This past weekend was one of my favourite London weekends. Friday evening, dinner with a group of friends; on Saturday we got up early to mooch about town, a pint of beer at the local, then home for a quiet evening together. Sunday was rounded out with the weekly grocery shop and then an afternoon lunch with Lee’s folks. The weekend whizzed by, but after all the hullabaloo of getting married, finishing off our kitchen and visiting a few friends over the last several weekends, a quiet weekend at home was just what the doctor ordered.
When he gets the chance, Lee likes to pick up the Telegraph on a Saturday. He doesn’t typically read it all on a Saturday, but he picks it up, nonetheless, and it generally lingers about the house in a semi-read state, until it hangs out at our place until one of us tosses it into the recycling bin, or it ends up in Obie’s cat box.
This weekend’s paper was really no exception. After hauling it into town and back, it landed smack dab on our kitchen table, where it sat overnight. Sunday morning, I arose and while tidying up before Lee’s parents arrived, began disassembling the paper into relevant sections. Main news—keep, local news—keep, travel, property, business—keep. Coupons—glance through, but typically recyle. Sports section—already given to a guy on the tube. I then came to the inserts—those golden weekend magazines that I always plan to read, but then the photographer in me kicks in, so I just end up looking at the pictures. It was while briskly rifling through these insert magazines when a photo caught my eye. It was not just some photo, it was MY photo, and it was the cover of one of those glossy inserts right on my kitchen table, with the title SUPER LAWYERS emblazoned across the publication
I knew that Thomson Reuters was coming out with Super Lawyers in March, I just didn’t realize which date it was coming out, let alone that it was going to be an insert in the Telegraph. Lee was busy preparing lunch when I flashed him the magazine. He’d seen the photo before, but he was equally surprised that it was there in our nearly tossed-out paper.
It was a crowning finish to what had been a surprising shoot at every step of the process. It all started a number of years back when I reconnected with a friend from my university days at St. Thomas. Barb and I had both been active in school politic and ran in similar circles, so it was only natural that Facebook would suggest we might know each other, as we shared umpteen of the same friends.
At that time I noted she worked for Thomson Reuters and sent her a note asking if she ever commissioned work in London. Her kind reply came with an almost audible sigh, indicating that alas, while her company did have a huge operation in London, her own team was largely US-centric, but she would keep me in mind for any future projects.
Two or three years later, Barb kept true to her word, and at the beginning of 2012, she sent me a message asking me if I’d be interested in doing the photography for the UK version of her publication. Shooting wouldn’t commence for about another eleven months, but she was getting her ducks in a row. I quickly signed up for the project, and then waited. It was Christmastime when I had my first shoot booked and a week later, got booked for another four shoots.
Over the course of January, I found myself photographing a range of lawyers across London. Each subject was an expert in their field—family law, employment law, immigration and commercial litigation. Prior to each shoot, I did my research, reading their profiles on LinkedIn where possible, pouring over their biography on the company websites or finding any relevant news articles where the subject might be mentioned.
It was mid-January when I had two shoots in one day. I made my way to my first shoot. I knew I was photographing Mark Lewis, a lawyer whose specialty was media law. I’d read his biography on the company site and saw he’d represented a number of clients from a variety of backgrounds.
Getting to his office, I was greeted by a kind receptionist who called Mark out. He greeted me and I told him it would be a few minutes as I got my gear set up. After everything was in order, I nodded to the receptionist, who gave Mark a call, then let me know he would be with me directly.
While waiting I glanced around the room What hangs on the walls of a law firm says a lot about the practice. There was a beautiful art-deco film poster at reception—Media Law—this firm works with movies. Right, just as my research said. But to my left there was a copy of the Sun with a red-faced Rupert Murdoch emblazoned on it. Clearly there was a connection. Mark Lewis returned and we agreed to go outside to do his portrait, as they were right across from the Royal Courts of Justice, which made for an excellent backdrop.
As we were making our way to the door, I turned back and pointed to the copy of the Sun, and asked, “What’s the connection with Murdoch?” Slightly startled, the lawyer replied, “I represented the family of Milly Dowler.” I felt the blood rush to my face. How could I have missed that? It was one of the biggest news stories of year, and in my speed reading research, completely failed to connect the dots. “Aha, well congratulations,” was the best I could muster. I was truly impressed, as here was the man who lead the charge to bring down a dynasty, and succeeded. At the same time, he was an affable man who wasn’t put off by my faux pas.
We made our way to the Strand where I did his portrait. I am a political junkie, so it was right up my alley to discuss the role of the media with relation to politics and the impact on regular people’s lives. The sun shone brightly that day over the royal courts. I got the shot I wanted and got to enjoy meeting one of the leaders of the next wave of progressive law. Well done you super lawyer.