John Caudwell … ringing the changes…

 

15th August 2012

 

The Business desk at The Sunday Times requested that I head up to Staffordshire for a meeting with billionaire John Caudwell – they wanted a portrait for the rear page of the Business supplement to accompany an interview regarding John’s charitable work.

It was a rainy & gloomy day and the desk had requested me to “capture John outside”!  On arrival it was still raining and after a swift cup of coffee Mr. Caudwell arrived and introduced himself with the firmest of handshakes, little bravado and a lovely refreshing ‘can do’ attitude … “yeah, yeah, so it’s raining, set up where you want Richard and we can get this done no problem”! … (please … why can’t more people be like this?).

Knowing Mr. Caudwell is a keen cyclist – having just completed Land’s End to John O’Groat in 9 days for his charity Caudwell Children – I asked him if he’d pose with his bike. “Yes” was the answer and I was handed his bike in order to head off, set up and await Mr. Caudwell.

The entrance to Mr. Caudwell’s swimming pool complex had a large overhanging foyer and so this would give some shelter (for me and my lights you understand – not Mr. Caudwell!)

My chosen location.

My chosen location.

I set up three lights: a main key light, a lesser powered fill light and a back light (hidden just below the steps that Mr. Caudwell would be standing on), all fired by radio transmitters.

Having set up, a quick text to Mr. Caudwell alerted him I was ready and moments later he arrived and stood for a couple of test shots.

Getting in to position – a good time to fire a few test shots.

Getting in to position – a good time to fire a few test shots.

Still too dark, so I increased the flash output.

Still too dark, so I increased the flash output.

Better, but still more light needed – it was a dull day!

Better, but still more light needed – it was a dull day!

A tweak of each individual light’s power output soon balanced the flash with ambient light in the style I wanted to create and I was ready to shoot. Mr. Caudwell was very easy to photograph … talkative and enthusiastic about his recent 874 mile ride.

3 minutes later Mr. Caudwell was interrupted from posing as he had to take a phone call … “… this may take a moment … are you all done? … great to meet you, thanks for coming!”. And with that he was gone. Engaged in another conversation.

Fortunately I did have enough to fulfil the brief, although it hadn’t been helped by the drizzle in the air … but I was happy. Sometimes that is all you get with a subject – 2 or 3 minutes. It therefore pays to be ready when your subject arrives and make every shot count.

John Caudwell The finished shot.

John Caudwell The finished shot.

My thanks to the Business desk for the shift and to Mr. Caudwell (and his team) for helping with the shoot.