Lucinda and I planned to photograph Ann Packer who won the 800 meters at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games setting a new world record in the process.
But where to photograph her?
All of the Gold Medalists we have shot have been photographed at a location, wherever possible, which is special to them, relevant, or is impressive.
On this occasion for various logistical reasons it simply was not possible.
We had to shoot the portrait at her home in the middle of Winter.
What to do?
We had to arrange the shot so it would work well as a still photo and would make the basis of a good background for a video and interview, as time was short (we used the Canon XF305 and a Canon 5dMkII for the video....what I would have given for a Canon C300....sigh)
We opted for a simple very set build to cover both bases.
We decided to hang a beautiful old style, stitched fabric, Union Flag (the right way up with the aid of Wikipedia) between two Manfrotto BAC1004 Stacker stands (which don't rattle in the boot of the car, thus preserving sanity) and Manfrotto 2983 Crossbar.
The flag is a very handy prop, indeed and has featured in several of my hotshots over the years.
Where did I get it from?
A church roof.
Yes, really church roof.
And before anyone gets warmed up over this and thinks I have taken it a little too far in my quest for the perfect picture prop, I did in fact pay for it.
The Vicar of a rural Oxfordshire church was seeking to renew the somewhat battered flag and I offered him a modest amount of money for the flag.
We struck a deal and have a very well used prop.
Along with the rest of the series we chose to shoot with the Schneider Kreuznach LS 110mm f/2.8 wide open at F2.8 on the Phase One DF with a P65+ back at 50 ISO.
We lit the set with 3 Elinchrom Quadra flashes.
The key light modified with a Chimera Medium soft box.
The back light for Anne (coming in from camera right) modified with Chimera XXS soft box with a light tools egg crate.
Finally one light to the centre of the flag with a kill spill and a honeycomb grid.
Not a super complex set up but one which was based on subtlety, I like to think anyhow.
Overall I'm very pleased with the shot.
We moved a fair bit of furniture( this takes more time than the shoot in most cases) and turned the living room into a studio.
Its not the first time, nor will it be the last time.
Making the best of an imperfect scenario.
Once again this is part of the 'Olympic Golden greats' exhibition at the John Lewis store at the Westfield centre, Stratford.