Chris Brock - Commercial and Editorial Portraiture

Shooting the Stand In

Editorial, Published, Recent WorkChris BrockComment

Things don't always go to plan on photoshoots. Despite all the preparation there can still be unpredictable events that mean you don't get the shot you wanted.

That was the case when I was asked to go down to Croydon to photograph a property developer at a site he was having built. Everything seemed to be going well, until we got a phone call to learn that he'd been taken ill and wasn't able to attend (get well soon!)

Building sites are great locations, though, so it seemed a shame to come away empty handed. Fortunately for me, the developer's Group Marketing Manager, Sarah Bradden, bravely stepped up and offered to model for me so I could come away with this great shot, which I absolutely love.

Of course there are dangers that go with shooting against windows. If you don't get your angles right you'll be left with nasty reflections of your octobox in the glass. So I made sure I got a few shots of the scene unlit, so I could comp in any windows that caused problems.

In the end the angles were spot on so no comping was needed, but it was good to have that option if we needed it.

Sarah Bradden by Chris Brock

Yo! Dragon.

Editorial, Published, Recent WorkChris BrockComment

A couple of weeks ago I received a commission from Metro to head down to the Thames and photograph Yo! Sushi founder and former Dragon's Den dragon Simon Woodroffe, on his very cool houseboat.

Simon likes to wear hats, and he picked out one in particular that complimented the sky almost perfectly, and with a matching shirt it gave great colour theme to the portraits.

As it was central London I wasn't able to take all my gear, so this was lit with a speedlight and collapsible softbox to the side, providing a nice bit of fill against the bright sunshine.

Simon Woodroffe by Chris Brock
Yo! Simon Woodroffe by Chris Brock

Mo Ansar

Recent WorkChris BrockComment

A couple of weeks ago I travelled to Winchester to meet with Mo Ansar, a Muslim social and political commentator, who you might have seen or heard on the television or radio. It was right at the beginning of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, and Mo told me what Ramadan is all about, the challenges that it can bring and how it's not just about starving yourself!

While I shot these portraits in the fantastic Great Hall, we talked about tolerance and unity and many other issues that are relevant to the times we find ourselves in, and I came away feeling enlightened, having had a very pleasant, worthwhile time.

Mo Ansar by Chris Brock
Mo Ansar by Chris Brock
Mo Ansar by Chris Brock
Mo Ansar by Chris Brock
Mo Ansar

Adventurer Sean Conway for ShortList

Editorial, Recent WorkChris BrockComment

He lives off-grid on a boat, has a huge ginger beard and recently ran 1400 miles from John O'Groats to Lands End in just 44 days. Oh, and he used to be a photographer, which makes him even more of a legend.

Sean, who grew his beard to protect himself from jellyfish stings that other time when he swam the entire length of Britain in 135 days (as you do) is the subject of a new series on the Discovery Channel called "Sean Conway: Running Britain" which starts tonight.

I met up with him to shoot his picture for the latest issue of ShortList magazine. And I didn't do any running.

Sean Conway, ShortList by Chris Brock
Sean Conway tear sheet by Chris Brock

It's all words...

Recent WorkChris BrockComment

I've photographed Jake Hughes before. In fact we grew up together.

Jake is a language professional, teaching other linguists how to teach students English, and has written several books on the topic. He also lectures all over the country.

The bin is a metaphor for something. Maybe. I dunno!

Jake by Chris Brock
Jake Hughes by Chris Brock

Faces of Morocco

On The Road, Recent WorkChris BrockComment

Last week I returned to London after spending time shooting in Morocco. It's a vibrant, colourful country - a real assault on the senses - and while I was there I photographed some of the people I met.

Muhcine by Chris Brock

Muhcine sells fruit from his stall at a car park just outside the walls of the port town of Essaouira which, typical of many towns in the North African country, is made up of narrow alleyways, street markets, and free roaming cats.

Fu'ad by Chris Brock

The main industry in Essaouira is fishing, and has been for hundreds of years. Fu'ad has worked in the port his whole life, and each day when the boats of all shapes and sizes come in he helps to clean the day's catch, with the guts being left for the gulls and the cats who wait patiently, watching everything that goes on.

Riad workers by Chris Brock

By contrast, in Marrakech the main industry is tourism. Many of the local people, like Fatima (left) and Khadija, have found work in the riads, guest houses built around a central courtyard where travellers can rent a room while they stay in the capital.


Behind a small door, down a tiny alleyway not far from the Rue Souk Smarine, is one such guest house - Riad Matham - which Hadrien helps his father, Thierry, to run. When you're walking down the cramped streets and passages of Marrakech, it's hard to imagine that such as grand peaceful place exists just inches away from the frenetic, hectic markets.


In contrast to the simple, yet tranquil guest houses, there are hotels such as the magnificently opulent La Mamounia. Built in 1929 it is where the rich and the famous stay when they're in town, taking mint tea in its stunning gardens. I was lucky enough to photograph Chief Concierge Mohamed Taoufiq Ait El Haddad, who makes sure that everybody's needs are met, and that only the highest standards are enjoyed by the guests.


And then there's the food. A traditional dish in Marrakech is a tanjia - a stone jug filled with the ingredients for a lamb stew. Traditionally Morrocans would prepare a tanjia at home, and then take it with them when they went to bathe. The tanjia would cook in the furnace that heated the water, and would be ready when they came out. The longer they bathed, the tastier the tanjia.

Abdullah works at Chez Lamine Hadj Mustapha, a restaurant in the olive souk just off Jemaa El Fna. His restaurant sells only tanjia, and it is arguably the best in the city.