several hours before the mast ……

As an archivist I would make an excellent document shredder. I have been a professional photographer for 50 years yet, from the paucity of hard evidence confirming that boast, it would be easier to believe that there is intelligent life in the White House. It was only after writing yesterday’s post, in which I recounted my après-photography antics in a darkened room that left me well lit but severely over exposed, that I had a dim memory of seeing one of the “outs” from that shoot which accounts for the image above and which suggests that I was not always a food photographer ….doesn’t it? We left on the Sloop John something or other which was in fact a beautiful old wooden ketch. On board were the skipper and mate, the model and me and my assistant. On the near horizon was a huge motor yacht that the agency had also wisely hired on board of which were the art director, copy writer and other important folk together with much of the production of Reims and Cognac which they had wisely mixed together in order to create clarity in decision making. Those on the motor yacht would watch over us and send us messages indicating what they thought would look good. As this was many years before mobile phones I can only image this was done with flags or bottles with messages within. The flags would not have worked as the skipper of our yacht was blind, which would also render useless the messages in bottles, and so, as in wars and politics, we just blindly buggered on. The point of the shot was indeed very finely honed….in concept. The picture was to be part of a campaign to launch Femail, a supplement to that beacon of truth and honesty, The Daily M…can’t bring myself to write it. My particular endeavour was to portray a fab young lady in yellow gumboots as a hoary old sea dog in sole charge of her own destiny…..there she was at the helm of a 36ft sailing boat, eyes fixed on the distant shore which was good as the skipper behind had seen his last distant shore some time ago and I personally felt that we were in deep shit. I, in fact, was in a black rubber suit strapped to the gunwhale which is no more technical than it is painful and just kept taking pictures and dreaming of the day when I would be food photographer.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2017, Art photography, Drinks, Excellence, Excess, fashion, Humour, lifestyle, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to several hours before the mast ……

  1. Linda Duffin says:

    You crack me up. Why has she got one leg in the air or am I better off not knowing?

  2. Nadia says:

    What an interesting life you must have led.

  3. Mad Dog says:

    I used to enjoy things like that – I loved going on location and got bored in the studio, until Vogue started featuring Tessa Traeger’s large format daylight food photography. That changed my mind considerably.

    • She had the studio across the corridor from mine in Rossetti Studios in Flood Street, Chelsea…:)

      • Mad Dog says:

        No! If it had been me I would have been peaking through the door.
        I went for my first assistants job in Flood Street, with Cornel Lucas.

      • Funny …..I remember the food editor of Elle coming across the corridor and giving me my first food jobs with Elle because it drove him mad sitting all day long creating very slow pictures! I got on well with Tessa…very different person to me:)

      • Mad Dog says:

        I bet! Long daylight exposures on 10 X 8. I remember seeing a black and white shot she did of pasta on waxed paper, in about 1990 and it blew me away. It was like Peter Lindbergh switching from fashion to food.

  4. catterel says:

    I do hope she didn’t have to hold that pose for long.

  5. Bizzy says:

    Beautiful shot, even if it looks more like an ad for Aigle than anything to do with publishing. If sailing had made me look that good, I’d never have left the water!

    • So right…this was an “out” shot as the guy shouldn’t have been in it….he really was blind. He’d just sailed the boat over from Antigua and as he entered the Solent he just went blind…at the point he was with us they still didn’t know whether it was physical or psychological …he’d sailed over with a crew member so that’s how they got the boat onto its mooring. It was incredible to see him moving about so surely about the boat and his sailing was brilliant …as long as someone was on look out.

  6. Eha says:

    Oh Lord, Roger, what fun! More, oh please, more!! Both you and Mad: am ‘learning’ an incredible amount 🙂 !! And you both DO get away with such a lot thru’ more skills than photography . . . Used to sail regularly on the beautiful Sydney Harbour . . . . hair, even if not colour, still matches the pic seen . . . . we shan’t talk of the ‘below’ !!!

  7. Loving the stories you share with us.

  8. Roger, I think not too many people will see at the first glance the tiller, only her “up-in-the-air-leg” 🙂 :). Your article, as always, brings back so many fond memories: sailing = off ‘the islands’ in Trinidad/W.I., Barbados, Beirut (before the war thou) and then of course on the River Crouch in Essex (!!!) – America Cup was THE aim, Flood Street – sadly never met Cornel Lucas.

    • The boat was a beautiful canoe stern wooden cutter rigged ketch which the owner had just sailed over to Hamble from Antigua. On coming up the Channel suddenly became blind, apparently for a psychological reason, and his friend who was sailing the boat with him brought her into the Hamble river. The owner still sailed the boat while blind, with a crew, as he knew the boat and the waters so well. As to the river Crouch, as a child I would spend Cadet week each year sailing from the Royal Corinthian….I think it was that which removed my competitive spirit and made me only enjoy sailing single handed and for fun. I should point out that I’ve only sailed dinghies but would have loved to have sailed larger boats.

  9. Michelle says:

    Oh, you do make me laugh!

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