First commissioned by seminal 1980s magazine Blitz, our f2 Profile this issue, commercial and editorial freelance Mark Harrison shoots celebrities for clients including The Times Magazine and The Observer.
While a student at Farnham he was advised by Nick Knight to develop a distinctive style, «But these days», he tells f2, «rather than worrying about my style being unique, I’m more interested in producing natural photographs, and trying to get a performance out of the subject. For me, a successful photograph is about showing emotion and the connection between the subject and myself.»
This shift is reflected in his subjects, too. Having spent much of his career shooting famous faces, Harrison is keen to move in another direction. «I don’t want to be known as someone who just photographs famous people», he says.
Harrison is presently working on two personal projects: Distinguished, showing winners of the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal; and Bloodhound, following the Land Speed Record attempt. Both will be finished at the end of next year, with exhibitions as the goal.
Harrison believes that video will account for a larger percentage of his work as the years go on, and is anxious about the future of the still photograph.
«I can see a situation in five years where my work will be much more about setting up a video shoot, and pulling stills from it», he says. «That’s why I’m currently working with available light and exploring video techniques. It’s not to do with a love of video: it’s about predicting the way the industry is headed.»
In Secret Weapons, our special feature, Gavin Stoker takes a peek inside photographers’ kitbags, to find out what they really cannot do without.
The results may surprise you. Top music and editorial freelance Emilie Bailey reckons that her secret weapon is herself, saying, «I’m an enthusiastic person, and can get excited by the shoots I do. As I’ve gone on, I’ve got better at channelling that nervous energy.»
Dean Chalkley meanwhile, whom Bailey started out assisting, cites fun as one of his secret weapons, saying, «There are a lot of people who don’t really use fun enough. I don’t like unhappy people with inert expressions on their faces!
«Some photographers are worried about showing ‘soul’. But we should embrace that, and realise that there’s a whole variety of feelings out there, and photography should depict them all.»
Other photographers featured pick more tangible secret weapons. Dennis Orchard, for example, favours his Canon 85mm f/1.2 portrait lens, while Craig Stephen, who shoots on film, wouldn’t be without his Sekonic exposure meter.
In every case, their answers are fascinating: providing a real insight into the lives of freelances working in a diverse range of fields.
In The New Breed, we take a look at nature photographer Jules Cox. Represented by Frank Lane Picture Agency, and achieving the cover of BBC Wildlife Magazine and publication in all the national papers, he has reached the top of his game. Despite this, he feels that, with page rates what they are, full time professional nature photography simply isn’t viable.
«The leading wildlife photographers don’t just make a living from selling their images», he says. «They have to diversify: they also lead trips, provide hide rental, and run workshops and one to ones. The only difference is that, for me, it’s my day job as a partner in a law firm specialising in employment law that pays the bills, and enables me to pursue my passion as a wildlife photographer.
«I love being a lawyer and I love my wildlife photography. Why shouldn’t I do both? It works for me, both commercially and creatively. In that sense, I’m probably part of a new breed.»
Adam Duckworth, featured in The Go-To Guy, says, «There’s no point looking back to how the industry used to be: it’s about working out what normal is now, and how you can add value to the things you do.
«For me, it’s about knowing how editors think, and what the issues are in their market, and offering them something they thought they couldn’t get, or an idea they haven’t had yet.»
A salaried member of staff at EMAP for two decades, including a stint as Editor of Motorcycle News, before setting himself up as a freelance in 2007, Duckworth knows what he’s talking about.
He adds, «Become the guy that makes good stuff, knows people, and makes things happen, and you’re the one they’re going to hire. Then, once they’ve hired you, you need to over deliver.»