To take the portrait of Lieutenant Scott Sears (Royal Gurkha Rifles) prior to his record attempt to become the youngest person to reach the South Pole on his own and unsupported. He successfully completed his his 702-mile trek after 38 days on Christmas Day, more than 12 days sooner than he had anticipated, having battled through 150mph winds in temperatures of -50c. Scott raised more than £33,500 for the Gurkha Welfare Trust to help rebuild schools in Gorkha, Nepal, which was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.
I had been asked to take Scott’s portrait by Shackleton a “performance apparel for people living and working in the world’s extremes.” Given the charitable nature of Scott’s challenge, my own military background and Shackleton’s limited budget due to being a new brand I agreed to undertake the work pro bono. In total the work for Shackleton was a two day shoot including campaign images the day before with a model followed with a second day devoted to Scott starting at the Millennium Bridge in London before heading to the studio.
The team met outside the Tate Modern art museum on South Bank, in London, prior to dawn in order to be ready when the sun rose. The first frame was taken at 0641hours and the last at 0716hours. I feel, looking at the contact sheet, the light noticeably changes from frame 3922 (taken at 0658hours) onwards and the best light was offered during the first ten minutes of the shoot. There was the added complication of the bridge being open to the public with footfall starting to become noticeably from 0700hours onwards, hence the shift of angle to avoid the inclusion of passersby.
This image was never used. The jacket Scott Sears wore initially had no branding and the badges were hastily attached, on location at the Millennium Bridge, just before the photography kicked off. Subsequently Shackleton decided they were not happy with the placement of the badges and, after securing them, reshot Scott’s portrait; I was not involved.