Sir George Martin, Air Studios, London
My assignment was to photograph Sir George Martin at AIR Studios in London, England for an upcoming PBS special music project. A London based video crew was interviewing George Martin for a music project sitting at a piano. He talked about the Beatles and the making of a few particular songs that he was very instrumental in producing. That’s about all can say about the project specifically at this time; otherwise, I might be shot.
I had met George and photographed him few time times before, once at the EMI archives and another time at Abbey Road Studios. I found him to be approachable and very personable. Since we interacted a few times before I think he felt comfortable in front of my camera. The problem with this particular shoot was I was dealing with a fairly large video crew that had to light this large space and were only concerned with their task at hand.
Understandably I melted into the background and took production stills of the making of the project; setting up the lights, interactions between the director and talent, the crew, camera placement, dolly rehearsals etc. I shot from eye level and from the balcony to help tell the story about the production and give some perspective of the size of this very large sound studio. In the back of mind, I remember director said “Robert we are going to make some time for you in between one take, so you will have a little time with George at the piano and don’t shoot while we are filming.’
Now what exactly does a little time mean you might ask? In my experience that could mean about 30 seconds all the way up to 10 minutes if I was lucky. I hope for the best and prepare for the worst case senario. That means I want to be prepared as much as possible within the time frame of my shoot. I decided the best compositional angles in my mind beforehand and the lighting preset or ready to put into my shot when time was right, besides having all my camera equipment at my finger tips.
When I got my opportunity to photograph George I used the existing lighting from the set and just focused on the composition and his relationship with the piano. Believe me when your get your chance to be on and in control in this small window of time you have to be ready to preform because there are very few second chances. The director was very happy with the results and George asked me if he could use this photo on his website and for other PR usages, naturally I agreed.