NOT IN-CAMERA: GILES REVELL

Where did you grow up?
The sleepy town of Sawbridgeworth, it’s on the Hertfordshire and Essex border.

When did you take your first picture?
There was no eureka moment, I inherited my grandfather’s Silver Ilford Sportsman.
silver-ilford-sportsmangiles-revell

I do remember being intrigued by its beauty; a matt silver finish with shiny brown hinged leather case.
I wore it across my waist in my early teens, but had no idea what I was doing with it.
It felt sophisticated, technical, way beyond anything I’d ever come in to contact with at that age.
It was the act of making that I enjoyed, rather than ever believing that I was making anything important.
I liked the idea of editing a scene through the viewfinder.
Most of the time it wasn’t even loaded, film was too expensive.
It was in a time when a roll of film had to last you the whole summer.

What was your first job?
Express fruit & vegetable delivery man.
A white van man 
at 17, straight after passing my driving test.
Deliveries at extraordinarily dangerous speeds, I was compelled to drive as fast as I possibly could on every journey.
I went on to be a geologist, mainly because I wanted a job outside in the landscape.

How did you make the jump from white van man to photography bloke?
Was it a wise move? I tussle with this nightly, I might have had my own van by now.

One thing is for sure; we didn’t operate six month credit schemes before you got paid.
It wasn’t such a jump, photography was becoming an everyday activity.
The geology degree was a brilliant insight into the English landscape and how it was made.
I had aromantic vision of a career roaming the World recording and mapping extreme environments, physical and mental challenges.
I ended up in the gold fields of Western Australia, it was an experience, I was very fit then, surviving the elements as well as a very male dominated high testosterone environment.
But it wasn’t for me.

After a year full of the bullshit of travel I returned to the UK and started applying for jobs as an assistant.

Who did you assist?
Steve Rees gave me my first job, he was a good tutor and generous employer.
Then Bob Elsdale, he was the first photographer to own a Mac in London.
People would visit just to see it, they’d crowd around, scepticle if it would ever take off.
Both good people who showed me the ropes.

ls3 cats-bob-elsdale

(The work above is Bob’s, not 100% sure whether Giles assisted on this job.)

What was the first image someone paid you to produce?
Rubber Plants for a brochure,  a tropical plant rental company paid me 250 quid.
Ludicrous money at the time! I was on £100 a week as a full time assistant.
My first ad job was a series of nudes for a medical insurance company, commissioned by the Marshall brothers at Leagas Delaney.
Just before I startedI vomited with fear.
I had gone from table top still life to a full on big production over night.
I didn’t really know what advertising was, I h’d previously only worked in design.

Who were your photography heroes?
Many.
Henri Cartier Bresson; informative social documentary imagery with an exceptional graphic eye and sense of timing.

jump-henri-cartier-bressontrafalgar-square-henri-cartier-bressonAndrez Kertez, he found beauty in the mundane, presenting it in a very simple reductive way.
fork-andrez-kertezsnow-andrez-kertez
William Klein for his fearless, confrontational portraits, shot on a 35mm lens.
He clearly had built up a rapport with his subjects and tried to capture people from afar in voyeuristic way.
I also think the ease with which he experimented with other media shows an artistic man way ahead of his time.
smoke-veil-william-klein
cinema-william-kleinSebastao Salgado for his social documentary.
The body of work that explored international mining and heavy industry in the developing World is exceptional, highlighting working practices that hadn’t changed since the Industrial Revolution.miners-sebastao-salgadowater-sebastao-salgado
Jeff Wall.
One of my favourite images is a ‘Sudden Gust of Wind’.
T06951_10.jpgIt’s based on an Hokusai painting.
'The Great Wave At Kanagawa' Hokusai.jpgIt took months to construct, the airborne papers have all been placed in post production.
I don’t care how long it took, compositionally it’s brilliant.
milk-jeff-wall

Karl Blossfelt; a botanist with an artists eye.
He made photographs to catalogue plant specimens.
I’m really interested in the interaction of Art and Science.
common-male-fern-karl-blossfeldtmaiden-hair-fern-karl-blossfeldt
The illustrator Haeckal is another example of a body of work born out of a fascination for science. 

I first became aware of your work via Big magazine, did Vince Frost get you going?
Yes. it was a big break.

You come across a handful of people in your working life that are true talents, Vince is one of those.
He is instinctive and trusts in good work, the work comes before the reputation.
We became very good friends and have worked a lot together ever since.
The images were raw, and when combined with letterpress typography made a very bold, confident magazine that everyone wanted to contribute to.
screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-10-32-59-am
Do you prefer tight or open briefs?
It depends what it is.
Commercially I like to work on the best idea whoever has conceived it.
I’ll always give my view on a campaign, it’s up to the agency whether they listen.
I’m a wasted resource when used just as an art worker, but some jobs are like that.piccadilly-circus-london-underground-bmp

What’s the difference between shooting for an ad agency and a design company?
Advertising employs you for your technical ability or aesthetic, in the States they call you a ‘shooter’, which sums up the role.

All of your energy is focused on executing a collective vision, one an agency team has championed for a brand often weeks or months in advance.
You take on the commission with the commitment as if it were your own.
It’s all about the production of the shoot and building a team, the bulk of the thinking has been done for you.
It is a tried and tested model so who am I to criticise, but it but seems a little outdated.

Stronger ideas result from photographers being involved earlier in the process.
There are some talented photographers out there whose creative abilities are underutilised, I’ve noticed a generic quality to a lot of recent photographs, probably as a resulting from countless references found on Google images, I know it helps to sell an idea to a client, but it can limit the imagination of the creatives.
Advertising is fixated with being first, building a story around a technique, but being first today is old news tomorrow.
Designers are out of a different mould, the life span of the work tends to be longer.
Budgets are smaller but their i
deas are ambitious in a different way, the limitations encourage more thought and imagination.
It’s also a relief not to have to spend two days writing a treatment every job you do, to justify your creative credentials.  

The application of images is also more diverse.
I’ve worked on design projects from postage stamps through to huge interior installations.

‘Can you shoot me a face that works upside down as well?’
I can’t think of another photographer I’d ask to do that.
Or one who’d take on that ludicrous challenge
?merrydown-giles-revell-rough-1-%22down%22-01
merry-giles-revell-01

It’s one of the trickiest challenges you’ve ever given me.
But it was such a good idea, all the artists involved in that campaign produced wonderful work.

Your work is more like Art than any commercial photographer I can think of.
Wouldn’t you be far more famous in in that world if you were more pretentious?
Or spelled your name in a more exotic way? Gilles Revelli? Gilmondo Rev-El?
Probably, I think the public warm to an aloof, renegade facade.

You are what you are though.
If you play that role then you have got to sustain it.
I’m hoping that the latest projects will make an impression on the Art world, without having to take on a tempestuous, rockstar persona.
However, I’ve often thought about trying a pseudonym like Sebastian Conti; a new photographic presence in the fashion world.
Try it, but swap that ‘O’ for a ‘U’, it might give you a bit more attitude.
Giles Revell - Fish 2, Dave Dye
Do you think digital technology has helped photography?
Yes, undoubtedly when used intelligently and creatively.

It has allowed quicker workflow and more possibilities creatively.
The draw-back is that there’s this obsession with sharpness.
‘Hyper real’ is one of the most annoying terms attached to imagery at the moment.
I’m excited by imagery that takes away and refines .
Half of the images we value today in the galleries around the World are ‘soft’ by modern-day standards.
The speed that images can be made encourages sloppy practice, multiple versions are made to cover all eventualities, then cobbled together in post-production.
The expectation of how much can be achieved in a single day are being pushed so hard now that photographers are having to cut corners.
I’m excited by modern photography, but I am certain that when film was the dominant medium the whole team were sharper, because there was more at stake.
You had to be confident that when you walked off a shoot with just a few polaroids and half a dozen rolls of film that you’d executed the job.
You didn’t have the luxury of cross-referencing every frame.
Commercial imagery seems creatively very static at present.

The platforms on which we view the digital imagery has evolved beyond any of our expectations.
photography-book-giles-revell
Unlike a lot of commercial photographers, you don’t have a ‘look’ or style?
At first glance I’d agree, but when you look at my work as whole there’s a common thread; the subject matter is revealed minimally, through the use of a line or a plane.
The Port ‘Ten Ten’ cover is a good example, revealing the watch elements through hard shadow and silhouette, the geometry of the plane defined by black.
tenten-cover-giles-revell
It was a lesson to myself of making a composition where every corner of the frame needs to be considered, as well as balancing the proportions of black white and grey.
The great Bauhaus influences played a part in this composition.
Also, I’m interested in the content not the gloss.

Different ideas employ different processes, it means the images have a variety of looks rather than always using the camera optics route.
The common characteristic of the work is it’s stripped back with a definite intension.
The commercial world is obsessed with look and feel, it’s an irritating development over the last few years.
I’m always looking for discoveries and new ways of approaching themes.
Giles Revell - Heals Shaddow 1, Dave DyeYou’re always trying new things, lighting with an estate agents digital ruler, taking portraits with a photo finish camera.
Why? 
It’s not enough just to point off the shelf lights at objects.'Gold Leaf' Giles Revell-01.jpg'Gold Leaf 2' Giles Revell-01.jpg
autumn-leaf-giles-revell-01leaf-2-giles-revell-01flower-giles-revell-01Giles Revell - Pink Squiggle, Dave Dye

Are these photographs or illustrations?
One is photography, the other motion capture.
They’re both about an image developing over time.
100 frames is a collaboration with Ben Koppel to create form from movement.
All the red images are made from the body movement of a dancer, the black version from the movement of a British gymnast training on his floor exercise routine.
The idea was developed for a 2012 Olympic Park proposal, the idea was to create life-size sculptures tracking body movements that would be fabricated in resin.

Giles Revell - Red Squirly Thing, Dave Dye'Blue Car Shape' Giles Revell-01.jpgGiles Revell - Red, Curly, Spiky Thing, Dave Dye
They were printed as 3d sculpture moquettes.
The big red shiny thing, studded with relief, was a commission I made with Matt Painter.
I was asked to make a sculpture of the Manchester United v Barcelona European Cup Final.
I’m not sure I’d choose the aesthetic of this now, but the idea was interesting at the time.
We were given all the data captured as the game unfolded to analyse.
These statistics are used by managers and trainers to assess the performance and tactics of the players,individually and as a team.
Every event, such as a pass, corner, header, shot or goal is logged on a time line, as well as spacially on the pitch.
I decided upon two evolving hoop shapes, representing each 90 minutes that grew over the course of the game.
Each stipple marks an event on the pitch, the largest peaks are the goals. car-bar-giles-revell'Green Car Shaft' Giles Revell-01.jpg
Experimenting is easier today, but I seem to see less of it?
Yes, it’s disappointing and surprising.
Especially in an era where there’s so many opportunities to collaborate using different source material, homogenised though digital formats.
Science / medicine / engineering use incredible methods the gather imagery.
CGI is used widely and is a very powerful tool, but tends to be used in a bland way, as a replication tool mimicking photography and film rather than expressing ideas within its own medium.
Commissioners seem uncomfortable to make imagery from the data and information available to them.
The Man Utd vs Barcelona data sculpture is a good example.
Replication seems dull and needless when there are ways of achieving the real thing through another viewpoint.
Which goes back to my point about style over content.

Giles Revell - Red Stripe 1, Dave DyeGiles Revell - Oil People 2, Dave DyeThey say copying is the highest form of flattery, you must feel great, you’re flattered on a regular basis? 
I used to feel that way in the early days.
Plagiarism is the one aspect of the business that’s made me think seriously about a different career.

There is a  lack of integrity in the business.
Ideas and methods of working are my professional identity and security.
I can spend months developing a project or idea, to then discover it’s been infused into the work flow of others can be demoralising.
Not to say financially bruising.
Agencies, magazines and photographers are all guilty, it’s a symptom of the speed with which we all have to deliver.
Images are now referenced rather than conceived.
Consequently, new projects need to be kept under wraps until a suitably scaled, appropriate project surfaces, or better still, released as an exhibition, which would mark the date and occasion to the work.
Without such launches images are copied wherever they are seen and the origin is lost or hijacked. It’d be very easy to slip into a rant at this point, it may sound like sour grapes, but I crave a  workplace surrounded by genuinely talented people.

What makes up a good picture?
I read an article a decade or so ago that crudely broke it down into four ingredients;

1.   Image needs to be flawlessly beautiful, regardless of message.

2.  Image should be shocking, controversial or taboo.

3.  Image should be either informative, telling us something we don’t know or show us something we thought we knew, but with a new perspective.

4. Image should have an extraordinary narrative or back story. 
In 20 years I‘ve come close on a couple of occasions where I’ve made something that I’m still happy to look at ten years later.
But it’s rare that you achieve more than one of these in any image, when you do, interesting work is made.
 

What image are you most proud of?
I guess my finest moments would be 
The Insect Techtonic Project, also known as the ‘Fabulous Beasts Show’.
It was the summer show at the Natural History Museum and is now in their and the V&A’s permanent collections. 
Giles Revell - Insect, Dave Dye'Bug 4' Giles Revell-01.jpgGiles Revell - Fish, Dave Dye
Giles Revell - Fly, Dave Dye

Also, the recent Battlefield Poppies stamp.
It was part of the Royal Mail  Ww1 Centenary series, it’s out now. 
stamp-giles-revell


ww1-1916-battlefield-poppy-stamp-giles-revellww1-1916-battlefield-poppy-stamp-giles-revell
What the hell are these stripes things?
It’s a bouquet that’s broken down into petals, then distributed over time.
Oh yeah!Giles Revell - Colour Bars, Dave DyeGiles Revell - Colour Bars 2, Dave Dye'Stripey 4' Giles Revell-01.jpg

How did you start your collaborations with Matt Willey?
We met when he was running the Frost London office, he was designing the magazine Zembla with Vince Frost and Dan Crowe.
Dan and Matt went on to set up Port magazine, followed a couple of years ago by Avaunt.
We used to The Kings Head in Clerkenwell regularly, a special pub, for our enthusiastic conversations about topics we wanted to explore, ‘At This Rate’ was the first project we did together, it came out of those conversations.breathe-giles-revellGiles Revell - Leaf 2060, Dave Dye

The idea was to produce a booklet and poster illustrating the rapid destruction of the rainforests.
It was a simple set of timings from every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every month, every year with corresponding area of loss in that time.
They are an alarming set of statistics; every year we lose an area three times the size of Sri Lanka. We produced and sold them to raise funds for the Rainforest Action Network Organisation.
Giles Revell - Leaf 2, Dave Dye
The Photofit project was was another that came from those King’s Head conversations, very rewarding.
It was about identity and how you see yourself, most of us observe ourselves everyday for at least two minutes.
We were curious about how people would make an image of themselves from memory, without using a mirror.Giles Revell - Photofit 4, Dave Dye
Making drawings of oneself alienates those that are not artistic, so we decided to democratise the process by using a police photofit kit.
These were used in the 1970s in criminal cases to build a picture of a suspect for posters and news papers.

Each kit is extremely tactile, made up of 100 or so printed strips of images of eye, mouth, nose, hair and face shapes to select from.
That finally came together as a photographic montage in a perspex frame. Giles Revell - Photofit 1, Dave Dye
A broad demographic were gathered with each participant taking around 45 mins to make their portrait, accompanied by an interview.
The results were fascinating.
The physiological comparison was immediate, yet some of the participants revealed a more emotional response than they’d revealed in their interview.
Some picked a more youthful version of themselves, when they were at their physical peak.
Some had suffered trauma and were dealing with their new lives, others had clearly spent a lot more than two minutes in front of the mirror every day, marking every mole or line with pin point accuracy.
Giles Revell - Photofit 2, Dave DyeI think t
he project was successful because we had designed a democratic framework for the participants to express their own vision of themselves, without any intervention or bias.
It was published in the Guardian, we also repeated the project in Canada for the Walrus magazine.
Giles Revell - Photofit 3, Dave Dye
Matt’s a great talent, he’s in America now, designing the New York Times Magazine.
Giles Revell - New York Times Cover, Dave Dyechanel-giles-revell-01avant-falling-man-giles-revell
What photographers do you admire today?
I don’t tend to follow photography closely.
Having said that, I was blown away by the William Klein show at the Tate last year.
Photography meeting design and film and social documentary.red-x-william-kleinyellow-william-kleinboy-with-gun-william-klein-1955
Also, Tim Hethrington, who lost his life in Libya in 2011.
He was an special man, regardless of the photographs that he took.

He left an incredible body work from conflict zones, not only the wars, but the aftermath, which few photographers would cover, most would move on to the next conflict.
A couple of years ago I watched an astonishing BBC4 documentary about his life and achievements, it reduced me to tears. mid-battle-tim-heatheringtonsoldier-at-war-tim-heatheringtonburning-tank-tim-heatheringtonI love your new Shots front cover, any retouching involved?
shots-cover-giles-revell-01
This image is part of a large body of work that is about breaking down form and concentrating on colour alone.
How it’s made isn’t important as long as it’s engaging.
Each block of colour is accurate, sample by hand and accurate to the original flower.
The leaves are similar in that they attempt to look at the 
palette of a specific Acer tree in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
The black and white  accompanying image of a Lily and Helibora were made with the opposite intension; to look at form alone.
flower-giles-revell-01flower-2-giles-revell-01Giles Revell - Flowers:Black, Dave Dye
Thanks Giles, by the way, love the new tests.
Thanks, the work is becoming more minimal over the years often, crossing over into graphics.
Giles Revell-07.jpgGiles Revell-03.jpgGiles Revell-02.jpgGiles Revell-01.jpg

H before BB.

I joined the business in 1985.
The best agency seemed to be Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
Every year ever since they’ve been in the top five,
sometimes they’ve been in the top one.
Their success has been very well documented,
what did Sir John did before that hasn’t been.
So…

Where were you brought up?
I was born in North London, although at that point Edgware wasn’t in London, it was in Middlesex, which doesn’t exist anymore.
My family was living in Collindale, but as the War was on, we were constantly being bombed out, so I lived in Golders Green, Finchley and Mill Hill.
But throughout my life I’ve gradually moved closer and closer to the centre.
I’ve never understood why people move out to the countryside as they get older; no stimulation, no people, you’ve now got all the time in the world and now have nothing to do?
I used to say my view of the countryside is that it’s full of farmers and fascists, or farmers and fox hunters, when I’m in polite company.

What was the first ad you remember seeing?
The very first ad I was aware of was for Guinness, I was about 8 years old, it was a poster, and I went back to my father and said ‘I’ve just seen a poster I don’t really understand it said “Down With Guinness”?’
He said ‘Ah, now that’s a little joke, it means drink it down, not down with Guinness’
I thought that’s quite clever.
Interesting it was a poster, I think it’s wonderful that Today posters are probably going to be one of the most powerful mediums with the change of technology and posters changing by the hour, you’ll see one for coffee driving in and the same site will be advertising a wine on the way home.

down-with-guinness-john-hegarty-01Interesting first ad, it’s quite challenging and probably difficult to sell to the client?
It was obviously bought by a very ballsy client.
I guess that kind of idea goes all the way through to ‘I’ve never read the Economist. Management Trainee, Age 42′.
It exuded confidence and that’s part of what advertising does for a brand, whatever one thinks of Apple, they ran a poster campaign about the camera that didn’t tell you how many pixels they use or that it has a Zeiss lens, they just say ‘Shot on an iPhone 6’.
You look at the picture and you go ‘Wow!’
It says everything.
A example of wonderful confidence, it shows they have such confidence in their product that they can state it their message very simply.
Great brand belief, it’s a good example of what advertising should be doing.

Why get into advertising?
I sort of went to art school at the age of 15, Saturday morning art school at Hornsey College of Art.
Hornsey Collegew of Art.jpg
It was a wonderful way of being exposed to creative career.
After a while I realised I wasn’t going to be a fantastic painter, but I met some lovely teachers, one of whom, Peter Green, said ‘You enjoy ideas John, you should study Graphic Design’.
He told me the place to do it was the London College of Printing.


Was that where you met John Gillard?
That’s right.
When I got there I discovered everyone wanted to be artists, it was all about what was the best shade of blue, I wanted to do ideas.
I just loved starting with a blank page, most of the designers simply wanted to know what words they needed to design.
There were a number of tutors there, but John was the one who talked ideas, he was the one who said that ideas were transformative.
He’d show us the work coming out of New York at the time, the great, classic Doyle Dane work at the time, this is around 1964.

Weird, I had a similar experience whilst at college.
One day the tutor said ‘We’re going to show you the work of… a bit of an oddball, he  doesn’t seem to care about typefaces and don’t get me started on his colour choices, his thing is’ she didn’t use air quotes, but she may as well have, ‘his thing is “ideas”‘.
It was Bob Gill.
Bob Gill 'Secretary'.jpgBob Gill 'U.N. Lunch'.jpg
I thought this work is amazing, funny, arresting, clever, far better the the overly worked, dull as ditch water bits of design we were usually shown.
Yeah, well his work spoke to you.

How did you switch from graphic design to advertising?
Advertising was frowned upon by the tutors running the graphic design course, they thought you’d sold your soul to the devil, despite the fact that they were training people to do pack design and stuff like that, so I had to work on advertising in my spare time.
One of the briefs they always gave the students was to redesign the Tax form, it was typography exercise really, so everyone would debate things like whether it should be sans serif because it was more modern or serif because it was more readable.
I decided the Tax form was just boring and people didn’t like it.
So I did a tax form with lots of cartoons; about money and finance, my logic was that you had to make it entertaining to carry people through it.
When I presented it they just didn’t know what to say, it was like ‘No, no, no, the purpose of the exercise was for you to redesign it’.
I’d explain that I had redesigned it, the reason to redesign it is to get people to use it, so I’d made it easier to use.
They didn’t want to know, my solution was just so off anything they wanted.
It was fascinating to me, it made me aware that these people were just talking to themselves.
Nobody gives a shit about whether it’s in Caslon, Garamond, Baskerville, sure, pick a nice typeface and make sure it’s easy to read, but there are a thousand of those, and it’s just a matter of opinion which one you go for, but what’s the idea?
Caslon isn’t an idea, it’s a typeface.
That for me was a wonderful example of where their thinking was wrong.
The question should what are we trying to do here? What’s the purpose? What are we trying to engage people with?
That’s what advertising did, and I loved it.

How did you get in?
Well, I was lucky.

I was going out with a very beautiful girl who was at the LCP for two days a week, the rest of the time she worked in the Daily Mirror Design Department.
One day I went around to see her at the Daily Mirror building in Holborn, while there I got talking to an American guy who did their posters, he was a writer, and we got chatting about me getting into advertising, he’d heard of Doyle Dane and PKL and that whole American scene.
Then he said ‘I’ve got about two years worth of old New Yorker Magazines, want them?’
I said ‘Not half’
I would literally go through page by page pulling out the great ads, and they were all there because anybody who was anybody put their ads in the New Yorker.
That was my education.
I’d literally paper the wall in all this great work, wonderful ads like ‘If they run out of Lowenbrau serve them Champagne’,  just brilliant lines and I’s stare at them and think why is that great?
Lowenbrau 'Champagne'.png

That in itself was a brilliant education.

It’s like if you were studying architecture you’d go back and look at the great work of Frank Lloyd Wright and others, and ask yourself what they were trying to achieve there?

Why do you think people don’t study advertising history like that?
We’ve always been a business obsessed with tomorrow, but it’s one of the sadnesses of our industry, creative people coming into it have no understanding of what’s gone before.
No other creative industry would operate under those circumstances.
If you studied architecture you’d absolutely know who Mies Van Der Rohe was, who Richard Rogers is, who Phillip Johnson was.
Or cinema, what makes Quentin Tarrantino, whether you like him or not, is his amazing knowledge what’s gone before him.
It’s shocking.
I can remember coming into the business and digging out all the books, The Hundred Best Ads and so on, and we’d read them from cover to cover, we were aware of what was going on and what had been going on, even though we were coming in wanting to change things for the better, we knew what had been done.
We understood where good things had been done and we’d kind of use them as a guide going forward.

So you’ve done this home course in advertising, via a hundred or so copies of the New Yorker, you then get a job at Benton & Bowles?
Yes, I got two job offers, one from Y&R for about £2,000 year, which in 1965 was a lot of money, and got an offer from Benton & Bowles for about twelve quid a week or something,
And I asked a friend who’d been ahead of me at the LCP and had since got into the industry, called Doug Maxwell, and he told me that I should take the Benton & Bowles job, as they’d just hired this very, very good art director from New York called Dan Cromer, who’d won all these gold awards at the New York Art Directors Club, and stuff like that.
He said he might change it.
So of course I get there, within two weeks of being there, the Creative head; Jack Stanley comes into my area and says ‘I’ve found a young writer for you to work with’
‘Oh ok, who’s that?’
‘His name’s Charles Saatchi.’
I thought ‘Oh no, Italian, therefore he lives at home with his mum and can’t spell. Just my luck.’
Well of course he wasn’t Italian, but he did live at home with his mum and he wasn’t very good at spelling.
At the time anyone who could vaguely string a sentence together and felt like they were pointing to the future were snapped up.
Being an art director was a definite disadvantage, you had to learn a lot about techniques and processes, all the craft aspects; if you were shooting for 65 screen, if it was four colour, today nobody gives a shit about all that, but then it took far longer to be considered an art director.
We worked together for about six or seven months, then he went off to work at Collett’s with Ross Cramer, a very good, much more senior art director. He was about 30, Charlie and I were 22 or 3.

Was he any good, this Charlie Saatchi character?
Fabulous.
He was really terrific, he had that understanding of how do we make that proposition really work?
He had a very single minded focus you need to create great work.
Very good writer.
But he had a vision of where he wanted to take the business, he was a man in a hurry, even then.
We always had a bet who was going to get to five grand a year salary first, he beat me on that.
We worked together for six or seven months, we did some very nice work, none of it ever got published though, we just weren’t taken seriously.
So that decision to go Benton & Bowles worked out, so I went there, the lesson was don’t go for the money, go for the opportunity.

But you leave?
Ultimately Benton & Bowles wasn’t a good agency.
But it was good to start there, I always felt very sorry for people who started at BBH, because they thought ‘well this is what advertising is like, people really want to buy your ideas, you’re encouraged, you’re given opportunities’.
Eventually they’ll go elsewhere and get a big shock.

I was there for about eighteen months and then got fired…
Fired? Why?
I was a pain in the arse, I kept telling them what I thought.

Back then the creative department wasn’t the most important department in the agency, it was just one of many departments, we were just considered a bunch of longhairs, people would come and brief us on what the client wanted and we’d have to argue our case.
So there was a real schism in the agency between the Creative department and the rest, Dan Cromer turned out to be a nice guy, but sadly, for me, he wasn’t strong enough to overcome that, he didn’t have the authority, he had the talent and skills, but not the authority, back then it was run by the account people.
The big debate at the time was ‘Hard Sell’ versus ‘Soft sell’, people like us were coming along saying you have to entertain people to get them to engage, which was soft sell, the hard sell view was you have to beat them over the head with repetition.
This raged until on to the mid-seventies, until Collett’s started producing all those wonderful ads like Hovis, Heineken and stuff like that.
I remember I used to have this wonderful auntie in Harpenden, she was really middle England, thought the Daily Mail was a terrific newspaper, she asked me ‘John, do you do those Hovis ads? They’re really good’.
I thought that’s it, they’ve done it, they’ve got my auntie in Harpenden.

It changed the debate on creativity, clients would go ‘wait a minute, this so-called creative stuff is really working.
Increasingly, because hard sell was based on repetition, and the cost of airtime was going up, clients couldn’t afford to run 20 spots a night.
So you had to have something different.
That’s why in my view there have only been two great advertising agencies, and that’s Doyle Dane Bernbach, because they invented modern advertising and Collett Dickenson Pearce here in London, because they took creativity to the people, they didn’t operate on the fringes, they were centre break News At Ten, Bang!
That ended the hard sell/soft sell debate, all of a sudden all these big agencies like Thompson’s suddenly thought we better start taking this creativity stuff a bit more seriously.
Today nobody uses the phrase ‘hard sell’.

So you’re fired from Benton & Bowles,
It was quite difficult, as I said before, when you’re an art director you had to do an apprenticeship, you had to be around a long time to be considered an art director, four or five years, so it was the wrong time for me to be fired, it was too early.
Anyway this offer came up, funnily enough through Ross Cramer, who said they were looking for someone to work on the the Israeli Airline El Al, so Ross said to the guy ‘You should talk to John Hegarty, he’s a terrific art director’
They called me up and I got the job.
It was a little agency on the corner of Soho Square and Greek Street, and they had two accounts; Russian precision watches, Sekonda and El Al.'We Make' Sekonda', John Hegarty, John Collings-01.jpgSekonda 'Russian Watch', John Hegarty', John Collings-01.jpg
They realised the crap that they were doing didn’t work and they needed someone to do some great work on it, and so I was hired to do it, so I was able to begin to do the kind of work I wanted to create.
Ross Crammer*-01.jpg

The first writer I worked with was a freelance guy called Dennis Hackett, who went on to be the editor of Nova, lovely guy, he wasn’t really an advertising guy, but he got it.
The very first ad we did was to run in the Jewish Chronicle, it was about El Al’s service, and Dennis wrote a headline that said ‘If you fly El Al it serves you right’.'If You Fly' El Al, John Hegarty, John Collings.jpg
It was almost like that ‘Down with Guinness’ thought,
and it was the first piece of work I got into D&AD.
And I realised if you do good work, daring work, you could make a difference.
That also taught me that, despite what Collett’s were doing, sometimes you attack from the edges, you do little ads, the client may think ‘Oh, that’s rather good, I quite like that’, then they let you do the bigger ads.
After a while we were running a national campaign in the Observer, the Sunday Times and places like that for flying to Israel.
They’d been running ads done by Fletcher Forbes Gill, like ‘What’s long tall and slim and is always in the sun?’ and it was next to a photograph of a girl standing on a beach.
They were ok, but they hadn’t really made an impact.
Obviously, I knew what Doyle Dane had done in the states, so I said ‘You’ve got to sell the Bible’, that’s what makes the difference, I could go to Spain and get some sun, sunshine isn’t exclusive to Israel’.'You've Read A' El Al, John Hegarty, John Collings-01.jpgSo we did a campaign using the Bible, and biblical stories that was very successful.
we had to do ads about sunshine but we did a picture of Noah holding his hand out with the line ‘Yes, it has been known to rain in Israel’.'Yes, It has been known', El Al, John Hegarty, John Collings*-01.jpgEl Al 'Founder', John Hegarty, John Collings-01'Travelling's A Whole' El Al, John Hegarty, John Collings-01.jpg'The First Beach' El Al, John Hegarty, John Collings.jpg-01.jpg
It was a great lesson in how you differentiate one brand from another.
El Al 'Back Home', John Hegarty, John Collings-01

How did you get this bad agency to do good work, at the age of 23?
They didn’t really know the difference.
They had a good account man there called Richard Cope, a young turk, so Richard was our ally.
What I realized was that sometimes smaller agencies have the benefit of speed, at Benton & Bowles everything took forever, it was so structured.
At a small agency you learn a lot more because you are on the front line, sometimes we didn’t have a department that did that, so you’d do it yourself.
So I learned a lot more about the business, I was also meeting clients, which was unusual at the time, account men did that, you didn’t take creatives, they might swear, but at such a small agency you are the agency, so you just did it.

I hear you wanted to bring in a new team; Charles Saatchi and Ross Cramer from Collett Dickenson Pearce?
That’s right, the agency had aspirations to embrace this exploding creative revolution, Collett’s was really starting to get momentum, Doyle Dane had opened in London, so there was a sort of vibe out there that this was going to be important, so Richard Cope had persuaded the management that for them to succeed they had to change, so there was an opportunity for John Collings.

Richard said to me we need another team, more senior than me, so I asked Ross and Charles whether they’d like to come and talk to the agency, they are trying to grow they agency?’
To cut a long story short, they joined…
Ross and Charles left the best agency in the Country to join John Collings?
Yeah.

Within about two or three months they realized this wasn’t going to work, that the management of the company didn’t want to put in the investment, they said ‘Come on, let’s all set up a creative consultancy’.
So we all left and set up Cramer Saatchi.

Initially Cramer Saatchi was working to agencies, like a freelance resource?
That was the primary source of income for us, agencies would call us up and say we have a problem with such and such an account and we need you to work on it.

Was that just the three of you?
No, at John Collings I was working with a lovely guy called Lindsey Dale, who decided he didn’t want to leave with us, so I hired a writer called Mike Coughlan.
Mike stayed for a year and a bit.

Then you hired my old boss; Chris Martin?
So there were four of us, two teams.
Then we hired Jeremy Sinclair and an art director called Bill Atherton. Then there were six.
Life was pretty simple, financially we knew we had to do a campaign every two weeks and sell it, for the agency to make money.
We were doing some direct work, like Island Records.

Did you work with Chris Blackwell? (Island Records Founder.)
I dealt with him once.
Island didn’t really want to work with a big agency, but realized they had to market their product, in all these new magazines that were starting up, like Time Out, 
so they came in to us for a meeting, with myself, Charlie and Ross.
They said ‘There’s one thing you have to understand guys; we don’t believe in hype’.
We all said ‘Absolutely, we don’t believe in it either, it doesn’t work here’.
Once they’d left, one of us turned to the other two and said ‘What’s hype?’, ‘I don’t know, I thought you knew’.
From then on but then on we’d deal with the producers of each album, they were like the clients.'A Funny Name' Island, John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatchi-01.jpgaqualung-jethro-tull-john-hegarty-saatchi-saatchi'Electric Stoem' White Noise, John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatchi.jpg'At Last, The' Island, John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatchi.jpg
They were great to work with.

One of our ideas was instead of Island telling you what they felt about their album, to get reviewers to review the album, and we’d print whatever they said, good or bad it was.'Why Island Is' Island, John Hegarty, Saatch & Saatchi-01.jpgI remember a meeting with the producer Guy Stevens, a very renowned producer, he came in and said I’m starting this new band, we need to talk about how we market them, I said what are they called, ‘Mott The Hoople’ he said, ‘Trouble is they haven’t got a good singer, I’ve got two possibles, but I can’t decide who to go for…one of them is a bit odd, he won’t take his sunglasses off’.
‘Sounds interesting, why don’t you go with him?’  I said.
That was Mick Hunter.

What was life as a consultancy like?
Great, it was a real hothouse.
But eventually Charlie realised that if you didn’t own the relationship with the client you were just the hired help.
Charlie decided he wanted to have an agency, Ross decided he didn’t, he wanted to direct.
Charlie asked if I’d go with him and become a partner at the agency, he told me he was going to bring his brother with him, who was working for Haymarket magazines, in charge of business development.
I asked Charlie why Maurice; ‘He’s even younger than us, is it viable?’
He said ‘I can trust him’ and I got that.
So in 1970 Cramer Saatchi became Saatchi & Saatchi.

What was the first client, H.E.A?
It’s always been a bone of contention, because at Cramer Saatchi that was the other client, and we did some wonderful work for, the ‘Pregnant Man’ was one of them, so Charlie took it to Saatchi & Saatchi, but that account was bought in by Ross, and I think he always felt there should’ve been a bit more of an admission that he was part of this.
But that early work, the anti smoking, etc, always gets mis-credited to Saatchi & Saatchi, whereas it was Cramer Saatchi.

So your ad ‘This is what happens when a fly lands on your food’ is possibly the first ad I can remember seeing, at my doctors, my ‘Down with Guinness’, maybe because it was so unusually disgusting?
'This Is What' H.E.C. , John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatchi.jpg
What was great about that was that whole centre section came straight out of a pamphlet, taken wholesale, it was a very technical description, we just top and tailed it.
It’s a great example of doing your research, reading up on your subject.

I always loved that ad, because in David Ogilvy’s second book he uses that ad as an example of what you shouldn’t do; reverse out white type out of black.
A lawyer friend of mine at the time said you realise you could sue him for a lot of money for that, it’s defamation of character, and the reason you can sue is that it’s not written from an independent point of view, he was writing on behalf of Ogilvy & Mather.
I thought no, I can’t be arsed, I was rather pleased to be honest that I’d done something that David Ogilvy disapproved of.

The other H.E.C ad that doesn’t get a mention, but got a D&AD gold, the car crash ad, Is that a real road crash?
'Over Easter' H.E.C, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg
Yes, we got the picture straight from the evening Standard.In those days they would publish the road death figures after every national holiday, so we ran than just after the Easter holidays to get people to understand just how many people were dying from smoking.
Charlie said I don’t want to run ads that say ‘smoking kills’, because people think yeah, but it’ll never happen to me, or they’ll have a relative who’s 92 and smoked every day of their lives, I want to run ads that say this will happen to you,, every single cigarette you smoke is doing this to you.
That was the real skill of that campaign, that thinking lead Charlie and Ross to write ads like ‘You can’t scrub your lungs clean’ and ‘No wonder Smokers cough’.
h-e-c-cough-saatchih-e-c-scrub-saatchi
Also, remember at that point we couldn’t say ‘Smoking gives you cancer’, there wasn’t sufficient proof at that time, the cigarette companies would come after you.

I remember once giving a speech in Germany in the late eighties, and I made some comment about the illogicality of peoples choices, that they are emotional not logical.
I used the example of cigarettes and said ‘Why would anyone smoke? It kills you, it even says so on the pack’.
I came off stage and some guy came up to me and said ‘could I have a word? I’m from Phillip Morris and I just want you to know I could sue you for what you just said.’
I told him to ‘fuck off, sue me’.
But that’s how vicious those people can be.

Jeremy Sinclair -  4 stages-01The whole campaign was unusually forceful for the time?
Yes, I guess we were just applying the principles of brand advertising to cause advertising, people hadn’t really approached it in a professional way before.
There was a lovely lady who Ross got to know who Flora something, she got it, she thought yes the Government should be more effective, it should be professional, not continue in this amateurish way.
And it was very ground-breaking work.
But then the sad thing with Saatchi’s, the cynical thing, was when they ditched that and went and worked with Silk Cut.
Shame really lads.
H E A 'Smoking', John Hegarty, Saatchi'How To Catch' H.E.C, John Hegarty, Cramer Saatchi.JPG'V.D. Doesn't Always' H.E.C, John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatchi-01.jpg'Children Will Try' H.E.C, John Hegarty, Cramer Saatchi.jpg'Now Wash Your' H.E.C, John Hegarty, Saatchi & Saatch-01.jpg
So you became Deputy Creative Director?
Yes, Charlie was always very nonchalant about titles, but yes he gave me that title, but I was a partner, a shareholder, which was more relevant to me than titles.
But in the end, Charlie ran it, there were no board meetings or anything like that.1973 March 2 John Hegarty

Obviously, as an agency not into hype, in 1972 a story is printed in the Sunday Times saying the creative Department has been insured for £1m?Saatchi & Saatchi Creative Dept:Sunday TimesThat was Charlie, a brilliant publicist.
We didn’t have any news at the time and creativity was starting to be more and more coveted, so Charlie and thought how do we get people to believe we had the most creative creative department?
He got an old mate to write up a policy and we had a story.
Brilliant!
Jeremy Sinclair -  Ronald Biggs-01Why leave?

Charles was starting to make decisions I wasn’t comfortable with, very close to the edge legally, taking on business where there was no opportunity to do good creative work, but he didn’t seem to mind, growth was the new obsession.
Then the TBWA thing came up.
I think Dawson Yeoman had turned it down, a lovely writer from DDB.
I was about third or fourth.
Again, I got recommended by Ross Cramer…and Alan Parker.

Did you know Bartle and Bogle, or were you thrown together?
No. Martin Denny had been hired by TBWA as their guy in London, as Chairman, and he put us all together.
It shouldn’t have worked really, but some how we worked it through.
John was the biggest hero really, he was at Cadbury’s in the Midlands, doing very well, he was very well thought of, he would definitely have ended up running Cadbury’s.

What business did you have when you opened?
None.
We were above the Saxone shoe shop off Hanover Square.
It was very tough in the beginning, trying to sell the idea of a European network to marketing directors who were more interested in what was happening in Chelmsford.

What changed?
Well, we got Ovaltine, then J&J, then Lego.
Well I guess with the Ovaltinees, the plan was always to tap into that pre-war nostalgia.
ovaltine-girlovaltine-john-hegarty-tbwaovaltinees-ovaltine-john-hegarty-tbwa

You did good creative work on each, did that help?
Not at first, often the first work you do on an account isn’t great, it could be because you don’t have time or you continue old thinking.
With Lego for example we began by doing trade ads, to the toy industry.
We decided that we shouldn’t necessarily do the traditional trade ads type ads; ‘Make money with Lego’, we thought let’s do proper ads, consumer type ads that push the benefit of Lego.
So we did ads like the ‘From little acorns grow big oak trees’.'From Little Acorns' Lego, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg
'Keep Feeding Their' Lego, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'In The Toy' Lego, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpgT
hey were very well regarded, they’d win awards at D&AD and Campaign Press, and get noticed, nobody ever said they were just trade ads, they’d say they were good ads.
They set the the tone of the consumer ads as the business grew.
But it wasn’t easy, the clients at Lego fought the against the playfulness of this kind of advertising, they wanted a more functional ‘Use it and learn’ type approach.
The way we ended up persuading the clients to go with us was to record and show them an episode of the kids show ‘Tiswas’.
They were horrified!
It was chaos, people running on and off screen, pie-ing each other, but it made our point.

You could draw a straight line from those early trade ads to the ‘Kipper’ ad, which won the Grand Prix at Cannes many years later.

Johnson Jnr?
Well the challenge was that we were given research that said every time they ran an ad with a baby in every woman engaged, the problem was that they couldn’t remember who it was for.
So we had to figure out a way of making our ads branded, which is why we came up with Johnson Jnr, with the marvelous Richard Briars doing the voiceover.
Of course there were a whole bunch of concerns about a talking baby, a man voicing a baby, etc, but it just worked.

You did some great stuff on Newsweek, I particularly love the ‘History of the World’ ad.
They were a terrific client.
Always coming to us saying we have space we need to fill in their magazine, it lead to the Guy Gladwell ad.
One of the few things I was speechless about when the painting was presented to me, in a gallery in Chiltern Street.
I bought the painting for £500.the-history-ofhow-is-china-newsweek-john-hegarty-tbwa-01'Should The World' Newsweek, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'How Is China' Newsweek, John Hegarty, TBWA*.jpg
'Has The EEC' Newsweek, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'What You'd Need' Newsweek, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'Does Your Newspaper'How Is China' Newsweek, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpgJohnnie Walker, Black Label 'Eclipse'-01'One Colour Always' Johnnie Walker Black, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'Black Is Always' Johnnie Walker Black, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'Nothing Defines Character' Johnnie Walker Black, John Hegarty, TBWA.jpg'A Little Black' Johnnie Walker Black, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg'Make All Your' Johnnie Walker Black, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpgBarney Edwards, Johnnie Walker 'North Sea', TBWA, John Hegarty-01Barney Edwards, Johnnie Walker 'North Sea', TBWA, John Hegarty *-01'A Wee Gift' Johnnie Walker, Johnnie Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg

How did you hire creatives?
I didn’t want superstars.
I didn’t want to deal with their egos and tantrums, I wanted to find people who I thought showed talent and give them a shot.
It was also partly due to circumstance, we didn’t have the kind of money Collett’s had.
Bank's, 'Simply', John Knight, TBWA-01Bank's, 'Humans', John Knight, TBWA-01Beefeater 'Alan Price'-01
Land Rover 'One Day Son...' TBWA-01Land Rover 'Creature', TBWA-01Land Rover 'Wonky Page' TBWA-01

Why leave?
We were getting frustrated with the way TBWA was run.
Globally.
They sold in this idea of giving the partners 10% of the agency in a particular country, but 1% of the global network, we were told that the 1% was worth the big money.
It sounded good.
But we found that agencies would set up in Greece or Spain that would do terribly, but the partners in that country thought ‘we’’, it’s not ideal, but not to worry, it’s the global 1% that’s worth the money’.
So there was no incentive to make their country work.
We were doing great in the U.K. at that point, and tried to argue for a change in structure.
They declined.'Designed By A' Pifco, John Hegarty, TBWA-01.jpg
A few years later they did change it to what we’d suggested, but of course it was too late.the-news-is-now-john-hegarty-tbwa-01'The Range Rover' Range Rover, John Hegarrty, TBWA-01.jpg
Great practice?
Absolutely, we always used to say our company was in incubation at TBWA for the first 8 years.

MIKE COZENS INTERVIEW.

Mike Cozens2879-01DAVE: Where were you bought up?
MIKE: Farley Road, Catford, S.E.6. Mr Smiths was where the Richardson Gang had their 1966 Gangland slaying. My Mum worked there. Frankie Frazer used to escort her up the Road.
He famously said ‘I’ll take you home Lilly, you meet some dodgy characters around here’.
That’s where I was dragged up.

DAVE: Was advertising your first choice?
MIKE: Not exactly. I was invited to leave Haberdashers Askes at the age of sixteen.
Fortunately the only teacher who had any faith in me was the History master.
He asked me what my father did for a living.

“A Co-op butcher, but I don’t fancy putting my hand up a Turkey’s arse for a living” I replied.
He asked me 
what my other relatives did.

“My Uncle’s in the Print and had a bigger car than my Dad”, (my Dad drove a Reliant Robin, just like Del Boy’s.)
The History Master said his neighbour worked in an Advertising Agency, and he’d have a word, he said it’s close to the Print.
He then said “Mind you Cozens if all else fails you’re a big lad, how about the Police Force?”

I Thanked him,  but couldn’t see my self as a Copper.
To cut a long story short I sent off letters to J.Walter Thompson, London Press Exchange, and Colman Prentice & Varley and was offered a job in the postroom of each one.

DAVE: A post boy at Colman Prentiss Varley. A surprising amount of your generation’s great creatives started life in the post room.
MIKE: Yes, for the princely sum of £3 per week!

DAVE: How did you switch to creative?
MIKE: I was offered a job as a typographer. Out of ten other Typographers I was the general dogs-body, my nickname was“Bread”as I got the sandwiches every day.

DAVE:  At the time, CPV was probably one of the most creative agencies in the country, how did you get into the creative department?
MIKE: I was already in there albeit, as a lowly Typographer.
But I was keen and determined to make a name for myself.
I used to tinker with the body copy and the Copywriter never spotted it, imagine Tony Brignull or the late David Abbott not spotting that.

DAVE: What ads were getting you all hot and bothered at the time?
MIKE: One ad that stood out from CPV was for Yardley lipstick which had a holster, with lipsticks instead of bullets. Shot by the late great Terry Donovan.Yardley Lipstic ad 1964
And almost anything that came out of CDP. It was London’s answer to DDB New York. The work was first class. I can still recite the names Alan Parker, Charles Saatchi, Paul Windsor, Terry Lovelock,etc, etc.

DAVE: I’ve only ever seen Colin Millward’s name preceeded with the words like ‘dour’ or ‘genius’ next to it. What was he like?
MIKE: Working under Colin Millward was exactly that, unpredictable one day, unyielding the next. I don’t remember him shouting, he was actually a very quiet man.
Frank Lowe invited him on the Benson and Hedges shoot, which was going pear shaped because of the weather. The Arizona desert had never been that flooded.
Each evening we had a pow wow back at the hotel.
Also four of the Iguanas had died due to the cold weather.
The ones in the film were as John Cleese would say a ‘Deceased Iguana’.
Hugh Hudson never put a foot wrong, a joy to work with. I couldn’t imagine any other Director doing such a fine job.  

565px-Van_Girl-_Horse_and_Cart_Deliveries_For_the_London,_Midland_and_Scottish_Railway,_London,_England,_1943_D16829

DAVE: You then moved from C. J. Lytle to L.P.A.Mike Cozens, Kutchinsky '6.38'-01
MIKE: The print ad above was the very first ad of mine that got into the D&AD book. I was at LPA with a bunch of like minded Creatives, including Alan Midgley and Ron Mather.
DAVE: I found the ad above in a magazine from 197o, but it features in the 1973 D&AD Annual. Don’t know what happened there? Long judging process?

DAVE: How did Peter Mayle come to hire you at BBDO?
MIKE: I was working at the Lonsdale, Crowther Agency with that very fine Art Director John Foster when we both decided we’d had enough of mediocrity.
John was a mate of Des Sergeant, who was Head of Art at the new look BBDO.
This was the big one for both of us.
Peter Mayle was the Creative Director and a fitness fanatic.
I decided to join his 
Gym and not let him know I was an up and coming copywriter.
Fortunately Des was doing the interviewing, as Peter was 
on a shoot somewhere.
To cut a long story short, John and I got the job and fitted in perfectly.Mike Cozens, Dutch Bulbs 'Testimonial', BBDO, -01 Mike Cozens, Dutch Bulbs 'Nature', BBDO-01

DAVE: We’ve shared a boss; Tim Delaney, how was he for you?
MIKE: Probably the same as it was for you.
DAVE: Yeah, I enjoyed it too.Mike Cozens, Telex, Copy, D&AD, BBDO-01Mike Cozens, Morlands 'Women', BBDO-01Mike Cozens, Morlands 'Cheaper', BBDO-01

DAVE: BBDO seemed to have been a breeding ground for the more fancy Collett Dickenson Pearce?
MIKE: Peter Mayle left and created a big gap.
I voted for Ron Brown rather than Tim Delaney.
My days were 
numbered when Tim got the job.
Everyone at BBDO had their books and reels in Colletts.
Most of us got the jobs there.  

B&H Gold Box 'Streets', CDP-01

DAVE: You’re teamed up with a young rascal called Alan Waldie, how was that?
MIKE: Waldie, (no one uses his Christian name), is apparently not a well man.
I won`t go into the negative side, suffice to 
say that it wasn`t all Guns and Roses…
Waldie was like nobody I’ve ever worked with.

His reputation as a drinker was legendary.
I nicknamed him the Jeffrey Bernard of Adland.
The B&H campaign was what made our name. We also took over the Heineken campaign, and the Olympus camera campaign. I teamed up with Graham Watson who was in my group and together we went to TBWA.

Mike Cozens, Heineken 'Humpty', CDP-01
Mike Cozens:Heineken 'Hat' MikE Cozens:Heineken 'Bricks' Mike Cozens:Heineken 'Red Adair'

DAVE: What was the brief for the B&H campaign?
MIKE: “Do something that’s never been done before” 

DAVE: How did your roughs go down internally, did anyone understand them?
MIKE: I can’t draw. Waldie was a brilliant Artist, his roughs were superb.
This was 1978, when planning was in its infancy. BH - Alan Waldie rough-01
B&H Surreal 'Mousehole'-01B&H Surreal 'Birdcage'-01 B&H Surreal 'Eggs'-01 Mike Cozens B&H 'Ring', CDP-01B&H Surreal 'Art Gallery'-01B&H Surreal 'Christmas Plug'-01B&H Surreal 'Wallpaper' CDP-01 Mike Cozens, B&H - 'Pool', CDP 2DAVE: I’ve read that when the posters first went up people would just stop and stare. Presumably trying to work out what the hell they meant?
Dave Trott told me he was one of those people, he thought ‘They used to have all those puns about ‘gold’, now what are they telling me…Benson & Hedges are like cheese?
MIKE:
 True. You couldn`t fail to notice them.
B&H_Sardine_Can_poster_at_Victoria_Station_London
DAVE: Look at it in situ, it’s so powerful, why don’t people create posters like this anymore?
MIKE: We had an open canvas, a great client, and a strong creative team.
On our day Waldie and I were second to none. Sometimes 1+1 does add up to 3.


DAVE: The posters didn’t make much sense, so how did you translate that into film?

MIKE: Waldie and I independently came up with Hugh Hudson as the Director.
We’d never worked with him before but that was beneficial.
The three of us had many meetings and a few arguments mainly over the resolution shot at the end.

Hugh wanted to keep it abstract and obscure, I wanted to keep it simple.
We came up with Battersea Power Station which worked superbly.
The music was written by Kevin Godley and Lol Creme. It was taken off their Consequences Album  

DAVE: Did you know how good the ad was when you wrote it?
MIKE: We knew we couldn`t have done any better.

DAVE: CDP was the best creative department of the day, fun or stressful?
MIKE: It was fun and stressful. But the BBH creative department was better.

DAVE: How did you find Frank Lowe?
MIKE: Who?
DAVE: Curly bloke, tall, cricket jumper?

MIKE: Oh him!

Olympus 'Image', CDP, Mike Cozens-01Mike Cozens, Olympus 'Mrs Bailey', CDP-01Mike Cozens, Clark's 'Straightlaced', CDP-01

DAVE: It couldn’t be going better, why leave?
MIKE: Graham Watson was in my group at CDP. I was in the CDP bar when he came over and asked if I was happy at CDP? I said not particularly why are you. Not particularly he replied.
He arranged a meeting with John Hegarty and John offered me the job.
On the first day of 1980, Graham and I pitched for the Knorr account. Which we won.
And on the second day we wrote “Kipper”.
Not bad for two days work.

DAVE: After creating one of the best three commercials of the decade, you make another one; ‘Kipper’ for Lego.
The absolute polar opposite of the B&H spot.
‘Iguana’ was filmic, arty and used an amazing music score and stunning locations. ‘Kipper’ was stop-frame, funny and used a voiceover and a simple tabletop in a studio
?

MIKE: I never wanted to write so called “Arty stuff”.
Looking at both “Iguana”and “Kipper” 
I know which one I prefer, Kipper by a long shot.
Its as funny today as it was when we first wrote it.

DAVE: At this time you must’ve considered opening Cozens, Thingy & Wotsit?
MIKE: I always felt more comfortable bouncing ideas about.Mike Cozens, Range Rover 'Odd Job', TBWAMike Cozens, Range Rover 'Snowball', TBWA-01Mike Cozens, Range Rover 'Double-Barelled', TBWA-01

DAVE: How did you come to be one of the five founding partners of BBH?
MIKE: Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty invited Graham and myself up to the Double O 7 bar, above the Hilton.
When we got up there Jerry Judge, and Martin Smith two great account men were also invited.Mike Cozens:Campaign 'Joins BBH'

DAVE: What were the first few months like?
MIKE: We had so many meetings in John’s House in Highgate that it was referred to as ‘the office’.

Mike Cozens :BBH Creative DeptBBH, 'House ad'-01
DAVE: The early Levi’s work seemed to really set it apart as an agency for classy products?
MIKE: There were two commercials that Graham and I wrote. ‘Rivets’and ‘Stitching’.
Both were intended to show how tough the jeans were.  

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DAVE: In 1985, you leave BBH to direct?
MIKE: BIG BIG MISTAKE, Its cold out there.

DAVE: Paula Yates persuades you to chuck in directing? 
MIKE: True, once I heard she was directing commercials I thought I’d pack it in.
Too many directors out there and 
not enough good scripts.

DAVE: How did you end up back in your old seat at BBH opposite Graham Watson?
MIKE: John Hegarty rang me up and offered me my old job back with Graham.
I was very grateful.

Mike Cozens Phonebox shot
DAVE: In 1989 you become the envy of creatives everywhere when join Grey  for a ‘Triple Seymour’.
MIKE: A triple Seymour was £300,000.
DAVE: (For the kids out there a ‘Seymour’ was one hundred thousand pounds. That was the ceiling busting amount paid to lure CDP’s Geoff Seymour transfer from CDP to Saatchi & Saatchi. Also, in the 80’s, £300,000 was a lot of money.)

DAVE: At the time, Grey Advertising was probably the most appropriately named agency in the world?
MIKE: Yes it was an eye opener, but I think they are doing better work now.

DAVE: You got them doing some good stuff, particularly the Bernard Manning ads?
MIKE: Yeah, the first year went well.

 

Mike Cozens - Fairy Liquid 'Old'-01

Mike Cozens:Grey Photo

DAVE: I used to work with Derrick Hass, the most sensitive creative I’ve come across, how did you find turning down his ideas?
MIKE: The worst day of my Advertising life was having to fire Derrick Hass.

DAVE: We can’t end on that gloomy note.
So I’m going to end on a rumour I heard you, if true, there’s no better demonstration of just how different the life of a creative was in your day; Whilst at BBH you and Graham Watson bet another 
creative team that you could get bought lunch by suppliers every day for a year. True?
MIKE: The ‘Greedy Bastard’ lunch champions were not myself and Graham, but Paul Smith and Mike Everett at CDP. 
If they were short of a ‘Knife and Fork’, they would badger me for one.
All the suppliers were on their guard, especially when the big hand was on its’ way to one o’clock.
This was in the days when one of them nicked a huge wad of receipts from the Kebab and Hummus and sold them to the junior members of the creative department.
John Richie
 (Father of Guy) was one of two Directors who could sign the lunch off.

Sadly, Nigel Bogle saw things differently.
Ah those were the days.
Mike Cozens, Creative Review 'Levi's 'Marlin'.BBH-01

 

Mike Cozens:Graham Watson Interview.Direction

 

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?
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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.
tumblr_mcpxhmP6tw1rd6pbio1_1280
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?
JOHN:  
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.

LANDSCAPE:
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.
img268
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: YES!

PORTRAITS.
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).
RONNIE SCOTTGEORGE COLEMAN01

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*
STILL LIFE.END VALVE img245 PRETTY POLLYimg246

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.

 

tumblr_nbj8c87Uer1qhi707o1_1280

 

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?
BRIAN:
No.

BG_Print_2

BG_Print_2

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: No.
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?
BRIAN: 
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.

BG-DH_1

BG-DH_1

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*

 

 

 

 

 

 

THINGS I’VE GLEANED 5: Copying is good.

I wanted to do this ad.
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Everybody who saw it laughed.
Why didn’t I do it?
It was so bloody annoying.
I wanted to create something that had the same effect on people as it’d had on me.
So whenever I’d get a brief I’d do something in that style, something that felt like it was from that world: Models of animals making a single product point, in a funny way.
Then, over at BBH, Chris Palmer and Mark Denton started producing ads using models of animals making a single product point, in a funny way.
Damn them.
Why didn’t I do those!
I could’ve done.
If I’d have had that brief.
Been at BBH.
And thought of those ideas.
Asda %22Stork%22-01Asda %22Snowman%22-01Asada %22Cow%22-01Asda %22hicken%22-01

FROZEN FISH.
Like the previous twenty briefs I’d worked on, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do some posters using models of animals making a single product point, in a funny way.
Findus - %22Best Pieces%22-01Findus %22Whitebait%22-01Findus - %22Spneless Haddock%22-01

CLIENT: “They’re cute…but no.”
Damn it!
How do I get some of that ‘models of animals making a single product point, in a funny way’ action?
Chris and Mark go to Lowes and produce another hilarious poster with models of animals making a single product point, in a funny way.
Heineken %22Hedgehog%22-01
I didn’t do that one either. Annoying!

I never got to make a poster with models of animals making a single product point, in a funny way.
But trying to do so was helpful.
Whether you want to learn how to play guitar, paint or advertise, the best way is to copy the people you love.

p.s. If a team showed me the Seafish concept today, I couldn’t help but ask why a cat, smart enough to go out and buy an oxy acetylene torch, with paws are dextrous enough to operate the thing, doesn’t just open the fridge door?

N.b. Here is a piece by Guy Gum giving a bit more insight into the Seafish poster:
Screen shot 2014-02-07 at 12.03.06

CALL FOR ENTRIES: John Knight work and stories.

A few years ago I tried to find an old beer poster for a presentation.
Fortunately, I knew the Art Director’s name: John Knight, the agency name: TBWA and the client name: Bank’s.
I googled all the combinations, variants, even trying misspelling some of them..
Unfortunately the chaps at Google couldn’t find it.
So I trawled through all the old awards annuals, eventually finding it.
But what struck me along the way was how under represented an influential figure like John was.
His old TBWA boss, Sir John Hegarty, explained it this way: “Truly groundbreaking work never does very well at the awards, because it generally splits the juries and ends up being underrepresented. John suffered from that.”
In all areas of creativity, context is everything, what was breathtaking, innovative and controversial then, often feels familiar and ‘so what’ today.

Once a new, unique path is forged, it becomes open to the public, most using it without having a clue who discovered it.
But there’s no button on this keyboard that can help me put the following work in context, so you’ll have to take my word that it wasn’t the norm.

When I first got into Advertising, ads tended to looked like this…sainsbury
And then I came across one of John’s ads.Bank's, 'Unspoilt', John Knight, TBWA-01
No headline, logo, end line, product shot or pun. (
They were all the rage back in the day.)
Just a single photograph that evoked another era.
It made me think a brewery from Wolverhampton was cool.
Not an easy thing to do.
I found out it was produced by an Art Director called John Knight.Scan
He’s the cool looking one far left.
Known to friends as ‘JFK’, due to his habit of breaking up words with an ex-fuckin’-spletive.
“It used to shock people at the time, swearing wasn’t as common back then” John’s old writer, Ken Mullen.
When everyone one else was zigging, he was zagging.

He seemed to do his own thing.
He influenced a lot of people, including me.
Here’s why:

1. His Art Direction is bespoke to each client, it’s not interchangeable.
The beer posters are made from bits of pubs, the Laura Ashley ads are made from bits of fabric, the Castrol ads are made from car parts.

2. His Art Direction makes it feel as though a human was involved in making the ad.

3. His ads don’t feel like advertising. So they engage.

Here’s the earliest ad I could find of John’s from his brief spell at Saatchi & Saatchi.
2478A
John is the most junior person credited in D&AD on this Volkswagen ad, so I assume it’s his idea?

VW
Although John was a sweary, hard-drinking Millwall supporter, he also had a sensitive side: he was an expert on wild flowers, helped green charities before they were reffered to as ‘green charities’ and bred canaries,
So although this was produced whilst John was at JWT, it was probably a favour to a group he belonged to.

jk_housejk_house2

John then managed to talk a Lord (Snowdon) into  shooting his Muscular Dystrophy poster for nothing.
“It ran for 14 years…every time it came down, fundraising fell”
– Writer Peers Carter.

jk_wheelchair
He also did design.
Not that unusual today,  who isn’t a multi-discipline, 360 degree creative?

but back then Design and Advertising rarely mixed, few people did both.mehana

His most fruitful period was whilst at TBWA, the Bank’s campaign being my personal favourite. Bank's, 'Simply', John Knight, TBWA-01Bank's, Old &', John Knight, TBWA-01  Bank's, 'Humans', John Knight, TBWA-01 Bank's, 'Nothing', John Knight, TBWA-01 Bank's, 'Unspoilt', John Knight, TBWA-01Bank's, 'Resist', John Knight, TBWA-01jk33
banks's1
(I presume this parodies the, very famous at the time, Fiat ad ‘Hand built by robots’.)

“He was no believer in deadlines. I remember once on Banks’ weeks and weeks were going by without anything happening, I thought the only way to solve it would be to get everyone in the same room to find the culprit. John came in last, looked around at assembled faces and said ‘looks like I’m gonna need fuckin’ legal representation’. –  Sir John Hegarty

He sweet-talked the least commercial artists of the day, David Hockney, Eduardo Paolozzi and Dame Elizabeth Frink, to knock out a few ads.
I would imagine that was a tough sell.
I would also imagine that getting their fees approved by Volvo was an even tougher sell.
But he made it happen.

vovlo_castle race
A campaign for Beefeater Gin knocking Gordon’s.
The green bottled one.

Great shots by Brian Griffin, I wish I could find all the executions.
(Brian found and sent in these first two)
Beefeater %22Harvey Smith%22 adAlan Pricebeefeater23 Beefeater Gin 'Beaumont', Knight, TBWA, Griffin-01

He was doing illustration/photography mash-ups before the term ‘mash-up‘ was released to the general public.
whats new1
Here he goes head to head with Art Director Ron Brown in a arguing for the use of Illustration rather than the ubiquitous use of photography at the time.

Actually, the debate is just as relevant today.
(I’m guessing Ron got into the business at the height of the DDB revolution, at that time people would’ve been chanting ‘Down with namby pamby illustrations! Up with squared up photographs!
By the time John got into the business the DDB  revolution was a decade old, using squared up photographs would’ve been like listening to Buddy Holly or having a quiff.
)
director_jk

In the following issue, Gerry Farrell has a pop at him about the article.
But on the plus side, they use a nice picture. john knight25
A great product placement idea, with writer Chris Martin.
jk16

For the time, these layouts for Kawasaki would’ve been very ‘out there‘.jk_bikes

A great shot by Bob Carlos Clarke for Singapore Airlines.
That smudge above the guy say; ‘Sorry about Thursday’.

John Knight, Singapore Airlines 'Next Wednesday'-01

An incredibly distinctive campaign at the time.
Apparently John lined up artist Allen Jones to illustrate the campaign, it was all ready to go when the client got cold feet, worried that the imagery may be too erotic.
allen_jones3 Right Hand Lady 1970 by Allen Jones born 1937
In the end, illustrator Conny Jude did a great job.

Screen shot 2013-12-14 at 17.00.33 Screen shot 2013-12-14 at 17.00.19 Screen shot 2013-12-14 at 17.00.07 Screen shot 2013-12-14 at 16.59.01

“ Before we worked together at WCRS, I nearly worked with him at AMV, I was going to be hired to be paired with Brian Morrow an art director from TBWA, when at the last moment David Abbott informed me that Brian would be working with another writer instead. Brian contacted me and said ‘You should speak to John Knight, he’s the one I copy’. – Giles Keeble.
RIMG08804.8710b_l

“For a writer like me it was terrific working with John, he’d take your thoughts and ideas into surprising places.
On Qantas, for example, I’d written a long copy ad about the effects of jet lag, John went down to the studio and, to echo the effects of Jet lag distorted and distressed all the type, which was fine, and then, without telling me, swapped around the first four lines of copy. It made no sense.
He then hid from me to try and avoid the possibility of me trying to change it.
When people, including me, saw what he’d done it seemed ridiculous, in retrospect it was brilliant.”
5.8613a_l-1John Knight, Qantas %22A-Z' John Knight, Qantas 'Gumtree' John Knight, Qantas 'Connections'

Very simple poster for Dulux Natural Woodcare using a cool, homemade font.
Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 06.54.10

“The Laura Ashley ads we did with the illustrations made from their fabrics were blown up and put in the windows of all their shops and used to stop people in the streets.” – Giles Keeble.
image_4702
image_4701
image_4700

With photographer Lucinda Lambton for McVities.
John Knight, McVities 'Grandfather Clock' John Knight, McVities 'Clock'
jk18 
These the only things I could find from his time at Leo Burnett.
They look pretty straight forward now, but I remember seeing it at the time and thinking that they weren’t’ like any McDonald’s ads I’d ever seen; “McDonald’s must be changing“.
John Knight, McDonald's John Knight, McDonald's 'Potato'
He didn’t have the talent to handle his talent.
He was a good influence in the department, would have made a good lecturer. Inspirer.” Sir John Hegarty.jk_pic

Nb. I knew Lorraine had been John’s partner for twenty years, I’d heard she’d inspired the Campari script which would later make her a household name.
It’s writer Terry Howard sat next door to John and would often hear Lorraine through the walls, he could never quite reconcile the elegant face with the fishwives voice.
When flicking around the internet looking for John’s work I found this headline about Lorraine’s time in ‘I’m A Celebrity Get me Out Of Here!’: ” ‘Tedward’ was a reminder of  Lorraine Chase’s former, deceased partner John Knight,” says Emmerdale star.
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