A Tale of Two Photo Salons

It’s always nice when photographs are selected for exhibition and doubly so when two of your images are picked for separate shows. One is from an assignment I did last year for Wired Italia and the other is a new image from my series, At Home With The Furries.

Portrait Salon 2015

At Home With Llamasoft
This image of Jeff Minter and Giles Zorzin from the independent video games company, Llamasoft has been selected for the Portrait Salon 2015 exhibition.

They left quite an impression when I met them in spring 2014, going down to their farm in West Wales and being given free rein to explore their working space, chockful as it was with old gaming and computer tech. An Aladdin’s Cave for the gamers among us. More here on a blog post about that particular shoot.

The private view is at 6.30pm on Thursday 19th November 2015 at The Embassy Tea Gallery in London and the exhibition will close on 22nd November 2015. It then continues to Tokyo in February 2016. All welcome!!

More information about the exhibition here: https://www.portraitsalon.co.uk/

Photofusion Salon 15

At Home With The Furries

This image of Sticks, a fox from Wimbledon from my series, At Home With The Furries has been selected for the Photofusion Salon exhibition.

Sticks is an explorer and what sort of explorer would he be if he left his house without a map and animal sidekick! As with so many of these furry portraits, when it comes to working with such a closely knit community, trust is paramount hence the gradual pace of getting to know furries who are interested in being photographed for the project. Sticks is a close friend of Edward Fuzzypaws, more on Edward here.  More on At Home With The Furries here.

The private view is at 6.30pm on the 9th December at the Photofusion gallery in London and the show continues until the 31st January 2016.  All welcome!!

For more information about the exhibition: http://www.photofusion.org/salon15/

Taking it back to the beginning #fursuitfriday

I’m sometimes asked how I started the furry project. Let me paint a picture: it’s 2008 and it’s a cold October day in Bloomsbury, I exit a cab under slate grey skies with a camera bag in one hand and a animal suit slung over my shoulder. Exit stage left into the foyer of a nondescript hotel that feels like every other corporate hotel in the world. Heartless, soulless and just look at that carpet. Three thousand square feet of the most nauseating red and blue fabric ever produced, memorable for all the wrong reasons.

I ask the receptionist about the convention, he doesn’t answer, just looks to his right and nods. I follow his lead and enter a modern ballroom and I’m greeted by a six foot fox who proceeds to give me a great big hug.

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Galdor, the friendly fox

This is a shoot for Bizarre magazine, in the heydays of the magazine. Before it reached the end of the road. The shoot sees me dressing as some sort of mascot style cat, Alix Fox lent me the suit and yes that’s her real name!

The head has to go due to the fact I can’t see through the viewfinder and as a newby I’ve conveniently broken the first rule of being a fursuiter, I’ve revealed my identity.

Still asking furries if they wouldn’t mind being photographed by me draws a mixed response, some are happy to pose. Others are slightly more reticient with “who are you, why do you want to photograph me?”  Er, because you’re wearing a amazing red fox outfit. “I’m worried people will recognise me” That’s a hell of an outfit to hide in.

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After a while, they warmed to me and ended up with a furry being my lighting assistant. Sadly no pictures of this exist ( unless there were any other photographers at RBW 2008 who took my picture..there were loads as I recall)

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The famous carpet

I decided there and then that there had to be a bigger story than just photographing these amazing looking creatures at a convention, although my attention was distracted somewhat by the furry commonwealth games, which seemed to be a game of musical chairs

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And….time to move

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Are you lion to me…

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FFS or For Fox Sake

Alfa Fox in all his glory

Alfa Fox in all his glory

It gave me the first threads of an idea, I wanted to reveal a little more of who the characters are and what identifying as a furry is all about. It took another year or so to gain their confidence and from there on in it was the beginning of At Home With The Furries

  • Seriously though, if there were any photographers at RBW 2008 and they have a picture of me in the cat outfit being assisted by furries, would love to see the picture. If only to prove it actually happened…

John Kasmin for Newsweek

John Kasmin at home. Photographed for Newsweek in London, the former art dealer turned postcard collector introduced his collection of rare, incredible and sometimes bizarre original postcards that he has collected over the years. the most expensive postcard in his collection cost 5800 Euros. Although most were much less than that.

“You want to take more photos, haven’t you taken enough already?” And so, my shoot with John Kasmin or “Kas” as he prefers to be called continues in a similar vein. Admittedly I’ve been commissioned by Newsweek as both a photographer and an editor, to go through his many thousands of rare and unusual postcards, photograph 20 or so and get some great portraits of the man.

John Kasmin at home. Photographed for Newsweek in London, the former art dealer turned postcard collector introduced his collection of rare, incredible and sometimes bizarre original postcards that he has collected over the years. the most expensive postcard in his collection cost 5800 Euros. Although most were much less than that.

That man, Kas has worked in the art world for many years, initially representing artists like David Hockney and Anthony Caro. Born in 1935, he’s now in his 80’s and over the past few years has started collecting postcards, most are of the photographic ilk although we started going through one of his advertising books as well, that was brought to a swift stop as time was pressing. The writer pointing at his watch and rolling his eyes…no that might have been me actually.

John Kasmin at home. Photographed for Newsweek in London, the former art dealer turned postcard collector introduced his collection of rare, incredible and sometimes bizarre original postcards that he has collected over the years. the most expensive postcard in his collection cost 5800 Euros. Although most were much less than that.

Okay I might have pulled a few animal themed postcards, as though the #furries have entered my subconscious ( no surprises there then), on the whole though it was a case of letting Kas direct us to his favourites and stopping him when my gaze fell on a particularly striking image.

After one of the most fascinating editing sessions I’ve had in a while, there’s nothing quite like working with physical objects, as opposed to digital images for a change. We shot portraits of Kas, some at his desk and a few more on his reading chair in his office. John Kasmin and his postcard collection

How many photographers does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one more

John Kasmin and his postcard collection

The article is in Newsweek’s European edition, out now

Jeff Minter and Ivan Zorzin from Llamasoft photographed for Wired Italia

Say Llamatron, Attack of the Mutant Camels, Gridrunner and Space Giraffe to a gamer of a certain age and you’ll get knowing glances and a special handshake.

All these games were created by a games company called Llamasoft, in the very early days of video gaming when Call of Duty and Halo were but a glint in a small child’s eye. When the idea of making mobile phone calls and checking where you were on the same device would be seen in sci-fi movies. And when floppy discs (remember them!) were quite literally floppy.

They were designed by Jeff Minter, ‘the Ox’. Lately he’s moved into Virtual Reality with his partner in crime, Giles/Ivan Zorzin, the ‘Goat’.

Giles and Jeff in their 'Retro Room'

Giles and Jeff in their ‘Retro Room’

Last year, I took a trip to West Wales on assignment for Wired Italia to photograph Llamasoft. The brief was that Jeff and Giles live with llamas, sheep and donkeys and that they, Wired wanted the shoot to be as mental as possible. Well the situation was certainly odd, and I had no idea what to expect. But then when one has photographed people like the furries, adapting to unusual situations is something of a forte for me.

Riccardo Meggiato, the journalist for Wired had been speaking with Giles for a few months, lining up the idea of visiting him and Jeff at home. We drove from London, picking up Riccardo on the way from Gatwick airport and met the two of them at their local pub, it was called The Slaughtered Lamb and was on the side of a dark track that led over the moors…kidding. It was however in the middle of nowhere.

At Home With Llamasoft

The following morning, we eventually found their house and as my assistant, the legendary Andy ‘Tito’ Donohoe drove our rented Ford up their drive passing their farmyard. We came across a wonderful old cottage, but what secrets did it hold?

Giles and Jeff playing a video game in their living room

Giles and Jeff playing a video game in their living room

Well if you were to imagine that over the past 40 years or so, Jeff Minter and Giles had collected every single console and game and random bit of gaming tech and stuffed it into every corner of his house, that would be an accurate description of his home. Essentially an Aladdin’s cave for gaming fans.

Jeff asked me if I’d like to see the retro room, as if you need to ask.

Riccardo got busy with the interview, and that gave me and Tito an opportunity to work out where we could do our set-ups. I was thinking three would be an ideal number.

One in the ‘Retro Room’, one in the living room and one outside on the farm. Did I mention already that they raise llamas, sheep and goats? Not to eat mind. Just because they like them, they’re good friends.

The Yak and the Goat in their natural habitat

The Ox and the Goat in their natural habitat

And to the llamas in question…I mean if you’re going to write a video game called Llamatron, then of course one would require the real thing close by, to inspire you.

At Home With Llamasoft

What would a photoshoot be without me hanging out with the boys in their front room, surrounded by pinball machines and random posters of Gridrunner!

Photo 30-04-2014 16 01 04

Thanks to:

Francesca Morosini, David Moretti, Andy Donohoe, Riccardo Meggiato, Wired, Llamasoft and of course the llamas.

Connect:

Tom Broadbent

Francesca Morosini

David Moretti

Andy Donohoe

Riccardo Meggiato

Wired Italia

Llamasoft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first ever magazine cover-Sleazenation

As some savvy social media spark called out today as being Throwback Thursday. How about me posting my first magazine cover. It was for the hipster bible; Sleazenation in 2000. This was before the innocents of Shoreditch and Hoxton found a name to describe their fashion sense or lack thereof. Although beards will never go out of fashion, take it from me…living proof!

This was a fun shoot to do, quite simple really. I’m not one to talk up equipment by any means, but when one carries a Yashica TLR in one hand, a roll of Velvia in the other and a couple of close-up lenses tucked into a shirt pocket, it’s tempting to go all nostalgic over the days of guessing the exposure, the focus and just about everything else!

And it made the cover which I was quite happy about, in fact a poster of this image adorns my entrance hall, it has proved remarkably popular with tradesmen and couriers for some reason.

SLEAZE COVER

One to watch-Phil Clarke-Hill-Photojournalist

Phil Clarke-Hill is a photographer I’ve worked with a few times, back when I was running the picture desk at Bizarre magazine. When he came to see me with his book, he was just beginning in his career. His work was good, quite raw. As I recall he’d gone off to Bolivia photographing shoe shine boys. It was a nice story, well photographed. But beyond the photographs, I liked Phil’s attitude, he was hungry. Plus he’s very easy to get on with, which is a distinct plus point.

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

I ended up commissioning him on the spot, mainly because he was planning to go to Bolivia again to follow up on his earlier project. And my editor was planning to go to Bolivia on holiday and go to some of the crazier festivals out there. Phil ended up shooting three assignments for the magazine.

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

Recently he’s sent himself off to University to get himself educated in the ways of the MA, courtesy of Westminster Uni. There’s some good teachers on that course, Max Houghton for example. I, of course have been coaching him to shoot in colour and leave those crazy B/W ideas behind, well I may have mentioned it anyway…

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

I’m pleased to announce that his graduation show is coming up on Tuesday next week and it should well be worth a visit, mainly because his final show is about the illegal rave scene as it exists today. The series is called Free To Party and he’s been documenting it for a few years: this exhibition is the fruition of that exploration.

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

This is a really strong project, it’s great to see how Phil’s work has really come of age. He’s definitely one to watch for the future.

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

Free To Party: Documenting the rave scene (Images courtesy Phil Clarke-Hill)

About Phil Clarke-Hill:

Phil is a documentary and travel photographer, since 2007 he’s been producing cultural and environmental stories internationally. His work is regularly published and commissioned by clients such as The Guardian, National Geographic Traveller, the BBC, El Pais, the Telegraph, New Scientist, the Arts Council, Reporter Brasil and Age UK.

Phil Clarke-Hill’s website

Information about the showinvite_front

The furries take a Time Out!

In today’s Time Out London, you’ll find a nice little feature I worked on with the legendary Alix Fox, a report on the Londonfurs weekender. There’s a big boat trip this Friday, I’ll be popping along on the Saturday for a pint so see you there!

London Furries Winter BallLondon Furries Winter Ball

To see more of my furry adventures including the series: At Home With The Furries, take a trip to my website tombroadbent.com

Email me here