Best In Book

Our judges’ selection of the best entries submitted this year

Title of work: Chloë Grace Moretz
Photographer: Julia Fullerton-Batten
Cat no.: 5.0012

Chloë Grace Moretz shot to fame when she played deadly child assassin, Hit Girl, aka Mindy Macready, in Matthew Vaughn’s 2010 film Kick Ass. This portrait of the actor, by Julia Fullerton-Batten, was commissioned by New York magazine for its Fall Preview double issue 2010 in which it ran an interview with her about her role in Let Me In, the Matt Reeves-directed remake of Swedish vampire film, Let The Right One In.

“Although it was for New York magazine, it was actually shot in London,” says Fullerton-Batten of the image. “At the time, Chloë was staying in London in one of those very posh apartments that have communal gardens,” she continues, so Fullerton-Batten decided to use the garden for the shoot.

However, that choice created some problems. “My set up is really big with 14 flash heads,” she says. “The flash heads actually override daylight.” It’s this powerful lighting that makes it appear as if the picture was taken at night when, in fact, it was a daytime shoot.

“Chloë is a very interesting girl and she was amazing to work with,” adds Fullerton-Batten. “It’s not often I get to work with a teenager that can perform so well.”

juliafullerton-batten.com

Title of work: Tinie Tempah
Photographer: Nadav Kander
Cat no.: 5.0031

Nadav Kander shot this portrait of British rapper Tinie Tempah to accompany an interview that appeared in the Observer Magazine on February 13, 2011.

The shoot took place at Spring Studios in north London. This portrait forms part of a larger series of images for the newspaper that Kander created in collaboration with set designers Jiggery Pokery, which were inspired in part by the work of the French photographer Jean-Paul Goude.

For this image, Kander also worked with make-up artist Ashley Ward, another regular collaborator. “We work together and really just respond to whatever we feel will work,” Kander says of their process.

Tempah arrived for the shoot alone, and was “professional and lovely”, according to Kander, and keen to experiment on the shoot. “He was very happy to have this paint blown on him … then we wet it and that’s the picture here.”

“The way I work is I really get the confidence of the artist,” he continues. “I don’t show work that they’re very unhappy with. We experiment – and that’s what we did and he just loved it.”

Following its publication in the Observer, the image was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London and is currently hanging in the museum’s collection.

nadavkander.com

Title of work: In Pieces
Photographer: Josh Cole
Cat no.: 7.0053
For the past six years Josh Cole has been shooting a personal project called Physical Graffiti, capturing street dancers from around the world. As an extension of that project, Cole’s friend Dickin Marshall, who runs a recording studio and record label in Rwanda, introduced him to a host of the region’s best dancers. “I began shooting this as a personal project rather than a commission and then, with no small amount of help from Nils Leonard and Jay Marlow from ad agency Grey, ended up pitching it as an idea to the people at Ministry of Sound saying it would be cool for a video,” explains Cole. “They needed one really quickly so that’s how this video came about.”

Footage for the video was shot over four days travelling around with Marshall and also cameraman and DoP Luke Jacobs. “The shoots were far from simple, there was no real way to plan things,” Cole says. “We had to wing it a lot of the time. “Sometimes the performers just danced in the street with no music, sometimes we had a car stereo on. Our main problem was that whenever we started shooting in a slum, we’d get mobbed. Even if a road was deserted, within half an hour the road would be blocked with people wanting to perform or simply see what was going on.”

The video was edited over the course of a month by Grey’s Matt Newman with further input from Leonard and Marlow. “The edit was key to this video as there was something like 20 hours of footage to fit into under three minutes,” says Cole.

Since shooting the video Cole has been signed as a director by Hungryman and is back in Africa shooting a project for Nike Foundation.

joshcole.co.uk

Title of work: BBC Art Revealed
Photographer: Giles Revell
Cat no.: 9.0070

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Giles Revell’s beautifully shot images and filmed idents (this spread and next) of colourful pigment swirling in water were shot using a swimming pool-sized water tank. However, the set-up was suprisingly small. “It was no bigger than two-and-a-half feet square,” Revell says. “It’s just the various materials swirling within that environment that gives you that epic scale.”

Said water tank was set up at modelmaking and special effects company Asylum in London. “We tested for a week together,” explains Revell of the process. “We were looking for the right materials, inks, pigments and materials that don’t mix so much with water. The problem with colour and pigment in water is that there’s a risk that you end up with a tank of brown gunk that looks like some-one’s washed their brushes out.”

“I work a lot with Asylum,” adds Revell, “they understand and push materials like no other company I’ve ever worked with.”

A further day of testing was done before the one day shoot during which around ten takes were made – some of which were up to 20 minutes long. “A shoot like this is about patience,” says Revell. “You’ve got to spend time watching the tank and not try and force it. Some of it is luck, you test these things but then things happen during the shoot. Working with the tank and hot lights, convection currents start to move the pigment around in ways we couldn’t have envisaged. I think that’s why it’s so engaging, because it’s so natural. As pigments enter the water, they’re dragged around by currents created by the heat of the lights which gives you these big cloudy environments. In a world where everything can be engineered, there’s something pleasing about just letting materials do their thing.”

gilesrevell.com

Title of work: BBC Art Revealed
Photographer: Giles Revell
Cat no.: 7.0060

The moving image version of Revell’s Art Revealed project, used as an ident for the BBC.

Title of work: American Landscapes
Photographer: David Clerihew
Cat no.: 8.0218

“American Landscapes is part of a wider project that I started in September last year,” explains David Clerihew of this body of work that was taken across various US states. “My assistant and I spent two weeks travelling from LA into Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico with over 3,000 miles covered. The original idea was to purely do a portrait project photographing all types of individuals throughout the states, but not long into the project I started to see a parallel between the individuals of this huge country and its amazing backdrop.”

Shooting the series involved some unusual experiences. “We spent quite a lot of time in Las Vegas,” continues Clerihew. “It’s a bizarre place, everybody is herded up and down the strip like cattle. For two of the days we took an armed security officer with us so that we could access people and places that we would not have managed to reach normally.”

Clerihew has previously worked on commercial projects for clients including Nike, Adidas, Sony and Guinness. American Landscapes is a personal project that is ongoing, which Clerihew intends to eventually publish as a book.

david-clerihew.com

Title of work: Void
Photographer: Steve Harries
Cat no.: 11.0036

Steve Harries was commissioned by Studio Fury to create a series of images responding to the word ‘void’, which were to be used to illustrate the month of August in the design studio’s 2011 promotional posters.

“Although void initially inspired darker memories of the continuing absence of an English summer, I also aimed to interpret the word literally by creating an ambiguous space containing objects and light with undefined depth and borders,” explains Harries.

“Careful consideration was placed on selecting the correct mixture of materials and textures to illustrate the concept,” he continues. “The images were all achieved in the studio, in camera, using film and double exposure.”

Studio Fury chose one image (Void 01, shown right) to appear on the final promotional poster.

steveharries.com

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Street Installations by Miss Bugs

Street art duo Miss Bugs has created this series of artworks that are designed to blend in with a variety of backdrops around London, including advertising posters, murals and even postboxes…

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NAO (National Audit Office)

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