ON SET WITH
Fresh off the plane after shooting A$AP ROCKY in New York for a new Adidas campaign, we met up with mastermind photographer Neil Bedford on set in Hyde ParK doing what he does best.
|WORDS: ANDERS REDDER NØRGAARD|
PHOTOS: BENJAMIN MARK BENOLIEL
INTERVIEW: VICTOR THOFT
There’s a million ways to be a photographer, but somehow we can’t stop thinking that Neil Bedford chose the right one, exactly. Music is an essential part of his creative process when shooting everything from rock stars to high end fashion shows. He opened up and told us about friendships, idols and the perks of being a photographer.
B&O PLAY: Who’s the coolest person you have ever portrayed?
Neil Bedford: Sergio Pizzorno. Everything from his style to his personality is incredible, which is ultimately what makes anyone cool. I’m lucky enough to work as Kasabian’s photographer which gives me access to Sergio both off and on stage and so I see him in all aspects of his life. There’s one particular shot that really springs to mind, shot while Kasabian were touring America in 2012. We’d arrived in Palm Springs ahead of their show at Coachella, when everyone was hanging out around the pool, I looked up to see him just sitting on his balcony, unaware of anything. It was one of those beautiful moments, no staging, no directing, just Sergio being himself. If you haven’t got that, you’ll never be ‘cool’.
B&O PLAY: You’ve photographed everything from fashion to sports and music. What’s the main difference between these jobs?
Neil Bedford: To be running around a stage is obviously very different to being on set in a studio. When I’m in the studio I have control, I have lighting and I have my team around me to create the exact images I want. When I’m running around a stage I’m very much on my own, using the lighting that’s available and being in the right position at the right time to get the shots, as you never know what’s going to happen. Once we get back stage I can set things up more, but it’s still a million miles away from working in the studio. During the World Cup in 2014 I was lucky enough to travel to Brazil for the entire tournament, documenting it both for The Green Soccer Journal and Visa, which again, was very different to shooting in the studio or being on tour with Kasabian. I was completely alone, left to do whatever I wanted to do and send images back at the end of each day.
B&O PLAY: How do you use music as a part of your job on an everyday basis?
Neil Bedford: When I’m on set, music is essential. It sets the mood and shows the people who don’t know you a little bit of who you are. On a typical shoot day I play Ian Brown’s “F.E.A.R” as soon as I get to the studio, when I had my first commission back in 2008 it was the song I listened to in the days running up to the shoot to help me overcome the fear I had of being paid for making images. I like to start with that to remind myself I was once scared and should never take anything for granted, keep on my toes and understand I’ve been a very lucky lad. Normally we then go into Oasis or Kasabian as so many of their records give me motivation.
B&O PLAY: What are the main perks of being a photographer?
Neil Bedford: I guess it’s the chance you get to create your image of the person you’re shooting, and if that’s someone you admire it’s an incredible perk of being what I am. There’s also things such as travel and shooting people you may have only ever dreamed about meeting, right down to people you have an amazing connection with for as little as half an hour who may really change your perception on something. People are incredible and meeting new people constantly is definitely a perk.
B&O PLAY: Who would be your dream person to do a photo shoot with?
Neil Bedford: Tough question as when I left university in 2009 I wrote down 3 people I’d like to shoot, Ian Brown, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Liam Gallagher. I’ve since shot Ian and Liam and came close to Harry Potter when I shot his best mate Rupert Grint, so I’m already dreaming. I guess someone like David Attenborough would be my dream as I’ve learned so much from him through my life and spent hours watching him that I’d love the chance to give him what I’d believe to be a beautiful portrait as a way of saying thank you. I’d also like to hear him describe the circus that can be a set when he arrived.
Current City: London