I went to a couple of Greek Islands in August for the first time, I loved everything; the food, the buildings, the little churches but especially the paper tablecloths. It was a wonderful, fun holiday and a super inspiring trip - and I bought a few tablecloths home with me…
I loved this portrait of Maggi Hambling by Harry Cory Wright which I saw at the Taylor Wessing portrait prize this week at the National Portrait Gallery. It was one of my favourite entries of the last few years. There is a great story behind it too - Maggi wouldn't stop smoking during the shoot so the photographer ran with it and added a smoke machine at the end.
On the 15 January the Guardian launched their new tabloid newspaper with a whole new redesign. This meant the Saturday package was given a whole new look too and sadly Cook, a supplement I worked on for 3 years, was replaced by a new dedicated food magazine called Feast. I have met so many great people though Cook, some of whom have become great friends including photographer Elena Heatherwick, whose 2016 portrait of Rachel Roddy in Leila's Shop was one of my Cook favourites.
We also shot the cover of home made edible gifts.
A lovely Monday morning a few weeks ago spent shooting the Hendersons for a Guardian Cook Italian special - Margot of Rochelle Canteen; Fergus of St JOHN restaurant; his super stylish mother Elizabeth and their son Hector. The full article and recipe for an amazing tomato sauce is here.
I dream of embarking on an American road trip along the Pacific coast highway. Until then, this is my friend's dog Louie looking out over the North Circular, with Absolute 80's on the radio.
Shooting Claire Ptak's Guardian Cook baking column, I saw this book on her very well stocked kitchen bookshelves. Foods Men Like was published by Betty Crocker in 1970, with illustrations by Murray Winkleman. Harking back to a simpler time, I loved everything about it, especially the line illustrations. I also like the idea of sending someone off to work on a space station with a home-made blueberry cobbler.
One of my favourite parts of Guardian Cook is the back page - Last Bites. Chefs and prominent cooks are asked what they would eat and drink, where they would like to be (the seaside came up a lot) and who they would spend their last meal on earth with. The resulting still lives are so beautiful and a bit wasted on half page newsprint, and I wanted to show them off properly. The Guardian has an exhibition space by the entrance, so in February 2015 I booked the next available spot - January 2016. It was so exciting to have our commissioned work showcased for a month and to see our favourite images printed large and all together.
Granary Square 13 January 2016
The Guardian Tuesday 12.01.16
I always like the way props end up randomly laid out together at the start of a shoot...
I have been working on Guardian Cook since January, a weekly food supplement with the Saturday paper. One of the nicest parts of my job has been prop styling 3 of our 5 monthly shoots. One of them is a baking column by Ruby Tandoh - she was a finalist in the 2013 GBBO series. These cakes made from nut oils were meant to be shot on a blue fabric background, and they were lined up waiting to be arranged. I really liked them on the concrete floor as they were, and this became the final shot.
Music is attached to every memory I have. I particularly love soundtracks, and the way they can take you out of an average day to somewhere else much more exciting. They have to be listened to with earphones. Either walking, running or travelling. Interstellar got me round 2 hour training runs, Cinematic Orchestra enhanced the visuals of small Mexican towns en route to Tulum, the whole of Alan Partridge Alpha Papa just makes everything better (the Ski Sunday theme is on it), Lost in Translation and Drive are hazy, dreamlike masterpieces.
Of all the composers I love, Hans Zimmer is my favourite. I had a tape of Rainman in 1991 on a school trip to Wales, Gladiator (and Thomas Newman's American Beauty) remind me of my first job in London, only the Thin Red Line fitted the bill after the shock of 9/11, I left a job listening to Man of Steel, and Interstellar just covers everything really, both joy and immense sadness.
Last Sunday I ran the London Marathon for the second time. An amazing day, the camaraderie and support from fellow runners and spectators was incredible - I was grinning like a loon from start to finish.
Shooting in Tif Hunter's studio a week after his shoot for Toast SS15 menswear (which launched today), I had the privilege of seeing these tintypes up close. Truly beautiful and arresting, they are the complete opposite of today's often disposable and instant photography.
A tintype is a positive image directly exposed onto a metal plate. Tif has been developing this technique and is now shooting this way for several different projects, and it fits the Toast ethos and timeless aesthetic perfectly.
In 5 weeks time I will be running the London Marathon. It's both daunting and exciting. My long runs are on Sundays and this was taken at the top of Tennyson Down on the Isle of Wight, one of my favourite places in the UK.