Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre

Posted on November 29, 2019 by Admin under THEATRE
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Poster for the 1964 Mary Poppins film

Walt Disney hard a hard job of persuading author P. L. Travers at her Chelsea home to allow him to make Mary Poppins into a film but we can be grateful he did as it has pleased many people worldwide since 1964.

Julie Andrews and Charles Stapley talking to my mother in on the closing night of My Fair Lady at Theatre Royal Drury Lane 1963

The last time I saw anything at the Prince Edward Theatre. which had previously been the Cinerama cinema, was back in 1978 when I attended the First Night of Evita with Elaine Paige which was wonderful. It was revived at The Adelphi Theatre in 2010 with the Argentinian superstar Elena Roger in the lead and summer 2019 saw it at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre with my talented friend Mireia Mambo in the cast.

Programme for the original 1978 Evita and Mireira Mambo who was in the most recent London production 

Mary Poppins is in two halves split by an interval. The first half has the best songs but the performers didn’t seem to be in the roles, it lacked warmth. Comparing it to the film is inevitable for most people and the one thing that was immediately noticeable was that it is near impossible for the performers to play their roles in any sort of quiet voice. They have to project even though miked up whereas in film it can easily be achieved.

It was in part two that the show really got into its stride with some great music and the performers really being the characters they are acting. The children and Petula Clark stood out but the other cast were all good and will settle into their roles in a short while. As this was London, it was surprising there was no reference to Dick Van Dyke’s awful cockney accent in the film; it would have got a laugh for sure.

The dancing was excellent and made full use of the stage; the set design and lighting were fabulous. But it was the moment that Mary flew off at the end that was a truly great moment of theatre magic and had the audience roaring with approval.

The house where P L, Travers lived in Chelsea, London

From my view having been born into showbiz, some things didn’t quite click as they should have done; scene changes not quite in sync and lighting cues a bit off but I’m sure it will all come together more after further performances.

With a full house and highly appreciative audience giving a standing ovation for the finale, Mary Poppins was a decidedly enjoyable show for all ages which will delight and enthral audiences with the spirited production and cast. Well worth seeing.

 

A Tale of Two Curries – CoCo Ichibanya, London and Kyoto

Posted on November 4, 2019 by Admin under Uncategorized
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CoCo Ichibanya in Kawaramachi, Kyoto

I have been to the Kawaramachi-Sanjo CoCo Ichibanya curry house branch in Kyoto Japan many times, and on each trip, I pay a visit to that particular branch for a lovely Chicken Katsu Curry. The food is always great in this branch, there are others in Kyoto but this is my favourite. The meal is always full of flavour and goes down well with a beer which is what you really need with a curry.

CoCoCo Ichibanya in London

So, I was more than delighted to see that they have opened a branch in London just off Leicester Square in Great Newport Street, and one evening a few weeks ago my Japanese partner and I decided to visit it for a Chicken Katsu Curry, our favourite to see what it was like.

London menu

The service was very good, I could not fault that, but, and this is a huge but – they do not serve beer, a curry house! Maybe they either can’t be bothered to apply for an alcohol licence or have been refused one.

Chicken Katsu Curry in London

The chicken itself was perfectly done but the curry sauce should come with a full flavour, it was only around 70% of what it should have been. The heat, which is chilli obviously, was about right as standard but the flavour was way down on what we expected. This was not an authentic CoCo Ichibanya curry as I know it, more of an Anglicised version.

Pauline Bailey as Marilyn Monroe

The place is small, it used to be a Cranks restaurant where years ago I met Marilyn Monroe (actually professional look-a-like Pauline Bailey) to arrange a photo-shoot, but this latest incarnation has not made the best use of the space, too much is given over to the kitchen areas and not enough for tables, a poor design.

Kyoto menu with Yen prices

It was also expensive at £15.07 with the obligatory 12.5% tip included, compared to Kyoto where the same better meal would be just £6.96 and in Japan there is NO tipping anywhere, the price you see is what you pay. Yet people still think Japan is expensive!

CoCo Ichibanya in Kyoto , eating at the counter bar

This is nothing like the experience that we’ve had in Kyoto many times, so I hope they sort this out very soon. We will not be visiting again until we know that things have changed for the better, we’ll give it a year. Then the curry should have the full flavour and also have beer available, just like in Kyoto!

Geisha Dreams in Swanage

Posted on July 26, 2019 by Admin under PHOTOGRAPHY, SWANAGE
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The Carnival Parade and a wingwalker on a stunt biplane

It’s the annual Swanage Carnival so I’m delighted that my latest book Geisha Dreams is in the independent Swanage Bookshop as it is the only bookshop in the country where I want it to be sold.

The Swanage Bookshop

I believe in having an exclusive deal with someone like Jill Blanchard who runs it, as she has done successfully for 30 years. It was started in the High Street and 10 years later moved to 35 Station Road where it has been for the last 20 years.

Geisha Dreams in The Swanage Bookshop window

This delightful and quirky bookshop is one of those places that exudes charm and character owing to the fact that it sells both new and second-hand books.

Through the Viewfinder and a cartoon of myself done in Hollywood USA

The first book I had published, ‘Through the Viewfinder’, was ten years ago but I was beaten by 125 years as in 1894 my great-grandfather Frederick Freeman Lloyd published his book ‘The Whippet and Race Dog’.

The Whippet and Race-Dog published 1894

He was also the first person in the family to go around the world which I found out when with my cousin Brian in Australia, we delved into the archives of the Adelaide Public Library and found microfiche copies of his regular ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ column focusing on dogs which were his life and passion.

Freeman Lloyd in New York June 1929

Geisha Dreams came about by my taking photos over a 30-year period which have included 24 visits to Japan and I am fortunate and grateful to the people that helped me create this book.

Two images from Geisha Dreams

Lesley Downer, who has lived in the geisha world briefly and knows Japan well, is an acclaimed author, novelist and journalist whose latest book, The shogun’s Queen, has been a bestseller. So, I was delighted that I could persuade her to write a foreword for my book which she did which is quite lovely.

Lesley Downer at UCL and her novel The Shogun’s Queen

Suzanne Perrin is a lecturer and historian of Japanese culture and gardens who has lectured around the world. She helped me she helped by editing my introductory words which makes the book work well.

Suzanne Perrin giving her Hokusai talk at the Henry Sotheran bookshop

Finally, my stepmother Jennifer Hoare proofread wonderfully well, book designer Jim Allen whose ideas were invaluable, and finally Blissetts who printed it so beautifully, as one would expect from the company who print Hansard and are bookbinders to HM The Queen.

Blissetts printers in Acton

Geisha Dreams is a book I am very proud of and is available from the Swanage Bookshop in the lovely county of Dorset as well as online.

GEISHA DREAMS

‘Small Island’ at the National Theatre

Posted on June 7, 2019 by Admin under SHOWBIZ, THEATRE
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Small Island’ and the National Theatre on the South Bank

As a member of the Society of Television & Design (STLD) through my career as Lighting Director for Central Television, myself and other members were invited to the National Theatre (NT) to see a camera rehearsal of ‘Small Island’ for NT Live, the play based on the novel by Andrea Levy and adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson.

NT Live has been running for ten years and is a wonderful way for audiences around the world to see and appreciate the very best of London theatre.

STLD members in Hi-Vis vests explore the backstage areas at the National Theatre

The reason for our visit was that the Chairman of STLD, Bernie Davis, was modifying the lighting from the original design by Paul Anderson so as to be seen live in 2,500 cinemas around the world as part of the National Theatre Live initiative. Theatre lighting is right for a seated audience but lighting for television generally works best if there is less contrast which a TV lighting director like Bernie Davis, who has done many of these events, would know how to do.

National Theatre backstage areas

After donning Hi-Vis vests, we were led on a tour around some of the backstage areas. The ability to do this well was built into the NT with covered walkways high up so public and private tours would not get in the way of work, they are also safer for everyone. We were able to go into all three of the theatres – the Dorfman, Lyttlelton and Olivier Theatres.

National Theatre backstage areas

The emphasis of the STLD tour was lighting and NT like all theatres is changing over from tungsten to LED lights. There is a real love for traditional tungsten and people are trying to keep it in use but LED is slowly taking over.

View into the wings and the auditorium of the Lyttlelton Theatre at the National Theatre

The changeover will happen slowly as lighting designers get used to using LEDs and the price of them will drop as volume increases. LED use less electricity so are a Green way to go which is a key selling point for them. The ability to change to any colour via a control board is another. When I was lighting for television and theatre I could only use a gel placed in front of each lamp and had to choose the colour. I would have loved to have had the ability to adjust colour but LEDs were not in use then.

STLD Chairman Bernie Davis talking to members in the Olivier Theatre and the Small Island stage 2019

Bernie Davis gave a talk on how he modified the lighting of the production for television which was fascinating and much more involved than people would believe. It involved watching a rough recording and going through it while making notes of what to change, this would usually take eight hours.

After lunch we sat with a full house to see the production in the Oliver which was essentially a final rehearsal for all the crew before the live event the next day.

‘Small Island’ – Photo credit National Theatre

The play was a brilliantly staged, directed and acted performance with a large spirited cast of forty. The design and lighting were beautifully integrated and the sound was excellent too. A great production that I’m sure the worldwide audience and at will enjoy as well as audiences who see it at the theatre.

Laurence Olivier as Hamlet, created by the sculptor Angela Conner, in front of the National Theatre

Photo London 2019

Posted on May 18, 2019 by Admin under ART, PHOTOGRAPHY
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Photo London 2019 at Somerset House

Each year for the last five, Photo London has just got better. Also bigger as it seems to have taken over the whole of London’s majestic Somerset House in The Strand.

Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad opening Photo London 2019

rganisers Michael Benson and Fariba Farshad have been surprised and delighted at t the way this has grown, as well they might be.

Stephen Shore and Mary McCartney with William Ewing

This year the press conference was William Ewing in conversation with the master of the banal, Stephen Shore, and Mary McCartney,the daughter of Paul and Linda, whose Royal Ballet monochrome images graced the exterior walls of the pavilion.

Stephen Shore exhibit at Photo London 2019

Mary McCartney’s Royal Ballet images  at Photo London 2019

The exhibits from galleries around the world range across all genres and standards. Some superb work and some so ridiculously pretentious but great to have the contrast of fine art photography in one place.

The greatest overall change I noticed was that there were many more monochrome images than previously. This is not surprising as B&W has a more abstract quality than colour, usually but not always depending on the photographer. There were very nice images and some of the older ones were exceptional, probably as that’s what photographers used as a matter of course so were more conversant with it than colour.

I was fortunate enough to bump into two of the UK’s greatest photographers, Don McCullin and David Bailey, both who have been a major influence to many others. I reminded Don that he invited me for tea at his home a long time ago and he responded, “That was nice of me wasn’t it!” which it was. Speaking to David we talked about how we both worked for the great entrepreneurial showman Lew Grade. He told me a typical Lew joke on being asked, “What’s two and two?”, Lew’s response was, “Are you buying or selling?” Having worked for Lew for many years this is probably true!

Photo London 2019 proved once again that the UK is a major centre and influence on fine art photography, it could only benefit photographers and others interested in visual art. Congratulations to Michael and Fariba, a brilliant show once again!

A Book of Influence

Posted on April 2, 2019 by Admin under ART, PHOTOGRAPHY
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We are all influenced by the images we see right through our lives and as a photographer I have been highly influenced with my travel photography by one particular book, ‘London – city of any dream’ by German photographer Erwin Fieger.

When I was in my early 20s I came across this book in my local Winchmore Hill library in north London. It was so incredibly inspiring to me that I would hang on to it until I had to take it back or pay a fine, then immediately take out again – this went on for many months.

Now I can look back and realise that the images and prints in that book have dictated my style but over the last 50 years for which I am very grateful. The book is mostly Double Page Spreads, one image running over two pages so there is the inevitable thread holding it together, but it is much better than many books I see today.

Fieger used a Leica and mostly a 200 mm lens to take the images on Agfa colour negative film. I even bought a secondhand Leica IIIb with a 50 mm f1.5 lens, the wide aperture was a revelation, but I found the style hard at first.

When I had my 2014 exhibition in a gallery opposite the British Museum, I called it ‘Kyoto – city of dreams’ as homage to the great photographer that Erwin Fieger was. I found that he had died just a few months before this and I still regret I never got in touch with him so to thank him in person for being so inspirational. I produced a book of the images as well.

Over the years I became more confident in taking photos this way and the next book which will soon be published has many images in that impressionistic style I found so wonderful, ‘Geisha Dreams’.

Books can play a great part in forming any photographer’s ideas, not to slavishly copy but to trigger your own way using the style. Art by some of the great old masters can be truly inspirational as well, For instance, paintings by Caravaggio and Rembrandt can be analysed for composition and lighting, even more to feed the mind of any creative photographer. Their work can be seen online of course, but if you have a chance, go and see real paintings in a gallery, there is nothing that can match that.

All cameras are just a device with which to tell a story, and that story is yours, whatever you make of it. But I have always thought it necessary to go further than just telling a story in a conventional way, and by doing so allowing the viewer to add their own interpretation and so involve them. It has certainly worked for me over the years and can for you too.

To see some great images that are bound to inspire you in London for free, head down to City Hall on the South Bank to view the Travel Photographer Of The Year exhibition outside which is open 24 hours now until 30th April

https://www.tpoty.com/tpoty-exhibitions/come-to-london-and-see-the-world/

(c) Jeremy Hoare – 2 April 2019

Hooray for Cricklewood! (not Hollywood)

Posted on October 7, 2018 by Admin under HISTORY, SHOWBIZ
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The studio site was a former aircraft factory

In 1912 the Handley Page Company moved from Barking in Essex and established an aircraft factory at Cricklewood in north London where aircraft were built and flown from the company’s adjacent air field.

Opening caption for Stoll Pictures Productions

After World War 1 the factory was mothballed until Stoll Picture Productions, run by the theatre impresario Sir Oswald Stoll, took over the disused aircraft factory and converted it to become the largest film studio in Britain.

Stoll Pictures Productions site drawing

Stoll Pictures Productions camera crew with a blimped Mitchell 35mm camera

From the studio plan it would seem to be two studios, a small one and a very long one which was built for an aircraft production line. But with silent film, several films could be made simultaneously in the long studio as sound was not a problem.

Stoll Theatre, Kingsway

The photos in this blog are mostly from a collection my father passed on to me so I am assuming that they are from Stoll Picture Productions and were left somewhere in the Stoll Theatre in Kingsway which my father was manager of in the early 1950s.

Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh at their home in Notley Abbey, Thame

After the last production in 1956, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in Shakespeare’s ‘Titus Andronicus, who then held a party for cast and crew at their Notley Abbey home, my father had the unhappy job of closing it down and getting it ready for demolition.

The door from the Stoll Theatre in Palmers Green

But he salvaged a door from the Grand Circle bar and got a chippie, from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane which he then managed, to install it as the front door to our home in Palmers Green, it is still there today.

A scene from a Stoll Pictures Production

The number of silent films that Stoll Pictures made was prodigious and in 1920 Sir Oswald Stoll bought the rights to produce films based on Sherlock Holmes tales from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

A scene from a Stoll Pictures Production, possibly a Sherlock Holmes film

So from 1921 on, Stoll Pictures produced a series of silent black-and-white films based on Sherlock Holmes stories. Forty-five short films and two feature-length films were produced featuring Eille Norwood in the role of Holmes and Hubert Willis as Dr. Watson. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself praised Norwood’s performance in the film role of his creation.

In the 1930s, the studio had been slow to adopt sound after the first talkie in 1928, ‘The Jazz Singer’ starring Al Jolson.

Two Stoll Pictures Productions actors

A scene from a Stoll Pictures Production

It was mainly used by independent producers and short films, but later in the decade it was used by Butcher’s to make ‘Old Mother Riley’ and John Baxter made several films there from the mid ’30s.

A scene from a Stoll Pictures Production

Stoll Pictures Productions actress’s

Sir Oswald Stoll himself, a cold and formal Australian, was an enthusiastic supporter of the British film industry but never a creative producer in the American style which must have held the company back from what it could have achieved with someone more charismatic and dynamic.

Stoll Pictures Productions actors

A scene from a Stoll Pictures Production

In 1938, just prior to World War 2 and after 18 years of picture production, Stoll’s Cricklewood Studios were sold to the aviation company Hawker-Siddeley to manufacture aircraft again.

Site of Stoll Picture Studios in Temple Road, Cricklewood, now a Matalan store

It ended trading in 1948 and the studio building remained intact until the 1960s when it was demolished. Today the site of what had been Britain’s largest film studio is now occupied by a Matalan store.

A scene from a Stoll Pictures Production

My feeling is that the ‘star’ system, so prevalent in Hollywood, was not pursued so much here owing to lack of charismatic people running the film business and Cricklewood was the epitome of this. It could have been much more.

If anyone can identify these actors in the photos I’d be very happy to know who they are!

A scene from a Stoll Pictures Production

“Keep changing, Connect with everything, Continue forever”

Posted on October 1, 2018 by Admin under ART, HISTORY
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The Mitsubishi Japanese Galleries at the British Museum reopened on 27 September. They are situated in what was described as a ‘loft conversion’, albeit a rather upmarket one, and they have been closed for nine months being refurbished. Both the floor and ceiling have been replaced with pine and cherry wood respectively and much attention was paid to the acoustics so as to lessen the resonance effect which works well.

Japanese Gallery at the British Museum

The lighting has also been improved (apparently), although I didn’t think it was that good. Museums are a bit overcautious about light levels and the type of lights used as it is only part of the visible spectrum emitting from a light that can cause damage, and that can be filtered out. I suspect there are proper museum grade lamps that already do this.

Time Waterfall – Panel #8 Blue by Miyajima Tatsuo

Fortunately, the displays themselves are great and ranged from an exhibit by Miyajima Matsuo’s Time Waterfall, a cascade of numbers in LED lights, round through the centuries ending up with a traditional teahouse for the tea ceremony which is a permanent feature.

Bunraku puppets, 20th century

The display of Bunraku puppets I enjoyed, they are operated by three people. it made me wonder if Jim Henson used knowledge of this when he created Kermit and the other characters in ‘The ‘Muppet Show’, which I worked on, and performed in, 40 years ago at ATV Elstree. Just conjecture, but as some Muppets were operated by three people, I would be surprised if he hadn’t. Jim was a clever and dedicated man.

Myself and camera crew operating Muppets on The Muppet Show at ATV Elstree

I was fortunate enough to meet a Living National Treasure, Murose Kazumi born in 1950, who is a master craftsman in lacquer.

Murose Kazumi, a Living National Treasure of Japan

His work on display is a large, round lacquer box showing a central chrysanthemum on the lid, the emblem of the Emperor in Japan. It took three years to make; two years for the core, and one year to make the decoration. He also restores antique artefacts together with his son who also works with his him in their Tokyo workshop.

Massive Flower laquer box by Murose Kazumi

He was interviewed by a young reporter and camerawoman working for a major TV company in Japan, TV Asahi. With my years as a television cameraman and lighting director, I was dismayed that there was no on-camera light to lift the harsh shadows; the pictures could not look good. With the low budgets that TV companies have, nothing much would be done in post-production. Many UK television companies can be similar, slapdash work being acceptable, a main reason I quit the business in 1992.

Murose Kazumi being interviewed by Ashai TV

Anyone interested in Japanese culture and history should go and see this exhibition as it is a very good display of just some of the things within the British Museum collection.

Evening snow on the Hira Ridge by Hiroshige, 1814

Stirrups made in the 1600s

All museums and galleries have a large percentage of their exhibits stashed away somewhere because they don’t have space to show everything. But the choice that is on display echoes Japan through the centuries very well indeed.

Articulated Snake in metal by Myochin Muniyoshi, 1850s

Teahouse at the British Museum

“Keep changing, Connect with everything, Continue forever” is in the Mitsubishi Japanese Galleries at the British Museum.

(c) All images and text – Jeremy Hoare

1 October 2018

TPOTY Judge – Travel Photographer Of The Year

Posted on September 21, 2018 by Admin under RED RUM, TRAVEL
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Words by Karen Coe of TPOTY;

MEET THE TPOTY JUDGES – Part 5. Photographer & TV cameraman Jeremy Hoare has been a judge of Travel Photographer of the Year since the awards began in 2003. He recently hit the national newspapers in the UK with his latest book, which contains previously unseen photographs that he had taken in the 1970s of one of the world’s most legendary racehorses, Red Rum.

Coming from a showbiz family, and after a career as a television cameraman, Jeremy Hoare now shoots mainly stills so the merging of digital stills and HD video means he can combine them. One video, ‘Lost Love’, was screened at film festivals in six countries during 2015.

During his years in television, Jeremy worked with many stars of national and international repute. Recently he has been the main cameraman on video shoots of the classical ballets Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Coppelia and Don Quixote in Kyoto, Japan.

With Japan having been the main focus for his photography for many years, he has a large collection of images so has created an online gallery kyotophotogallery.com

“What I look for in any image is a sense of involvement, I want to see and feel the story in a single frame. Studying paintings by artists such as Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Turner and Cezanne can help release creativity by learning about composition and lighting.”

MEET ALL THE TPOTY JUDGES HERE: https://www.tpoty.com/2018-competition/judging/judges/

Being a Professional Photographer

Posted on September 8, 2018 by Admin under TRAVEL
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Operating a Phillips LDK5 on Family Fortunes at ATV Elstree

I never had formal training in photography although I’ve certainly nothing against it, for many it is a great way to start. Instead I learnt the business of telling a story with a camera from many years being a UK network television cameraman, mostly in studios on entertainment and drama for international audiences.

Pinhole camera image of Cumberland Terrace, London

That, and the willingness to make many experiments with all types of photography (a lot which were dreadful failures) taught me about translating what I visualised in my mind into a tangible image for others to see as my interpretation.

Bank of England and passing bus

I still take pictures that I have no real idea if they will work or not, but I never let the opportunity to take them go past. Life is full of so many missed opportunities but with photography it is unnecessary for just the sake of a few frames which costs nothing, so I have no hesitation taking pictures at the extremes of the technology.

Electioneering at night in Taichung, Taiwan

I’ll take pictures by streetlight which looks grainy at a high ISO but that can be an asset and add atmosphere to the right story.

Welder at China Shipbuilding in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

One thing that usually makes for good pictures is to keep on shooting when amateurs put their cameras away thinking it’s too dark for proper photography, or if not corrected in the camera at the time will probably be awful. Phones can shoot in most light situations but they are limited in the way images can be processed, which might be okay for internet use but usually not prints, ones that I would want to exhibit anyway.

Butcher’s shop in Hong Hong at dusk with mixed lighting, daylight, fluorescent and tungsten

For any photographer light then can be very interesting and shooting in mixed lighting (daylight, tungsten, fluorescent) even more so. Always shoot, even when you seemingly have little hope of success, it might work.

Maiko (apprentice geisha) in Gion, Kyoto, Japan

I have been in Japan many times and invariably take numerous frames in mixed light handheld between 1/15 to 1 second on a 50mm f1.4 as it is the fastest lens I have. If I take several frames then one will be sharp, if that’s the story, but often it isn’t.

Twilight hour with a woman leaving the water in Rarotonga, Cook Islands

The most magical time of day to take photos is just after the sun has gone down and while there is still enough light in the sky to shoot by, the ‘twilight hour’. Actually, an hour is just a name because it doesn’t last that long, especially in the tropics when it seems to get dark within minutes of the sun setting.

Hollywood lighting workshop to recreate the image of Marilyn Monroe in the book with Kerry Christiani 

An excellent way to learn about how to be good with a camera is to study and analyse not only the work of the acknowledged experts of photography but also to look at old master paintings in art galleries or inline for both composition and lighting.

Kerry Christiani in classic Hollywood style recreating a portrait of Marilyn Monroe

If I had to name a speciality it would be taking portraits in the classic 1930s Hollywood style using tungsten lights, never flash.

Part of the fabulous art collection at Kenwood House, Hampstead, London

I have taught photography and TV camera and lighting techniques in several countries besides the UK; Fiji, Brazil, Philippines and Australia.
When teaching television lighting techniques to students, I tell them that Caravaggio and Rembrandt would have been great television lighting directors, they were just a few hundred years ahead of their time. That also applies to still photography; you can learn a lot from old master paintings!

Girl and baby in Hunga, Vava’u, Tonga

So whether you have had formal training or otherwise, just keep shooting and learning, you’ll never stop. A professional always has to come back with results; excuses are not acceptable and will inevitably lead to a short career.

Good luck!