To take the portrait of Joe Holsgrove, under cutter at Savile Row tailor Dege & Skinner and winner of the Golden Shears Award, a bespoke tailoring competition held at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, in the U.K., every two years.
Having taken photography on Savile Row for a number of years I was keen to take the portrait of one of the tailors to be included in my portfolio. The portrait session with Joe Holsgrove was conducted in my studio with against both a white and also dark background as I tested different lighting setups.
Most people who step in front of my camera are not as well dressed as Joe. Having come from work, at the end the day, Joe was impeccably dressed in shirt, tie, suit and pocket square. Also, as befits a bespoke tailor, his suit fitted him perfectly; unless it is a stylistic choice ill fitting clothes can easily look unattractive on camera. With this in mind it was an easy choice not to take a close up of Joe’s face and the top of his suit and shirt but to take a wider image to include, what are essentially, the tools of his trade. My main concern was what to do with his glasses. Glasses cause reflection which should be avoided and can be straight forwardly achieved by placing the subject at certain angles to the light. While it would be easy to simply remove a pair of glasses they often leave makes on the nose which can last 20- 30 minutes. Also, for habitual glasses wearers, images of them without their glasses can look odd. Joe reminded me of Michael Caine and the portrait of the British actor taken by David Bailey.
In this instance the journey to the final portrait of Joe was signposted by elements he had brought to the session; the portrait was merely a matter of following the path.