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Capturing Kew's passion

Christina Harrison
29 July 2010
Blog team: 
One of the highlights of putting Kew magazine together is gathering and commissioning the images that will help convey what Kew is all about.

One of our regular features on the magazine is a profile of a member of staff, which gives an insight into what people here get up to, how many projects they’re involved in and how they have got to where they are today. It’s a great peek behind-the–scenes.

Our journalist Gail Vines does a fabulous job of interviewing the intended ‘victim’ while the photographer has the unenviable job of trying to convey the personality and the work of the person in a single image.

Our regular photographer for these wonderful portraits is John Millar – whose images of the stars of industry, politics, sport and media you may have seen and wondered at in other publications. Kew magazine’s art editor, Hina, and John work together to find a suitable location and props that can bring the vital ingredients of a fabulous image together and then we all pray for the weather to hold.

For this year’s autumn issue we grabbed Kew’s exhibitions manager – Laura Giuffrida – who was responsible for the garden-wide exhibitions of Dale Chihuly and Henry Moore in recent years and has also overseen the new interpretation in the Marianne North Gallery and put together the exhibitions in the Nash Conservatory and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art since its opening. We wanted to celebrate Laura’s achievements and her work and how she brings Kew’s art to the public.

So, last week, we headed out into the gardens for a photo shoot…

Lots of elements need to come together for a successful shot – location, light, colour, props, which add to the image rather than detract from it, and that magic moment when you know you’ve really captured someone. Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of this process is getting the ‘model’ to relax! Most of us are used to quickly posing for a picture but we usually take a couple of hours to get the right shot for the magazine and this can take its toll on the cheek muscles!

For this shot we used a beautiful large frame (very kindly lent to us by Just Good Frames in Richmond) and also photographed Laura in the Marianne North Gallery.

It’s immensely important to us to effectively bring across Kew’s work in the magazine and Kew’s staff are arguably its biggest asset. Look out for the final shot we’ve chosen in the autumn issue – out on 8 September. We hope you like it – remember to let us know what you think.


Find out how to get your copy of Kew magazine here.

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