Some of you would already know that I'm a huge fan of interior designer Abigail Ahern (who I interviewed here). Well, what you might not know is that the photography of that book is by the talented Graham Atkins-Hughes. It's kind of funny because whenever I check out overseas interior publications and see a photo shoot that I love, it's inevitably his work.
Which five words best describe you? Happy, emotional, melancholy, passionate, driven.
What was your first career job and what path have you taken since? Having assisted some of the great photographers of our times, two of the most famous were Annie Leibovitz & Bruce Weber, then one of my first jobs was a shoot for the launch issue for Wallpaper* magazine, that has set the tone of the rest of my career so far, there have been lots of highs and laughs along the way, with some lows but you need those so you know how lucky you are when it’s all going smoothly.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don’t take it personally. Also you can’t please everyone so you should concentrate on following your gut feeling - it’s usually what is right for you. Don’t think too much: I have always taken my best pictures when I haven’t thought about what I was doing creatively and just shot what looked good. One example of this: I was looking through some old images the other day, and I came across some pictures I took for marie claire on a trip to France. It was an editorial about Chanel perfume and how it was made. It was the month of May, near the town of Grass, and we were taken to a huge field early one morning to see the "May roses" being picked. When we got there we were told that the pickers had almost finished that day's harvest so I jumped out of the car and ran into the field and just started snapping. The women who were picking the flowers I think they thought a was a bit mad because they started to laugh amongst themselves, but the pictures are great because they look really happy in them because they were fighting back the laughter and are looking at me in a quizzical way, the sun is bright and the sky is so blue it doesn’t look real, not to mention the flowers they’re so pink. And then Chanel took us to a Michelin-stared restaurant for lunch, yum yum.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Meeting my lovely wife on a shoot when we were both assistants, and asking her out and marrying her three months later - that was 14 years ago. We have done lots of work together over the years and still do; some of my best images have been created when we work together. Out of all that I have achieved, I don’t think I could have without the lessons I have learned through the experiences I have had working as a photographer. When I arrived in London 16 years ago I had 1000 pounds in my pocket and a head full of dreams. My greatest achievement is I am still here and still dreaming.
What’s been your best decision? To make my hobby my job, and become a pro photographer. I have had great experiences along the road and I am sure there are more to come. It’s exciting and fulfilling and tough all in equal measure.
Who inspires you? Besides my wife, Tim Winter: his images are rich, colourful and so full of fun and fantasy. He’s brilliant.
What are you passionate about? Style: practical design that has usability and beauty in equal measure, and comfort if it’s a piece of furniture to sit on. Great buildings which stand out and blend in all at the same time, not an easy feat but some houses I have shot in the states do just that, Frank Lloyd Wright’s work is a pretty good example.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Arne Jacobson. He designed some beautiful things and made some great buildings. Irving Penn - what a photographer; he was genius.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Visit the jungles of South East Asia to see orangutans in the wild, and tigers in India.
What are you reading? I don’t read a lot. I am much more into movies, and don’t seem to have much time for that at the moment either. We have two little boys Digby, four, and Kit, two. I know it’s an old one but I watched Blades of Glory on TV the other night and it did make me laugh. Will Ferrell is a nut. But the best book I have read is Cod: a biography of a fish that changed the world it’s so interesting I just couldn’t put it down.
images courtesy of graham atkins-hughes