A year ago I had the pleasure of photographing a charity event at the world famous Abbey Road Studios in London. The event, hosted by the charity Hope and Homes for Children, was for their End The Silence campaign, and was a great way of raising the profile of the charity and their cause, whilst also getting some well-to-do celebs to part with some of their cash!
On the red carpet
The first part of my job for the evening was to shoot celebrities entering the event via the red carpet. They’d walk past the photographer’s box and we’d generally get a quick snap of them posing before they headed into the studios. The experience was quite new to me even though I would consider myself a relatively experienced photographer (shooting weddings and corporate photos doesn’t really train you up for this sort of thing).
I was stood next to five or six official Getty photographers – laddish geezers who would chat up certain guests in the hope that they would get the best shot or the most attention. They seemed to know a lot of them well enough (I hardly knew who any of them were), and I was fascinated by their regimented style of photography; shout for attention, fire off a quick burst of 20 shots, very quickly skim through on the camera, make a voice note of who the celeb is, and then transmit the photo instantly to their laptop which would send the photo up, presumably to a press distributors or similar. They clearly did this a lot and it seemed very automatic to them.
Something that made me somewhat uncomfortable was the snap judgment these photographers made about the celebrities: these guys knew which photos would make them money, and it was strange to see people who perhaps ‘past it’ not being asked for their pictures, and often I could detect a sense of sadness or embarrassment at not being asked. I had the slightly dubious honour of photographing everyone I could (I was shooting for Hope and Homes for Children rather than the press, so they wanted all the photos they could get). I could sense the relief on some of the celebrities faces at the fact that someone wanted to take their picture. Such a shame!
The main event
I don’t often get to name drop when it comes to photography, but this job was a bit of a one-off. With Ronan Keating and Natalie Pinkham leading the evening, there was a large dinner with lots of entertainment (including Ellie Goulding, pictured above) competitions, and eventually, an impressive auction where the guests were encouraged to spend very large amounts of money (all of which was going towards the charity).
The party (the second main event)
Celebrities like to party, and this was no exception.
The evening that the charity event was on was, to the day, the fiftieth anniversary of the recording of the infamous album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in the very room the event was being held in on June 1st, 1967. The party had a (sort of) Sgt. Peppers theme to it and everyone had a great time with Trevor Nelson DJ-ing.
It was certainly an unusual night for me, and one I won’t forget in a hurry.