Whether my subject is a grand house, a Hollywood star or motorcycle production line, stills or motion, I am passionate about the process of creating images.
My first memory of taking pictures is aged nine, living in Canada and borrowing my dad’s Kodak Instamatic for a school trip - I still vividly remember the exact moment I pressed the shutter on at least half of those 12 black and white frames. Later, back in London, I studied Industrial Design at Central St. Martins School of Art, and as part of my degree at last got the chance to use a darkroom and a photographic studio – I was instantly hooked, taking every possible opportunity to use the facilities. Upon graduating I became full-time assistant to music photographer Jill Furmanovsky, and then began shooting for the music industry - doing promo studio shoots and record sleeves, photographing live shows and accompanying bands on the road. It was an excellent training ground – constantly dealing with new situations,
not to mention the wide range of personality types.
My portrait work developed to include jazz musicians, writers, politicians, CEOs, film directors and actors, and then further diversified into shooting ‘lifestyle’ as well as some fashion. Alongside photographing people my background in design led me to also shoot still-life, architecture and interiors – working for several leading design groups.
For clients in the UK, US, Australia, Japan and Europe I’ve shot advertising, books, brochures, CD covers and editorial, and more recently video. Each shoot has its own set of challenges and possibilities, and every subject has its own ‘beauty’ to be discovered. As a photographer I have the privilege and opportunity to study and learn from a diverse mix of people, places and things - as well as the medium to communicate what I see.
Although photography is on one hand very personal, it is the building and working within a team that is one of the great pleasures of the job. I get the chance work with many talented art directors and stylists, as well as people in the many other disciplines connected to the business. Always excited by new challenges I have recently been shooting commissioned video for clients. This has felt like a natural progression, and I'm really enjoying the new opportunities it offers: creating a narrative, directing, incorporating music, etc..
I live in London with my wife and three children.
My images have been chosen for the
Association of Photographers Awards three times and also for
the Photographic Portrait Award at The National Portrait Gallery.
Hope you enjoy looking at the work, best wishes
Copyright © Mel Yates 2011