Richard Boll

Category Archives: Fine Art 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

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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 Iasked 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.

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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. Signed, archival-quality prints of the portrait can be purchased here.

London Craft Week: 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.

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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.

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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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Form & Void II in International Photography Awards

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Filed under Fine Art Photography

I’m thrilled to have received an honourable mention in the 2018 International Photography Awards, for the project Form and Void II.

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These images were produced in Iceland and seek to examine the interconnectedness of the forms and voids that exist within the landscape, and how these elements translate to the pictorial (specifically photographic) space.
Parallel to this is a consideration of aspects of cultural geography; humankind’s place within this landscape and its relationship to it.

The Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zhou (born 370 BC), often known as Zhuangzi, proposed the notion that all things and events in the phenomenal world are dependent on one another, summarising existence as,

“This comes from that, and that is caused by this”.

In the same way that certain aspects of eastern philosophy sees the form and the void as one and the same, East Asian depictions of landscape generally intend to show that humankind is an inherent part of the landscape, and of nature, rather than ruling over it. This view is distinct from the more Western attitude of human society being a separate (and typically conflicting) entity in relation to nature.

A significant part of the project was a personal photographic “grounding”. The specific use of relatively traditional photographic equipment and techniques, including the use of a large format camera and black and white film, provides a clearer, more refined photographic language that is better suited to my intentions towards more considered and meditative compositions. The cumbersome nature of the camera is paradoxically beneficial for the production of stronger images. Slowing the process down and taking up to an hour to take an exposure is beneficial for encouraging a more analytical mode of seeing.

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