I was given my first camera at the age of eleven. It was a BROWNIE STARMITE and I still have it. I chronicled my family and began taking ‘arty’ shots straight away, diamond framed rather than square. Unfortunately my Mother cleared my room when I went to college and the negatives have not been seen since but I still have the prints and a scanner and photo shop have done wonders. Sadly at college I must have thought the Starmite not ‘cool’ because there is a several year gap in my photography after 18.
But fortunately at age 25 my friend Jose Nava lent me a pro camera. The Nikkormat was amazing and I made up for lost time. I also experimented with a vintage Leica. When Jose suggested I return the camera to him I took the plunge and bought one of my own. At this point, pre filmmaking I became somewhat obsessed with photography and quickly built up a collection of 2nd hand lenses and then a second Nikkormat so I could shoot colour and black and white without having to change from one film to another. Privately I read everything I could get my hands on to learn about depth of field and grain structure and pushing the film. Later this was to prove invaluable when I began to make films and then ultimately to be my own cinematographer.
One day I was driving through London on my way to a rehearsal with a slightly crazy Rumanian opera singer. It was the day that John Lennon was murdered and I was deeply saddened, like many of my generation Lennon was a hero. As I passed a school in Maida Vale I saw a crowd of excited black school kids surrounding a very tall, handsome man. It was Muhammed Ali. I stoped the car and shyly approached. I took five shots before he spotted me.
I photographed my family, my kids growing up, landscapes and any face I found interesting. I wanted to photograph women but found it to be awkward in the setting up. As a teenager growing up in a family of seven in a three bedroom council house I had been exposed to interesting fashion magazines (3 sisters and a glamourous mother) such as Vogue and also the first outings of the Sunday Times Colour supplement. I now realize I was looking at the work of Bailey, Guy Bourdin, Helmut Newton, Donald McCullen and of course Cartier Bresson. I was blown away by their images and whilst my peers were furtively exploring Playboy or similar I was a secret Vogue reader. I know I was visually moulded by these images, a way of portraying women with overtly sexualizing them.
During the filming of INTERNAL AFFAIRS there was a robbery and my entire camera kit was stolen. I was told to go to a camera store in LA and replace everything courtesy of Paramount Pix. I still have most of the lenses purchased that day. Being in LA and also having some money for the first time gave me licence to go slightly nuts with the photography and I moved into medium format with the Rolls Royce of cameras, the Hasselblad. I also took the opportunity to photograph the actors I was working with. Richard Gere, Uma Thurman, Elisabeth Shue, Nic Cage, Andy Garcia, etc etc.
I was invited to do my own show in LA and since this tie I have exhibited in London, Poland, New York, Hong Kong. I have also published three books of images.
In 2007 I photographed a campaign for the lingerie company Agent Provocateur featuring Kate Moss. This was also published as a book and one of the images of Ms Moss has become fairly iconic.
I regularly contribute images to the French newspaper LIBERATION.
For me the connection between cinematography and photography has always been close and at the end of the day my obsession is portraiture, both still and moving.