IN-CAMERA 3: John Claridge.

Soho 601, 'Einsteins', John Claridge-01
I did this ad for nothing.
My theory was; get freelance work, do it free in exchange for a free hand.
I thought it would allow me to get together better work than I could in my day job.
At the time asking John Claridge to shoot your layout was like asking Jay Z to write your jingle.
The chances are he’s going to say no, but if he said yes, you’d almost certainly have a good ad.
He said yes.
The result was probably the first ad I made that actually looked good.

John Claridge
DAVE: Like Me, you grew up in the East End of London, how was it for you?
JOHN:  Growing up in the East End, the old East End that is, was fantastic.
I loved every moment. Great parents, great mates.
I boxed for six years. I also represented West Ham at athletics and I loved motorcycling (I still have a couple).
Got into a bit of ‘trouble’ but most of all I took pictures.

DAVE: When did you take your first picture?
JOHN: About the age of eight, I spotted a plastic camera at a local funfair in the East End. I just had to win it, it was as simple as that.
I wanted to take home all the memories of that day.
Obviously, I adore eels, stewed or jellied.

We’d go on holiday to Southend and eat fresh seafood, so I thought I’d send this postcard back to everyone.STEWED-OR-JELLIED - John Claridge-DAVE: When did you start to take it seriously?
JOHN: My first serious camera when I was fifteen, bought by hire purchase.
I still have it, but it’s resting now. 04 E1 1966 08 E1 1972
DAVE: What was your first job?
JOHN: The West Ham Labour Exchange sent me ‘up West’.
For a job in the Photographic Department of an Advertising Agency, McCann-Erickson.
Which I got.THE-TRACKS, John Claridge
DAVE: So what was a normal day for you in the McCann Erickson Photographic Department.
JOHN: When I started, the college graduates wouldn’t speak to me, I was told I was from the wrong side of the tracks.

DAVE: You were at McCann’s the same time as one of my favourite designers – Robert Brownjohn. Did you meet him or work for him?
JOHN: Yes, I not only met BJ but also worked with him on a few projects and I took pictures for him for Typographica Magazine.

We would also spend time in the darkroom experimenting with different types of photographic techniques.
We also experimented with sliding the emulsion off glass plates that I had exposed to different typefaces.
I then manoeuvred the emulsion into different shapes. The plates and emulsion were then dried and projected onto photographic paper showing what could be achieved with distorting typefaces.56 E7 1961 16-ENTRANCE. E.2-65 14-TIGHTS. E.1-67DAVE: How, only a year or so after getting your first job, did you get yourself an exhibition ?
JOHN:  BJ and Ross Cramer, as well as many Art Directors, liked my East End documentary pictures, and one day BJ said “You’re going to have an exhibition, kid.”
An offer I couldn’t and wouldn’t refuse.

The exhibition was said to have shades of Walker Evans. That was when I was seventeen.3c9876c06e8a72872ee1300504a7734e 602373dcd650f09508320de9098ee2a9 6a00df351e888f883401761745ac6f970c-400wi Child.-E.7-61DAVE: Who were your early photography heroes?
JOHN: Walker Evans,                                                                   Bill Brandt,
081   5c9da19f9fdaaf64be57dab612710015
Irving Penn,                                            Robert Frank,      
miles-davis-hand-4-photo-irving-penn-1986   Robert-Frank-Parade-Hoboken-NJ-1955 Avedon,                                                                                 Man Ray,
tumblr_m80gvsjnvp1qfuf1io1_1280,   marquise-cassati-1922
Eugene Atget,                                                 Robert Doisneau,
108-237   an-old-district-of-lille-france-in-1951-photo-robert-doisneau
Andre Kertesz,                                                                         Brassai

Kertesz_The_Fork    brassai_4
and Josef Sudek.
DAVE: I read that you just turned up on Bill Brandt’s doorstep one day?
JOHN: Yeah,  I went to his home in Hampstead to give him one of my prints.
I was seventeen.
He was lovely, gentle and polite. He invited me in and asked my opinion on some work he was doing I walked away feeling ten feet tall.5437640881_690123ac9e_b

DAVE: How did you become David Montgomery’s assistant?
Pic-6-CAPTION-The-dress-shot-for-April-Vogue-in-1973-by-David-Montgomery    5558437695_097f361823_b
JOHN:  When I was seventeen and still at McCann’s, I was recommended to David by BJ, Ross Cramer and Terry O’Neill.

DAVE: What did you learn from David Montgomery?
An invaluable door opened to a new way of thinking about editorial and commercial work. David also allowed me to print, not just for him, but also for
Jeanloup Sieff,                                           Don McCullin
jeanloup-sieff-portrait-of-ysl1   6a00df351e888f883401287759973c970c-800wi
and Saul Leiter.
saul-leiter-footprints-1950  saul-leiter-031
DAVE: I only discovered Saul Leiter three or four years ago, he went straight into my top five photographers, what was he like?
JOHN: A good man, a real pleasure to print for. Also very laid back.

DAVE: You go it alone at nineteen, opening your own studio, you must’ve been a confident kid?
JOHN: I just needed to take pictures.

DAVE: What was the first job you got as a photographer
JOHN: My very first commissions were for Management Today, Queen, Town, Harper’s , and Nova Magazines.MANAGEMENT TODAY- HORSE John Claridge, Management Today 'Alfa'-01John Claridge 'Lathe' Management Today-01John Claridge, Management Today 'Fire'-01 John Claridge, Management Today 'Pepsi'-01Lester Bookbinder, Management Today 'Blood Tube'**-01John Claridge 'Pepsi 2' Management Today-01John Claridge, Management Today 'Sky'-0109 E15 1960 3 Harpers 1969DAVE: Who were your early clients?
JOHN: A lot of cars and countries; Bahamas, Indian Tourist Board, English Tourist.
Cars? Audi, Rolls Royce, Porsche, Citroën, Ford, I’m sure I’ve missed a couple.
John Claridge - Kodak, 1978 John Claridge - Paul Leeves 'Panty Pads'-01VICHY-COSMETICS-1972 LLOYDS-BANK-1975 John Claridge - FRENCH-TOURIST-BOARD-1974DAVE: What was “Five Soldiers”?
JOHN: A film I did based on an American Civil War tale, comparing it to the war in Vietnam.
It caused a riot amongst the students when it was shown at a university campus in the US, and ended up getting banned, but made its way onto the underground circuit.
The press compared the film to Luis Buñuel.

DAVE: Unusually, you’ve done great stuff across the map; portraits, landscapes, still life, cars, reportage?
JOHN: Yeah, I’m a photographer.

John Claridge -New York Sunset-01John Claridge - Canal-01 copy

Geoff Seymour India 'Live Like A King'-01
DAVE: The ‘India’ campaign still looks great. Were there layouts or did you just find the shots when you got there?
JOHN: With headlines from Geoff Seymour, rough layouts from Graham Cornthwaite, Graham, myself and my assistants went off to India to explore and discover what we could do with their brief.
India 'Kashmir' John Claridge-01 India 'Old World' John Claridge-01 India 'Riding School' John Claridge-01INDIA-TOURIST-BOARD-1980Imacon Color ScannerUS TOURIST BOARD 1976
DAVE: Did you prefer Art Directors to give you a tight brief or an open brief?
JOHN: I have no problems with Art Directors giving me any type of brief.
DAVE: You’re then asked to –
a) Pick some of the most beautiful women in the world.
b) Take them to a tropical island.
c) Ask them to take their kits off.
d) Bank a large cheque for the above.
Nice gig the Pirelli Calendar?
JOHN: Course it fucking was.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPIRELLI CALNDAR 19931993 John Claridge 021993 John Claridge 01
DAVE: I’ve written about Qantas Art Director John Knight, very underrated?
JOHN: John Knight was and still is underrated.
Had a lot of fun working with him.
Not only a great mind, a great sense of humour.
Also, he swore more than me.
John Knight, Qantas, John ClaridgeJohn Claridge, Morlands 'Train', DDB-01Morlands 1978'Slow Down'-01John Clarridge, Camera article-01John Claridge, Grant's 'Song'*LDDC 'TELEGRAPH' GGT, Paul GrubbCUNARD '5 Star Restaurants' Saatchi's-01CUNARD 'Restaurants'-01Chivas Regal, David Abbott,  1981-01
DAVE: Rumour has it that you knocked out a couple of Art Directors? And I don’t mean with the quality of your pictures.

John Salmon NOVA John Huston 1966 JH Paul Arden 1989 Alan Waldie David Bernstein 1984 Ronnie Kirkwood Terry Gilliam. Design+A D1986
DAVE: How did you start shooting the jazz portraits?
JOHN: I shared the lease of 47 Frith Street, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, with Ronnie, (below) and Pete King for fourteen years.
I had the two top floors of the building where I had my studio, office, darkroom and lived. So each night I used to go to sleep listening to jazz, which was great (that is, if you loved jazz).

DAVE: My favourite was Chet Baker, what he was like?CHET BAKER
JOHN: Chet Baker was a very charming man.
While I was telling him about the first time I 
ever heard him play was on an EP called ‘Winter Wonderland’ that I had bought when I was thirteen; he hesitated, thought and told me the line-up and then just looked towards me with all his memories.
Then I took the picture.
John Claridge - Ilford Guy-01 copyWRANGLER_PRESS_Biker_VicarDAVE: You’ve shot Britain’s most famous comedians, who made you laugh most?
JOHN: Tommy Cooper.
When he looked at me, it was very difficult not to break into laughter.

We did three rolls of film and it was getting intense, quite serious.
He said ‘This is serious, isn’t it?’, and I was in fits of laughter.
He was courteous to me, and when I said I loved Laurel & Hardy, he started doing impressions of Oliver Hardy until I had tears running down my face, I had to stop him.
I think the pictures tell the story, there’s some fun photographs and some serious photographs – I know he had demons, but I found him a very lovely man, very gracious.
Tommy Cooper - John Claridge
The Frankie Howerd shoot was interesting.
He was up and down. Funny one minute sad the next.
Quiet a few demons I think.
John Clardge - Frankie Howard
Spike Milligan came to my studio.
We sat around listening and talking about jazz for a couple of hours before I shot a picture.
Another lovely man with a very deep sense of humour.

John Claridge - Spike Milligan
DAVE: The ad you did with Derrick Hass for the Covent Garden Art Company is amazing, it could run tomorrow unchanged.
(If they were still going…people sent out for artwork…computers didn’t exist…)
JOHN: It was hard to find the model for that shoot.
john-claridge-face-covent-garden-art-co-derrick-hass*DAVE: You spent a bit of time modelling, the other side of the camera?
JOHN: Ha Ha.
John Claridge, Ilford Films ad, Aspect*John Claridge, 'Portfolio Cover'-01John Claridge, Direction Cover-01SONY Tapes 'Van Halen'-01SONY Tape 'Piano'-01
DAVE: Who was the best Art Director you worked with?
JOHN: This is very difficult to answer as I worked with all the best Art Directors in the business. Not just Art Directors, but Designers, Copywriters and Typographers.

DAVE: You seemed to create a new, very distinctive portrait style, with those very dark, moody Klaus Kalde lith prints?
JOHN: I, myself, in the darkroom was exploring different printing techniques for portraits and separately with Klaus exploring Lith printing. John Claridge, 'Business Pages, AMV-01John Claridge, Old Holborn, 'Swiss Roll', JWT-01john-claridge-poppy-richard-dfd-bozell*

John Claridge - Nat WestJack Daniels 'Bottle' BMP-01Jack Daniels 'Labels' BMP-01
John Claridge - Porsche-01
DAVE: What ad were you most pleased with?
JOHN: Without question I worked in the golden age of Advertising with like-minded people who all had an opinion and passion about communication. It was not run by a committee of visually illiterate people with no soul, which seems to be the norm these days.
However, I must say that, in my mind, there are a few exceptions but sadly very, very few. So I feel I was extremely lucky to have had a great deal of fun, crazy times,
seen the world and produce, I think, some important work.
Many talented people 
made that possible.

DAVE: Do you think digital technology has helped photography?
Experimenting is now easier, but I see less of it?

JOHN: Like any new technology, it has it’s pluses and minuses.
For me photography should come from the heart. not the head.
Which ever way you want to run with it.

DAVE: Did you meet Avedon, Penn or any of your photography heroes?
JOHN: Just Bill Brandt. Not just a great photographer, but also a very charming man.

DAVE: What do you shoot with today?
JOHN: Cameras.  Anything, I’m not a camera freak.

DAVE: Do you still print your own stuff?
JOHN: Of course.

DAVE: What photographers do you admire today?
JOHN: Robert Frank.                                          Sebastiao Salgado.
d0bc5cee-66b7-4aee-9456-b5bd4876f0e4-1020x681   Sebastiao Salgado:Dave Dye
Sarah Moon.
Saah Moon, dave dye
DAVE: You seem seem to be publishing more books these days than J. K. Rowling?
JOHN: Hopefully a very important one next year. Will keep you informed.




Andy McLeod Interview.

 DAVE: Why advertising?
ANDY: I was quite quick tongued, bright at school, without being very academically gifted or driven.
I cared about ‘stuff’ in general, zeitgeisty stuff; trends, tribes, what was cool what wasn’t, what was funny what wasn’t.
I liked art and English at school and not much else.
Got not very good A-level grades, which led me to Bristol Polytechnic to do a two year course in Business studies with advertising.
The advertising bit of it was 1 hour a week with a guy who had obviously worked at a printers or something so it was all about type and copper rollers and stuff like that, which didn’t seem very relevant but did leave me thinking about the creative side of advertising.
Also I met a mate on the same course who kept talking about how he was going to leave the course and do a D&AD course – Davie Hieatt, who remains a top bloke.

 DAVE: What did Hounslow College teach you?
So Hounslow was at the time considered the second best (out of two) courses teaching you how to get an advertising portfolio together.
I did a copy test thing for Watford (no.1) – do an anti smoking storyboard, how would you describe toast to a martian, that kind of thing – and enjoyed it.
Evidently more than they did because I didn’t get in.

Which actually made me realize I REALLY had wanted to get in, and was left a bit stung by it. My first real taste of putting your soul out there for others to criticize which is what its all about after all.
So I got into Hounslow. Where Dave Morris was busy making sure his course became the number one. He made a lot of us out and about in the industry.

 DAVE: You met your partner of the next 20 years there. Love at first sight?
ANDY: Not really no, but we kind got pushed together by dint of the usual merry go round of copywriter art director couplings and recouplings.
But after a couple of projects it felt right. We both meant it.

DAVE: Which agencies didn’t you get jobs at?
ANDY: All the best ones. But we learnt from very good people when we were taking our book round them.

 DAVE: If you’d had a magic genie who could’ve granted you a wish to have a job in any agency of your choice, where would you have chosen?
ANDY: Well initially GGT; they were our Shangri La, the holy grail. Creatives at GGT in ’87, ’88 were like Gods to us eager students, or premier league footballers with razor sharp brains. Walking around in socks eating toast being brilliant.

DAVE: Who did you want to be; Trott? Webster? The spiky haired one from Kajagoogoo?
ANDY: I wanted to be any of the GGT creatives, or Chris Palmer, Mark Denton, or Tom Carty or Walter Campbell.
We were in awe of them, but they took time in their evenings to slag our book off when they could’ve done something more interesting.
We learnt so much from them.

DAVE: You’re offered a job at a new third wave agency Butterfield Day Devito Hockney.
ANDY: Kind of.
DAVE: There’s a previso.  You’re told ‘You’re one of two teams we’re taking on, but we’ll let go of the second best one in three months’.
A pressurised start?
ANDY: Yes, but brilliant. And no harder than getting anywhere near an agency in the year or so before; that taking your book round, changing it, going back, getting rebuffed, going again- that makes you or breaks you, doesn’t it? Even before that, 6 months into the college course, you knew the casualties would be heavy, that most of the class were going to be crucified out there.Andy McLeod, UviStat 'Children' BDDH Andy McLeod, UviStat 'Woman' BDDH.jpg
DAVE: Derek Day trained some great people. What did he teach you?
ANDY: He taught me intelligent writing, thoughtful thoughts, and go go go again.Andy McLeod, Honda 'Measure' BDDH-01Andy McLeod, IPA 'Cards', BDDH-01Andy McLeod, ITV 'Doomed' Radio. BDDH-01Andy McLeod, Thames 'Darts', BDDH-01DAVE: Why leave for DFGW?
ANDY: We loved Dave Waters and Paul Grubb, who had gone from GGT to start DFGW. We had idolised them since those days, and couldn’t resist.

DAVE: What was the difference between BDDH and DFGW?
ANDY: We learnt how to write ads at BDDH, we learnt about the job, the whole thing.
At DFGW we learnt how to do TV.

DAVE: What did you learn from my Emirates stadium neighbour Dave Waters?
ANDY: How fun and silliness are absolutely viable tools to make powerful advertising.
The economic value of fun and sillines.

DAVE: What did you learn from Grubby?
ANDY: Endlines.
Short form writing.
Grubby was known as the king of the end line.
I can’t think of an accolade I’d rather have.

Andy McLeod, 'Taxi'
DAVE: You reluctantly leave DFGW to go to a better agency, BMP/DDB?
ANDY: Reluctant because we loved working for Dave and Grubby.
But BMP was premier league, with a heritage of great work.
And we had to do it.
Andy McCleod, Schweppes 'Non', BMP:DDB.DAVE: Pre-match nerves on your first day?
ANDY: Of course. They had a strong squad.

DAVE: I joined BMP/DDB a few months later and my leaving card from Leagas Delaney said ‘Goodbye’ on the outside, and on the inside  ‘…to awards’.
At the time BMP/DDB was seen as quality, but slow and research dominated.
How did you find it?
ANDY: That probably says more about Leagas Delaney than anything else.
I’m sure you remember every single (admittedly brilliant) press ad that came out of Leagas. And there were thousands of them.
But what people in the real world remember is Cresta bear, ‘Watch out there’s a Humphrey about’, the Honey Monster.
I seem to remember Webster saying no research had ever made his ads worse, only better.Andy McLeod, London Trnaspot 'Out Of Your way', BMP:DDB Andy McLeod, London Trnaspot 'Eros', BMP:DDB
DAVE:  You told me recently that you were only there two years.
That’s astonishing, you did a mountain of work?
ANDY: Thanks. I think it was 2.5 years. But not sure._522_5_b4473ff856414235d1b18c35c9ded53b Andy McLeod, Labour 'Laurel & Hardy'DAVE: Did you work with John Webster?
ANDY: Yes, in our second week we presented a Walkers TV spot to him. Webster had started the Gary Lineker campaign a year or so before I think?
We wrote one which had Cantona doing his Crystal Palace kung fu kick (he’d executed it that season), but it was on a crisp-eating Linekar in the crowd.
I thought is was brilliant. When I’d finished reading it to him, he laughed (so far so good), smiled broadly (yes, yes), and said “it’s not just wrong, it’s a thousand percent wrong”.
We walked back down the long corridor and nearly kept walking back to DFGW.

DAVE: Everyone is a bit anxious until they ‘get something good out’, What piece of work settled you in at BMP?
ANDY: We did a Unison ad about public service cuts. Something like “come to a demonstration in the park, just past the old school, by the closed down hospital”.
And we did a party political broadcast for the labour party. John Major’s Pork Pie factory.
And a campaign on the light boards at piccadilly circus; watch out Ken Clarke operating in this area.Andy McLeod, Labour 'Wallets' Piccadilly Circus, BMP:DDB
DAVE: You managed to get the Simpsons to appear in a Doritos ad, ‘Doh!-ritos’, That should’ve been great shouldn’t it?
ANDY: Yes it could’ve been.
Things don’t always go brilliantly though. I think the core idea of Doh!ritos was a good one. Ambitious. But, you know, it just ended up being a bit so-so.
One thing I remember though is it was based around Homer in the nuclear power plant, and we only got clearance from the BACC if we agreed to stop running the ad if there was a nuclear war or a core meltdown in the UK. Erm, yeah, ok.

DAVE: You’re a bit like Marmite Andy.
Twenty years ago that would’ve meant you’re black and gooey, but thanks to you and Rich, people know it means polarising.
Was there resistance to the idea in the beginning?
ANDY: The brief was nothing to do with that, it was still all about my mate Marmite and kids and soldiers of toast and growing up and stuff.
But Rich loved it and I hated it, and it just seemed to us the most polarizing thing on the planet, and had to be useful as a property.
My bravest ever client.
Skoda U.K. were brave, but this lady was something else, hats off to her.

We launched with two 30 second ads; one was ‘my mate marmite’ to that tune, with people loving it, and the jar at the end with the “my mate” logo.
The other was ’I hate marmite’ sung to that tune, with people spitting it out and stuff, and the jar at the end with an “I hate” logo.
She cried on the shoot for the second one, but still had the balls to do it.
I hope she’s as proud of starting that ball rolling as I am.

And no, Dave, I am not like Marmite; everyone loves me.Andy McCleod, Marmite 'Honk if' 48, BMP:DDB. Andy McCleod, Marmite 'You'll honk' 48, BMP:DDB.DAVE: I’ve always thought it was a shame the ‘Use your vote’ campaign didn’t have major backing to run up and down the country, it’s one of the few political campaigns that makes me want to vote.
ANDY: Thanks.

Andy McLeod1490-01 Andy McLeod14ppp-01 Andy McLeod, M-01

DAVE: You reluctantly set up Fallon?
ANDY: Yes, at BMP we got a black pencil (back when they meant quite a fucking lot not absolutely fuck all like now) for a Doritos idents campaign.
And Tony Cox, our creative director, put his head round the office door and said, smiling “what you going to do next year boys?”, then walked out.

DAVE: Scary?
ANDY: Scary but the best decision we ever made. And it wasn’t that we were reluctant, that’s a bit misleading. It’s just that leaving your hardly fought for comfort zone thing, you know? The deep sigh when you know you have to keep moving on to the next thing. It’s not reluctance, it’s just the realisation that there is never time to bask, no wallowing. Clean your kit then straight back to the battle.
Starting the London version of Fallon McElligott was a huge leap of faith for all of us; Michael Wall and Robert Senior knew each other very well, and they knew Laurence Green a bit. Rich and I had never met any of them.
It could have been a disaster.
In fact as far as we could tell lots of people thought it would be.
The usual industry naysayers gave us about 6 months I think.

DAVE: Were Fallon McElligott a big influence?
ANDY: They were great. Really supportive, without being too constraining; they let us make our mistakes and learn by them.
Pat Fallon was a real mentor to all of us.

DAVE: How did you work in the same room as Rich for twenty years?
Let me rephrase that; how did you manage to work with the same creative partner for twenty years?
ANDY: We’d have killed each other apart from the fact that we loved the work we kept producing together.

Andy McLeod, 'Life After Divorce' Campaign article-01
Andy McLeod, Timex 'We've checked', Fallon-01
DAVE: When I set up DHM our schtick was all about truth, ‘truth cuts through’, ‘truth endures’, ‘it’s the age of truth’.
Compiling your stuff here I can see truth was equally important to Fallon London; Skoda, Umbro, Ben & Jerry’s etc.
But, perhaps sensibly, you didn’t bang on about it?
ANDY: We probably did bang on about, I think we are all told we have to have a thing by campaign etc, and we all walk around talking in sound bites for the next ten years.Andy McLeod, Umbro 'Sister', Fallon-01 Andy McLeod, Umbro 'We don't make', Fallon-01Andy McLeod, Skoda '2 logos', Fallon-01


Andy McLeod, Fallon 'Skoda'
DAVE: You lucked out by landing the planet’s best Head of TV very early on? (It says here)
ANDY: Yes we did, she would talk about interesting new directors, and how to make work better, not about where the new place for lunch was.
She was also the world’s greatest Richard and Andy wrangler.


DAVE: What did you look for in the scripts and scraps of paper teams handed over for you to creative direct?
ANDY: A truth, a difference, an ambition.

DAVE: Your house is on fire, you can only save one of your ads. Which is it?
Fuck the ads, let’s go.

DAVE: Okaaaay, what’s your favourite ad you’ve done?
ANDY: I’m very proud of Marmite “love it or hate it” being in the country’s vernacular.

DAVE: Your work is very direct. Has ‘direct’ gone out of fashion?
ANDY: Good has gone out of fashion.

DAVE: Which ads make you get all irritable with envy?
ANDY: The ones that are better than the programmes they’re shown in.

DAVE: What’s been the biggest surprise since you switched to directing?
ANDY: I didn’t think it would be quite so different, and in a way it isn’t – everyone’s looking at the same piece of paper albeit from different sides – but going from the big Fallon family, with lots of structure and back up, to the far more exposed world of little old self employed me waiting for a nice script was quite a jolt. I love it obviously, but the pace is very different.

DAVE: Who influences your work today?
ANDY: Everyone and everything. It can’t be about this style or that method. It has to be the right thing for the project in hand. I don’t want a house style, I want whatever is perfect for the idea in front of me, to make the spot as great for that particular idea as it can be. Really I’m just doing what I always did; it used to be all about trying to write absolutely the exact right idea for a brand. And now it’s about trying to direct in absolutely the exact right way for a particular script.



IN-CAMERA 2: Rolph Gobits

“To me, people are like lighthouses in a very big ocean, with wind and rain and waves trying to break them and make them go under.” – Rolph Gobits.
Rolph Gobits - Rolph


DAVE: Did you come from an arty family Rolph?
ROLPH: I did not come from an arty family at all.

DAVE: Do you remember being aware of photography whist growing up in Holland?
ROLPH: I was aware of photography at a very young age when growing up in Amsterdam.
I was about five or six years old when my father or mother took me to a friend who had a dark room. To me it was a miracle to see a plain piece of paper (that is what it looked to me) swimming in what appeared to be a dish with plain water and slowly but surely an image appeared from this blank piece of paper.
The first exhibition of photography I ever did go and see was Robert Capa in the 1950s.
12-3DAVE: When did you take your first picture?
ROLPH: I bought my first camera when I was about 13 years old. It was a 35 mm Yahica camera which could shoot at 1000th of a second, which seemed unbelievable to me.
The first pictures I photographed was of an airplane with had propellers, as jet passenger planes were not yet in service.
I was trying to freeze the rotating propellers at 1000 of a second as I wanted to test the seemingly amazing shutter speed.
Only much later I realised I could have photographed this airplane with the propellers stationary and would have got the same result on film.
It showed clearly my naïvety.

DAVE: What was your first job?
ROLPH: When I was fifteen years old I was working during the summer holidays in a bank six days a week sorting punch cards which were processed through a machine. This was the forerunner to computers.

DAVE: Which photographer did you assist?
ROLPH: I never assisted any photographer.
On completing my M A degree at the Royal College of Art , I got commissions immediately working on editorial magazines like NOVA, Cosmopolitan, Daily Telegraph and many others.
Rolph Gobits - Comedians 2 Rolph Gobits - Comedians 3 Rolph Gobits - Comedians 1
DAVE: What was the first picture you were paid for?
ROLPH: Immediately after completing the RCA I got commissioned to photograph for BIBA, which was just about to open its new store in Derry & Tom’s building in Kensington.Rolph Gobits - Great Dance RevivalRolph Gobits - Bibba-esqueRolph Gobits - White Top hatRolph Gobits - Mirror

DAVE: You seem to have made a conscious effort to switch from being a poppy, trendy fashion photographer to a more classical, serious photographer?
ROLPH: When I first left the RCA I took on almost any job which came my way.
I was so keen to get started having been a student, firstly for four years at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art, followed by two years at the RCA.
It was time giving up being a student and becoming a “professional”.
There also comes a time when you get bored with listening to stories of fashion models rabbiting on about their social lives.

DAVE: What was your first ad that turned out well?
ROLPH: If I remember correctly, the first advert which turned out well was for an agency called Fletcher, Shelton, Delaney.
It was a black and white advert with directors in a boardroom and a sheep.
The directors were all played by staff of the advertising agency.
The sheep was easier to work with than the “directors” who thought this was all a bit of fun.
I was really thrown in at the deep end and realised I was entering an industry like no other.
Preceding this I had only worked on editorial photography for two years.

Rolph Gobits - Daily Mail 'Green Belt', Paul Arden-01Paul Arden, Daily Mail 'Burglar'-01Paul Arden, Daily Mail 'Ex-Directory'-01Roplh Gobits, 'Best Buy', Direction magazine-01DAVE: Who were your early photography heroes?
ROLPH: Robert Capa,                                                              Irving Penn,
Capa-Matisse  57
Richard Avedon,                                                        Edward Steichen,Free Magazine Download. PDF Magazines Latest and Back Issues. Magazines for All   steichen_charles-chaplin-webEdward Curtis,                                                            Winston Link,Edward_S._Curtis,_Canyon_de_Chelly,_Navajo,_1904   linksteamzenith2
Man Ray,                                          Guy Bourdin,
image-4-web  43297-charles-jourdan-shoes-1976-photo-guy-bourdin-hprints-com-1
Sarah Moon,                                                             Paul Strand and many others.tumblr_mr2oxh4xwc1s5uquqo1_r1_1280  strand_fifth_avenue

DAVE: Your compositions aren’t very ‘advertising’. Ad photography tends to be graphic and in-your-face, your shots are calm, detailed and distant.
Take the Lloyd’s Bank ad, I love that the surroundings are dwarfing the two people talking. Not many art directors would do that or want that?
Rolph Gobits - Lloyds, Lowes-01
 ROLPH: Because my portfolio was very editorial any art director who wanted to work with me wanted very much the look of my editorial work.
It was the beginning of a new look which was taking place.
This occurred as several ex RCA students entered the advertising industry and all had a personal vision which was very different from the established advertising look.
Excelisor 'Birds' TBWA-01Rolph Gobits, Jean Muir, Direction Magazine-01 Rolph Gobits, Edward Bawden, Direction magazine-01Rolph Gobits - BMW 'Puple Cactus'*, WCRS-01
DAVE: It’s a bit ‘Sophie’s Choice’, but who’s the best art director you’ve worked with over the years?
ROLPH: This is incredibly difficult to answer as some gave me a free hand and other directors knew precisely what they wanted.
I enjoyed very much both disciplines.
I cannot say who is the best art director but some of the art directors that spring to mind are Paul Arden, Neil Godfrey, Fergus Fleming, Nigel Rose, Alan Waldie, and many more. There are just too many as I have worked in the industry for over thirty-five years. Paul Arden, Daily Mail, Paris' In-Situ-01 Paul Arden, Daily Mail 'Skiing'-01 Paul Arden, Daily Mail 'Vogue'-02PAXTON-cheese-shop
DAVE: Money aside, what do you prefer shooting – advertising or editorial?
ROLPH: I truly have no preference. In editorial you can do whatever you want while with advertising you have to bear in mind there is a “product” that needs to inform on many different levels.
Rolph Gobits, Lloyd's Bank 'Gin Bar', Lowe-01 Rolph Gobits, Pilkington 'Salmon', Saatchi-01 Rolph Gobits, Pilkington 'Tourists', Saatchi-01 DAVE: I think a lot of your shots have been badly handled by art directors.
Your pictures are classic, sometimes like paintings and need to be put in simple environments, but many of your shots have been put into layouts where the coloured backgrounds and fancy type don’t do justice to the delicacy of the images?
ROLPH: Many Peoples and opinions have to be considered to get the final “ look”.  The best conceived adverts are the ones where the art director knows what he wants and fights any other opinions people express.
You have to be a benevolent dictator.
It is that very quality that makes the best art directors the best art directors.
Rolph Gobits, Real Fire 'Forsythe', Deighton Mullen-01 Rolph Gobits, Audi 'Performs', BBH-01Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 11.46.04DAVE: I would imagine art directors gave you very open briefs?
ROLPH: Sometimes the open brief consisted of many discussions with the art director many weeks before the shoot.
We would sit down and talk about his ideas and my vision and collectively we would arrive at the ideal situation which would make the advert look like an open brief.
Compared to an art director who may have “battled” for months to get his idea through many discussions and arguments at the agency meetings, it is important for me to understand what is possible and what is definitely a no go with my idea of solving the “problem”.

DAVE: Most photographers who take portraits focus on the face.
Well, it is a portrait after all.
So if you are shooting the artist Jenny Saville, most
 would try and capture her expression, like this.Rolph Gobits - JENNY SAVILLE, (Face)pg-01
Some, the bolder ones, may pull back a little to also capture a bit of body language.

And then there’s Rolph.
Rolph Gobits - JENNY SAVILLE
Few see the world like that.
It makes an art director’s job very easy, the picture does all the hard work.
Simply bung a bit of type in the corner and your spread looks amazing.
DAVE: Your choices are like other people’s mistakes.
Take the portrait above, few would be bold enough to have the face of the subject taking up only two percent of the total area, or below, few would  push the window to the side to show lots of blank wall.
Rolph Gobits - Window watcher
This bloke hasn’t been told where the camera is.
There’s a big black thing in shot.LM00055049000ROLPH: Just a few words about the Jenny Saville image, because her paintings are very large I photographed her small intentionally. This was the whole idea of photographing her.
In almost all cases I cannot explain how I compose an image.
It is not about size of the person or product; it is about what feels right and gives the sort of emotion I get when I see the location or person.
It is about what feels right to me.
When I worked in the “editorial word” and had to photograph famous people who only gave me ten or fifteen minutes  maximum, I had to make quick decisions, it developed my skill to see a composition.
This was especially true during my work for Management Today magazine, working for Roland Schenk, as all the people I photographed were the creme de la creme of business people and felt very uncomfortable having a camera shoved up their noses.
This was the beginning of me showing more about their environment rather than their faces.
This way the captains of industry felt more relaxed and  comfortable.
For some reason most of these CEO’s expressed to me they preferred going to the dentist  than being photographed.
I presume they tell the dentist a preference to being photographed rather than visiting them.

DAVE: Do art directors find you easy going and flexible, or immovable, like a rock?
ROLPH; This question makes me laugh.
With bad art directors I was immovable as they were very indecisive of what they wanted and therefore relied on my input, whilst working with good art directors became a team effort and was very much open to exchange of ideas.

DAVE: Your work looks as though you were inspired by painters more than photographers?
ROLPH: I am inspired by painting as the artist has a clear understanding of what light can do and how light creates an atmosphere as well as texture and space. If I could paint ( which I can’t) my passion would increase by 1.
RG_Sir-_T-_CONRANLM00055009093LM00055042942 LM00055044975
DAVE: What’s the favourite ad you’ve done?
ROLPH: Impossible to answer as I am very proud of many advertisements I have worked on.
I am proud of a Benson & Hedges ad I worked on which took me 12 days and a 28 minute exposure and I am proud of an ad which took me 1 second and four hours to set up.Rolph Gobits. B& H advertisement
Also other factors should be considered with this statement; enjoyment, difficulty, stress, problem solving (no Photoshop or manipulation), teamwork, weather, etc, etc.SPAIN Rolph Gobits - DuskDAVE: What’s the favourite ad you haven’t done?
ROLPH: Anything by Guy Bourdin.

DAVE: What’s happening, are you doing a selfie with Putin?
ROLPH: He watched my masterclass and the students working with ballet dancers.
He just talked to me about an “Englishman” teaching at the only campus University in the whole of Russia, (with over 20,000 students and about half living in dormitories on an island with many thousands from all over the world).

Putin,Ivanets, Gobits
DAVE: CGI vs In-camera?
ROLPH: No contest; anything achieved completely in camera shows the craftmanship of the photographer.
Photography has become an illustration and can no longer be said to tell the “truth”.

DAVE: Digitisation has made photography easier, less expensive and allowed everyone to do it, but has it helped the images themselves?
I am not against digitisation.
However it should only be used if a conventional method makes it impossible to get the desired result.
Nowadays it is just used because it is easier and time-consuming, but it makes you lazier. It is software that stops you thinking and using your brain.
The job of the photographer has been reduced as somebody else takes over part of his job he was responsible for himself.
If he makes a mistake the software will correct his stupidity.
The result is; he will be less involved with the process of taking the picture.

DAVE: When I get the results from a photographic shoot today it’s like it’s from Ikea – put tab a into slot b, just hundreds of pieces shot to get the lighting just so, but the end results aren’t better?
ROLPH: You are absolutely right about your statement.
I was told the following story by a colleague in our industry.
A well-known agency commissioned a “trendy” fashion photographer to take a car shot in the studio.
He had never taken a car picture in the studio.
The agency hired two assistants who had a great deal of experience doing studio car photography.
In order to save educating the fashion photographer and save time, each part of the car was photographed separately and then put together like a puzzle.
Why not use the expert in the first place rather than creating a patchwork of images that never looked complete.050111SIR Mech 16.75x10.indd sothebys4-rolphgobitsRolph Gobits - Leffe Rolph Gobits - Venice
DAVE: Which of your rivals did you respect most?
ROLPH: It was not rivals but more the sort of photography I admired but could never do myself such as Lester Bookbinder,Lester Bookbinder - Orange:Duck
Graham Ford,
Francois Gillet.
Francious Gilet, Saatchi's-01

DAVE: I sense that you’re enjoying photography as much now as you ever have?
ROLF: I have always enjoyed photography and always worked on my own projects when I was not busy working on commercial projects.
However, I miss commercial work as I enjoy the challenge of solving a problem set by others . It pushes you to think beyond your own world and comfort zone.
It is very rewarding to overcome a problem in the context of being part of a team and meeting a deadline.
To make a comparison; If you are a skier, skiing by yourself you probably take the comfortable route downhill that does not challenge you too much but if you go downhill with somebody equally good you probably try to be more adventurous and try to push each other to the limit.
I enjoy this challenge of getting to the finishing line=end product.

l1050173_1-1 Rolph Gobits - Ballet Rolph Gobits - Cat & GlassesLM00055045140-1LM00055005043

DAVE: Which photographers do you admire today?
ROLPH: Salgado,                                                          Helmut Newton,
Sebastioa Salgado   Helmut-Newton
Tim Flack,                                                                                          Nadav Kandar, Tim Flach - Elephant Boy   nadav-kander-rebecca-hall-cover
Donald McCullin,                                                 William Eggleston,
Don McCullin, Belfast*-01   ©William Eggleston
Weegee,                                               Cindy Sherman,
weegee-photographs-murder-is-my-business-reception-hospital   cindy-sherman-at-moma-2-23-12-8
Diane Arbus and many others.
Diane Arbus

DAVE: What is Lensmodern?
ROLPH: Lensmodern is an internet online gallery and picture library selling prints and licensing images to the media industry.
Our aim was to create this company selling images of photographers who did not want to be with agencies like Getty and Corbis which are run by financial institutions.
Our organisation is run by photographers and for photographers.
Our aim is to occupy a niche market not covered by the corporations.
Presently we have over 40,000 images and have agents in many countries representing our many photographers.

DAVE: “To me, people are like lighthouses in a very big ocean , with wind and rain and waves trying to break them and make them go under”.
I love it, what does it mean?
 The lighthouse represents a human being and the ocean and wind represents your life in this world. The ocean and wind are unpredictably like life itself; it changes all the time.
From birth to death your life is equally unpredictable and people through  circumstances try to overwhelm you with  ideas, rules, regulations and telling you what to do.
They try to break you down and become like everybody else.
But you must not become like everybody else and fight for your individuality that distinguishes you from everybody else.
Your strongly held beliefs and conviction must never be drowned by insipid substitutes.
LM00055030470 253fe2b2a13fc653871c5d6a4b9ee83cRolph Gobits - LARISA-SWIMMING- Rolph Gobits - Tree PalmRolph Gobits - Lightbulbs







IN-CAMERA 1: Brian Griffin.

Brian Griffin, Hood
DAVE: You grew up in the land of the Brum?
BRIAN: I was actually born in the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, although I grew up in the Black Country in a town called Lye.

DAVE: Art College?
BRIAN: I worked in engineering until I was 21, so as a mature student I studied at Manchester Polytechnic School of Photography.

DAVE: Did they teach you anything useful?
BRIAN: How to lose your virginity and smoke.

DAVE: When did you take your first picture?
BRIAN: As an amateur around 1965, but as a professional November 1972. Brian Griffin - Moscow 1 Brian Griffin - Moscow 3 Brian Griffin - Moscow 2DAVE: What was your first job?
BRIAN: I was a trainee draughtsman.

DAVE: That must have fed into your photography?
BRIAN: Assisted my sense of proportion, when it comes to composition.

DAVE: Did you assist anyone?



DAVE: What was the first picture you were paid for?
BRIAN: It was for the magazine Management Today, I shot Newsprint being unloaded from a barge on the Thames, just down the road from where I live now in Rotherhithe, South East London.

DAVE: Who were your early ad clients?
BRIAN: Daily Mail, British Airways, Hewlett Packard, Olivetti, Levi’s, Philips & Beefeater Gin.Brian Griffin, Time Out 'J. G. Ballard'DAVE: Who were your early photography heroes?
BRIAN: Myself.
DAVE: What did you admire most about yourself?
BRIAN: Obsessiveness, aesthetic judgment, bravery, competitive spirit and being not afraid of hard work.

DAVE: After your smoke filled upbringing in Birmingham, how did you find the glitzy world of advertising?
BRIAN: I have always enjoyed problem solving and advertising certainly nourished that. Being a good mathematician, inherited from my engineering days in Birmingham, served me well, certainly when jumping through photographic technical hoops on advertising shoots, prior to the advent of Photoshop.
I found advertising enjoyable because it not only involved creativity but a high level of problem solving.

DAVE: Who was the best Art Director you worked with?
BRIAN: Paul Arden, because he loved photography and understood how to use it powerfully.
Paul Arden (Brian Griffin) Republic Bank 'Horse'-01 Paul Arden (Brian Griffin) Republic Bank 'Boat'-01Paul Arden (Brian Griffin) Republic Bank-01
DAVE: I heard a rumour that you once turned up to the D&AD Awards, being held at the Royal Albert Hall, dressed  as the Royal Albert Hall.
Is this true and if so do you have photographic evidence?

BRIAN: I certainly did and here I am in the outfit.Brian Griffin in Albert Hall
DAVE: What was your first good ad?
BRIAN: I just can’t remember having done so many.
Wool 'Muyerbridge' Kit Marr-01Wool 'Photo-Fit'-01 Wool 'Canoe' Kitt Marr-01 Wool 'Chain fence' -01 DAVE: You worked with a little known art directing hero of mine – John Knight, how was he to work with?
BRIAN: That was on the Beefeater Gin campaign.
John made me feel that anything goes!
He enjoyed working in my studio, which at that time was situated in the dark overgrown weed land of the disused docks. Beefeater 'Billy Beaumont'-01 Beefeater 'Alan Price'-01 Beefeater %22Harvey Smith%22 adDAVE: Were you difficult to work with?
BRIAN: Eccentric but never difficult. In fact maybe far too easy at times.Brian Griffin, 'Quote'-01 Brian Griffin, 'Cactus'-01 Brian Griffin, 'Flower'-01DAVE: You’re quite arty, did you like the commercialism of advertising?
Brian Griffin, Sony - 'Melly', BBH-01
DAVE: What ad were you most pleased with?
BRIAN: Probably the 1991 film I shot for Paul Arden, who was Creative Director at Saatchi’s.
Its title was ‘For The World’ and was for Forte Hotels.
My brief was to get Rocco Forte a knighthood and he got one!
Brian Griffin, Direction cover-01
DAVE: Why move into commercials? Cash?
BRIAN: It was my ego getting the better of me.

DAVE: Did you prefer Art Directors to give you a tight or open brief?
BRIAN: Always an open one of course.
Well, the top art directors were confident creative’s and always set an open brief.
WRANGLER_PRESS_RodeoDAVE: As well as being a ludicrously well paid advertising photographer you had a parallel career as a barely paid rock photographer?
BRIAN: Correct.
Brian Griffin and-Ian-Drury
DAVE: And sang with Ian Dury?
BRIAN: Me duetting with Ian at my 40th birthday party, which was also the launch party for my book “Work”.

DAVE: How many album covers have you shot?
I think almost 200, if you include single sleeves.Brian Griffin - Peter Hamill Brian Griffin - Inner City Unit Brian Griffin, DevoDAVE: Is shooting an album different to shooting an ad? 
BRIAN: Because of the total freedom, most definitely.Brian Griffin - EchoBrian Griffin - Depeche Mode, WheatBrian Griffin, 'My Best Buy', Direction magazine-01Brian Griffin - Look SharpDAVE: You shot a lot of them with your mate Barney Bubbles. Surely one of Britain’s most talented and least known designers?
BRIAN: Absolutely criminal. Mainly due to the fact he took his life 20 years ago.

DAVE: What did you learn from Barney?
BRIAN: At the point of absolute failure arrives success.
DAVE: Do you have an example?
BRIAN: Too many to recall an individual example.
It was most often that the edge of the envelope was pushed.
brian_mayDAVE: Often there’s only a face and a prop, so how is it that your portraits are so distinctive?
BRIAN: I wish I knew.
I guess its the fact I always try so hard to produce something that is different.
Plus coming from the Black Country certainly gives you a warped outlook on life.

DAVE: I presume some come from observing and thinking on the spot?Brian Griffin - George-Melly_London-1990Brian Griffi, The Times 'Tony Benn'Brian Griffin - Spotted Brian Griffin - Bald:hairDAVE: But some come from you having the sheer cojones to ask someone famous to do something odd – ‘Ere Manolo, sniff those shoes for Me’Brian Griffin - MANOLO-BLAHNIK‘Helen, be a love and crawl under that table.’Brian Griffin - Helen Mirren
‘Can we just cover one with a saucer on your bonce?’ZBBLkLZP
DAVE: Where do you get the brass neck to ask famous people to do silly things?
BRIAN: I have no choice. For I have to ask them otherwise the photograph would be boring.



DAVE: I experienced this first hand when you shot some portraits for Me, (and art director David Goss).
We shot the first few.Dave Dye, H.A.T. 'Nick Gill', DHM:Brian Griffin* Dave Dye, H.A.T. 'Ringan Ledwidge, DHM:Brian Griffin* Dave Dye, H.A.T. 'Mark Denton', DHM:Brian Griffin*  Dave Dye, H.A.T. 'Tony Davidson', DHM:Brian GriffinDave Dye, H.A.T. 'Paul Silburn', DHM:Brian Griffin*

But then couldn’t think of how to shoot Dave Trott.
You said to your assistant ‘Pop down to the sports shop and get some ping pong balls, I think we’ll pop one in Dave’s mouth.”
‘You won’t” said Dave.
So we didn’t.
BRIAN: It was not easy trying to make Dave Trott interesting, and his lack of collaboration didn’t help.
Dave Dye, H.A.T. 'Dave Trott', DHM:Brian Griffin
DAVE: You have portraits that are supposedly shot in camera.
Brian, how on earth can you do this in camera?
Brian Griffin - In camera
BRIAN: Being an ex-engineer I developed many light machines to produce in-camera effects.Brian Griffin - Danny ThompsonBRIAN: For years after people visiting my studio would stand within this light machine.

DAVE: So I’m guessing you’re not a fan of CGI and retouching?
BRIAN: I’m one of the last practicing living photographers that had to do it all in camera, which involved technical gymnastics.
It’s good that they don’t request photographers to be that clever these days because its painful and you have to be really good.
Brian Griffin - S SBrian Griffin - Brian Eno
DAVE: Do you think the digitisation of photography has advanced imagery?
BRIAN: Created a great deal of harm in developing homogeneity in image making.
However it has opened up opportunities due to the decimal divisions now in exposures, to create beautifully lit scenarios when employing lights.

Brian Griffin - Tuna Fisherman
DAVE: If you could take a portrait of anyone, living or dead, who would you choose?
BRIAN: Princess Anne.

DAVE: Which of your rivals did you respect most?
BRIAN: Irving Penn                                               and Richard Avedon.
Irving Penn - Pizza*-01   Richard Avedon - Andy Warhol's shoes
DAVE: Why and why?
BRIAN: Constantly, day after day, as professional photographers they produced powerful images from a variety of subject matters.
Only the truly great photographers can photograph anything to a high standard.Brian Griffin, Moorgate 1
DAVE: Which photographers do you admire today?
BRIAN: None.
Brian Griffin, Photographer


N.B. A Direction magazine article from the early eighties. brian  griffinbrian griffin2Brian Griffin, Direction 'Improved', Article*