Richard Boll

Category Archives: London

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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

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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, and more of my portrait photography can be seen here. Signed, archival-quality prints of the portrait can be purchased here.

Sill 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.

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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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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 portraits of key members of staff at the investment bank Numis. The images were produced over a two-day shoot in various locations in 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 portraiture can be seen here.

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Lifestyle Photography for Wizzard Advertising Agency in London

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Filed under Advertising, Advertising Photography, Commercial Photography, Environmental Portrait, Lifestyle, lifestyle Photography, Location, Location Photography, London

I was recently commissioned as a lifestyle photographer by the London advertising agency Wizzard. The taxi company has taken the risks posed by Covid-19 very seriously and is taking significant measures to protect their customers in London. I was asked by Wizzard to source models for the lifestyle photography and suggest suitable locations in London. The models were then selected and the shoot was carried out in a relatively quiet square in Pimlico in London. Due to the prevalent risks posed by Covid-19 everyone on the shoot was observing social distancing and wearing PPE. More of my lifestyle photography can be seen here.

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Corporate Photography for Octopus Energy in London, Warwickshire and Brighton

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

I was recently commissioned by Octopus Energy, a UK-based electricity and gas supplier specialising in sustainable energy. They were established in 2015 and have rapidly developed a reputation for excellent customer service and value for money. I was asked to photograph their staff members in London, Warwickshire and Brighton. The commission involved taking informal corporate photography of their team at work as well as posed corporate portraits. It was a great commission and I’m a big fan of Octopus Energy and their fantastic team.

More of my corporate photography can be found here.

 

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Corporate Portrait Photography for Derwent Annual Report Commissioned by Merchant Cantos

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

I’ve been providing corporate portrait photography to the global communications agency Merchant Cantos since 2017 and it was a great pleasure to be selected for a commission to take portraits for the Derwent London 2019 Annual Report. Derwent London is a property investment and development business with its headquarters in London.  It was a significant project carried out over several days, producing group and single portraits of key members of staff. The group portraits were taken in a variety of different locations across London. Each portrait required the location to be scouted and compositions discussed in advance with art directors from Merchant Cantos. The project included group portraits taken in interiors of key Derwent London buildings, as well as exterior locations including building sites and rooftop spaces.

The portraits were deemed a great success and discussions have begun for commissioned imagery for the next Derwent London annual report.

More of my corporate portraits can be seen here.

 

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Commissioned Still Life and Portrait Photography for J & A Beare, London

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Filed under Corporate Photography, Editorial Photography, Editorial Portrait, Environmental Portrait, London, Product Photography
J & A Beare are an internationally-renowned musical instrument dealer based in London and Germany. Their reputation has been built over 125 years of authenticating, valuing, making, restoring and selling musical instruments and bows.
They recently asked me to provide them with portrait photography of their members of staff as well as interior photographs of their premises on Queen Anne Street in London. I first took photographs of J & A Beare in 2015 for Rolls Royce Magazine, and it was wonderful to be back in the calm, quiet spaces of their premises. It’s an amazing experience to look inside the workshops where the beautiful instruments are lovingly restored by their expert craftsmen. As well as the portraits and interiors, the commissioned photography also included still life images of the instruments and bows that are being repaired and that are for sale.
More of my still life photography can be seen here and more of my portrait photography can be seen here.

 

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London Chauffeur Service commissions Richard Boll as a Product and Lifestyle Photographer

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Filed under Advertising, Advertising Photography, Commercial Photography, Corporate Photography, Editorial Photography, Environmental Portrait, lifestyle Photography, Location, Location Photography, London

I was recently commissioned by Wheely as a product and lifestyle photographer to produce images for marketing, editorial use and social media. The commission involved a detailed recce of various locations in London prior to the shoot, and liaising with producers, stylists and models regarding the logistics and timings of the shoot.

The company Wheely has launched a luxury ride-hailing app, offering a chauffeur service in London. It is an online service for ordering luxury and executive rides, from licensed and carefully selected drivers. The Wheely chauffeurs all have tested knowledge of London geography and have several years of executive driving experience. The rides are paid for with a credit or debit card linked to a user’s account. The license has been approved in London until 2023.

More of my lifestyle photography can be seen here.

 

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Location Lifestyle and Furniture Photographer for AXYL Range of Furniture in London

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Filed under Advertising, Commercial Photography, Editorial Photography, Editorial Portrait, Furniture Photography, Lifestyle, lifestyle Photography, Location, Location Photography, London, Product Photography, Publications, Studio Photography

The AXYL collection is a collaboration between Layer Design and the British furniture brand Allermuir. The range comprises of furniture pieces each fully made from reclaimed materials.
It is the first time the London-based designer has collaborated with Allermuir. I was commissioned as a studio furniture photographer and location lifestyle photographer in London in a joint commission from both Layer and Allermuir. Produced with editorial and advertising potential, the images have been published across various design industry platforms including Dezeen, Domus, Urdesign and Designboom.

The studio product photography for Layer was carried out at Holborn Studios in London.

To see more of my furniture photography click here.

 

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