Archive for March, 2010

If It Was Easy… Falkland Islands June 2002

March 26, 2010

The idea was to rebrand the Falkland Islands as the new Scotland with unique Falkland Island products.

The only problem was that there weren’t really enough people living in the Falklands to produce anything of any great interest!

The other problem? Well I was commissioned to go in June right in the middle of the 2002 World Cup (Ah the sacrifice we photographers have to make!) Now I told them that this was the winter down there and probably not the best time to go as the weather can get quite sever – but did they listen? Deadlines Eh…

Anyway my contact in the Falklands was the head of the Falklands Development Commission – lets call him Reginald – I quickly found out that this was the least liked and least respected individual on the archipelago… if not the world!

His plan was to take me out to producers who had agreed to be photographed for the project – only problem was that he hadn’t asked them and they hadn’t agreed  – so that when we rolled up their response was, to put it mildly, rather negative… There were a few that were willing to help us out though; there was the potato man with missing fingers (don’t ask…), there was the fisherman, whose only deep frozen stock, due to the winter months, was a kind of sub arctic fish that you might see on a documentary on “monsters from the deep”, and there was the old couple that ran the remains of a once prosperous but now de-populated sheep station on one of the outer islands (They were the only two people on the island!!!). They were hoping to redevelop it as a tourist lodge – only problem was that it resembled a scene from the  Shining, complete with shabby 80’s decor and swarm of blue-bottle’s resurrected by turning on the ancient heating boiler… need I go on.

To make matters worse – The day after I arrived it snowed – and I mean total white out!

You don't go anywhere without one!

White Out - Falkland Islands Style

Emergency Airlift from Snowbound Falkland Islands.

Now the Falklands in the Summer is a rather bleak but stunning place – (I know because I was there before in the summer for a travel magazine – yes I’v actually visited the Falklands twice!) a bit like the Saddle-worth Moors transplanted to the South Atlantic – the sky is ultra blue and the beaches and wildlife are amazing – as are the small military style settlements and former sheep stations with their quaint WWII style corrugated roofs and gorse hedgerows. However in a snowy winter it’s a little disconcerting, like being locked in an infinity room – if you wander off the track you might never be seen again! Not exactly what the marketing people had in mind for the landscape shots…

The highlight of the trip (if you can call it that) was watching England get beat 2-1 by Brazil in the quarter finals of the world cup by a freaky/brilliant goal, (depending on your point of view), by Ronaldinho in the 50th minute – Globe Pub, Port Stanley , 2 am (15.30 Japan time). Not many people except myself can say that they were there – mainly because there was only fifty of us in the pub at the time (48 blokes, the barmaid and a girl in Union Jack ‘Hot Pants’… roughly 2.5% of the whole Falklands civilian population!

What a difference a season makes - Falkland Islands Summer Nov. 2001.

Ah well, If it was easy…

“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it…” Memories from the front line.

March 3, 2010

“If it was easy, everyone would be doing it…” Memories from the front line.

So you think the paparazzi have a hard time? Thats nothing compared to threats of ultra violence from celebrity chefs…

Some years ago I took on a commission from Visit Britain to cover a ‘slow’ food festival in Melton Mowbray (I told you photography was a dream career). Anyway among other things I had to get photos of the guest celebrity chefs doing there demonstrations to the public. Antony Worrall Thompson was a real gentleman and very accommodating. The other celebrity chef shall remain nameless but her partner looked like he might shoot a working class person or indeed a small furry animal on sight, just for fun, while she was doing a fair impression of a meaner and more inebriated relative of Jabba the Hutt – sorry I can’t mention names but she used to be a fat lady…

Anyway having never met her before I thought it only polite to ask permission to photograph her as she demonstrated her cooking skills. So before the event, actually during a lull in her book signing (which I think it was called “a hundred ways to enjoy raw meat” – or something like that) I eventually plucked up the courage to approach…

“Hello,” says I, “I was hoping to take a few pictures of you doing your demonstration”. “Who you working for” she grunted. “Visit Britain” I replied, “f*****g vultures,” she grunted… “If you get within range I’ll f******g stab you…!”

“Ummn, I’ll take that as a no then!” I thought, retiring post hast to the real ale tent for a swift half of ‘hobgoblin’… ‘Well if it were easy…’

Hand made Melton Mowbray Pork Pies

Pork Pies - Just one good reason to visit a Melton Mowbray food festival...