I have been dashing around in all directions for portrait photography sessions in the last few weeks. I’ve photographed the brilliant poet and performer Elvis McGonagall at the Clapham Grand, met and photographed the Spanish artists Miro and Chillida’s family and guests at an another exhibition opening at the Ordovas Gallery in London’s Saville Row, and travelled down to Henfield in East Sussex to photograph the Downs and Bourne family in the most breathtaking and colourful garden (a true Christopher Lloyd inspired affair) for an extended family shoot. I am now busy back in the office editing, retouching and producing prints, framed prints and digital files for various folk, and looking ahead to shooting Kim and Greg’s wedding in Richmond and Barnes this weekend.
In the middle of all this, I also had the good fortune and pleasure to travel down to Padstow again to take some new portraits of the very lovely and talented woman that is Jill Stein.
I last photographed Jill in the summer of 2009. Since then she has rightly taken her place in the OBE hall of fame, and her work as an interior designer, not to mention the ever flourishing business she runs with Rick Stein, has expanded and thrived even further. Jill is ranked as one of the most influential women in the food world and deserved that place is through her endless ideas, vision, talent, sheer hard work and natural ability to inspire those who work with her. Just being in Padstow with her, five years on from my last visit, I was treated with yet more displays of Jill’s magic touch from stunning new interiors she has created to endless clever finishing touches everywhere.
For this shoot Jill wanted some up to date head and shoulder’s portraits of her that connected her to her various food and related businesses and her work as a design consultant. We spent a couple of lovely days together shooting these: in Padstow itself – the Seafood Restaurant and Stein’s Fisheries (one of her and Rick’s latest enterprises) and in and around Jill’s stunning home and garden by the sea. You can read more about Jill’s design work here and I can’t wait to see some of these images put to use on her various websites and marketing and publicity material.
As we worked together to decide what she would wear for each set up, discussed the atmosphere and message she wanted to achieve of the images, and then shot them over the two days I was with her, I realised just how special and inspirational Jill is both as a business woman and a person – and how heartwarming it is to see someone like her succeed in all she has. There is not a hint of arrogance or superiority in her and one suspects she is as natural and herself as she was from her early adult days starting out her journey to this success. A true inspiration to women (and men), and a reminder that being successful in your career and having a warmth and ability to connect with anyone from any walk of life need never be mutually exclusive.
Here are some of my favourite images of Jill from our portrait photography session in Padstow, Cornwall:
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