Talk by Hugh Pinney, Senior Director of Photography, Editorial at Getty Images

Last Wednesday I attended a talk by Senior Director of Photography, Editorial at Getty Images, Hugh Pinney. It took place at IdeasTap, London Bridge. It was an interesting talk giving an insight into the role of photo-journalists today and how they can make their mark in the industry.

Pinney graduated in geography, but built his experience in photography after developing a passion for it. He worked with a number of local agencies in South West England and later moved to London. He has worked for Reuters and currently holds the position of Senior Director of Photography, Editorial at Getty Images

He wanted to create images which documented conflict to change the world.

He talked about photographers of today and how the industry has changed. A few observations he had on todays photographer included:

  • Less emphasis on formal training
  • Fewer staff jobs
  • Less turnover for photographers
  • Reduced budgets
  • More competition
  • Freelancers dominate market

Pinney explained that photographers need to live and breathe photography. Those who want to be photographers, should freelance. Both a strong portfolio and personality will create awareness of the work you do. He had a few points including:

  1. If you are a business, get established and then understand the customer
  2. Treat every assignment as if it were the most important, never underestimate a job
  3. I need you to shoot xxxxx for me, can you do it? Say yes!
  4. Keep your problems to yourself
  5. Bring stories/ideas to the table. Be proactive
  6. Nobody is interested in excuses. Be honest if it goes wrong
  7. First impressions count. Vital to get right. Keep something smart in the car
  8. Make sure you have the right kit. Understand your kit, have confidence in the kit you have

I think the points highlighted by Pinney cross various industries, however, it was interesting how these were applied into a photography context.

Have a long term goal, vision, become a brand!


What Photo Buyers want from Photographers – London Bridge

I attended the first PhotoShelter session at the IdeasTap office near London Bridge last Thursday, 17th May.

The session was on ‘What Photo Buyers want from Photographers’. Speakers included Dagmar Seeland, UK Picture Editor for STERN Magazine, Russ O’Connell, Picture Director Q Magazine and James Mullinger, Photographic Director GQ Magazine. The event was hosted by Allen Murabayashi from PhotoShelter.

They all talked about what they looked for when commissioning photographers. Commissioning basically means identifying the style of a photographer for a particular job and getting them to take a photograph. This can depend on the style they want to achieve for a regular or feature section of a magazine.

It was quite interesting to learn about the process of commissioning and how they look for personality and character from their photographers.

Mullinger from GQ Magazine said that the style of their magazine has changed throughout its history. He said that the effective use of light can help to create an iconic image and how it is important to try something different. The iPad has has contributed massively to the way we digest and interact with content, as well as the way photographers take their photographs. Todays photographers can be challenges to think about sound and video to compliment their still photography.

Mullinger said that magazines often have an ‘opener’ or an opening image which is used to capture the reader. With ‘No opener, there is no story’. He said that photographers have to make the story happen through their images and sometimes photographers need to break the rules.

It was good to connect with various photographers and learn about the commissioning process for some leading consumer magazine.

‘The New Horizon Ball’ – fundraising for iPartner India & Hilton Foundation.

Saturday 12th May, I attended ‘The New Horizon Ball’ presented by Shiva Foundation. It took place at Hilton, London, Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. The ball was held to raise awareness about the fight against sex trafficking. It’s such a huge issue in many parts of the world, including India, but one which sees little publicity.

Guests were welcomed in the stunning reception area where there was a performance of classical Indian music by a group from Milapfest. Guests were later invited into function room upstairs. The opening address was given by Rishi Sachdev, Managing Director of Shiva Hotels. Following this, there was mix of Indian food and a wonderful music performance by Escalla. Later into the night, there was a unique ‘silent auction’ which involved guests placing bids on auction items via iPads. There was an array of auction items which included signed items from sports and entertainment personalities.

There was also a ‘traditional’ style auction which was conducted by Jonny Gould.

Anita Rani from the BBC gave the introduction of Sunitha Krishnan who was the main speaker of the evening. 

Krishnan gave a powerful talk on how she works with various organisations to tackle the issue of sex trafficking which is so prominent. Read about her on TED here.

The event finished with an energetic performance by the Jersey Boys.

It was a fantastic event raising over £200,000 for the charities iPartner India & Hilton Foundation.

The British Asian Trust, Coutts and The Funding Network (TFN) fundraiser in Central London

Last Thursday evening I attended the The British Asian Trust, Coutts and The Funding Network (TFN) “Dragon’s Den” fundraiser in Central London. The purpose of the evening was to raise funds for 5 different charities based on the Indian subcontinent. It was well attended, with well over 200 guests. Mainstream asian celebrities including Nitin Ganatra, Mishal Husain, Radio 1 DJ Nihal, Ritula Shah, Hari Dhillon and Laila Rouass attended. Many are ambassadors for The British Asian Trust. The fundraiser took place in the picturesque setting of the Coutts Bank foyer.

The venue - Coutts Bank, Foyer

Chetna Sinha, Mann Deshi Foundation

For this event, each of the celebrities were linked to and pitched on behalf of one of the charities. Emphasising work that the charities do. Guests then had the opportunity to ask questions to the charity representative. After all the pitches were complete, there was an opportunity for the guests to donate to the charities of their choice.

BBC Newsreader - Mishal Husain pitches on behalf of one of the charities

The highlight of the evening was a musical performance by Sonna Rele who sang a song based on the idea of ‘giving’ to change lives. The lyrics were co-written by Radio 1 DJ Nihal. Great performance!

Musician Sonna Rele and Radio 1 DJ Nihal

The event was very well organised and finish promptly at 9:30 PM.

Over £60,000 was raised for the different charities. 

To find out more about the The British Asian Trust, click here

More photographs from the evening can be viewed here:

20th Anniversary of NHSF(UK) & launch of ‘Arise Arjuna’ – Nehru Centre, London

On Wednesday 16th November, I attended the 20th anniversary celebration of National Hindu Students Forum (UK). It was also the ‘Arise Arjuna’ national conference launch event. The event took place at the Nehru Centre in Central London. Pictures and commentary from the event.

It was very well attended by over 200 people providing representation from various Hindu organisations. There were also national members of NHSF and various alumni.

Manoj Ladwa, the founder and chief executive at law firm MLS Chase opened proceedings. He was one of the founding members of NHSF some 20 years ago. Ladwa provided a great insight into how they saw a need for a Hindu society at their place of study at the time. Starting NHSF wasn’t just a ‘short term goal’, but one that they felt would shape the preservation of Hinduism for future generations of student in the UK.

Alpesh Patel, founding Principal of Praefinium Partners Ltd and regular contributor to BBC, gave a speech focussing on the need to essentially ‘practice’ what we believe. He claimed that ‘We all have the power to manifest God itself. To be like Lord Ram’. Ram is the main character from the Ramayan, who embodies positive characteristics and is often seen to be the perfect human being. Powerful and noteworthy from Patel.

Pranav Bhanot president of NHSF(UK) gave a great closing speech focussing on the ‘future’ of NHSF(UK), offering his thanks to previous presidents of NHSF, the founding members and well wishers.

There was a nice musical performance of the bhajan ‘O Palan Hare’ from the film Lagaan. This was covered by Amal Lad (guitar), Sheffali Dhutia (vocalist) and Hiten Gohil (tabla). A wonderful Kathak dance was performed by Janaki Mehta.

Having been involved with NHSF for a number of years now, it was great to learn about what’s planned this coming Saturday at the Arise Arjuna event at JFS school in Kingsbury.

We worked on the design of the Arise Arjuna brochure which will be handed out at the event on Saturday.

For more information visit:

“My journey as a witness” exhibition, London

Yesterday I visited “My journey as a witness” exhibition at Wilmotte Gallery, London.  The exhibtion has a series of photographs taken by Shahidul Alam.

It’s a relatively small, intimate exhibition, but some of the photographs on display were very powerful and taken in Bangladesh in the Indian sub-continent. They covered different subjects such as the struggles facing flood and earthquake victims, Bangladeshi politics, Bangladeshi culture as well as day to day village life. Alam’s images date back as far as the 1980’s upto the present. Alam is a documentary photographer who has been influential in creating a platform for photographers to reach an international audience.

It’s interesting to note visual similarities it has with other countries in the Indian sub-continent such as India or Pakistan. In the exhibition, mono images sit alongside colour ones. Each carrying a certain ‘punch’ with the level of detail and contrast.

The “Shipbreaking workers carrying metal sheet” photograph from 2008, has a great composition and colours are very vibrant. Having very little focus and sharpness gives the image a slightly ‘cloudy’ look.

Other photographs such as “Flood victims in the rain” from 1988, contains a various emotions. This mono photograph shows a group of villagers who stand under some shelter, looking cold and confused. Some individuals stare at Alam’s lens, while others look on. This gives an insight into the challenges faced by the victims of a flood.

Being based in the west, I believe it’s valuable to gain an understanding about the different cultures around the world as well as the challenges they may face. This exhibition gives a great insight into some of the iconic photographs from Bangladesh.

For more information on the exhibition, visit:

London Mela 2011 – Gunnersbury Park

Made it to the annual London Mela 2011 at Gunnersbury Park a few weeks back. Lots of great live acts, performed to some 60,000+ fans. The highlight of the day was Jay Sean being joined on stage by Juggy D and Rishi Rich – just like the old days, performing one of their signature songs, “Dance with you”. A great experience, giving an understanding into the different challenges which happen backstage. Also got to meet some of the BBC Asian Network presenters. Lots of preparation, photocalls, interviews. Oh, and food. Well, you gotta eat!

Click here to have a look at some of the photographs which I took at the event.