I recently photographed the newly appointed Chairman of Barclays PLC, Sir David Walker, at the bank’s headquarters in Canary Wharf, London.
On a previous portrait shoot, (in the very same building) some months before, I was waiting for my next subject to walk through the door. As I looked out of the window, about half way up the building, I saw a great opportunity for a portrait session. On each corner of the Barclays building it juts out slightly and a single panel width window view becomes available. You can see across to the other side of the building, into the corresponding corner where you look at a mirror image of the part you are standing in. What occurred to me was that when I next had the opportunity to photograph a big appointment at Barclays PLC it would be perfect.
I took a reference picture of it on my iPhone as a personal reminder but I would later use it as a suggestion to the client when the appropriate time came [see below].
The opportunity eventually did come up. I was to photograph Marcus Agius’ replacement, Sir David Walker. Fantastic! – I could try my idea out – I would just need to convince the client it was worth shooting.
I saw it as a feature portrait, one that would be perfect for a Financial Times or Guardian interview.
Sir David was very happy to try the shot as soon as we’d finished the conventional setups in his office. I placed a few remote flashes in the room, about 70ft across the way where he was stood, and snapped away.
The only down side was the weather, not untypical in London, the clear blue sky I’d recorded on my iPhone had transformed into a dark grey and murky mist. There was nothing I could do about it, but looking at the result I think it works, in a different way of course, but the darker shades bring out a deeper colour in Sir David’s clothes, showing him much clearer in the window.