This portrait session with children’s author Katherine Rundell was slightly unusual in that it was shot the afternoon before she was announced as the winner of the 10th Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. She’d been shortlisted for her novel Rooftoppers, a story about a young girl’s race to find her missing mother over Paris’ rooftops which was inspired by her own experiences of parkouring amid Oxford’s lofty spires. So as well as a nice straight portrait, I needed to illustrate this without giving the game away about that evenings awards.
We met at the British Library, where I began with some portraits using the side of St Pancras station as a backdrop. I set up a single flash to give Katherine a little side light, then shot from across the road on a long lens. The trouble was that it was quite a busy road, so between traffic light changes she was obscured behind taxis and busses. But I did manage to get a couple of nice shots framing her with the car windows, like the portrait above which luckily has an advert with children about the right age for her target market.
Next, we tried to recreate the feeling of her tightrope exploits in Oxford using a high wall at St Pancras Hotel. Given a little more time I think this could have worked better, but I’m happy with the results in the 20 minutes we had for the shoot.
Here are some more of my Editorial Portraits for The TImes.