In Bed with Made in Chelsea's Ollie Locke

Ollie Locke is one of the stars of that reality TV show, Made in Chelsea. I was commissioned to shoot Ollie and his brilliant dog Bear in their home for an interiors publication.

What's cool about Ollie's pad is that he's managed to put his personal stamp on the place without making it too over the top, and he's used some clever tricks using cheap items bought from supermarkets to make it look like he's spent a fortune decorating the place.

Ollie Lock by Chris Brock

We had great fun shooting in Ollie's house and playing with a very well behaved Bear! And I picked up a few tips for decorating my own place and making it feel just as swanky as his.

Made in Chelsea Ollie Locke by Chris Brock
Made in Chelsea Ollie Locke by Chris Brock
Made in Chelsea Ollie Lock

And here's a behind the scenes shot of Bear helping to set up the shot!

Ollie Locke by Chris Brock

A Little Tribute to Denis Healey

This weekend, a great man passed away. Denis Healey was a British politician for more than 40 years, and was often called "the greatest prime minister we never had". And although he will be mostly remembered as a juggernaut within the political landscape where he served as a member of the Labour party, it's the influence he had on my photographic career for which I'll remember him most.

Denis Healey by Chris Brock
Denis Healey by Chris Brock

In the early days of my career, when I was trying to build my portfolio and gain experience, I wrote to Lord Healey to ask if he would sit for me. I'd learned that as well as being one of our greatest politicians, he was also an accomplished and enthusiastic photographer. I thought that perhaps this connection would be enough to convince him to let me take his picture. And it was with great surprise that I received his reply, kindly inviting me to his home to let me shoot his portrait.

Denis Healy by Chris Brock
Denis Healey by Chris Brock

Back then, in 2009, I'd only been working in the business for a couple of years, and I was still finding my feet. But his patience, warm encouragement and gentle sense of humour put me at ease as I fumbled around with my camera and lighting gear, my heart in my mouth as I tried to get the shot.

At one point he reached into his jacket and produced his own camera, taking my picture as I struggled to take his. And after I packed up my gear and made my way out of his home he pointed to a picture frame resting on his piano, with a signed photograph in it.

"Do you recognise that?" he asked me. Of course I did - it was Place De L'Europe, one of the most important photographs of all time, signed by the artist Henri Cartier Bresson.

A few days later I posted off the prints back to him, with a note of gratitude for his time. And in the return post I received a print of my own - my portrait, photographed by Lord Healey. 

Meeting and photographing Lord Healey was a formative moment for me. Thanks to him I knew I could be taken seriously as a photographer, and both the experience of photographing him and his own photographic explorations served as an inspiration which has stayed with me ever since.

Lord Healey by Chris Brock

Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away

The new series of Channel 5's fly-on-the-wall documentary "Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away" started last night, chronicling the daily lives of High Court bailiffs, whose job it is to evict those people who have fallen on hard times, or repossess property from those in debt.

Channel 5 by Chris Brock

I shot the promo images for the series, and got the meet to muscle behind the stories, many of which are desperately sad cases of poverty and inequality. What most people don't appreciate, and what the program tries to show, is that being a bailiff isn't just about being a cold-hearted brute who kicks people out on to the street. The job also requires a level of sensitivity and understanding of people's situations. As well as being tough and thick-skinned, the bailiff's try to offer help and assistance to people who find themselves on the bad end of debt, and give them the first step up to putting their lives back together.

Channel 5 by Chris Brock
Channel 5 by Chris Brock

Building London

The London skyline doesn't sit still. It's an undulating, ever changing sea of construction and demolition, changing its shape daily as new buildings rise up from the dust of their predecessors.

Behind this ever changing landscape is a workforce of builders and engineers, who are literally shaping the environment by hand. I recently met one such designer of the city, Govind, while I was shooting on a rooftop in the centre of town. 

Govind by Chris Brock
Govind by Chris Brock

It's fun to stay at the YMCA

With property soaring to exorbitant prices, especially in cities like London, it's hard enough for anyone to find a place to live, let alone young people in housing need. So the YMCA London South West teamed up with prestigious architects Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners (the creators of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and Lloyds of London) to find a solution for those struggling to find somewhere to live.

The result is Y:Cube in Mitcham, London. A low cost, quick build, environmentally friendly apartment block that provides young tenants with a short-term solution while they get themselves back on their feet.

I was commissioned by Metro to photograph architect Ivan Harbour (below), who oversaw the project, and also Wendy Omollo (bottom) who will be one of the first tenants to move in to the project when it opens this week.

Ivan Harbour by Chris Brock
Wendy Omollo by Chris Brock

Building for Burgers with Bob and Ali

Bob Stamegna and Ali Mehmet have a dream, and it's a dream of burgers. They're building a new burger joint in North London called BurgersAtN8, and they're promising some of the best tasting patties you'll ever try.

Constructed out of four shipping containers, BurgersAtN8 is still a work in progress, but very soon it'll be a bit of a community hub, and their recipes will use produce sourced only from local suppliers, with beer supplied by local breweries.

BurgersAtN8 by Chris Brock
BurgersAtN8 by Chris Brock

I loved spending the morning shooting them, and I was only sad that the restaurant wasn't yet finished, so I couldn't try one of the burgers. But I'll be back. Oh yes!

BurgersAtN8 by Chris Brock
BurgerAtN8 by Chris Brock