Category: Past Masters

Christopher Nolan: How to Direct Your First Feature Film

IN-CAMERA 1: Interview with Brian Griffin. Master of advertising photography.

Cover art for Depeche Mode’s 1982 album ‘A Broken Frame’. Photography by Brian Griffin.

I remember being in awe of this photograph when I first saw it back in the early 80s. So simple. So graphic. But also so painterly in its treatment of light and composition. I was a junior pencil-sharpner in a Dublin ad agency at the time and realised great conceptual ad work was being produced in tandem with beautifully crafted images by photographers like Brian Griffin in the UK. So I left for Paris:) And the rest is geography. (line pinched from copy king Peter Russell). Check out Griffin’s masterful photographic work that helped make the London ad scene a powerhouse of advertising creativity right through the 70s, 80s and 90s. Thanks to David Dye for posting this interview on his blog and reminding me why I wanted to work in advertising in the first place. It really was an incredibly creative and innovative time to be in the business. I miss it. Link to interview: IN-CAMERA 1: Brian Griffin..

Smile. It’s only photography.

Did your favourite portrait album cover make the cut? Mine did. Famous album cover portraits – The Guardian.

© Chris Grabin

© Chris Grabin

While reviewing this collection of album cover portraits (see link), I noticed one possible criteria for selection that was completely absent: one of technical excellence. Dylan’s portrait for his “Blond on Blond” album, for example, is a photograph with “camera shake” – usually the bane of many a photographer when the camera or subject (or both) are moving in unison with a slow shutter speed. These photographs usually get binned. Nevertheless, this photo has succeed in becoming part of the iconic vocabulary of modern music. In this day and age where precision and rationality are venerated – and have the technology to deliver it – we are in danger of forgetting why things “work” and why they don’t. Perfection doesn’t work. Perfection rarely interests people. It’s boring. Like music itself, it’s the seemingly random empty spaces between notes that confers harmony and emotion and not only the perfect notes themselves. Photographers don’t need to be perfect technicians to make great photographs – they need to be able to capture images that convey emotion with sublime subjectivity. The best photographers are usually humanists. They understand that life is messy (like this poorly written piece) and transient and create work that celebrates this fact rather than trying to ‘perfect’ it.

Link to article: Björk, Blondie and Bruce – the cover portraits that deserve to hang in a gallery | Music | The Guardian.

L’exposition David Bowie à Paris. Sneaky photos by Sean Hayes

I’m a huge fan of the Thin White Duke. He needs no introduction. His amazingly prolific creativity across many decades and mediums speaks for itself eloquently. The travelling exhibition of his blockbuster V&A archive show at the Philharmonie de Paris/ Cité de la Musique, Paris includes over 300 objects including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photography, set designs, album artwork and rare performance material from the past five decades. I recommend a visit. Even though photography was ‘interdit’, I still managed to capture a few snaps with my iPhone. Rebel Rebel 🙂 If you would like to see more of my mobile music photography, please visit:

Crossing © Sean Hayes

Crossing © Sean Hayes

Outlaw © Sean Hayes

Outlaw © Sean Hayes

Suicide © Sean Hayes

Suicide © Sean Hayes

The Antichrist of Early-20th-Century Photography.

William Mortensen, “Flying Witch (Myrdith)” (ca. 1930), vintage silver print

William Mortensen, “Flying Witch (Myrdith)” (ca. 1930), vintage silver print

Link to exhibition details:

To celebrate Halloween: The most bonkers and controversial of the early pioneers of photography. William Mortensen. Thanks to Thierry van Biesen for reminding me of the past master and his ghoulish and grotesque work. Happy Halloween y’all.

Things for which I am grateful #325-348: Photography.

Nice post from friend and fellow art director David Milligan-Croft.
I’m a big fan of Desiree Dolron and Nadav Kander’s work in particular.


My goodness, where to begin?

There are so many brilliant photographers that I could probably fill all 365 things to be grateful for with them alone.

I’ve had the privilege of working with some outstanding photographers during my 30 long years in the ad industry. Most of whom were artists in their own right. I’m not going to feature them here just in case I forget someone and invoke their ire.

Instead, I’m going to show some of the photographers whose work has inspired me over the years. Certainly not an exhaustive list. Hope you like them. Feel free to make your own suggestion.

We could argue the toss as to what makes a great photograph – composition, light, concept. But what I feel a great photo should do is tell a story or ask questions of the viewer.

Ansel Adams Ansel Adams

Eve Arnold Eve Arnold

Richard Avedon Richard Avedon

Diane Arbus Diane Arbus

Cecile Beaton Cecil Beaton

Brassai Brassai

View original post 35 more words