To take the portrait of Luke Edward Hall, British interior designer and dubbed a “wunderkind” by British Vogue while at Berry Bros. & Rudd, the family-run British wine and spirits merchant founded in London in 1698.
Berry Bros had asked Sir Paul Smith to redesign the label for their Good Ordinary Claret (GOC) in 2016 with Luke Edward Hall being their second collaboration in 2017. In his words, “I draw a lot of people; I like drawing faces, so I thought it would be fun to do a face. And I do a lot of ancient Greece and ancient Rome inspired-drawings, so a Bacchus seemed like a fitting idea. He has that mischievous vibe about him.” This portrait was taken while Luke was decorating the windows at Berry Bros on St James’s Street in London as part of the launch of his label design.
There were multiple challenges in taking a reasonable portrait of Luke. Firstly he was working which meant his default position was with his back to the camera whilst he was busy painting and drawing. Secondly the interior of Berry Bros, while full of charm and history, is dark. Thirdly external images ran the risk of including windows and their reflections of traffic including brightly coloured vans and London buses. Thus by a process of elimination the best way to take Luke’s portrait and include elements of his Bacchus inspired design for the London vintner was to take this image as he was drawing grape vines onto the shop windows. And how did I avoid and unwanted reflection? The best (only?) way to achieve this is to put the lens flat against the glass.
To confirm, yes, I took Luke’s portrait outside Berry Bros after he had finished dressing the windows. However it is not an image worth writing home about. Rather this portrait was the most interesting and the reaction of surprise from Luke when I put the camera against the window was worth a giggle.