Most jobs now require a photographic treatment which comes from the tv commercials side of the business and designed to eliminate all problems prior to a shoot, so when the agency & client arrives everyone knows what each group will do with everyone  pulling together.

It's similar to a 'Cook Up' prior to the shoot, which is such a sensible practical approach to how each dish should look in the final ad and how it would work with certain props, the size required etc. Both ideas are good as we all arrive on the day of the shoot knowing what everyone wants.

However, I was talking to another photographer who said she has one proto-type 'Treatment' which she sends to every client just changing a few tweaks, like changing names. As these are generally successful pitches for jobs it made me think that this can't be right as each treatment should be different for each job or are the people that make the decisions actually reading the treatment? Maybe they already know who they want to use or perhaps they like one picture which is similar to the job? This means the technical breakdown, prop descriptions etc are irrelevant.

Most agency provide 3 treatments to clients and sometimes the decision is made prior to these treatments being presented. In someways this is good; if the client chooses an agency to do their ads why not trust them to make a decision who they want to work with.

A few years ago agencies had Art Buyers who recommended a few photographers to the art director would make the final choice. Nowadays Project Managers decide the suitable candidates, sometimes using Instagram to find a certain photographer. They may hash tag Coffee and see what turns up or who has the most likes.

I love Art Buyers but they are a dying breed. A good AB can recommend a certain experienced photographer to work with a young art director or vice versa. I showed my folio recently to 2 AB's and I was impressed with how much they know about the craft of photography. A PM can't have this information as they have been trained differently - this isn't to say they have other useful skills to add, such as the business side.

I have a top award winning senior art director friend who lost his job and now works freelance at a top agency. I would have thought he would have been wanted by every agency. He is a very nice person with a brilliant work ethic, hugely creative and easy to work with so he must be the perfect AD to have in an ad agency, especially as he wins major awards every year. Maybe the advertising business no longer wants wonderfully crafted ads; if you look at many ads they no longer have that wonderful creative spark, there are very few with humour or superb design. I think this is a real shame.

Recently a lot of financial institutions have bought advertising agencies which doesn't help with creative input from the top. The crazy days of Mad Men appear to have disappeared!!


Although Don had several negative points, nothing satisfied him more than a good ad. We all love good photography, type, design and brilliant ads, some with humour. Some of the most successful ads, like Heineken and other beer ads used humour as a huge selling point - bring it back, please.



This week we launched my new website, so wanted to shoot a picture for the 'About' section. Rather than having an image of me I thought I would shoot my Dad's wonderful old Canon rangefinder. Not only are these cameras beautiful, all metal, I thought it was a good reflection of my recent work. I decided to shoot this in black and white, adding some grain in post as if it's a  retro Magnum photo from the 60's.


A website should be something you're proud of as it's the show piece of one's work and career. It should be constantly updated with new fresh images. I anticipate we will add 100- 200 pictures a year. If you love your work,  you should be adding new pictures every week.


Last week I went to a school friend, Charlie Hicks' funeral. He was the 5th generation fruit and veg man and presenter of Veg Talk on BBC Radio 4 with Greg Wallace was a character and started off in Covent Garden working for his Dad's company Richard Hicks, when it was the original Veg market. His Dad owned Shorts Gardens, WC2, buying it when the area was rough and ready. They ran a very successful business supplying 95% of London restaurants. As a result, his Dad who flew a Spitfire in World War 2, flew Charlie to school in his helicopter and commuted to London from their Sussex farm in his chopper. His father who was an old English eccentric formulated a way of preventing his fleet of 50 veg lorries from receiving parking tickets from outside their warehouses by linking them together and connecting them to an electrical power surge.


Charlie, like me was a huge Bowie fan, which played almost throughout his funeral service. It was lovely talking to fellow foodies Greg Wallace, who is full of charm and enthusiasm, Xanthe Clay and so many good friends. He was a very popular man, a great friend.

David's photo was from one of my first commissions working for Bowie on the Isolar 11 World Tour, working alongside David Hemmings who starred in the classic film Blow Up. He directing a feature on the tour



RIP CHARLIE, you will be hugely missed by all of us



I really wanted to shoot a wall of the Triple Cooked @McCains chips, all ends-on just like a wood pile. For frozen chips they are a great product and really need a fried egg yolk (or 2 or 3) to dip a chip into.