VFTL. Episode 3: Peter Souter.

Peter Souter:Showaddywaddy.jpgMy 7th boss.
Former hitch-hiker,
Frankenstien re-animator,
David Abbott replacement,
D&AD President,
ITV sitcom creator,
Radio 4 drama writer and
cousin of Showaddywaddy
lead singer Dave Bartram.

wavelogo 7-01.jpg

DELANEY FLETCHER DELANEY.'Some Women Are' Cancer, Peter Souter, DFD*.jpg

WOOLAMS MOIRA GASKIN O’MALLEY.'Escape' Eurax, Peter Souter, WMG)-01.jpg'Scratch' Eurax, Peter Souter, WMGO-01.jpg'Boy' Tri-Ac, Peter Souter, WMGO-01.jpg'Girl' Tri-Ac, Peter Souter, WMGO-01.jpg'Twins' Tri-Ac, Peter Souter, WMGO-01.jpg


ABBOTT MEAD VICKERS.Peter Souter:Paul Brazier.jpg
'This Whippet' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV*.jpg'During The Recession' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV-01.jpg'Bill' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV-01.jpg'Before They're' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV**.jpg'Injection:Radio' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV.jpg

'Industrial Secrets' The Economist, Peter Souter, AMV*.jpg

'Envelope 2' D&AD, Peter Souter, AMV-01.jpg'Dead' D&AD, Peter Souter, AMV-01.jpg

'This Ad Has' Queen Elizabeth's, Peter Souter, AMV*-01.jpg'Radio' RSPCA, Peter Souter, AMV-01.jpgPetr Souter:AMV:BBDO.jpg

'Jordan' The Economist, AMV:BBDO.jpg'Ever Go Blank' The Economist, AMV:BBDO.jpg

'Lolly' Guinness, AMV:BBDO.jpg'Iceberg' Guinness, AMV:BBDO.jpg'Fan' Guinness, AMV:BBDO.jpg




WRITER.'Goldfish Girl' Peter Souter.jpg'Hello:Goodbye 2' Peter Souter.jpg'Married. Single. Other 2' Peter Souter.jpg'Married. Single. Other 3' Peter Souter.jpg'Married. Single. Other' Peter Souter.jpg


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.  


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?
 True. You couldn`t fail to notice them.
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.  


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 5: Graham Ford.

DAVE: Where did you grow up?
GRAHAM: South East London

DAVE: When did you take your first picture?
GRAHAM: When I was eleven.
Then I asked for a camera for my fifteenth birthday.
One of my brothers showed me how develop a film and to make a contact print.
I was completely absorbed by photography for the next 40 years.

DAVE: What was your first job?
GRAHAM: Aged 18, I spent two weeks in an ice cream warehouse, at minus 20 degrees.
It paid for my new darkroom.
I always developed and printed my own pictures.

DAVE: Who did you assist?
I am grateful to several photographers who gave me a chance at age 18 and 19: David Davies, Mike Goss, Mick Dean, Bob Croxford, Eric Mandel.
But it was David Thorpe who had the greatest influence. I worked with him for 6 years.
David Thorpe 'Rude Food' Book-01
DAVE: What was the first image someone paid you to produce?
GRAHAM: £5 to shoot a pencil sharpener in 1970.
My first real job was for Paul Arden in 1977.
Paul had asked me to be his assistant, he was going to be a photographer.
I said no, I had been an assistant for long enough and I was going on my own.

A few months later he gave me my first job, a twelve day car shoot!
I was probably saved by some good retouching.
citroen 1977b 72dpi 560 wide 2citroen 1977 72dpi 560 widecitroen mechanical 1977 72 dpi 560 widecitroen baby 1977 72 dpi 560 wideGraham Ford, Citroen 'Roof', Paul Arden, -01


GRAHAM: The ‘Looks aren’t everything’ ad is the old ‘mechanical’, probably made with Letraset and a scalpel. I don’t have a proof.

DAVE: I can’t help but notice those weird angular shadows?
GRAHAM: Yes, that was Paul’s idea, he was very insistent that he wanted ‘square shadows’.

DAVE: Who was the best Art Director you worked with and why?
GRAHAM: I could not say, I worked with so many talented art directors.
Bob Isherwood, Rob Morris, Alan Waldie, Neil Godfrey, Paul Arden, John Horton, Ron Brown, Nigel Rose, Cathy Heng, and many others.
They had great ideas, and knew what they wanted.
Graham Ford, Direction back cover, Dave Horry-01
DAVE: I wouldn’t have guessed this was one of yours Graham?

GRAHAM: Yes, Dave was quite resistant to appearing as nature intended. This was commissioned by Roland Schenk, a very influential designer who had adventurous tastes in photography. I was experimenting with spots and mirrors at the time, and used them for the scaly effect.

DAVE: I presume Irving Penn was your hero?
GRAHAM: One of them. Also Lester Bookbinder.
I asked him once who had had the greatest influence on him; he replied:  ‘Penn, Penn, Penn, and ….err… Penn.’
I think Lester was in a class of his own, but he was mostly doing commercials when I was working.
White Horse 'Neat'
DAVE: Totally agree, I love Bookbinder’s stuff.
But not being a photographer, I just don’t get why they have some magical thing about them, most of the shots are terribly simple set ups on white backgrounds.

How did he do that?
GRAHAM: I wish I knew. First he must have believed it to be possible. How do you get a horse to stand still like that, and to look down a little, no, slightly to the left, with one eye towards camera?
While the people are all doing their part but without looking static.
Maybe it was all done on a dye transfer or in retouching.
Graeme Norways, the art director, would know.
I remember Ron Collins telling me about a shoot for Clark’s shoes with Lester, eight women in a line doing the can-can. Lester said to Ron, “I can only watch five at once, you take the three on the left.” 

DAVE: Who else inspired you?
GRAHAM: So many: Bill Brandt, I loved his use of black, and extreme perspective, drawing you in and making you wonder what was going on in there.
A good picture makes you think, and to want to look at it again and again.
It does not give everything to you all at once.

brandt ear brandt arm smaller file
DAVE: Someone told me you shot Bill Brandt’s collages?
GRAHAM: That’s right, there’s a book, it’s rather rare, ‘Bill Brandt. The Assemblages’.
I have one copy.
In later life Bill made some collages/assemblages and made some black & white photos of them.
I photographed all of those that were left, in colour in 1993, in collaboration with Zelda Cheatle,
the publication has notes by Adam Lowe. 

Despite what you may read elsewhere, all the colour photographs are by me. (The black and white ones are by Brandt.)
It was beautifully printed, but in very small numbers, about 1000 I think or may be 2000.
Highly collectible.Bill Brandt: Graham Ford - Assemblages

DAVE: Ok, more names, any other influences?
GRAHAM: Well, Edward Weston,
weston pepper weston tina                                                                        Paul Strand,
strand car


Phil Marco,
marco pour marco beer
and Penn.

irving-penn-frozen-foods Irving Penn - Mozzarella
Man Ray,
man ray handsman ray drops
and Hans Feurer.

hans fuerer
I also drew inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci,
and Beethoven.
I enjoy science and art, they both involve observation, understanding, questioning, experimenting, inventing.
I always listen to music when I am working.Graham Ford, JVC-01

DAVE: Was this done for real?
GRAHAM: The agency had complaints about this one, how could we be so cruel?
Needless to say it was retouched. We shot the fish, and the fin was attached to a model.
The two images were then put together on the computer.olive 72 dpi 560 wideDAVE: Did you prefer a tight or an open brief?
GRAHAM: I always saw the layout as a starting point, often a point of departure.
Most art directors could draw very well, and knew what they wanted, but not always how to achieve it, a sketch with a black felt tip pen could show the idea without being prescriptive.
Art directors usually wanted some input from me if it helped to put across their idea.
In later years this happened less, as clients had more control; briefs and layouts became tighter and more finished, I would sometimes be given a finished illustration and asked to recreate it on film!
I usually worked with an art director in the studio, the composition had to work within a layout with just the right amount of space for copy and headlines.
Sometimes art directors would turn up for a few minutes, make a comment and leave again; still life photography is not much of a spectator sport.
Much of my work was a collaboration often involving model makers and background artists too, such as Gordon Aldred.
The best art directors were often the most demanding and wanted to break new ground in some way.
When shooting
looser briefs, such as those for Silk Cut and Benson & Hedges, I had the luxury of spending one week or more on one picture, so I could try anything I wanted.
Unlike today, the picture would usually be a few sheets of 10 x 8 film hopefully with little or no retouching needed.
I rarely shot variations, the art director and I would make a decision and follow it through to the end.
footpump nologoDAVE: You turned down a lot of work?
GRAHAM: Yes, hard to believe today.
If I felt I could not do a good job, or had been chosen for the wrong reasons I might turn it down, I often had more work than I could manage, as I was quite slow and rarely found it easy.

I preferred to do what I was good at, but on the other hand you never know what you are capable of until you try.
Graham Ford, Atora 'Spotted', CDP-01 Graham Ford, Atora 'Dumplings', CDP-01 Graham Ford, Atora 'Pudding' CDP-01DAVE: Which English photographers inspired you in the early days?
GRAHAM: As a teenager in the sixties I used to devour the Sunday colour supplements which had some great photography: both editorial and advertising.
The ads never credited the photographers, but Adrian Flowers,
B&H Surreal 'Hotel Door'-01
Lester Bookbinder
Lester Bookbinder, Chivas 'Someone Elser', DDB-01

and Tony May come to mind, there must have been many others.
B&H Gold Box 'Panning' CDP-01
DAVE: What ad were you most pleased with?
GRAHAM: B&H ‘Goldfish’, ‘Ants’, ‘Magnet’, ‘Gold Pour’, the first Silk Cut, Absolut ‘Rome’, Levi’s ‘Horse’.
I also like a very early one for Holsten Pils, all done in camera, no retouching. Graham Ford, Hosten 'Shaddow'
Also, I shot a blue envelope for Paul, I think it got me a lot of work.
He asked for a print of it, so I spent two weeks making a 2 meter wide cyanotype (a blueprint), the largest contact print I ever did.envelope cyanotype 72 dpi 560 wide
I was pleased with many pictures for Absolut Vodka, again all done for real, in-camera.
Graham Ford - Absolut ParisGraham Ford, Absolut 'Rome' Graham Ford, Absolut 'Milan' _20224_5_15b81ef20de718ba95e8bad9485d5bfaGraham Ford, Absolut 'Madrid Graham Ford, Absolut 'Swiss'
DAVE: The Absolut Geneva ad would be drawn today, it would be perfect but wouldn’t feel as expensive as this. Great model.

GRAHAM: One of my brothers is a clockmaker, he made the bottle, one half an inch long. The jewell was put in on the computer.Graham Ford, B&H 'Pour, CDP
DAVE: How was this shot?

GRAHAM: It was tricky. The gold was a model by Matthew Wurr, placed on glass and shot from below to avoid any reflections in the glass. b and h saw 72 dpi 560 widebh_ants-1
BH-Goldfish-Studio-sprks   BH-Goldfish-Polaroid-1050113-sprks BH-Goldfish-Polaroid-1050114-sprksBH-Goldfish-Polaroid-1050115-sprksBH-Goldfish-Graham-Ford-sprksb&h cat 560 wide higher resparker pencil greyer 72 dpi 560 wideparker dull 720dpi 560 wide
Graham Ford, Cinzan 'Stairs'
DAVE: I think Paul Arden is the best Art Director Britain has produced, what was he like to work with?
GRAHAM: A man of iron whim! These are not my words but they are very apt.
He got the best out of people if they could get on with him.
He also gave me many opportunities to prove myself.
He held very strong views, but they could change at any time.

DAVE: You did the first Silk Cut ads for Paul, shooting a bit of silk looks easy, I bet it wasn’t?
GRAHAM: Paul had several photographers working on this for weeks.
I had to learn to shoot silk, how to dye it, cut it, light it, get the colour right.
It was easier after the first one.
To get the intense colour, Paul had the posters inked and printed twice, there was so much ink on them that they would not stick to the hoardings and started to peel at the joins.
 Graham Ford, First Silk Cutsilk fight back 72 dpi 560 widetin man1 72 dpi 560 widetin man 2 72dpi 560 widetin man3 72 dpi 560 wide
DAVE: How did you get that odd texture on the shower ad?
This was shot on a little known film, Polaroid 35mm instant transparency film. It was very grainy and had fine lines across it like a TV screen.
It also rendered the purple very well.
We wanted a degraded image as if it was  from a movie.
There is a myth that 48 sheet posters have to be shot on large format. They do not.
A well known photographer who shot on 35mm told me once that if the agency wanted a picture shot on large format, he would just copy it on to 5 x 4.
Graham Ford, Silk Cut - 'Shower', Saatchi
DAVE: You turned a lot of assistants into very good photographers, The School of Graham Ford.
David Thorpe worked for Bert Stern and Arnold Newman in the US, I worked for David, Jerry Oke and Eugenio Franchi worked for me, John Parker, Kevin Summers, worked for Jerry. Many others carry on a certain tradition and approach adding and adapting to it all the time.
David really understood advertising, having worked at DDB in New York .
For him great advertising photography was the expression of a great idea, it can be self indulgent and often meaningless out of that context.
The family tree is quite extensive, I am proud to be part of it.
I think we have all been willing to share ideas and techniques, I have no time for secrecy.
Graham Ford, Levi's 'Sumo' levihorse 72 dpi 560 wideGraham Ford, Levi's 'Turban'
DAVE: Ever tempted to move into commercials?
GRAHAM: I tried a few times, I think one commercial I co-directed even won an award in an obscure category at Cannes! but it was not for me.
I am very bad at delegating.merc stree 72 dpi 560 wide
DAVE: I can’t help noticing how shiny cars were back in the seventies and eighties?
GRAHAM: I always asked for dark cars, for that reason.Graham Ford, BMW 'Objects', WCRS-01bmw bananas 72 dpi 560 wide
DAVE: Did you meet your photography heroes, like Penn?.
GRAHAM: No, though I attended talks by Elliot Erwitt and Richard Avedon.
They were totally professional, even when giving a lecture, I later thought they probably wanted to let people know that they were still approachable and available for work.
DAVE: Who were your rivals?
GRAHAM: In the sense I think you mean, I only admired pictures, not photographers. Anyone who takes risks has a mixture of success and failure.
There were many very good photographs published in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
I think it was a Golden Age for advertising.
Ken Griffiths,
ken freud and bernard
Pete Lavery,
Peter Lavery - Marlboro'
Rolph Gobits,
Rolph Gobits, Audi 'Performs', BBH-01
Norman Parkinson,
Norman Parkinson - Upskirt
Peter Lavery,
Lavery Yawalapiti-with-speared-fish-copy-2-576x720
and Brian Griffin,
they were not rivals, but I admired their work.
There were too many to mention that I did compete with in the UK, look at the D&AD annuals.
Also Daniel Jounneau
Silk Cut 'Scissor Ribbon' Saatchi's-01
and Francois Gillet in Europe.
Daniel Jounneau 'Can-Can'
I thought Nadav Kander did some remarkable work too.
Nadav Kander - Neiman-Marcus-Art-of-Fashion-Fall-2014-Soo-Joo-Park-Nadav-Kander-2
DAVE: Why do your pictures still look more sumptuous than most photographs today?
GRAHAM: Spending a week or more on a picture, weeks of model making and planning, 10×8 film, a handpicked group of talented people, decisions made by individuals not committees .
Film is an attractive medium in itself.
There is a magic, an alchemy, in the interplay between light, lens and film.
I may be wrong about this, but I guess Photoshop was derived from the techniques used in making animated films, so you have layers which are overlaid on each other.
Film does not work like that, black is an absence of light, it does nothing to the film,
film reacts only to light, not to dark.
I would leave the shutter open for five or ten minutes or more, adding one image on top of another in the dark. I don’t think you can really do that in the same way with digital cameras.Graham Ford - Dot 2 Graham Ford - Dot 1 Graham Ford - Dot 3
I may be wrong, but I think some of Brian Griffins’ images would not be possible with a digital camera.
I am fairly sure that mine would not, though there may be new developments that I am not aware of.unnamed-1

DAVE: The colours seem denser, the blacks seem blacker?BH_MAGNETGRAHAM: I used to make very contrasty transparencies, “Chromes to weld by” as Dave Christensen said. They looked better in my portfolio.
pepsi038 560 wide
When computers came in, the first thing some retouchers would do was lighten all the shadows.
I was surprised when I saw some of Lester’s transparencies, how flat they were, but they printed beautifully.
barclaycard office 72 dpi 600 wide
DAVE: Model making vs CGI?
GRAHAM: I have seen CGI images that are almost completely convincing.
It is an interesting area, because I think it has the potential to be rigorously accurate, if one person could have ultimate control over the whole image.
Once you start drawing and making things up, I think you would often be better off with an illustration.
You really have to know what you are doing to be a good illustrator.unnamed-2 mail snake 560 wide
DAVE: Do you think digital technology has helped photography?
Experimenting is now easier, but I see less of it?
GRAHAM: It must be good that anyone now can take a photograph and produce a usable image with little skill or forethought.
I expect many imaginative people are using photography in new and adventurous ways.
On the down side, it is a less exacting process, there is less at stake, it is easy to be lazy.
It is also fairly easy to make very complex images using Photoshop, but so many of these are meaningless or unconvincing.
I always felt the power of photography lay in its basic reality.
Of course the camera has always lied, but it lied convincingly. I can never really believe in an obviously digitally manipulated image

To paraphrase Henry Wolf: Photography has the power to make an object or person seem unique, beautiful or ugly, thoughtful or desirable beyond its mere physical existence.

DAVE: What keeps you busy at the moment?
GRAHAM: These, silver vessels, each raised from a disc by hammering.Graham Ford, Silver 5 Graham Ford, Silver 4 Graham Ford, Silver 3 Graham Ford, Silver 1 Graham Ford, Silver 2
DAVE: Do you collect them, shoot them or make them?
GRAHAM: Making, just for fun.
DAVE: Amazing, they look great, thanks for sharing them Graham. 















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.
John is the most junior person credited in D&AD on this Volkswagen ad, so I assume it’s his idea?

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.


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.

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
(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.

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.

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.

“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.

With photographer Lucinda Lambton for McVities.
John Knight, McVities 'Grandfather Clock' John Knight, McVities 'Clock'
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.