VFTL. Episode 3: Peter Souter.

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

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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

WCRS.


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'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

CREATIVE DIRECTOR.
'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

TBWA.kids-should-drinkware-sean-doyle-paul-belford-tbwa



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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

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.

IN-CAMERA 6: Barney Edwards.

“Question why anyone would be interested in this picture?
What should be excluded or 
included to make it a better picture?”
– Barney Edwards.

Barney Edwards, Direction front cover-01
DAVE: Where did you grow up?
BARNEY: In my head, on the road, to a soundtrack.
04:00 Pre- Dawn. Sinai Desert. Cold. Dark. The door of our tin roofed Nissan hut thrown open wide.
Shoal, a massive, Romanian-Israeli Army Dive Master towered over us, in Buddy Holly specs, accompanied by his growling Alsatian bitch.
Shouting in broken English and Israeli.

When Shoal shouted you jumped …‘English ….you will report to the dive centre at five.
If you’re late you fail.
Any kit missing you fail.
Any kit malfunction you fail.
Any mistakes today you fail.’
The moon outside the left open door shone bright white in the blue black sky – as we went down to the waterline I was listening to my Walkman…Sultans of Swing.

Before that, Jesuit boarding school, from the age of seven.
Cut to an angry father, face twisted in sadness and fury.
Waving the letter expelling me from school.
His son was a hopeless case they said ‘This boys demeanour and attitude could only be described as consistently, constantly totally agin’ the government!’
Another brick in the wall…

From then on, I was on the run from the men in black.
Instead I read books, like ‘The Outsider’ by Colin Wilson.
It changed my life. My image making too.
My life became a journey.
The camera my passport.
I read ‘On the Road’ by Kerouac and went off exploring worlds and music…like Jimi on a Walkman.

Reading, I studied history, art and life.
Movies made me question things…

I learned early; if you want to learn, keep movin’, journeys are the key.
Changing landscapes unveil knowledge and photo opportunities.
Sony Walkman affected the images. Orchestrating the soundtrack to the road movie of my life on the road.

A camera is an excuse to be somewhere you don’t belong.
Mixing sound and vision seeds different ways of interacting with the world.
In the film clip below, sound and vision explore the psychic space I grew in.
Many of the ‘anthem’ – sound tracks to Vietnam came from London.

I slip films and music tracks in because words alone wouldn’t give the full context of my creative ‘growing up’, some software would be missing.
Things had an edge back then – an honesty and an excitement.

Things felt new then – I guess because much of it was.

Life has a soundtrack.
Stop and listen long enough, you hear it.
Music was the back beat of the culture I found myself in.
The era was noisy, visually original and adventurous.

Morphing into mixes of images, sounds, t.v. and film experiences and memes like … ‘All You Need Is Love’.
Media washed over our senses.
I became fascinated by media .
Advertising was a new frontier of communications.
Stills photography defined the time, with a new breed of young photographers, mainly working class, anti-establishment types with notable record collections, played on serious, fuck off stereo systems to create a studio’s ambiance.

A good assistant organised the music, mixing an ‘atmos’ track capturing the feel of the time.
Working in that world encouraged me to mix, words, images and music. Symbiotically. Leading to me becoming a film maker.

DAVE: When did you take your first picture?
BARNEY:
 
On a Graphics course.
The lecturer said Instead of drawing badly, maybe you should shoot pictures?’
He gave me a beaten up old Praktika.
He set the shutter speed, F stop and loaded the film for me,  then sent me out to wander the streets, and off I went to point, focus, shoot and keep moving.
It turned me into a ‘reportage’ photographer.
The first day I shot an ugly, slavering Bull Dog jumping a back-yard fence to bite me.
Next, runny-nosed street urchins wearing short trousers and dirty shoes.
They’d pinched some old mattresses from a rubbish tip and were piling them up outside a derelict building, then they jumped onto them from a broken second floor window. Fearless!

The lecturer looked at the contact sheet, scratched his grey head and said ‘There’s
nothing here that relates to your course work?’
‘What was out there was more interesting’ I said.
He smiled and said ‘Aha! So you’re a seeker of truth then?’


DAVE: Did you switch to a photography course?
BARNEY: There wasn’t a photography course, but they did have a dark room.
That wise old lecturer taught me how to use a camera, how to shoot process and print pictures.
All in his own time.
A gift.

Until I was fired, again, for not concentrating on the graphics.
Education and I never saw eye to eye.
I left school with no paper-work to show my passage.
But that teacher did his job well.
‘No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.’ John Keating – ‘Dead Poets Society.’
I left the old guy’s tutelage with a life changing skill.
He changed my life.

DAVE: What was your first, non-photography job?
BARNEY: When I was a teenager they had a ‘means test’, for students applying for further education.
I applied to Art School, but my Father’s income was too large for me to be eligible for a grant.

He was Ex-Royal Navy, and didn’t want me at Art School rubbing shoulders with a bunch of ‘pansy nancy boys!’.
So he wouldn’t pay.

I left home.
It was summer, so I bought a tent; and went to live on the river bank on the

outskirts of town, near a large Courtauld’s factory.
Courtaulds Factory:Barney Edwards

The chimneys of chemical factories get clogged, with all that waste that
gathers at the end of flues. Each day the ‘heavy gang’ climbed the towers to jackhammer off the build up, it was like concrete.
I joined the ‘heavy gang’, we shovelled and pushed wheel barrows full of chemical waste along the tunnels, tipping them into huge steel buckets. The buckets of this warm sloppy mess were then lifted onto dumper trucks, waiting above ground.
We were the highest paid labour in the factory.
It was dangerous.
I still carry the scars.
But in one summer I made enough to live on for the next couple of terms.
At the end of that summer I got myself a bed sit and never lived at home again.

DAVE: How did you switch from news agency photography to high-end commercial work?
BARNEY: I was on the road, working freelance for a London News Agency, and anyone else who’d have me. A wandering hippy with a camera, looking for adventure, a ‘Rider of the storm’.
I met a lady in London, fell in love and gave up my wandering ways, but it left it’s mark.
I went to work in a mail order catalogue studio in the West End.
Shooting all kinds of people and products.
It taught me how to light subjects in the studio – or on location.
Using large format plate cameras, shooting 5×4 and 10×8 sheets of film.
Learning enough about flash photography and large format work to get a job as a ‘pro’
assistant to a ‘trendy’ London photographer in a posh St John’s Wood studio.
I took a drop in pay to get the job.
But I was doing the ‘arty’ stuff that was now my goal.
Fleet St and Mail Order work were about as low as you could go as a commercial
photographer, except being a wedding photographer.

DAVE: Who was that trendy photographer you assisted?
BARNEY: Ray Rathborne, I assisted him 
for about three years.
He was famous at the time for his b&w work for the Salvation Army and Regent petrol.
Ray Rathborne 'Salvation Army'
Regent Petrol, Ray Rathbone
 

His big claim to fame was he had worked for Hiro in the States.
Guys who worked as assistants in New York brought back priceless knowledge.

This was the beginning of my learning real photography from someone actually ‘doin’ it’,
advertising and fashion work in London.
Learning about Hasselblad and Nikon, studio flash, fashion and beauty lighting,
and the politics of handling V.I.P’S.

DAVE: Was it fun?
BARNEY: FLASH BACK :

06:00. Hampshire.
On location for Tatler.

Debbie Condon and Pauline Stone. Top models stylish in diaphanous crepe dresses by Ossie Clark.
Coal black dark mascara eyes.
Glowing red wet lips selling sex to the uber-trendy Tatler magazine.
Pauline Stone: Classic English beauty.
Married to Laurence Harvey, the rich English heart throb who starred with Sinatra in ‘The Manchurian Candidate.’
Pauline Stone

Debbie Condon: Daughter of Richard Condon, American diplomat turned writer, who wrote ‘The Manchurian Candidate’.
Debbie Condon

They were confident, socialite, sophisticates. ‘Debs.’
Sunbathing their way through cocktail drenched summers in the Hamptons.
Maybe sometimes guests at the White House.

Meanwhile things were changing in the image making department, with the appearance of Bailey’s working class macho black leather bickers jacket, white t-shirt and cowboy boots.
Long haired.
Promiscuous.
As obviously heterosexual as the fashion photographers of the past had been homosexual.

Ray was all that.
Working class.
Good looking.
Confident.
Ladies fluttered in front of his camera.
Being cool was part of his job!Like it was theirs to be sexy.
He was good and knew it.
We knew it too.
Back then you knew who was good and why, t
here were fewer pretenders, everyone had ‘done their time.’
Ray was a walking fashion statement; burgundy red Italian crushed velvet bell bottoms from Browns. turquoise buckled rhinestone cowboy belt.
Black leather 
Cuban heel cowboy boots.
Finished off with an expensive, finely knitted black 
cashmere Missoni top; and a haircut from Leonards.
Shooting fast on a Hasselbad.
Using a very sharp,150mm Carl Zeiss lens.
Mounted on a gleaming silver American Tiltal tripod.

(Anyone who was anyone had a silver Tiltal from New York. Like a Zippo lighter or a Rolex watch. It set the bar.)
The voice soft, smokey and seductive ‘Lovely Darlin’… O.K… Come, show me…Show me…Let’s see what you’ve got…I want to really feel you!’
I reloaded the camera eight times on the first set up.
Eight rolls of 400 ASA 120 Kodak American Tri-X film.
400TX Film-01
Rated at 800 ASA to increase the film grain, giving that glowing ethereal feel you got from American Tri-X. (Imported at great expense.)
Fast camera reloads in the field were tense.
Everyone waiting for the assistant, but it had to be done well, otherwise things went ‘reels o’ cotton’ inside the camera; and it chewed up the film.
Then you got fucking screamed at! Fired even.
Behind your back, the hairdresser and make up artist fidget next to the aloof Fashion Editor, irritated by the hold up.
This necessary nuisance, and the 
stupid boy’ kneeling and sweating over the camera. (In this case me.)
Short Mary Quant hair style.
Thin.
Good legs, shown off by a short mini.
Very self confident.
On that shoot the fashion editor was the famous ‘Grace’, Grace Coddington, (Left), forerunner of Anna Wintour, (Right), 
Laid back from a distance, uptight up close.

Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour_1 *
Now here’s the thing, before Polaroid you couldnt see what you were doing, except through the viewfinder, and that didnt tell you much about the quality.
This induced a paranoia driven need to see the pictures from each day, as 
you went along.

At the end of a day on location the assistant had to process 16 to 18 rolls of film every night and make sheets of contact printsfrom all the negs.
About five hours work.
Every morning the Photographer and the Fashion Editor would go through the previous day’s work.
Choosing two, three or more images for the assistant to make rough prints of that night.
Adding another two hours print work.
Plus, at the end of the print run, 
the assistant would have to to make the darkroom sparkling clean again. Like a laboratory.
Every day the darkroom work increased.
No overtime, it was just expected, you just did it.
As the sun went down at seven we set off back to London.
Back at the studio by around eight.

The Photographer wishes me good night, taking the girls and the Fashion Editor off to dinner in a smart restaurant in St Johns Wood, near the studio.
For me, the hardest part of the day began then, no sleep, because come the dawn we were back out on location again.
It was like that for the following three or four days.
Once a job was over, I’d sleep.
This university of life was a hard road.
Once, on a job, I accidentally crashed Ray’s Mini Cooper S, he deducted the repairs from my tiny salary, in weekly instalments.
It was only when I left to set up on my own I realised I had no idea of how you run a business.
I didn’t even know how much Ray was paid a day.

DAVE: What was the first image someone paid you to produce?
BARNEY: Debbie Condon, the American model, sold the Evening Standard on the idea of her being shot naked wearing a string vest, so she could market them. (She’d bought a job lot at an Army Surplus Store in London.)
She paid me £20 to shoot and print the pictures.

DAVE: Who’s Vic Pinto?
BARNEY: An Italian American who served in the Marine Corps.
An interesting guy in a Burberry trench coat. (The ‘American in Paris ‘ style I loved.)
He taught me how to shoot quality commercial work as if I’d been trained in New York.
He’d worked for Howard Zieff and Zieff was a God.
Zieff shot the original Levy’s bread campaign for DDB.
DDB, Howard Zieff 'Levy's Rye 'Chinese Guy'
DDB, Howard Zieff 'Levy's Rye 'Black Boy'
a9d6e9544eff7342dda1f4759a5d05a7

That poster campaign was the beginning of advertising photography as a genre.
Those pictures have an incredible purity, clarity and style.
It’s born out of the lensing and lighting.
Even today, look at a copy of a copy of a copy on the net, and the quality shows through. It’s the lighting.

In those days being a photographers assistant in the U.S. was a full time job, people got mortgages and brought up kids on it.
Eventually, Zieff was doing more tv than stills, so Vic moved to London and set up a studio, just off Leather Lane.
My agent put Vic and I together.
I was working a lot for Neil Godfrey, and others at CDP, DDB and BBDO, so I needed a place to work out of.
I worked out of Vic’s for four years.
It was amazing.
It was like the studio had been picked up in New York and dropped down in London.
U.S. style down to the real coffee and white U.S. Navy china ‘Submariners mugs.’
Vic had every bit of quality camera gear known to man; 35mm Nikon, 120 Hasselbad, 5×4″ Sinar, 10×8″ Deerdorf, the best lenses and a brilliant darkroom.
I thought I could print well, Vic taught me otherwise.
The real treasure were the lights he purpose built, bespoke for each shot, which he taught me how to do.
Zieff taught his assistants to construct extraordinary 20ft long, 8ft high strobe lighting banks, fronted with a massive tracing paper screen. So big you could walk around inside.
One powerful strobe light bounced into a magnified mirror 
pointed into the back wall, creating soft light – with contrast. A concept Zieff borrowed from his pal Irving Penn.
It was the New York way.
It was about understanding repro, Vic taught me that.
He knew it well, showing me how to light and shoot for different end uses, from posters to newspapers to magazines, all using different papers and inks.
More than a decade working with a master makes you special.
Vic was a master, and he shared what Howard Zieff had shared with him.
Believing in the relay race of knowledge, of craft, passed generation to generation.
What Vic taught gave me a work ethic and skills that people here lacked, it put me ahead in the game.
I got into shooting people in the studio because Vic taught me.
Barney Edwards, Edward Boothe-Clibborn, Direction Magazine
He taught me to consider Norman Rockwell’s illustrations as layouts, showing how to build and choreograph visual set pieces, where each character and object advances the narrative.
Vic helped me tap into New York’s creativity .
Vic Pinto’s Studio was a piece of the Big Apple in London.
I was lucky, the university of life gave me riches.

DAVE: Who’s the best Art Director you’ve worked with?
BARNEY: Jeez that’s a tough one, there were so many.
Alan Waldie. Ron Brown. Stuart Baker. Alan Midgley. Tony Kaye. Graham Fink. Malcolm. Gaskin. Derrick Hass. Graham Watson. Peter Gibb. Paul Leeves. Martyn Walsh. David Icke. Andy Ageroo. Bob Marchant. Mike Reynolds. Roland Schenk. John Merriman, Bob Gabriel, John Horton. Gordon Smith. Ronnie Turner. Mitch Walker, Bob Isherwood, Nigel Rose. Ian Potter. Bill Atherton. Bob Miller. Brian Stewart, Max Forsythe. John O’Driscol. John Hegarty. Ron Collins. Damon Collins. Fergus Fleming. Dave Christiansen. Dave Waters …and quite a few more who slip the mind.

All of whom I’m grateful to.Barney Edwards, B&H 'Stage', CDP-01DAVE: That’s more of a list than an answer Barney. Name one?
BARNEY: It would have to be a tie between Neil Godfrey and Paul Arden.

Two of the greatest Art Directors in the history of British Advertising.
They had a massive influence on my life and work.
Neil’s a Sensei, his focus; pure Art Direction. Pragmatic. A purist. Unsurpassed in that.
Paul was a Ninja, there was nothing he was not ready to tackle; typography, design, photography, copywriting, film or illustration.
A man driven by instinct and much outward passion.

DAVE: The correct answer was actually Paul Arden.
BARNEY: We called him ‘Paul Hard On!’ or just ‘Ard On.’

Tim Mellors called him ‘the madman in the pin striped suit!’
His mantra could’ve been If I don’t kill you I will make you stronger.’

But Saatchi’s was one of the best agency’s in the world, and Paul one of the best Creative
Directors.
When we worked together there I was a top photographer.
Paul would call me up with an idea.
Just the thought, no headline.

He used to say ‘People don’t read words, they read pictures.’

DAVE: I love the Silk Cut work you did together, particularly ‘Birds’.
BARNEY: New legislation meant cigarette ads couldn’t feature people, so

Paul turned to still lives, surreal images, set in odd landscapes.
They were like puzzles, people would stare at them as they struggled to get the meaning.
Mission accomplished!
Barney Edwards - Silk Cut Birds_5X4BE
I remember Paul phoning me ‘I want birds in a nest, baby birds being fed a sliver of purple silk by mother bird… the purple silk like it’s a worm. Okay? Only thing; the birds beaks are all scissors. What d’you think?’
I said ‘Yeah, sounds good Paul, got a layout ?’
‘You don’t need one, you know all the different formats, just shoot it please Barney, I need it in about a week.’
At various stages in development, I’d take the latest art work up to Charlotte Street and we’d row, he’d splutter in anger over some tiny detail.
I’d leave, do a bit more work and come back, leave, do a bit more work and come back,  
slowly he’d be spluttering more with pleasure than anger, although, always pushing the envelope.
He’d change his mind a lot, but in the end it would be great.
He had a magic ‘eye.’
He had soul.

Barney Edwards, Daily Mail, 'Telly', Saatchi's-01
He knew how to get the best out of an image, page, poster or you.

Take the Daily Mail ad.
He rings up and says ‘I want a poster for the Mail; A guy reading the paper by the light of the telly, I need to see the name…and I want style.’
He sent a junior to the shoot.
Clever, his lack of presence put us on our metal.
The agency may have had Saatchi & Saatchi on the door, but to photographers, illustrators, and directors, it was Paul’s shop.

He’s a seminal part of the history of British advertising
When I’m stumped I often reach for one of his books ‘It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be’ or ‘Whatever You Think Think The Opposite’.
They kick start my thought process. Like; ‘The problem with making sensible decisions is so is everyone else, making safe decisions is dull, predictable and leads nowhere new.’Unsafe’ decisions take you to places others only dream of.’
Paul’s words live on.
When I read one of his books I remember what a gift it was to call him friend.
He was a Last Mohican standing, a real loss in these politically correct ‘don’t rock the boat’ times.

DAVE: Didn’t he challenge you to make a good shot out of something boring?
BARNEY: That’s right, it was the last time I saw him.
He’d asked me to lunch at his Gentleman’s club.
Resplendent in a smart pinstriped, Jermyn St suit with flamboyantly art directed pocket handkerchief and tie. (We used the same tailor.)
Barney Edwards, Judging*jpg-01
Half way through the lunch he reached into his inside pocket, he pulled out his cheque book and with an enormous Monte Blanc fountain pen, wrote a cheque, it was for over a grand.
He passed it across the table.
I looked at it. Puzzled.

He raised his glass ‘I want my own Barney Edwards, one that belongs only to me, not to an agency or a client, one that’s all mine, and it had better be good!’
‘Of what?’ I asked. 
‘I don’t know, anything? You can make anything interesting…even a matchstick, don’t you think?’
W
e drank a toast together.
Sometime later, I was in Johannesburg, there had been a torrential rain storm, I lit a cigarette and dropped the match on wet stone. I saw a defining moment. I shot it. Barney Edwards - match_stick_IMG_6036

I prepared the image ready to send to Paul, I hadn’t spoken to him for months.
I contacted my retoucher to organise an art print in London.
There was a silence, then he said ‘Sorry mate I thought you knew; Paul died ten days ago.’
He never told me he was ill.
I owe him a career…and a print.
I’ll see him in the next life I hope.
I heard he had my picture of Nelson Mandela blown up big, hanging on the wall of his Eaton Square dining room.  A great compliment.
But that wasn’t what he’d given me the money for, I still owed him an image.
Barney Edwards Nelson Mandela
DAVE: Did you get to talk to Mandela?
BARNEY: Sadly not, I was too busy taking his picture , you only get seconds, and security is tight.
We shook hands.
Briefly greeted each other, and became ships that passed in the bright sunlight.
Only I took a little bit of him with me.
When I worked with the ANC  I heard a great Madiba story.
When the Robin Island Prison Guards came to take him out somewhere , they walked at a certain pace either side of him. Setting the pace.
He would only walk at his own,  slower pace-  and they hated him for it.
But then, he had all the time in the world. They didn’t.
In the end – they’re time ran out.

DAVE: Who was your first photography hero?
BARNEY: Robert Capa.
Actually, Capa and Bresson, they were my biggest influences, not just their images, their words really resonated. 
I carry their meaning wherever, forever.

They gave me a process, the meaning of good photography, helped me map out a way of life.
‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough’ – Robert Capa.
Robert Capa 'Shot Spanish Soldier'

When I read Hemingway’s ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ I realised I needed adventure in my life.
To live.
To explore.

To travel to other lands, where other folk teach you who you are.
Vulnerability gives us self knowledge, bringing with it humility.
That affects your work.
GTY_robert_capa_5_nt_131022
Hemingway had a buddy; Robert Capa. (Left.)
Like Hemingway’s pen, Capa’s camera takes us close to reality.
‘The war correspondent has his stake, his life, in his own hands and he can put it on this horse or that horse, or he can put it back in his pocket at the very last minute. I am a gambler.
I decided to go in with Company E in the first wave.’
Robert Capa: Beach
Robert Capa on D-Day. Blurry, not quite sharp, grainy, but a vision so powerful Speilberg nicked it for Private Ryan.
It’s a moment of essential truth. Captured forever.
‘Capa has proved beyond all doubt that the camera need not be a cold mechanical device. Like the pen, it is as good as the man who uses it. It can be the extension of mind and heart’ – John Steinbeck.
That’s the polar opposite of ‘The flag at Surabatchi, Iowa Jima.’

flag at Surabatchi. Iowa Jima 2
An orchestrated P.R. Dept set up.
A fiction.
You can tell it’s 
choreographed, a heroic propaganda image for the military industrial complex.
It’s an ad.

The two images taught me much about photography.
It’s not the camera that lies, it’s the man behind it.
My other early influence was Henri Cartier-Bresson and his search for ‘the decisive moment.’
A man of few words, that say it all.
But those few words probably had as much impact on the history of photography as any of his images. Bresson was a thinker.
Photography needs thinkers as much as it does instinctive ingénue’s.
‘There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture.
Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.
That is the moment the photographer is creative.
Oops! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.’Sunday on the Banks of the River Seine, 1938
‘Be patient. Travel. Stick to one lens.‘
‘Always strive for more.’
‘Don’t crop. See the world like a painter.’
Cartier-Bresson-e-i-bambini

‘Focus on geometry. Be unobtrusive. Take photos of children.’

DAVE: Anyone else?
BARNEY: Penn.

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.” — Irving Penn.

Irving Penn - Piasso In Hat'
Irving-Penn-At Work
Spot the silver Tiltal tripod.
And the Rollieflex fixed lens camera. (Usually with a 50 or 80 mm lens.)
Penn was IT!
For me he was The Man.

Avedon.
Richard-avedon 'marlene-dietrich-turban-by-dior-the-ritz-paris-1955

Avedon is amazing clarity, showing more than you could ever see with your own eye.
Then he breaks that style into blur.
Like the Malcolm X image. He’s technique; driven by narrative.Richard Avedon 'Malcolm X'

Salgado.
If it’s ‘Art’ in reportage, then it has to be Salgado.
Sebastiao Salgado:Dave Dye
salgado-serrapelada-jpg

Albert Watson.
He ‘writes’ people with his camera.
albert-watson 'Geisha'
Albert Watson_Mick Jagger Leopard

Arthur Tress.
Like Roger Ballen, he lives on his own Solaris.
Arthur Tress photo boy in tv set boston 1972 Arthur Tress 'Street Hockey' NY

Helmut Newton.
A film maker with a stills camera.
He wasn’t afraid of anything.
Least of all being sexist.
He was a realist who created ‘real fantasies.’

“There must be a certain look of availability in the women I photograph, this sense of availability I find erotic.”
Colour blind Helmut Newton once joked that this difficulty was why he took good colour pictures;
‘I like the colours to be strong. I tell my printer that I want the photograph to look like a postcard, the sky’s got to be blue, the grass has got to be green’.
Helmut Newton -nadja_fashion_dolce__gabbana_american_vogue_monte_carlo_1995_high_and_mighty_auermann
‘There must be a certain look of availability in the women I photograph, this sense of availability I find erotic.’

Helmut Newton 'Raquel Welch'

Bailey.
It’s his honesty that shows in his work.
David Bailey 'Lennon & McCartney'
David Bailey 'Jean Shrimpton'

Winston O. Link.
The scale of his work represents the culture it describes.
As well as the unimaginable technical skill, he was brilliantly bonkers!
Winston O. Link and kit
He illuminates an American heartland.
Showing us what we have never seen before, nor will ever see again.
Amazing.Unique.
Winston O. Link 'Drive In'

Roger Ballen. 
An absolute original.
I worked with him for a while, he lives in what he describes as ‘the shadow chamber’; within his own mind.
Roger Ballen 'Tail'
Roger Ballen 'Captured'

Donovan. 
Witty, funny, clever and very, very sharp.
He was a working class intellectual as well as a man’s man.
He loved the mystery of women, which shows in his work. Terence Donovan 'celia-hammond'-photo-by-terence-donovan-london-1962
Donovan was a ‘bloke.’ We used to laugh a lot.
Terence Donovan 'Man Outside Court'

Don McCullin.
Not many men risk their lives for a good picture.
McCullin did.
That makes him a man among men.
A ‘true’ seeker of truth.
Don McCullin 'Staged body of Vietnamese Soldier'
‘Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.’ – Don McCullin.
Don McCullin 'Shot Man And Child'


DAVE: Do you prefer a tight brief or an open brief?
BARNEY: Frankly I don’t care.
They’re different sides of the same coin.
It’s the decisive moment when you trip the shutter that makes an image unique.
I simply need to have a clear idea of the expected narrative out take, that’s all.

Being a good printer helps me pre-visualise tonality through the camera, then I just need to choose the right equipment and lighting for the job.
Paul Arden told me he thought his being at a shoot might inhibit me, making me play to his gallery, and so not enter into my own labyrinth. Which after all was what he was paying me for. Neil didn’t spend that much time at shoots either.
Barney Edwards - Whistlers Mother, RGB-01

Barney Edwards - fruit_desert_wine_SL1 1 Barney Edwards - exotic_fruit_SL8Barney Edwards 1

DAVE: You took on a very open brief with Alexon?
BARNEY:
 Yeah, Donovan, Lategan, Parkinson and myself were asked to shoot the first work.
I think Lategan’s pictures were best.
Alexon, Barry Lategan, Paul Arden, Saatchi-01
Until they were bettered by Avedon the following year.
Paul Arden Alexon 'Avedon'-01
Terry took the £20,000 budget, booked a model and a suite in a Park Lane Hotel.
He shot for two days with cucumber sandwiches and ‘Parking sorted!’.
Paul Arden, Alexon 'Terence Donovan'-01
He also shot his own pictures on the back of it, for his book ‘Beady Mincers’. (Compare the ads to the pictures in his book; same girl, same apartment, different costume, just shot a little differently.
He only spent half the money and pocketed the rest.
But the work was good.
Whereas I spent a week in the studio, shooting on 5×4 against carefully Art Directed painted backdrops. Barney Edwards, Alexon, Paul Arden, Saatchi's-01
Went over budget and lost money on it.
My old lady back then was also my agent, she gave me a right ‘time is money’ kicking!
Afterwards, Terry bought me a coffee, winked, giving me that ‘you cunt!’ look!
He was London wide boy I was Northern Soul.
He taught me a lot.

DAVE: Do you have a style?
BARNEY: I am happy on the street, underwater, in a chopper, a posh or far away exotic location, in fair weather or foul.
I’m happy shooting with 35mm, 120, 5×4, 10×8, black & white, colour, Polaroid, digital, daylight, flash, tungsten/HMI or a flash HMI Daylight mix.  So…no, I don’t think I have a specific  ‘style’ – except I specialise in not specialising.
Although I’m missing a ‘personalised’ look and style in the work these days. It’s personality I miss in the pictures.
Its like someone stole the soul.
Total corporate control, political correctness and overuse of post have all played a part in dumbing down much of the personality, exploration and sense of adventure in commercial photography.
An agent recently looked at my work and said ‘I don’t know what you do…there are so many different styles here…you need to make it easy for me…specialise in one thing.’
I didn’t quite know what to say, why would I just want to shoot one thing?
Shooting the same thing again and again will diminish your ability to see things with a fresh eye.
Barney Edwards - Cumbria_England_BARNEY 1

Barney Edwards - Malcolm Gaskin 'Land Rover'-0134_Herdwicksheep_farmers_BARNEY
DAVE: Art Director Neil Godfrey was a kind of Godfather?
BARNEY: I shot this for Bob Isherwood at CDP, it won awards and changed my life.
Neil was Creative Director.
Barney Edwards Bonnington


I was lucky to begin my career working with Neil, he gave me a solid grounding in press advertising. Teaching with a gentle, sometimes sarcastic smile.
There was a quiet discipline in way he the looked at you, he had a way of making you feel naïve and a bit stupid for not ‘getting things.’
I’d make the tea, having worked out  that making the tea helped people form a good opinion of you.
I smiled years later when Paul suggested the same in one of his books; ‘THE P.G.TIP: Make tea. Make it often. Make it willingly. Influential people like it. It will give them a good opinion of you, and they will want to help you in return.’
Once I gave Neil a mug.
He looked at it for a moment, placed it on the table and went back to work without looking up again.
He just said ‘Too weak, make it about two stops darker.’
I took it away and made it stronger. It had to be perfect or not at all.
Without Neil’s grounding I would never have been ready for someone like Paul’s eccentric, sometimes aggressive approach.
I would not have been well-rounded enough to deal with Paul’s often capriciousness style, especially in film work, where things can get bloody.
People used to fight for what they believed in then. There was shouting!
Neil imbued me with a sense of patient calm under fire.
Barney Edwards - Mary Queen of Scots
DAVE: How? What specifically did you glean?
BARNEY: Many, many years ago we had a lunch, where everything he said made so much sense.
I can’t remember it word-perfect, but I remember the gist:
‘You need to learn things Barney.
People will pay you good money for your knowledge, for your taste and your sense of style.
The English establishment has never been known for its good taste.
Everyone admires good taste, especially Americans who often have great style, but also little taste. Good taste comes from craftsmen, tailors, shoemakers and all the other artisans and artists the upper classes look down upon, but are dressed by.
Look at the chintz and porcelain bric-a-brac in the average English country house, it says it all.
To be good you need to know about everything creative; food, wine, fashion, painting, literature, typography, film, music, theatre, the history of art and photography, everything!
You are going to get paid lots of money for being a ‘know all’, so best start knowing about things now. Lots of things.
And avoid politics, they get in the way and waste time.
Never allow yourself to be rushed, you’ll make mistakes… things take the time they take… always tell them they can have it quick… or right. Make it they’re choice or you will get blamed.
Walk quietly… but carry a big stick. Don’t use it, if you do you will have failed!’
As I get older, maybe I elaborate his advice into a mythology.
But he changed my life and it’s what I remember.

DAVE: Do you remember the first job he gave you?
BARNEY: One of them that springs to mind is the Parker Pens pitch.
I was only just starting out, what they termed back the a ‘young sprog’.
Still shooting in my front room in Muswell Hill, on an old 5×4 M.P.P. large format press camera.
I had a homemade soft box,
 open fronted, and I’d painted the wood white and sello-taped some tracing paper across the front. Inside was two dozen 60 watt light bulbs.
Anyway, he asked me if I could shoot these ‘still lives’  for him…properly, make them look good, for cost.
He said if the agency won the account he’d guarantee me the first year’s pictures.
They won and he was true to his word, in fact they gave me more than the first years work.
Shortly after, the same happened with a Barclay’s Bank pitch. Same deal. Again he kept his word.
Not only did I make more money than I ever thought possible, both campaigns won awards at D&AD.
My career was made.
Greatly helped by Neil Godfrey, not only an inspirational creative, but a man of his word.

81094rev17pic3

81094rev17pic3

42657abe500a10e40d663ebcb2a9b4ec
DAVE: What did Shots magazine mean when they described you as the ‘photographers photographer’?
BARNEY: That’s a tough one.
We never see ourselves as others see us.
I think it was a lot to do with my covering all the technical bases, due to my patchwork career. Like I said, I didn’t specialise. I did it all.
A ‘know all.’
35mm – 120/2 ¼ – 5×4 – 10x 8. All the different camera formats.
Hasselblad, Nikon, Pentax, Sinar, Mamiya, and Nikonos underwater cameras.
I’m an expert with all of them.Barney Edwards, 'Stonefield'-01
DAVE: You also had ‘Barney’s Army’.
BARNEY:  Three assistants, an art department, with a stylist and an agent, we moved in a convoy of vehicles with our own generator and catering.
Always with a solid four-wheel drive, a well kitted out three ton truck, tents for over the cameras and lights…oh, and an off-road motor bike.
I based the infra structure loosely on the army, who we worked with ‘in the field’ often.
Paul Gatt, who ran Ceta my colour Lab, would pass the word I was recruiting, He’d tell assistants not to show up if they didn’t want to join the marines.
When I was young I was aggressive, it was tough working for me.
I made it that way, to breed a sense of esprit d’core.
But I taught my assistants well.
 SCNVEN7RSCNVEN6 1
DAVE: Due to the wonders of paper technology, we can compare layouts you were given to the finished ads.
It’s particularly interesting to see how much some of the images change.
Today, a lot of layouts are locked down, they can’t evolve.
Barney Edwards, Johnnie Walker 'North Sea', TBWA, John Hegarty-01
BARNEY: Although the oil rig was the most important part of the ad, I thought it shouldn’t dictate how we shot the image, and so we decided to strip it in afterwards.
I thought it would be interesting to shoot the seascape by moonlight. I wasn’t sure it would work, but John Hegarty agreed that we should try.
I made the composition in daylight, then sat staring out of a tent for two long cold nights, shivering and waiting for something to happen.
Then the clouds drifted across the moon, diffusing the light, spreading it across the seascape.
It was a twenty or thirty minute time exposure, but the effect was perfect.
It was luck, good judgement and John’s calm agency confidence in backing what we were trying to do that made it happen.
Barney Edwards, Johnnie Walker 'North Sea', TBWA, John Hegarty *-01Barney Edwards, Blue Nun 'Blue Cliffs' Rough Saatchi*-01
BARNEY: I did a series for Blue Nun, things you’d expect to be white, blue, Polar bears, the White Ciffs of Dover, etc.
Fortunately, the Art Director, Fergus Flemming, gave me a pretty free hand.
My first decision was to shoot b&w and to hand colour the prints, to give the images an eerie, but strong style.
Barney Edwards - White Cliffs
They were strong images in black & white, but when we hand tinted the prints I felt colour didn’t really add anything.
I had the b&w’s copied onto colour film and had a retoucher experiment on a dupe tranny .
It started to look interesting.
It was quite intuitive, none of us knew exactly how it should look until we saw it.
So we continued until it felt right.
Shooting the white cliffs of Dover was like that too, sailing up and down for two days, shooting hand held. Struggling to keep the horizon straight.
I didn’t really know if I’d got it till I got home.

Barney Edwards, Blue Nun 'White Cliffs', Saatchi'-01Barney Edwards, Heinz 'Bike rough'-01
BARNEY: The two characters were well known at the time as they’d been in lots of the tv commercials. So they agency felt that we just needed to show them, pretty big.
But the Art Director, Sian Vickers, and I thought it would be a more interesting, more emotional image if we composed it more like a Victorian painting. Barney Edwards, Heinz 'Bike', -01Barney Edwards, Army 'Tough Act' rough, CDP-02
BARNEY: The layout was the interior of the Sandhurst chapel.
Stuart Baker, the AD, and I worked together a lot, so we hadn’t discuss it much before we got to the location, but when we arrived we discussed how the place made us feel and wanted to sum up that feeling.
So we needed a stylised more ethereal feel, as opposed to a ‘reportage’ image.
We searched for some kind of visual shorthand.
We found some stained glass windows, set high in the walls, casting light onto the marble pillars.
But it was winter and the light coming through wasn’t strong enough, so we had to bring in a very substantial, costly lighting set up to strengthen the light source.

Barney Edwards, Army 'Tough Act', CDP-01
DAVE: Daily Telegraph Photographer of the year?
BARNEY:
 It was a personal project that just grew, I ended up on radio and t.v.
I started doing reportage pictures of tough Cumbrian sheep farmers through the seasons.
Living up there from time to time on a hill farm.
Diane, my partner, came from there and I got to know the farmers.
An interesting place, it used to be called Middlemarch, Viking and Celtic lands. 
The old border between England and Scotland.
The Telegraph gave me a black Porsche watch and two weeks in Antigua.
Presented by Lord Mountbatten of Burma.
I shot some underwater pictures out there, which I sold to Nigel Rose at C.D.P. for J&B whisky.
So things worked out pretty well. Barney Edwards,Wharfdale 'Hills', Saatchi 4-01
DAVE:  ‘Question why would anyone be interested in this picture, what should be excluded or included to make it a better picture?”
No shit Sherlock, but not many photographers ask themselves any of those questions.
It reminds me of a story Steven Spielberg tells about meeting the great Director of Westerns John Ford.
Upon hearing the young kid wanted to be a director, Ford advised him ‘The secret is knowing when to point the camera up and when to point it down.’
2-the-searchers b-01    2-the-searchers-01
BARNEY: Being aware of what makes a good image is essential to making good pictures. 
Sounds obvious, but it’s not.
Being simple can get complex.
Tony Brignull once wrote a line for an ad for Parker Pens; ‘White light is complex in it’s simplicity’.
Shooting a beam of light through a prism to light the pen – glowing with all the colours of the spectrum, to my surprise I realised that line was so, so accurate.
White light does contain all the colours of the spectrum within it.
Great left brain right brain stuff! That’s what I like about ads.
I love type and picture logic. Words on pictures.
Whenever I can I use ‘The Golden Section’ or the rule of thirds to break down my images. It has a bearing on how comfortable the framing of an image makes you feel.
The Parthenon is a designed Golden Section.
11_Pantheon

A template from Greek Antiquity.
A proportion recognised to engender a sense of comfort in the eye.
Leonardo Da Vinci, Salvador Dali and Le Corbusier also used it in their work.
Mark Lowery at University College London made detailed measurements of fashion models faces, showing the reason we classify certain people as beautiful is because the construction of their faces are closest to the proportions of The Golden Section.
I even use it when I’m composing images for films.
The final heading on my check list is always : ‘empty space’ can be as active as ‘full space.’
I question what’s ‘needed’ to advance the plot, and loose the rest.

And always make sure the uprights are upright.13_The THUMBBarney Edwards - Glass
DAVE: You shoot very soft pictures for a hard man, is that printing, lenses, your Mums stocking over the lens?
BARNEY: Creative insecurity, it made me obsessed with trying to bridge the gap between photography and painting.
As a highly paid advertising photographer you have the money to experiment.
Playing with different renderings, textures, tonality and colour gets you close to illustration.
I wanted my images to feel less like photographs and more like illustrations or paintings – so they crossed over genre’s.
My work has always been a kind of stylised hydbrid of archetypal imagery. With influences and research taken from lots of sources.
Then there was film. I was obsessed by films.
I realised paintings and films have something in common; No hard edges in sight. And you couldn’t retouch them. (Well, not before digital.)
The very nature of what they were made them less sharp.
A black & White print has sharp, finite, visible edges around things.
Unlike paint on canvas or the shadows into light of film on a big movie screen.

I wanted to add texture and atmosphere, like the noire movies by Orson Welles, ‘Citizen Cane’, ‘Touch of Evil’, etc.
Reaching for ‘other worldliness’ in imaging fascinates me.
Creating windows into other worlds.
Starting with the question: Is this image an ‘expressionist’ image?
Or is it an  ‘impressionist’ image?
The answer usually holds the key to the right texture; 
A 10 Dernier Dior stocking? Film grain? Camera shake? Selective focus? Flair? Printing through a gauze? Painting with Vaseline on the lens or maybe just jogging the enlarger or breathing on the lens? 
‘Barry Lyndon’ by Kubrick, originally a New York stills photographer, really blew me away.
When he decided the gambling scenes should be lit by candlelight, for real.
The F-stops on a camera lens were originally a system of measurement, called foot-candles, used to measure light by the number of candles it took to light a given number of feet.
There were no lenses that opened to wide enough apertures to shoot at those low light levels. So he had special lenses made.
I spent years watching Barry Lyndon with the sound off , studying the textures, it’s a painting on film. It taught me it was possible to do it all ‘ in camera.’
No retouching.
Making painterly images of decisive moments.
The more I looked at Kubrick’s work the more I realised how much he changed his photography and lighting, like actors change their accents, to fit the part.
I started doing the same.Barney Edwards - Two_Albatros_MG_9334BE Barney Edwards - shark_Shaka_MG_8595BE39_Shark_BARNEY 18Barney Edwards - Baracuda

DAVE: Which ads were you most pleased with final result?
BARNEY: It’s not so much favourites I have, it’s more that some work makes me feel calm when I look at it. Because it’s so well finished.
I love ‘finished.’
But probably the ‘Birds’ for Silk Cut.
Maybe the ad I did with Graham Fink, at the time it was one of the most expensive press ads ever produced. The whole thing is a 3/4 life-size scale model.
A film set. The bigger you blow it up the more you see going on in the street.
I shot it on 35mm.
Barney Edwards - Silk Cut_Noir_5X4 BE
I also like the B&H ad I did with Nigel Rose.
It started life as a holiday snap, an early evening table setting on the elegant terrace of Villa D’est, in Lake Commo in the Italian Alps.B&H - 'Uri Geller'
Film wise, the Guinness work with Rutger Hauer was my own high water mark, not only performance wise, but also for inventive art direction.

Oh, and the ‘Is there anyone out there’ for Samaritans. My own Solaris.
They both took me into other worlds, like good stories should.

DAVE: Did you meet your photography heroes?
BARNEY: Howard Zieff used to come to Vic’s studio whenever he was in London.
I hung on every word.
Don Mc Cullin I photographed.
He made me feel my profession mattered.
I spent time with Roger Ballen in South Africa, we talked and talked.
He took me on a journey into the dark night of the soul in many deep conversations about the meaning and inner power of photography.
Terry Donovan. We both worked as Film Directors out of James Garret’s.

Both Terry and Jim taught me much about life.
Including one of my greatest lessons in photography.
It’s in his book ‘Beady Mincers.’
One day we sat drinking coffee, looking out of the window of Garrett’s, gazing down onto a busy Mayfair street, ‘Look at it…It’s alive…Like a river…People moving up and down…Back and forth…And they will never reassemble ever again, in the exact same place or order.
So when we take a picture we really do capture a moment that will never come again, now is gone as I speak…and the future has not yet come … the past is gone in the blink of an eye…but we photographers capture it forever…at 125th of a second…that’s a kind of magic isn’t it?’
The older and wiser I get, the more his clever observation resonates.
Even more so, now he’s no longer around.
We need magic.

36_ballet_dancer_BARNEY 16_A3 38_BARNEY 9_1 39_American airborne soldierDAVE: You nearly shot a feature film?
BARNEY: Yes. Came close, but not close enough.
When I ran my production company I set up a section to make features.
I had quite few on the go. Six I think.
My favourite was an adventure based on the lost notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, who disappeared from ‘recorded’ history for a number of years.
The script was written by the guys who wrote the original Avengers.
So it was good. Quirky.
Then there was a noir gangster story from a book about Vietnam called ‘Vets’ by Stephen Leather.
Another script concerned Mary Reid and Anne Bonnie, the two female pirates of the Caribbean, more factual and long before the Johnny Depp/Jerry Bruckheimer extravaganza.
It was historically factual, written by Chris Robins, who wrote the definitive book on Carlos The Jackal, The Krays, and Air America.
Script development and marketing costs on so many scripts were high.
And we did it properly, but it’s a tough game.
Eventually I’d brought in Richard Gregson. An experienced Hollywood agent and a brilliant script editor.
 He’d worked for years with Donald Sutherland and Robert Redford in Hollywood.
(He recently published a book called ‘Tales from the Hollywood Hills.’ It’s a good read.)

I wrote a script which he edited and got Donald Sutherland interested in.
It got as far as Hollywood, but we kept getting into re-writes as different backers came and went, changing cast and storylines.
In the end it took so long we lost Donald, who went off to make ‘The Jackal.’
After that, he was in such huge demand we couldn’t get him back.
In the meantime my producer died and my partner in the company left.
I carried on, but I was no business man, and to run a production company you need someone with real financial skills. That wasn’t me.
Eventually the company went belly up and the film slipped away.
Close, but not close enough.Barney Edwards - Thai Boxers

DAVE: Were you difficult to work with? Arden called you difficult and he’s generally regarded as the Chairman of Difficult.
BARNEY:I don’t think I am, I just have a point of view. 
Unfashionable as that is these days.
Sometimes I’m sure I am, I don’t suffer fools.
I’m very stubborn and like anyone I can get out of bed on the wrong side some days, especially when I’m stressed. 

I remember Simon Dicketts and Paul called me in to do a film for Amnesty International; An agonised face pushing deeper and deeper into stretched rubber, replicating Edvard Munch’s ‘‘The Scream’.

A visual allegory for a suicidal state of mind.
We agreed to shoot it on grey stretched Durex rubber.
Just before the shoot Paul rang up and said he wanted me to shoot it on red rubber too, ‘Just in case.’
‘Just in case of what?’ I asked.
Paul spluttered obfuscation. I knew then we were headed for agro. But my Producer didn’t want to upset the great Saatchi’s, so he got me to agree to cover it both ways.
Much against my better judgment.
When we saw the rushes it looked great on grey, so we cut the grey film.
Paul rang me and asked to see the red.
I said I hadn’t selected it.
He came down the phone with a prickly ‘ WHY NOT?’
I started seething and came back ‘BECAUSE I DON’T FUCKING LIKE IT!’
I come from the North and we swear a lot up there.
People didn’t like that and it didn’t help.
He shouted back ‘I’M THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, IF I SAY WE CUT A RED ONE WE CUT A RED ONE…OR YOU’LL NEVER WORK FOR ME AGAIN!’
My Producer freaked, begging me to at least cut it and let him look at the red one.
Especially if I was so sure the grey one worked best.
Again against my better judgment I asked Terry Jones, the film editor to prepare the red version. The following day we sent it round to Saatchi’s.
Paul’s Producer came back with ‘Paul loves the red and wants to go with it !’
I freaked and called him up.
He started to splutter ‘IF I SAY IT’S RED IT’S RED, AND I’M SAYING IT’S RED…O.K?
I went ‘Director’ steely ‘OK! … GET THIS PAUL, THIS CHARITY FILM, SAATCHI’S DIDN’T PAY FOR IT, I DID, I GOT THE CREW TO WORK FOR ZILCH, I PAID FOR THE FILM STOCK, THE STUDIO AND THE EDITOR…AND IF YOU KEEP ON WITH THIS BULLY STUFF I’M GONNA BURN THE RED NEGATIVE…O.K?’
There was silence at the end of the phone for a beat, then he came back, not spluttering this time, he’d gone snake eyed cold.
‘DO THAT AND WE’LL NEVER WORK TOGETHER AGAIN, YOU’LL NEVER SET FOOT IN THIS AGENCY AGAIN…WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT?’
I slammed the phone down.
At that point Paul and I had worked together on and off for ten years.
Even before he first went to Saatchi’s.
The next day neither Paul nor I were talking and I had gotten the neg of the red film back from the lab, I’d moved it to my home,  ready to burn it in the back garden.
Meanwhile, the Producers made a deal, Amnesty International was the client, a client I ‘d worked for before and liked, and everyone knew Paul and I loved each other, but our joint hubris had pushed things beyond the sensible.
They had a suggestion ‘Why not let Amnesty decide? After all it is for their charity?’
We both agreed.
Amnesty took a look. They bought the grey one.
Months later, at my ‘come back’ meeting, he smiled, a winning smile, with that immense charm he was capable of. He leant over and said ‘Toni preferred the grey too, so maybe you were right …’
(
Toni was his wife who he worshipped.)

The film won a Silver at D&AD and a rack of other awards.
Paul was a fighter and so am I, it’s why we got on, and why we sometimes fell out.
DAVE: Okaaay…I’m gonna put ‘Yes, difficult bugger’.

Barney Edwards - PLums 2 Barney Edwards - Melon Barney Edwards - Plums
DAVE: Why go into commercials?
BARNEY: As a photographer I was known for doing big production numbers, I ticked all the boxes, B&H, Silk Cut, won a bunch of yellow D&AD pencils.
Then one day someone says ‘How would you like to be a Film Director?’
What would you say?
It wasn’t easy, the mother of my son, Diane Sanders-Edwards, was a brilliant stylist and my agent. We’d built a studio and a house together, but she didn’t want to go into film.
For me it was a creative thing.

I wanted to be a Film Director.
I joined Park Village and left home.
Coming from a stills background I had to fight hard to get accepted as a film director.

Film crews dislike new directors appearing out of nowhere, especially photographers who haven’t come up through up the ranks, oh!, and ex-agency creatives too, they dislike them even more.
The film industry fosters it’s fair share of bullies and macho behaviour; ‘Bitchy Editors’ would say ‘this is film, you stills guys just lock the camera off and compose a pretty picture and move the talent around inside the frame.
Its called movie ‘cos it moves, why not move the bleedin’ camera?’

Needless to say, I learnt to move the camera; a lot!
Even becoming good at operating the camera from a helicopter.
The ultimate movement – at high speed.

DAVE: As someone who’s embraced every way of capturing an image, what do you make of camera phones?
BARNEY: They say the most important part of the equation is the 12 inches behind the camera.
It’s as radical a change.
Like going from a big old 10×8 plate camera to a small 35mm hand-held SLR, like a Nikon.
This of course changed how we told stories – for ever.
The application of Cell Phones probably has even more impact on film making.
When I was young you couldn’t make a film.
It was too costly and complicated.
Also, the equipment had an effect on the performances.
If you wanted to move in on an actor you needed a ‘grip’ to lay track.
And then across the room trundled a big 16mm or 35mm camera on a 227kg dolly, mounted on track, pushed by a grip, with a focus puller, a camera op, and a sound man – all rolling towards you at once.
Imagine how
 that makes the subject feel?
Most people get nervous, disturbed by the approaching circus.
Now, you don’t even see the camera coming.
And people respond differently to a smaller camera.
It’s less intrusive.
Barney Edwards - Fish

DAVE: Have you used one for a job?
BARNEY: Graham Fink asked me to shoot with one for a job in Shanghai.,
The images were being used on 48 sheet posters, so I was a bit worried. 
It made me practice shooting on my cell phone for months before. 
It was a viral campaign built around me teaching photography to Chinese Art students.
It taught me as much as it taught them.
Now I use my iPhone like an artist uses a sketch book, to record and learn.

(Never forgetting that it could go out on broadcast t.v. or make a 48sheet poster!)
As with most things in life, there are pro’s and con’s with cell phones, but whatever they are, I’d be crazy to suggest shooting on cell phones is not the future. It is.
At the moment I’m shooting as much as I can on them, practicing and exploring how a cell phone image can match a painting
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DAVE: What are you currently shooting most with?
BARNEY: The main workhorse is my Canon 5D, because it does stills and film.
I often do stills and film back to back now, using both disciplines to create a story that feels like it comes out of the same womb. A definite plus born out of digital.
On stills needing big repro solutions, lots of detail, I use the medium format Mamiya, Phase One DF – P65 body with an 80mm Schneider lens tethered to a 30’’ NEC screen.
It reminds me of 10×8. …I like it.
If I’m shooting a film alongside stills – I use a Sony F 55. Super 35mm – 4k – 2k – H.D. Or an Arri Alexa or Red Epic Dragon.
Always with Cook High Speed  lenses.
Then the look of both the stills and the film are pretty compatible.
DAVE: Yep, good combo…I was going to suggest those.

Barney Edwards - Red Table & Gloves
DAVE: Do you think digital technology has helped or harmed photography?
BARNEY: Motown music has an undeniable purity all it’s own, but for most people it’s passed it’s sell by date.
But it sounds fresh today.
So when I talk about how things were better before, it’s more an observation on ‘the quality’ of a special time, than sour grapes.
I was spoilt.
I enjoyed photography at the height of it’s predigital level.
It was pure.
The high ground was held by artist ‘auteur’ photographers who learnt their craft through hard graft and experience on the street.
Then something changed, like Mumford & Sons stole the soul; replacing it with commercial packaging. Photography did the same.
With the arrival of the computer came an army of artistically uneducated computer nerds who set up as retouchers and photographers. Everyone was suddenly ‘an artist.’
Our bench mark used to be ‘Can you light and print?’, nowadays most photographers don’t know how to make a b&w print.
Ink jet printing is quick and clean, so everyone embraces it.
Working in the dark room was painful and hard. When you cocked things up it was usually terminal. And you sat with your head in yours hands and swore you would never make the same mistake again, and usually you didn’t, that’s how we learnt; from the mistakes.
Now you just click ‘undo’ and go again.
I guess I’m saying less pain – less gain.
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DAVE: But do you see many images that you love?
BARNEY: 
There used to be many iconic images produced. Not so many anymore.
Guys like La Chapelle and Fiscus have brilliantly bridged the gap between illustration and photography, cleverly pulling off what we struggled to do with film, paint, lighting, retouching inks and brushes.
I use digital and there are some things about it that are a real help and a pleasure.
But in my humble opinion; the general, overall standard of photography has actually gone down, not up.

DAVE: They still teach old style printing at colleges, my son is being taught it at the moment.
BARNEY: Colleges are now set up to make money from teaching, creating successful profit centres has become more important than teaching.

Blind men now educate and lead the blind.
Uni was never an improvement over learning at the coal face anyway, but it’s definitely got worse.
When I teach; I come across students who can’t use strobe properly after three years at Uni.
They are taught they can ‘light things’ in Photoshop.
They have never heard of Jean Luc Godard, Marcel Duchamp or De Chirico.
Painting and books give you back stories to build on.
Teachers now have academic qualifications, but no ‘been out there on the street and had to get used to it’ qualifications.

Photographers used to have gravitas gained from life experience and a sense of adventure and
exploration, now, most people teaching photography have gained their knowledge via a quick click on Google or Wikipedia.Jeff_033_low

DAVE: Do you still print your own stuff? It used to be a big part of your images. 
BARNEY: No, I send my stuff to Bayeux, in Soho.
They’re very good, but it’s not my hand and eye so a compromise gets made.
This era fosters creative compromise.
Colour printing always got sent out, but I was a master b&w printer and did it myself.
I could add a lot in the darkroom.
If you look at the earlier photographers, you’ll find most of their most dynamic and insightful work is b&w.
The majority of modern work is in color and I think the disappearance of the ‘personal’ darkroom is a big part of the reason.
Creatively, it’s very sad because b&w is the most interpretive; and consequently the most truly creative process in photography.
Experienced b&w photographers know it’s a harder medium to succeed in because you can’t ‘see it’ in b&w, not when you’re looking through the lens.
You have to pre- visualise and value and interpret the colours as tones.
Most pictures work in colour. Many don’t work in b+w.
Photographic printing is a special art that’s dying.
Most of the b&w you see now is really colour made b&w . It’s not the same.

I miss printing, though it was messy and time-consuming.
Less pain, less gain.

Barney Edwards
DAVE: Finally, which photographers do you admire today?
BARNEY: Annie Leibovitz; To get this perfect must be tough!
“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” — Annie Leibovitz
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Annie Liebovitz -meryl-streep-1981-annie-leibovitz Annie Liebovitz -Queen Elizabeth 2-jpg
Jim Fiscus: A window into another world.
Jim Fiscus 2
Jim Fiscus 1
Tony Kelly: It looks easy, trust me, it’s not. This boy has moves.
Tony Kelly 3 Tony Kelly 1
David La Chapelle: What can you say? This is digital art. DaVinci has landed!
david_lachapelle - the-rape of Africa
David LaChapeelle - Michael Jackson
Giampaolo Sgura: He knows ‘the eyes are the window to the soul.’
Giampaolo Sgura - dolce_gabbana7 Giampaolo Sgura - bianca-balti-dolce-gabbana-jewellery-02

Patrick Demarchelier: Where beyond words! meets Art.
Patrick Demarchelier 2 Patrick Demarchelier 3
Brian Griffin: He shoots images I wish I’d made.
Brian Griffin - George-Melly_London-1990 Brian Griffin - Depeche Mode, Wheat

 

N.B.  A bit of extra reading.Barney Edwards Article, Direction*Barney Edwards, Creative Review Article. 1983-01

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.
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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.

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“ 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.
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“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.
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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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