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More Cuba.  A lady with a Havana cigar from Pip‘s Cuba project.  See more here

More Cuba.  A lady with a Havana cigar from Pip‘s Cuba project.  See more here

Jay Brooks has shot ‘A Kind of Love Story’,  brilliantly evocative ‘backstage’ pictures for chef Tom Sellers‘ book about the story behind his restaurant Story.

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Tom Sellers has quickly risen through the ranks to become a luminary of the British culinary scene.

Story opened its doors in April 2013; its innovative literary-inspired menu, taking diners on ‘a personal journey through food’, has won him huge critical and public acclaim. Story was awarded its first Michelin star just five months after opening.

Jay found the assignment challenging and exciting, “Initially stripping it down to just a hand held camera, a small flash gun and a laptop was quite daunting. No big lighting set ups, no glam squad, no studio… nowhere to hide!  And once service began the kitchen erupted into action. It seemed like madness at first but somehow I soon seemed to settle into the chaotic rhythm of it all. The food they served was so delicate and so perfect it seemed hard to believe it was produced by this whirling mass of tattoos and shouting.  It actually reminded me a lot of my rave days shooting on dancefloors, move fast, keep your elbows in and go with the flow!”

‘A Kind of Love Story’ has just been published by Orion and is, as they say, in the shops now.

The National Theatre hired Jay Brooks to shoot these powerful black and white portraits of the key cast members of The Red Barn, the new play by David Hare.  Based on the novel, La Main, by Georges Simenon, the play is a tense psychological thriller set in a farmhouse in a frozen New England and the cast features Mark Strong (A View from the Bridge) and Hope Davis (God of Carnage) and Elizabeth Debicki who starred with Tom Hiddleston in ‘The Night Manager’.

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We Were Here 79-89 is the title of the new book from Gavin Watson and to fund the project Gavin has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

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The book tells the story of Gavin’s teenage years in the 1980s, from the time when as a fourteen year old skinhead he first picked up the camera and began to record his world.

“At first, I was just a shy, dreamy kid taking pictures of landscapes and my cat. It was only when Madness and the skinhead thing…the Two Tone thing started that I really began to take lots of pictures.”

He photographed wherever he went, at home, at school, in the streets of the estate where he lived, and whoever he met, his family, friends, girlfriends and in so doing created an extraordinary social document.  Its importance has already been widely recognised.  For example, the film maker Shane Meadows has acknowledged Gavin’s work and cites it as a visual reference and inspiration for ‘This is England’

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“I’m not a skinhead or a punk photographer” says Gavin, “I’m a DIY photographer. Back then I was using a camera without having any real knowledge of what I was doing. So I just did what felt natural, by instinct, by myself. I processed the stuff in the bathroom. That was the point. That still is the point about the work. Doing it for yourself. THAT’S FUCKIN’ PUNK.”

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“I didn’t feel my photographs were important but I felt that what was happening around me was unbelievably important and exciting. I was just amazed that we were demonised instead of celebrated,” he told us recently. “I managed to record my journey, which was thousands of kids’ journeys, all kids’ journeys, and that’s what the work shows really. Those relationships. They’re just young teenage kids trying to find their way in life.”GW-WWH-blogpost-008GW-WWH-blogpost-006

What makes We Were Here 79-89 so exciting is that for the first time Gavin has been a part of the entire creative process and has edited the selection of images himself; this is Gavin’s story told in his own way.

This book is also going to be produced at a higher quality than anything we have seen from Gavin before, presenting these photos in the way that such a legacy deserves.

To find out more about the project go to the We Were Here 79-89 Facebook page and to the Kickstarter to really get involved.

 

Threepenny Opera

Jay Brooks contributed the portrait of Rory Kinnear that forms the base of the ‘very Wiemar’ poster for the National Theatre’s new production of The Threepenny Opera.

The show’s website promises that it contains immoral behaviour and filthy language.  It follows the adventures of the evil MacHeath, Mack the Knife, played by Rory Kinnear, through the low life of 18th Century London.  Originally based on John Gay’s The Beggars Opera it was translated into German by Elizabeth Hauptmann, adapted for the German stage by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill and now has been newly translated into English again by Simon Stephens for the NT.

The poster echos the photomontages created in the 1930s by the German dadaist and anti-Nazi campaigner John Heartfield.

 

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The Boston Globe asked Jay Brooks to picture comedian and Twitter lord Rob Delaney for their cover to coincide with the launch of the hilarious Catastrophe (series 2) in the USA.

Here are some things about Rob you may not know.

He was raised in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

In 2010, Paste magazine named him one of the ten funniest people on Twitter.

In May 2012, he became the first comedian to win the ‘Funniest Person on Twitter Award’ at The Comedy Awards hosted by Comedy Central.

His book Rob Delaney: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. was published by Spiegel & Grau in November 2013.

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What Katie Ate at the Weekend, Katie Quinn Davies second cook book, has won the award for the best food photography from America’s IACP at their annual conference in Hollywood.

What Katie Ate at the Weekend is the second project to spin off from Katie’s very successful food blog and, as in her first book, she cooked, styled and photographed every dish herself.  A major feat!

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Le Cool, London’s indispensable guide to what’s on and where, has interviewed Gavin Watson ahead of his appearance at Youth Club‘s First Tuesday event at Doomed Gallery in Dalston.  First Tuesdays are a monthly event (naturally) with Youth Club hosting a new talk by a photographer alongside a limited edition of Photocopy Club zine.  Gavin’s talk is subtitled ‘Time has Creative Power’ and is focused on the way the perception of his images has changed over the years as he tells Le Cool’s Josh Jones in this extract from the interview.

‘Hey Gavin, so what have you got planned for your talk at Youth Club – what will you be touching on?

‘Normally I just do it off the cuff because I never expect anyone to fucking turn up! This time I’m going to take it in a certain direction because I usually end up talking about anthropology instead of photography, it tends to get into being a societal talk about the history and movements of people and culture. I’m a bit like, “hold up a minute, I got kicked out of school at 15, what the fuck am I talking about this for?” There’s a photographic story there that very rarely gets told because the power of the images take over from the fact I was really interested in photography and is the great love of my life. I rarely talk about my photographic journey, we end up talking about Skinheads, the history of Skinheads, the history of rave and the culture around that. The reason these photographs exist is because I took them, and I took them because I love photography and knew how to work a camera. I had a moment of clarity the other day that all the Skinhead stuff is my mundane, personal work that I never expected anyone to see. My first real job as a photographer was working for a music paper called Sounds. I spent three or four years photographing all the bands of the mid-80s, from Morrissey to the Pogues, The Proclaimers, Siouxsie and the Banshees – the list goes on. And no one knows that I did it. I forget that I did it! I am a well-rounded photographer – I wasn’t in a bubble of just me and my mates on a Shane Meadows movie set! I was pursuing a career in photography and the Skinheads stuff was just part of the wallpaper of the time, of course two decades later it’s become something totally different. I’ve seen my mundane life become a golden era, it’s become romanticised.’

Read the whole interview here.

Youth Club First Tuesday is at Doomed Gallery on Tuesday 5th April.  Details here.

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Pip spent some time at the end of 2015 in Cuba and here is a foretaste of the pictures from the trip.  When he has finished editing the whole trip Pip is planning to produce a book of his Cuban images and perhaps even an exhibition.

‘ I had always wanted to go to Cuba, it just fascinated me, a country in a state of suspended animation, a place I really wanted to photograph.  But it’s changing and now relations with the US are getting better it’s going to change even more.  I decided that if I didn’t go now it could be too late and the Cuba I wanted to see would have gone.  But it was amazing, still a very special place with incredible people.’

There will be updates on Pip’s Cuba project later in the year.

Billionaire Boy

Ray Burmiston shot the portraits for Billionaire Boy. Catherine Tate and Warwick Davies (above) were part of a stellar cast in this hour-long adaptation of David Walliams’ book shown on BBC One on New Year’s Day.

Billionaire Boy is the story of Len, who makes a billion from inventing a new toilet roll, and his 12 year-old son Joe, who appears to have everything he could want – but what he really needs is a friend.

The cast includes John Thomson (The Fast Show, Cold Feet) as Joe’s dad, Len, who invents a new toilet roll – Bumfresh – making him millions. Catherine Tate (Doctor Who, The Catherine Tate Show) is Sapphire Diamond, a 40-something hand model who still likes to pretend she’s 21 and is dating Len for his money.  Playing Joe’s shy and very nervous head teacher is James Fleet (Vicar Of Dibley, Partners In Crime), while Rebecca Front (The Thick Of It) plays Joe’s firm but fair opera-loving teacher.

Warwick Davis (Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi, Harry Potter, Life’s Too Short) plays himself, in the role of the family’s celebrity butler. Joe is played by Elliot Sprakes in his first major TV role.

David Walliams (Little Britain, Big School, Britain’s Got Talent) plays Mrs Trafe, a dinner lady at Joe’s school who is described as ‘dirty and old’ and ‘dreadful at cooking’.

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ResonatorsScarlet Page‘s project to create a portrait gallery of the world’s greatest rock guitarists – is about to be launched.  The fruits of a two year project, Resonators features Brian May, Paul Weller, Jeff Beck, Graham Coxon, Jimmy Page and many more, all presented in high quality black and white

The book, beautifully designed by former GQ art director Warren Jackson, goes on sale on 1st December and this week, on 26th November, the Resonators exhibition opens at Proud’s Camden gallery.

Scarlet has been hard at work promoting the launch and there has been plenty of press interest in the project.  She even made it on to the famous red sofa for an interview on BBC Breakfast this morning.  See below

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Nigella – one of those rare beings who are so famous they only need one name – teamed up once more with Jay Brooks to shoot a feature on ‘her life through food’  for The Guardian Weekend.

Subtitled ‘I eat, therefore I am’, the feature is timed to coincide with the launch of Ms Lawson’s new book ‘Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food’.  It, the feature not the book, charts the development of Nigella’s tastes from the discovery of the avocado in the 1970’s to the rediscovery of the pomegranate in the present.  Nigella, the food and the feature in general all look fabulous but the star of the show has to be the 1980’s beige leather jacket!  See above.

Stylist (clothes and props): Mika Handley.

Home economists: Anna Jones and Emily Ezekiel.

Stylist (food props): Wei Tang.

Hair and makeup: Tricia Woolston using Sisley Skincare, Charlotte Tilbury and Redken. Assistant: Nadia Atinbas

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Jay Brooks has created the image for the Lyric Theatre‘s new production ‘Tipping The Velvet‘ which brings Sarah Waters’ audacious bestselling novel to the stage in an electrifying new adaptation by playwright Laura Wade (Posh, Royal Court/West End), directed by Lyndsey Turner (Chimerica, Almeida/West End).

What’s it about?  Well, according to the Lyric website ‘It’s 1887 and Nancy Astley sits in the audience at her local music hall: she doesn’t know it yet, but the next act on the bill will change her life. Tonight is the night she’ll fall in love… with the thrill of the stage and with Kitty Butler, a girl who wears trousers.

Giddy with desire and hungry for experience, Nancy follows Kitty to London where unimaginable adventures await.’

Intriguing – and we are also warned that the play contains scenes of a sexual nature.

A Lyric Hammersmith & Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh co-production ‘Tipping The Velvet’ opens on 18th September.

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Scarlet Page‘s crowdfunding campaign to finance the publication of her book ‘Resonators’, portraits of the greatest guitar players of the age, finished on 7th August and we are pleased to announce it was a resounding success.

By the deadline 214 backers had pledged over £26,000, £10,000 more than the original target.  So huge thanks and congratulations to everyone involved and we look forward to arrival of the book later in the year.

You can follow the progress and development of the project on the Resonators Facebook page and we will be blogging and tweeting further updates as the launch date approaches.  Follow Scarlet on Twitter here.