born from a combination of both our ideas and an open, creative discussion, that generated the final images.

1. Collaboration, crossover, and a portrait prize

The idea I had for this portrait was Chodzko being in the countryside and somehow connected with water. He then took my idea and suggested wading around in a pond holding recording equipment, because that’s the sort of thing he might do for his work. An extra element of this shot was the sound clip of the space that was produced during the shoot. You not only hear countryside sounds like birds and mosquitoes, but as we were close to a road, you also hear cars, a car stereo and a dog barking. There’s an interesting crossover between the urban and rural spaces. I requested this sound clip from the artist as it might be suitable for an exhibition of these portraits in the future. I’m pleased to report that this image went on to win third prize in the Kuala Lumpur Portrait Awards and was exhibited in Malaysia and Japan. It was great to get this extra element of exposure for this portrait.

a photographic portrait of the conceptual artist adam chodzko in a pond copyright richard boll

2. Wasteland in the future?

This portrait was inspired by ‘A Hunting Scene’ (1992) by Canadian photographer Jeff Wall. Wall’s photo is of two men walking into a wasteland from a road and they’re both carrying guns. It’s an image that has always stuck in my mind and Adam said that it was a photograph that he’d always liked. Chodzko suggested we put an alternative spin on it. Instead of carrying guns or an axe, he tied white bedsheets together and dragged them around in this waste ground off a main road between a car park and scrubland. There’s a feeling of an in-between, non-space and I hope that it’s intriguing for the viewer in that what has happened in the image is ambiguous and is left up to the viewers’ imagination.

the artist adam chodzko dragging a white sheet in whitstable kent copyright richard boll

3. Whitstable in a (Wet)Suit

Another water-themed portrait was shot in the sea off the beach at Whitstable, where Chodzko lives and works. The idea surrounding this image was that the viewer can imagine that he’s just arrived on the beach and traveled from somewhere else, perhaps the strip of land that can be seen behind him across the water. Again, it’s left up to the viewer to imagine what the back story of this image might be.

a portrait of the artist adam chodzko in the sea in whitstable kent copyright richard boll

Watch this space for features on 2 more visual artists, currently working in the UK that I’ve also photographed, Gordon Cheung and Jake Wood-Evans. Future plans include an extensive exhibition of the complete UK Visual Artist Portrait Photography Series.

Discover more about Adam Chodzko and his work by visiting his website and reading about the controversial 1997 ‘Sensation’ exhibition.

My journey from Film to Digital Photography

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Filed under Artists, Fine Art Photography, Photography career, Photography education

Producing black and white prints in a darkroom at school fuelled my passion for photography. As corny as it sounds, seeing the images appear and develop in the tray of developer is a magical and spellbinding experience.

Differences between Film & Digital

What I think can be missing when working with digital is the tactile, hands-on element you get working with photographic film. The process allows you to consider every element very carefully, particularly focus, exposure and composition. Learning how to load the film into tanks in complete darkness, mixing all the chemistry correctly and to the right temperature to develop the film and produce negatives, is a meditative and thoughtful process. Most professional photographers find that the process isn’t practical however in the commercial world. Digital is the way forward as it’s far more efficient than processing film, but I do miss the creative and unique element that’s not always carried over into digital photography.

With film, you might wait days, or even weeks if you’re travelling, before you find out how the images turned out. With digital, you can check the images that you produce immediately. The ability to do this is very convenient but you lose that element of extra concentration applied to shooting film that I think can be beneficial to the end result.

a 5x4 large format camera on a tripod. From film to digital photography by Richard Boll

My journey to digital photography

When I was studying photography in the late 90s, I was taught purely on film and then I went on to teach people on film myself. Digital was starting to become more prevalent whilst I was teaching and I started to demonstrate digital cameras to my students. In those days, we didn’t have significant digital printers like photography departments would have now. I was largely self-taught when it came to digital. When I became a commercial photographer, I opted to go digital straightaway. I invested £6k in my first camera, plus more for the lenses and lighting equipment. I taught myself about the different file types, researching as much as I could and studying Photoshop textbooks to bring me up to speed.

I still use techniques today that I picked up then. Especially the shortcuts, such as cropping an image to the right size, setting up DPI (dots per inch) correctly for a printed image, manipulating images i.e. dodging (taking light away) and burning (applying additional light),
adjusting and converting colour and contrast, etc. There are certain elements that translate from film to digital. For example, a lot of the language that’s used for Photoshop tools references darkroom principles and processes.

Advantages of digital photography

One of the advantages of digital is an efficient workflow, such as bulk processing of images. You can apply the same adjustments to 500 images in one go, for example, rather than changing every single one as you go along. Even if you were a skilled darkroom technician, it’d be hard to make every print identical. Whereas, once you have the digital file you can make multiple identical prints.

Storage archiving is another significant benefit of working with digital. Back in the day, you would have had several filing cabinets full of negatives that you’d have to create a system for, and it’d be difficult to go back and find a negative that you shot 20 years ago. Nowadays, if a client asks for a particular image, you can easily search a large drive and find the image that you want in seconds, rather than hours.

Another significant difference between film and digital is the cost attached to film. You’re very aware when you’re shooting film that it’s costing you money. Each exposure has the cost of not just the film but also the processing costs.
I’m certainly not taking away the huge advantages of digital, which I very much appreciate day to day in my working life. But processing film will always hold a special place for me. There may be an element of nostalgia but whenever I get the rare opportunity to produce black and white prints, I still feel the same excitement today that I had at school all those years ago.

Read more about How I started my career as a professional photographer.

UK Visual Artist Photographic Portraits 1 of 4: Gavin Turk – artist and sculptor, YBA and Saatchi ‘Sensation’ Exhibitor

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Filed under Artists, Editorial Photography, Editorial Portrait, Environmental Portrait, Fine Art Photography, Gavin Turk, London, Portrait Photography

UK Visual Artist Portrait Series

When I initially developed an interest in photography and started learning about well-known artists and photographers, I appreciated seeing photographic portraits of them in my research. Even though I didn’t know who these people were at the time, an interesting portrait can tell a visual story and open a window into that person’s world. I found it very intriguing and was curious about why that person had been photographed in a particular way. I recently decided that I’d like to continue this rich photographic tradition by taking a series of photographs of well-known visual artists currently working in the UK.

Gavin Turk

The first set of images in this series features Gavin Turk, a British-born, world-renowned international artist, and one of the Young British Artists (YBAs). The YBAs were a group of visual artists who were noted for shock tactics, use of throwaway materials, and often controversial works of art. They attracted considerable media coverage and dominated British art during the ‘Cool Britannia’ scene of the 90s.

Turk’s work deals with issues of authorship, authenticity, and identity. He has pioneered many forms of contemporary British sculpture now taken for granted, including the painted bronze, the waxwork, the recycled art-historical icon, and the use of rubbish in art. Spotted by the art collector Charles Saatchi, he was invited to take part in ‘Sensation’, the highly controversial contemporary art exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts (London) in 1997. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, this significant exhibition drew a lot of media attention at the time and showcased work by 42 different artists, including Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.

On the day of the shoot, I spent around three hours at Gavin’s studio in East London. The original concept that I had for this visual artist series was to take a range of photographs with four distinct elements depicting images of the artist and their work: behind-the-scenes studio shots, details referencing their work and processes, the artist at work (where possible) and more formal photographic portraits.

A photographic portrait of the british artist gavin turk with his signature written in the air

This image is a reference to Turk’s work on identity and the frequent use of signatures in his work and also mimics a project carried out by the photographer Gjon Mili, who photographed Picasso drawing in the air with a torch. The effect of this portrait was created by taking a long exposure of Gavin writing his name in the air with a torch and then firing a flash to expose the room in which the photograph was taken.

A double black and white photographic portrait of the artist gavin turk

This double portrait combines two photographic portraits taken in quick succession and references Turk’s artwork: ‘Portrait of something that I’ll never really see’ (1997), a self-portrait of the artist from the neck up with his eyes closed against a blank background.

An interior photograph of the studio of british artist gavin turk

A photograph of collected items on the shelves in the studio of gavin turk

These photographs of the interior of Turk’s studio provide an insight into the artist’s work and his influences. I’d like to thank Gavin for being so open to my ideas and generous with his time on the day of the shoot. It was a particular pleasure for me both to meet him and to take portraits of him. It’s also been great to see some of the images I’ve taken being shared on the artists’ website and social media platforms.

Watch this space for features on 3 more visual artists, currently working in the UK that I’ve also photographed, namely Adam Chodzko, Gordon Cheung, and Jake Wood-Evans. Future plans include an exhibition of the complete series of portraits of visual artists working in the UK today.

Discover more about Gavin Turk and his work by visiting his website and read about the controversial 1997 ‘Sensation’ exhibition here. More of my photographic portraiture can be seen here.

 

Corporate headshot photography: Why every business needs fresh and up-to-date professional headshots

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Filed under Corporate Portraiture, headshots, Location Photography, Portrait Photography

How professional headshots reflect and elevate your successful brand.

Professional, high-quality corporate headshot photography is a necessity for any successful, well-established company, to portray an authentic business image that suits your specific brand. These unique portraits should reflect the individual employee being shot and the overall values of the business.
Headshot photographs can be used in a variety of ways:
– They form the first impression of the business and its employees and can be used for marketing, not only on your website but also for LinkedIn profile pictures, press stories, business plans, annual reports, and presentations.
–  To help build a connection with your potential customers, as people are more likely to reach out and make enquiries if they can see the faces of the CEOs and employees behind that company.
– Brand headshots can help to represent certain values and qualities, such as warmth and sincerity, generally giving the impression of your staff being friendly and approachable.
– When new colleagues join and with more people working remotely, it’s a good way to build that connection internally and introduce new faces to the business

corporate headshot photograph of individual by richard boll for the brunswick group

Styles and approaches to headshot photography.

When producing corporate headshot photography, it’s common to shoot either against a completely neutral backdrop or to show the interior of an office space.
The advantage of using a white or grey coloured background is consistency and neat uniformity for each headshot. Every photograph, even if shoots are carried out six months apart, can look entirely uniform. It’s useful on a company page, to reflect the level of organisation and togetherness of a business. If shots are taken within an office interior, often the background will be made deliberately out of focus. You can still see the photograph is taken in an actual office, rather than against a backdrop paper. Your choice comes down to the nature of your company’s building and if it’ll suit the image you want to portray. It’s worth giving this some thought before you choose a particular style.
I’ve helped many clients in the past work out the best style of headshot photographs to suit their brand and company values. We’ve discussed various ideas and options that I’ve used previously and potential suitable locations and styles, to help make this important decision.

A professional photographer can make or break your corporate headshot photography.

Any photographer you commission will bring their own level of expertise, creativity and style to your brand headshots. Many companies that I’ve shot for have set style guides and dress codes, to ensure the same consistent approach is used by multiple photographers around the world. It doesn’t matter if the photos were taken in London, Mumbai or New York, every shot will have the same look, even if photographed on different continents by different photographers.
I photograph people using a wide range of set poses, which means I can shoot them efficiently in a fairly short space of time. Typically, I only get 15 minutes at a time (sometimes as little as 5 minutes) with each person. People don’t have hours to spend having their picture taken and my approach lets them get on with their working day.

corporate brand headshot portrait photography commissioned by octopus energy

The old adage that everyone has a best side is absolutely true. Rather than spend a great deal of time trying to work this out, I shoot the same series of poses facing to the left and the right. By the time I’ve photographed the whole range, I’ll have about 60 images per person. I delete the off shots, for example, someone blinking, leaving around 40-50 shots to choose from. I prefer to use a portrait lens for headshots which has a particular focal length considered optimal for taking portrait photographs. Flash lighting is also an important element to consider. I always bring at least two professional flash lighting heads with modifiers, such as softboxes or umbrellas. These provide a flattering, soft light and in combination with other lights, create a visually pleasing aesthetic.
Once you’ve chosen your favourite shots, these images will then be optimised and refined digitally in Photoshop. Sometimes, retouching and fine-tuning is needed if people have creases in their shirts or stray hairs, for example. Unwanted objects in interior shots, such as fire exit signs and other distractions in the background can also be removed. The final headshots are as polished and refined as possible, providing a consistent look across a complete set of images.

In summary, successful and well-established businesses will be expected to have a regularly updated set of professional, fully optimised and consistent corporate headshot photography taken by an experienced, technically adept, professional portrait photographer.

Examples of headshot commissions that I’ve carried out for clients including Citibank, The Brunswick Group, Numis Bank, and Octopus Energy can be found here. If your own brand headshots need an update, please feel free to email me at richard@richardbollphotography.com or call +44(0)7812 908229.

 

Portrait Photography: The Day I Photographed Sir David Attenborough

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Filed under Editorial Photography, Fine Art Photography, London, National Portrait Gallery, Portrait Photography

portrait of sir david attenborough by richard boll photography, london

Sir David Attenborough by Richard Boll/ Commissioned by The National Portrait Gallery, London

In 2007, I had the privilege of taking this photographic portrait of our nation’s favourite, Sir David Attenborough, in London. Of the photographs I took I chose this particular image for the final portrait as I think it captures the calm, thoughtful, and highly intelligent nature of his character. There’s a reflective, meditative element to the portrait that I hope represents him effectively. I’m proud to say that this portrait went on to form part of the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery, leaving a fantastic ongoing legacy for my work and professional photography career.
Although some time has passed since that day, I can still vividly remember how I felt at the time. It was an exciting and enjoyable shoot, as Sir David was someone I had always admired and respected. People often ask how I came to take the photograph in the first place and what it was like to meet Sir David.

Joe and The National Portrait Gallery Photographic Prize

It was a lovely, sunny day on Brighton seafront. I spotted Joe, taking his dog for a walk along the promenade past my flat. I thought he looked like a very cool and interesting character and I asked if I could take some portraits of him. Joe was very happy for his portrait to be taken and gave me a few minutes of his time. We’ve kept in touch and maintained a positive connection over the years since the photograph was taken. I entered this portrait of ‘Joe’ into the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, awarded annually by the National Portrait Gallery. The competition celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography. It was very exciting to be awarded first prize in the competition. I knew I’d been shortlisted but only found out that I’d won on the evening of the prize-giving.

portrait of joe the winning portrait of the national portrait gallery photographic prize 2006

Prize-winning photographic portrait of Joe on Brighton seafront

Britain’s Greatest Living Cultural Icon

After winning the portrait prize, the National Portrait Gallery arranged a special opportunity for me, to take a photo of the winner of a public vote for ‘Britain’s Greatest Living Cultural Icon’. 10 British icons including the likes of David Bowie and Sir Paul McCartney were shortlisted. The public voted overwhelmingly for Sir David Attenborough, and I’m pleased to say that I also voted for him. Thankfully, he agreed to be photographed after the result of the poll was announced. On the day of the shoot, he was extremely polite and very generous with his time. He patiently allowed me to take several portraits against a couple of different backgrounds.
I’m incredibly proud of the final image and people respond well to it, recognising what I was trying to capture of Sir David’s character and legendary status. There was never any guarantee that the portrait would be accepted for the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery which makes me particularly proud that it was sufficiently well-received to be accepted, ensuring a great ongoing legacy for my work.

Sir David Attenborough awarded Knight Grand Cross

Sir David Attenborough needs no introduction, enjoying a very distinguished broadcasting career, spanning the last 60 years when he
first joined the BBC.

Best known for writing and presenting his many acclaimed television documentaries exploring the natural world, including Life on Earth, The Living Planet, and The Blue Planet, he received his first knighthood in 1985 from the Queen.
In recent news, Sir David, now 96 years old, received a ‘second’ knighthood, the even more prestigious Knight Grand Cross from Prince Charles. Attenborough is one of only 120 people with this honour, which was awarded for his services to television broadcasting and
conservation. Let me end with some final words from Sir David himself, “I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored”.

Click here if you’d like to read more about Attenborough and his career, and more of my portrait photography can be seen here. Signed, archival-quality prints of the portrait can be purchased here.

Still life photography: Bespoke shoemakers John Lobb showcase their 170-year history with inspirational wooden last photographs

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Filed under Editorial Photography, Fine Art Photography, London, Product Photography

For over 170 years, John Lobb have been hand crafting bespoke, exquisite, and elegant footwear and leather goods. The world-renowned family-run business spans five generations, receiving its first Royal Warrant in 1863. The firm still produces unique and bespoke handmade shoes to this day one pair at a time. Today, they’re loved for what they’ve always stood for: the celebration of the unique and the original.

Lasts of Frank Sinatra. Still life photo by Richard Boll Photography

 

At the heart of their process is a pair of unique hand-carved, sculpted wooden lasts, custom-made to the precise form of the customer’s feet. If you walk into their shop for some custom shoes, their master craftsman will draw around your feet to produce the wooden last. They can then continue making shoes to your exact specification using this bespoke last.
Every pair of shoes produced for a customer of John Lobb goes through a 50 hour, 190 step process. Their experienced fitters will discuss the endless possibilities that only truly bespoke footwear can provide. Every single element is carefully considered, resulting in a creation that is truly unique.

Lasts of Jacqueline Kennedy. Still life photo by Richard Boll Photography

Not only are these wooden lasts beautiful sculptural objects in their own right lending themselves perfectly as the focus for still life photography, but they are also historical artifacts of a unique and fascinating legacy. Since 1849, John Lobb has nurtured an impressive range of famous clients over the years from royalty to household celebrities.
I first became aware of the collection of lasts from their historically significant customers whilst on a shoot for a magazine. I thought that the lasts would make a great subject for a photographic project and approached the owners of John Lobb to ask if I could begin photographing them. I was consequently granted exclusive access to shoot the collection of famous people’s wooden lasts.

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Corporate portrait photography in London for Numis Investment Bank and The Brunswick Group

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Filed under Corporate Photography, Corporate Portraiture, Environmental Portrait, headshots, Location, London

In September of 2021, I was commissioned by the creative agency The Brunswick Group to take corporate portrait photography of key members of staff at the investment bank Numis. The images were produced over a two-day shoot in various locations at their London offices. Each portrait required the location to be scouted and compositions discussed in advance with an art director from The Brunswick Group.

Numis is an innovative and dynamic investment bank with offices in New York and London. They’re proud to have the largest client base by number of corporates in the United Kingdom, and through combining their leading component services such as equity sales, M&A solutions, and trading and debt advisory, they operate at the forefront of the industry.

More of my corporate portrait photography can be seen here.

professional corporate photograph of a member of the Numis Investment Bank staff

corporate-photography-in-london-by-portrait-photographer-richard-boll

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Studio furniture photography of the CROP outdoor seating range for Allermuir

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Filed under Advertising, Editorial Photography, Furniture Photography, Product Photography, Studio Photography

The CROP range of outdoor furniture was designed for Allermuir by Benjamin Hubert of Layer. The design was named after the rolling fields of crops in the British countryside; represented in the parallel lines in the chair’s designs. The range is distinguished by its stackable steel rod frame, with robot-welded wires forming the seat and backrests. The line took 12 months to develop and comes in the wake of a challenging year.

“This connection with the natural world allows the collection to sit sensitively in an outdoor context, relating each piece to its surroundings through a shared visual rhythm,” explains Allermuir. “This relationship between the product and the great outdoors is enhanced by the dynamic interplay of light and shadow produced as the sun moves across the linear graphic structure.”

It was a privilege to be asked to produce a range of new photographs for Allermuir to capture the originality and elegance of the furniture. I carried out the studio product photography in the summer of 2021, and the well-received images have been used for a huge range of editorial applications. The images ranged from still life product photography of the chairs, as well as some photographs that were more lifestyle in nature. More of my product and furniture photography can be seen here.

Art directors: Abigayle Clayton-Grimshaw, Matt Ousby, Katie Anderson and Andy Barker.
Assistant: Scott Hobson-Jones

 

studio photography for allermuir

studio lifestyle photography by richard boll

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