Ever wondered how some of the most iconic British Photographic images are created, and those behind the lense creating them? Meet fellow creative Ki Price British Photographer of iconic portraits featuring back stage imagery of London Fashion Week, Portraits from the red carpets of Cannes Film Festival, Vivienne Westwood’s Activism and Fashion Shows, and portraits covering icons such as Johnny Depp, Amy Winehouse to Obama.
I asked this ridiculously cool man if he wouldn’t mind taking a few pics of little old me (for the website and social media), and he kindly found the space to shoot some brilliant images in between a job for the Times! He‘s one of the kindest people I know, plus I also managed to bribe him with a few Hoyo de Monterrey cigars!!
But because he is fascinating, I had a few questions I wanted to ask him, so bribed him, this time with coffee for some magical insights into his work…
How did you get into your style of photography?
I went to college when I was 17 in Weymouth, left there early, living in the countryside, but trying everything in my persona not to be a country boy, and always running away to London a lot!
So did you do a foundation course at Art College?
Basically I was expelled from one school, went to an art school and they just let me crack on with photography. I used to read the Daily Mirror when I was a kid, when they used to have amazing journalists covering Bolivia and the cocaine wars etc, and the photographers there were capturing stunning imagery and I wanted to do that!
I applied for Weymouth College and at the time my Great Uncle was a Squadron Leader down at RAF Chivenor and he’d given me all of these photos from an RAF plane flying in the air, they looked amazing. So I put them in my portfolio for my interview alongside images of all my bohemian mates in para boots and dreadlocks looking like Joy Division all out of focus! My tutor Paul Gasker was cool, but I think he could see I was lying - he could see I was troubled and creative and said I was accepted!
When was that?
1991, then I was on a convoy for a while, (with New Age Travellers), and was taking images of that, and that alternate way of life totally appealed to me. I always liked being ‘off grid’, and back then, that community was all about living off the land and I miss that.
How did you get to know Vivienne Westwood?
I was called by one of my old friends who said he was going on tour for her ‘Talk Fracking Campaign’ and asked if I wanted to join them and it allowed me to spend time with her and find out more about the activism she’s doing. I got quite a lot of that into the press as I know how to get those images out fast.
And tell me about how Cannes Film Festival came about?
My first Festival was about 2008 and I’ve been going every year since. I’ve always got on very well in the fashion, music and film industries and I’m massively into sub cultures. Cannes is amazing, I have amazing access there - I shoot for the Times and Getty, lots of A Lister portraits and because it’s in May every year, it’s always sunny and there are parties on yachts… so really I want to live there!
Sounds incredible, how did you get that gig?
So I’d done this shoot with Jane Birkin and I got on really well with the PR and they really liked the pictures, got chatting, they commissioned me to do something else and they always did Cannes Film Festival, so I went over with them as part of their crew, placed their images with the correct press. And I love it, I ride through the Alps on my bike to get there.
How does the world of Press and Portrait photography work?
When I was working in News and Documentary I would photograph famous people because there was a story behind them and only with their permission. In terms of Editorial you’ve got the entertainment boys that do all of the red carpet stuff and the branding boards. Then you have News, which is what I was doing, basically covering breaking stories and then you’ve got Portraits which is what I do now.
It must be quite different these days to try and get into what you do, how do budding photographers navigate into your world now?
In most work people book people… people don’t book photographers, they book people, so I think as long as you’re not an arse and you can do the job and you’re nice and people like you and you’ve got something about you, you get hired.
So do new photographers shadow you?
Yeah absolutely, if you’re starting out you want to assist somebody, because there’s been this nature of where digital and social media shows off some great images, but when push comes to shove, can you deliver? Can you jump on a plane within 2 hours notice, jump over to South of France and shoot in midday sun because that’s your shoot time and pull something great out the bag… and that’s another thing about getting booked. I would definitely say you need to assist, a lot of people take nice photographs, they put them on social and they look great from a brands perspective, but you still really need to get experience, it’s really important and never say no!
All images shot by Ki Price