February 25, 2016
This month we spent five minutes catching up with the newest member of the LPA team, Anna Hutchinson, to see how she got into the industry and what her guilty pleasures are. Here is what she had to say…
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m 23, a redhead and have lived all my life in Surrey. I studied Geography at the University of Exeter before travelling and pursuing a career in the photography industry.
How did you get into the photography industry?
I did a lot of work experience with the editorial departments of magazines before interning at a photographic studio in South London. I then worked as a Shoot Assistant for 18 months before joining LPA as a Producer/Agent.
What’s your favourite commission from an LPA photographer?
There is so much great work to choose from, but I think I’ll have to go with Sam Stowell’s alfresco dining shots for Jamie Magazine.
© Sam Stowell
And your favourite personal project?
I love travelling, so Andy Smith’s personal work shot on his travels in Spain and Asia really appeal to me.
© Andy Smith
What’s your dream holiday destination?
Am I allowed three? Borneo, Morocco or Paris. Although Japan and India are next on the list of places I’ve never been…
What are you most looking forward to about working at LPA?
Developing my relationship with the wonderful photographers LPA represent and getting to know the team.
Tell us something about you that we don’t know?
I can’t wink.
Who is your favourite non-LPA photographer?
Samuel Zeller, in particular his ‘Botanical’ and ‘Nature’ projects.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Naps. And ice cream.
Describe yourself in three words…
Friendly, determined and loyal.
What is your favourite thing to do in London?
Going for dinner, there are always so many restaurants to try! When that gets too expensive or you just need a break, feeding the ducks in Hyde Park is always a good option.
Name something you hate…
Sitting in the middle on an aeroplane.
What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Never regret anything you do, it was what you wanted at the time.
October 30, 2015
This month we spent 5 minutes catching up with Seamus McGibbon, General Manager of the AOP. The AOP is a not-for-profit trade association aiming to promote and protect the worth and standing of its members, by defending, educating and lobbying for the interests and rights of all photographers. Thanks to Seamus for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us!
© David Partner
Tell us a bit about yourself Seamus?
I was an art student in the 80s, attending Jacob Kramer College in Leeds and then St Albans College of Art where I studied Model Making. I moved to London in 1989, working as a model maker on various projects including TV and film, architectural and product design work. From the mid 90s I’ve had what is now called a ‘portfolio’ career, working in an art shop, and doing every job imaginable at the BFI Southbank including front of house, festivals coordinator and sponsorship manager. I have worked for many charities including Stonewall, NFTS and Bliss. For a short time I was a film publicist and organised film premiers. I was Business Development Manager for 6 years for the trade association UK Theatre and for 2 years at Luton Culture.
I am the proud property of one small, scruffy and bossy Jack Russell called Basil.
How did you get into the photography industry?
I was looking for a new challenge and saw an ad in The Guardian from the AOP who were looking for a new General Manager. Photography and model making are similar in many ways so I met with the then AOP Chair and a photographer Board member. That was June 2014, and here I am.
Can you explain your role at the AOP? What does a typical day involve?
It’s a very busy job and a rewarding one; we are a small team at the AOP so it can vary from day to day depending what we have on. For example the AOP Photography Awards was a huge event which took months of planning, and we have just launched the Student Awards which are open until February so we’ve also been planning for that.
I spend a lot of my time having lots of meetings, talking to businesses, photographers and others in the industry. I sit on committees and groups including DACS, British Copyright Council and British Photographic Council. I also do a lot of admin, writing reports and planning.
© Shaun Bayliss / AOP Awards
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I work with a great team and get to meet some amazing people. Our members are some of the world’s most brilliant photographers; I am always impressed by the variety and quality of their work. I get to meet and work with agents, art buyers and other inspiring people in our industry. I like being able to get things done, listening to the issues affecting our industry and working together with others to develop solutions.
What’s the most challenging part?
Getting it right, as it’s a very complex role with lots of different aspects. Making sure I listen and hear what members are asking us to do, and trying to make that become reality. To ensure we keep moving and developing. There are a lot of challenges out there, and ensuring we are working together with others to reach our goals is a challenge.
The AOP plays an essential role in campaigning for photographers’ rights and interests. What are some of the main issues you come up against?
Copyright is always an issue, as we live in a world where the internet has given people access to anything and everything, and they all think it’s all theirs. Another issue is photographers valuing themselves and their work, as well as others valuing them. Underselling yourself is a real problem for photographers, who are not as confident in themselves as they should be.
For those thinking of joining, what are the benefits of being an AOP member?
We promote and protect the best of professional photographers. We do this through lobbying, and through marketing our members’ work to buyers and commissioners. We provide special discounts from businesses in the industry. AOP members are able to enter the Photographer categories of the AOP Photography Awards, which means your work gets the chance to be in front of some very important people. This year we had almost 1,000 guests at the event, including press, artbuyers, agents and of course photographers. We also provide lots of networking opportunities, and host talks and workshops on issues affecting you including copyright and marketing. We are currently working on a training programme for Assisting Photographers, working with studios, equipment hire companies and photographers.
We thought the level of work at this year’s AOP Awards was outstanding! How do you think it compared to that of previous years? Did you have any favourites?
I think each year the work is outstanding, but I do think this year’s competition was amazing and brilliantly highlighted the breadth and quality of our members’ work and of photographers in general. Having curators brings a different dimension to each of the categories and has been a brilliant move for us.
The AOP Awards can really change things, and it was great to see one of this year’s AOP Student Awards finalists win best in category single in the Open Award. You really do have to be in it to win it.
The Assistant Award entries were amazing, the work this year really stood out.
What do the next few years have in store for the AOP?
Building on the success of this year’s awards, taking the awards on tour across the UK, building them up as a major bookmark in the photography calendar.
Developing the Junior Assistant and Assisting Photographer programme; we want to help young photographers get the skills they need to make it and sustain their careers in the industry.
Reiterate the rights of photographers, work closer with artbuyers, get them involved in what we do. Get out there more, work with more people and groups, listen and do.
Promote our members and their amazing work, and protect their interests and those of other professional photographers.
If you didn’t work at the AOP what would be your fantasy job?
I’d be a detective, cross between Paul Temple, JB Fletcher, Poirot and Miss Marple. With access to lots of gin.
August 14, 2015
This month we spent 5 minutes catching up with Farid Haddad, who runs BMA Models along with his brother Alex Haddad, mother Lynn Campbell-Walter and founder David Charman. BMA are well known for their diversity and range of talent, so we thought who better to give us the insider scoop on the modelling industry!
Can you tell us a bit about BMA Models?
BMA Models is one of London’s leading commercial and fashion agencies. BMA began life in 1982 in a tiny house just outside London with just 5 models. David Charman (founder) was the maverick model agent with an eye for diversity. David’s initiative was to launch the first UK modeling agency to represent a wide diversity of models and characters from child models to grandparents. BMA was the first UK agency to book and market models of all nationalities, ethnicities and ages directly to clients & soon became the UK’s leading modeling agency.
As the leading model agency in London, BMA’s models continue to grace the covers of magazines, advertising campaigns, TV commercials, and fashion shows in the UK and around the world. BMA Models head office is based in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire and now has offices around the world including South Kensington, London & Beirut, Lebanon.
You’re known as a ‘one-stop modelling agency’, can you tell us a little bit about your divisions?
The diversity and range of models includes over 1000 models within the following divisions – Female Models, Male Models, Classic Models (over 35’s models), Character Models (Real People), Youngstars (Babies, Toddlers & Teenage Models), Parts Models (Hands, Legs & Foot Models), Curve Models, Mum’s to be Models (Pregnant Models), Sports Models (Lingerie & Swimwear Models), Family Models, Twins & Triplets, Stylists and Hair & Makeup Artists.
© Suzie Howell / Some of the BMA team and models at our LPA Futures launch party
How did you get into the modelling industry?
Myself & my brother (Alex Haddad) started working at BMA Models in 2008 after studying and working in many different industries all over the world from New York and Dubai to Beirut.
Inspired by our mother a former FM Model and company Director we decided to join the agency. We literally stormed on to the scene and revolutionized the agency developing BMA to be one of the largest agencies in the UK. As a result, 2013 saw the launch of BMA Artists which was set up to run alongside the model agency to source & market the UK’s top actors, actresses and performing artists. This year we launched our Influencer department & our DJ departments. We also not have a roster of celebrities & provide personal management services.
Together we have diversified the business over the years to become one of the most prestigious agencies in the world.
If you weren’t running a modelling agency, what would you be doing?
Running another family business in Beirut; a 24,000 sqm country club & leisure centre.
What would a typical day as a model agent involve?
Too much. We are constantly surprised every day with new things. It’s an ever changing & evolving job. Always too much to do.
What are the best and worst things about running a modelling agency?
The best thing would be helping people achieve their dream & goals. The worst is seeing people fail & not being able to do anything about it.
What advice would you have for any aspiring models wanting to get signed with BMA?
Understand how the industry works & do your research. Make sure this is truly what you want to do.
You represent both commercial and fashion models – how would you describe the difference between the two looks?
Commercial models generally don’t have height or size restrictions, whereas the fashion industry is very particular about height, size & look.
What does it take to be a successful model, aside from the right look?
Professionalism, perseverance, personality & faith in one’s self.
Some agencies have a bad reputation when it comes to promoting a negative body image. What’s your stance on this?
We promote models of all shapes, size, colors & looks. We are all different in this world but we are all equal.
What’s the most unusual thing a BMA model has been asked to do on a shoot?
A model had to put a rat on his privates!
March 26, 2015
This month we spent 5 minutes catching up with the winner of the LPA Student Challenges 2014-2015 final round – Emma Boyns. Emma – who is in her final year at the University of Gloucestershire studying Editorial and Advertising Photography – wins some amazing prizes including her own bespoke portfolio by the brilliant Delta Design with prints by Metro Imaging, as well as representation with LPA Futures for two years. Here’s what she had to say about the experience…
Congratulations on winning the LPA Student Challenges grand final! You’ve secured your place as one of the next group of LPA Futures photographers – how does it feel?
It feels great! I wanted to stay positive after entering but totally didn’t expect to win so it was a lovely surprise.
What are you looking forward to most about being a part of the LPA roster?
I think being part of a group of people whom I have looked up to and whose clients and work I really admire; Sam Stowell, Charlotte Tolhurst, Rowan Fee and others have really inspired my work.
For the final round you were asked by Richard Brim & Daniel Moorey of Adam&EveDDB to interpret the creative copy ‘Love it or Hate it’. What were your initial thoughts and how did you approach the brief?
This is actually a brief that I was set at university for one module, which all of us hated at the time so there was a bit of a joke about that at first! But I approached it in a completely different way and chose not to over complicate it, focusing on the one, simple theme of liquorice and how to create a striking series based around that narrative.
© Emma Boyns – Student Challenge Number Three submission
What made you want to pursue a career as a food photographer?
I’ve always loved cooking and baking and have found both to be very therapeutic, so the movement towards this genre happened entirely naturally for me; at first I didn’t even realise I was photographing everything I was making, and it soon became second nature. I don’t think I’d have the time to invest in a different subject, as food really is my passion and is constantly on my mind.
How would you describe your photographic style?
I would describe it as fairly delicate, almost fragile sometimes. Although that may seem to contrast with my more conceptual, graphic images, I feel that a simplistic, minimalist theme runs through most of my work and the way I style shots often makes them quite feminine and dainty.
© Emma Boyns
Where do you look for inspiration – any favourite photographers, websites or blogs?
I am a huge fan of food blogs, which were the main focus of my dissertation. I admire the ability that bloggers such as Linda Lomelino and Izy Hossack have to cook, bake, write and photograph so beautifully. I also love cookbooks such as Nigel Slater’s Tender and Katie Quinn Davies’ What Katie Ate, and photographers such as Jean Cazals, Jonathan Gregson and Mowie Kay have been really inspirational for me.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
I have a big interest in psychology, which was my intended path while I was at sixth form, so perhaps something down that line. But I always think I’d find it hard to resist a food-based career, so you’d probably be more likely to find me in a little family-run bakery or restaurant.
© Emma Boyns
Your work impressed the judges in Student Challenge Number Two as well as the final round, what advice would you have for students wanting to enter the competition next year?
I think it would be to enter images that are strong rather than images that you ‘like.’ Don’t become too attached to an image because of the setting or context in which it was taken or the sentimental value it has to you – remember that the judges can only see the photographic merit and not these personal elements.
November 14, 2014
This month we spent 5 minutes catching up with Terri Coates, here’s what she had to say…
© Terri Coates/Pashley
– Could you tell us a bit about yourself Terri?
I’m a picture editor & photographer. I studied creative advertising at Lincoln University and I’m originally from Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Photography has been a passion of mine since I can remember, so I moved to London after finishing university, to pursue my career. I got a job at WENN, a news and celebrity picture agency. I always dreamt of art directing photo shoots since I was a little girl due to my slight obsession with the TV show ‘America’s Next Top Model’ so when the position of Picture Assistant came up at IPC Media (now known as Time Inc. UK), I jumped at the chance. I have now been Picture Editor here in the Creative team for 4 Years.
– For people not in the industry, could you explain what being a Picture Editor entails?
A picture editor at a magazine manages a team of picture researchers. They search for and clear all rights on any images that will be used for the publication. My job differs slightly from an editorial picture editor as I work in the Creative Advertorial team, which works with both, editorial teams across varied magazines and our advertising clients. Advertorials are editorial content that is paid for by an advertising client. Our team researches and shoots all the images, which are to be used across all 24 Women and Lifestyle magazine titles at Time Inc. UK. My day-to-day work is extremely varied due to working on various campaigns and for various advertising clients. I could be in the office researching images, casting models and researching locations one day or attending client meetings and art directing a photo shoot the next.
– What are the best and worst things about your job?
I love my job! My favourite part is art directing the photo shoots. We work with such varied clientele, which means some days I could be on a fashion shoot and another times photographing celebrities or magazine readers, bloggers etc. on a location shoot. I would say the most challenging part of my job is to keep both sides happy, the editorial teams as well as the clients. Sometimes they might have a slightly different vision of what they would like from the advertorial, so great communication skills is a must.
© Terri Coates/Pashley
September 1, 2014
This month we spent 5 minutes catching up with Hayley Nia Thomas, a photographer’s assistant who has been working with our very own Kerry Harrison for 2 years. Read on for her reflections on the skills required to be a successful assistant, the importance of admiration for the photographer you work with, and her tips for new photography graduates!
How did you become a photographer’s assistant?
I was originally working in a studio doing product photography. I realised that shooting in a dark basement with backdrops, props and lights wasn’t for me and that I was more inspired by people and locations. Then a friend recommended me to LPA photographer Kerry Harrison who shoots people and lifestyle. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to change direction and to think about where I want to take my career.
What’s the best and worst thing about your job?
Assisting is great for me, I am able to gain an invaluable insight. Whilst I do have a lot of responsibility on shoots, I am also able to take a slight backseat and observe how everything is done. There isn’t much I don’t like about my job – I find it incredibly rewarding and fun. However, sometimes days can be very intense and exhausting.
What qualities do you think are most important in being a successful photographer’s assistant?
I’ve learned that you need to be adaptable, as you are always working with different clients across various environments. It is important to read situations well so that you can act appropriately. You need to be on the ball at all times and really pay attention to what your team needs. This way you gradually gain an understanding of how they work so that you can always be two steps ahead.
© Hayley Nia Thomas
How important is it for you to assist a photographer whom you admire?
I think if you admire the photographer then it helps to motivate you through the tough working days. You may also find that working on shoots in which you love the work being produced to be more helpful to your own practice. However, I believe it is important that you aren’t too heavily influenced by them, as you need to develop your own way of working and adapt the skills you’ve learned to your own personality and work. I also think that all experience is good experience, and if you work with a photographer that you don’t admire then this can help you see what you don’t want to be doing.
What advice would you give to new graduates entering the industry? Do you think it’s important to assist when you’re starting out?
I think if you aren’t particularly experienced or confident then assisting is a great way to learn about the industry and develop relationships. It is also a good way to decide what area of photography you want to get into. When I graduated I took the first job I could find and ended up being in an area of photography so far removed from what I am about, so assisting allows to you experiment a bit more.
As well as assisting Kerry you work as a freelance portrait photographer. How would you describe your aesthetic and influences?
I am usually inspired by what people do and who they are, and I aim to create an intimate moment in my photograph in which a hint of their personality comes to life. I usually stage my shoots, as I like to have control over the mood and composition. I love the work of Esther Teichmann, Rinko Kawauchi and Rineke Dijkstra. Their work is extremely evocative – there is a subtle tension, yet stillness. That to me is very powerful.
© Hayley Nia Thomas
Where do you go to seek inspiration for your own work?
I look at a lot of blogs online, for example If You Leave, Wandering Bears and Self Publish Be Happy. I also read the British Journal of Photography and Seasaw magazine, as well as attending a lot of exhibitions. My favourite is the annual Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize.
What is the most exciting shoot you have ever worked on?
Probably a shoot with Kerry Harrison for Sage where he was photographing an artist in her studio and her home. For me that is what I would love to be doing, so I really enjoyed watching how someone else approached the job and thinking about how I would of tackled it if it were my commission.
© Hayley Nia Thomas
June 25, 2014
This month we spent five minutes catching up with our new LPA producer, Cassie Gale, to see how she got into the industry and what her guilty pleasures are. Here is what she had to say…
– Tell us a bit about yourself Cassie?
I hail from Yorkshire originally and studied Fine Art Photography at Manchester Metropolitan University. But I was tempted South by the bright lights of London as soon as I had finished my degree to pursue a career in photography.
– How did you get into the photography industry?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be in the industry and was fortunate enough to spend three years producing for the fabulous Gary Salter.
– How have you found time at LPA so far?
Amazing and hilarious, a great class room for learning more about the industry and honing my skills.
© Julian Calverley
May 23, 2014
This month we spent five minutes catching up with the talented home economist and food stylist Rukmini Iyer to discuss all things food and photography!
© Simon Brown
– Can you tell us a little about yourself Rukmini?
Well, I work in London as a food stylist/home economist, and recipe writer – which I absolutely love, because I get to be around and talk about food all day. When I’m not working, I still do quite lot of cooking for friends and family, and grow herbs and vegetables – with varying levels of success (this year the pheasants ate all my brassicas, alas.)
– How did you get into the food industry?
I had a very lucky start into the food industry – Tom Kitchin very kindly offered me a job in the pastry section at The Kitchin after I’d finished a stage there. I’d only just finished my cookery diploma at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, so it was just incredible – and a bit overwhelming – to go into a Michelin starred kitchen as my first restaurant job. I really loved it and learned so much, but knew food styling was what I wanted to get into eventually. So I wrote to some food stylists who were kind enough to take me on as an assistant on work experience, and since then it’s just taken off.
– You’ve appeared as a contestant on MasterChef, can you tell us a little about your experience on the show?
Appearing on MasterChef was probably the most surreal thing I’ve ever done! When you arrive on set, you can’t quite believe that you’re actually there – you sort of feel like you’re inside the television. If you’re me, anyway. And then you realise you have to cook something – and cook it perfectly – with cameras pointing at you! Terrifying. The crew and production team were really lovely and encouraging though, and that really helped me a lot.
© Pal Hansen
– You gave up a career in Law in order to pursue your dreams, any regrets?
None whatsoever. I only wish I’d changed career sooner.
– Who would be your dream photographer to work with?
Now that would be telling! All the photographers I’ve worked with so far have been brilliant – I’m always floored by how effortlessly they take such beautiful food photographs. I couldn’t name a favourite!
– Do you have any tips on food trends for the summer? We’re hearing a lot about chia seeds!
I have to admit I am not a massive fan of chia seeds… But I’d back fennel any day – for summer, it’s so lovey thinly sliced or shaved into salads, or baked into a gratin with beetroot, goats cheese, crème fraiche and hazelnuts, or finely chopped and sautéed and mixed into pork meatballs – I put it in everything!
– What is your favourite type of cuisine?
I could pick a different favourite for every day of the week – I’ll eat pretty much everything. My mum’s cashew nut pilau for comfort food, Japanese if I’m feeling adventurous, tapas over drinks out, Thai for chilli heat, big, Middle Eastern style salads for dinner parties, fresh, seasonal British produce cooked simply for weeknight dinners – I could go on, but should probably stop there….
– You’ve shot with our lovely LPA Futures Holly Pickering, how was it working with her?
Holly is so lovely and such a brilliant photographer! I really enjoyed working with her. Our shoot was so much fun, and I was amazed at how beautiful she made my food look through the lens. We definitely shared an aesthetic on how we wanted the photographs to look too, which made it a really good match. I’m very much looking forward to collaborating with Holly again.
© Holly Pickering
– Where do you go in London to seek inspiration for your work?
I know it’s a bit touristy nowadays, but I still love going to Borough Market, where I make a beeline for Turnips, the fruit and vegetable shop. They’ve got so much incredible stuff; it’s wonderful to be able to browse and pick up beautiful, fresh produce, and feel inspired to take it home and make something wonderful. That – and the little section in Waitrose where they sell chipotle chillies and pomegranate molasses, which I have to veto myself from visiting when I’m in the shop, or I’d just go mad and fill an entire trolley.
– What can’t you leave the house without?
My speed peeler and my knife roll. Although that means I’m forever in fear that a policeman will stop me and think I’m up to something incredibly dodgy.
– Have you got any restaurant tips for us Londoners?
Downstairs at Terroirs, off the Strand, is my new favourite – but I think it’s been around for quite a while! Arbutus is lovely for a more formal meal too – but Dinner by Heston was definitely the best meal I’ve ever had out.
© Simon Brown
– We love your recipes on your tumblr page – can you give us a nice simple one to follow?
Thank you, and of course! Here’s one of my favourite summer drinks – passionfruit lemonade. Enjoy!
-100g caster sugar
-400ml mineral water
-Small pinch sea salt flakes
-Fresh mint to garnish
1. Place 100g sugar in a small saucepan, along with the zest of one lemon. Pour over 70ml water, then stir gently on a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil, then remove the syrup from the heat and set aside to cool.
2. Juice the lemons over a sieve to catch the pips. You should have around 160-170ml of lemon juice. Halve the passionfruit, and scoop the seeds out into a sieve set over a bowl. Scrape the juice through the sieve using a spatula, leaving the seeds behind.
3. Sieve the sugar syrup into the lemon juice, then add the passionfruit juice and a very small pinch of salt. Stir in 400ml cold mineral water, adding a little more if needed to taste. Chill well in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving over ice, garnished with fresh mint leaves.
March 27, 2014
We spent 5 minutes with LPA Style Hair and Make Up Artist Claire Louise to find out about whether a life of beautifying celebs and models is as glamorous as it sounds! Claire Louise’s diverse skill sees her traverse the worlds of music, fashion, film and TV with ease as well as working regularly on LPA photoshoots. Read on to find out more…
Claire Louise working her magic on set
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I trained in the following areas..
Fashion and photographic, film and TV, SPFX, prosthetics, wig making and dressing and hair styling. Over the last 10 years I have worked in the West End, on music promos, fashion shows, films, TV, live performances, photo shoots and commercials. I have a keen interest in natural health, beauty and well being. I practice reiki and massage in my spare time (sometimes on jobs too). I also write health and beauty articles for various sites and magazines.
How did you become a Hair & Make up Artist?
I always wanted to be a make up artist but was never really sure how to get into it. When I was little I would use my Mum’s eye shadows to create bruises and black eyes on people (I was a charming child). I wanted to do all the gory make up you see on horror films, it’s come as bit of a surprise that I actually prefer to do beauty make up these days. I did various other jobs but could never settle so I decided to pack it all in and retrain, I haven’t looked back since.
What’s your favourite part about the job?
The amazing locations I’ve been lucky enough to shoot in and the experiences I’ve had… sometimes it feels a bit cheeky that I’m actually being paid to be there.
The constant flow of inspiring, interesting and fun people I meet.
The best feeling is helping someone feel better about themselves – I recently did a private lesson with a lady with severe Vitiligo on her face and body. I showed her how to use make up to even out the tone. She was so happy to learn how to do it she cried.
© Jasper White
Which is the more challenging part?
The long hours or early starts and sometimes (very rarely) the lack of routine.
What are the main skills you need as a Hair & Make up artist?
Discretion, diplomacy and punctuality. To be able to work as part of team – A shoot is a team effort and everyone feels passionately about their ideas, you have to be able compromise and adapt to get the best results.
To keep up to date with whats happening in the industry and keep your skills updated. A knowledge of art and fashion and colour theory are pretty helpful too. (more…)
January 27, 2014
Cathy Roberts is founder and owner of the wonderful Delta Design Studio, a professional bindery in Clerkenwell. She has lovingly crafted most of the LPA portfolios and so we thought she would be the perfect person to spend 5 Minutes With… this month to get some insider information. A key sponsor of LPA Futures, Cathy will also be creating the bespoke portfolio for our lucky final LPA Student Challenges winner this year!
Cathy (second from left) with LPA Photographer Nick David (far left), LPA Futures Oliver Haupt (third from left), and Delta Design colleague Margot, at the LPA Futures launch.
– Hi Cathy. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company Delta Design Studio?
I have been in business for 30 years this year, and feel very lucky and happy to do my work everyday and meet some amazing people! it’s a small business and its all about personal service and custom made work.
– How did you become a professional Bookbinder?
I trained for 1 year at London College of Printing and set up my business in Clerkenwell, I also got a small grant from the craft council after being selected.
– What’s your favourite part about the job?
Talking with the client, understanding what they want and then giving input and using my experience to advise them as best as possible, then of course when they collect the work and the smile on their face … that is the best!
– Which is the more challenging part?
The blocking on the book is always a challenge, some foils are better than others so I very often make a sample with different colours for the client to choose from.
– What are the main skills you need to run your own company in bookbinding?
Believe in yourself and be passionate, I still learn many things and I am never bored, also patience sometimes is a plus!
Above: Example of portfolio by Delta Design.
– Why do you think having a great portfolio is so important?
– A folio represents you, your work and who you are. Its going to sell your work so its very important, and if you know its right it will give you confidence too!
– Do you think digital will take over completely from print, or do you think seeing images in print will always be a bonus?
I think it will always be a bonus … who doesn’t like to look at a beautiful coffee table book!
– What are your best tips for making a portfolio stand out from the crowd?
A simple combination of colour, a very good font for your name or logo and with that your work should do all the talking? We add little details like embossing the front page, different coloured spine …
Above: More examples of books bound by Delta Design.
– Originally from Provence, what are your favourite things about London and what do you miss most about home?
– I love London as its so cosmopolitan, and with so much diverse food, and there’s so much to see and listen to. It has a great energy, but I miss the sunshine and special light from Provence when the light is so blue. And the cigales singing when its hot!
– Do the eateries of Clerkenwell live up to the standards of French cuisine?
– Haha, well when I arrived in London the only things there was Indian and Chinese food… things have changed and the food is amazing now, we can eat anything at any time!
– Who/What are your biggest sources of creative inspiration? Any favourite blogs?
– Art books, special fairs where I source new materials and textures, exhibitions but very often the client has a specific idea and I need to search to make it work and its always a challenge I really enjoy!
– What’s the most unusual request you’ve had for a portfolio?
Formica cover with name hand engraved or fully padded cover in leather with specially made leather buttons to look like a Chesterfield!
A slip case with an old Aston Martin seatbelt buckle for enclosure!