We’ve had an interesting day today – not only have we spent most of the day photographing willow artist Tom Hare and his team (a joy in itself), but we've had to dodge thunder, lightning, heavy rain and then bright, fiercely hot sunshine.
When you’re trying to do a photo shoot not all of this is very conducive to getting the shot you want. Any photographer will tell you that bright sunshine is one of the worst conditions to try to take pictures in – especially as most people’s faces will be in shadow just when you don’t want them to be, and the contrast is usually horrible. In fact the five minutes before the rain (or 'deluge') started proved to be the best in terms of light. Hearing that thunder getting closer and closer certainly did focus the mind.
Setting up the shot involved placing the willow bundles and the fungi sculpture Tom was working on 'just so' to catch the reflected light.
As editor, I don’t have much to do on these photo shoots except hold the umbrella over the camera when it pours down and get the teas in. It’s fantastic to see our photographer at work though, and to help set up the shots, move the lights and 'props', and then see a piece of art being created. It’s always amazing to me that what I can see with my eyes is not what will come out as the final shot. With the magic of lights in the right place, and all the other tricks photographers pull with aperture and depth of field, we now have a stunning set of formal portraits and reportage shots of Tom and his team at work to celebrate this new exhibition at Kew.
Dodging the heavy showers with lights and tools. Tom was very patient!
This was all in aid of a great interview feature we have lined up for the Kew magazine autumn issue. Tom has worked with Kew’s mycology team to create a set of willow sculptures, all of British edible mushrooms in different stages of development. They are absolutely stunning – from chanterelles to morels you will be wowed. Do come along and enjoy them on the Broad Walk. They are the result of four months’ long hard work and truly reveal the beauty of fungi. It was a great experience to be there with the team as they finished the sculptures and to hear visitors’ reactions as they came up to them. Everyone was enthralled with these beautifully textural pieces.
Make sure you get your copy of the magazine in September to see the final shots we took, but in the meantime come along to see Tom’s work.
Tom and his team with a few of their spectacular sculptures... almost finished...
- Get your copy of Kew magazine
- Find out more about Kew's IncrEdibles festival
- Discover more about Tom Hare
- John Millar photography
Christina accepts a Kew Publishing award at the Garden Media Guild awards in 2012.
Christina joined Kew in 1999 after finishing a BSc. degree in Plant Ecology and an Advanced National Certificate in Horticulture. After initially working as a horticulturist in Kew’s Arboretum and the Hardy Display section (on the Grass Garden) she went on to become Festivals Interpretation Officer between 2002-2008, helping Kew’s onsite visitors understand what makes Kew tick. In the meantime she completed an MA in Garden History, a subject that continues to be one of her passions.
Christina was short-listed for a Garden Writers Guild award in 2007 for one of her articles in Kew magazine, and is the author of Kew’s Big Trees, published in 2008. She became editor of Kew magazine in September 2008. “I see Kew magazine as a window on the world of Kew,” she says. “I hope between its pages the many facets of Kew’s work and the people who make it happen are revealed for all to see and encourage readers to continue to support Kew.”
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