I was recently commissioned to capture portraits for Monmouthshire County Council’s newly elected Cabinet after a change of administration following the local elections back in May. It sees the Council change from a Conservative Cabinet to a Labour Cabinet, led by Monmouthshire’s first female Leader Mary Ann Brocklesby.

The brief required me to capture the new Caninet members in the wards for which they were elected and the shots needed to be relaxed and welcoming – nothing too formal. Natural lighting and simple was the name of the game

Everyone was extremely accomodating on the day of their shoot and I was able to quickly grab the shots with ease. Thank you to each of them for puttin gup with my rubbish jokes!

Smiling lady stood atop a hill overlooking rural countryside on a glorious sunny day
Council Leader Mary Ann Brocklesby
Deputy Council Leader Paul Griffiths stands in front of River Wye bridge in Chepstow
Deputy Leader Paul Griffiths
Female county councillor stood smiling happily in a castle courtyard
Cllr Rachel Garrick
Female councillor in a blue bloise stood in front of pond smiling
Cllr Catrin Maby
Jolly looking male councillor stands smiling in front of a school
Cllr Martyn Groucutt
Councillor stood in suit with red necklace smiles
Cllr Catherine Fookes
Friendly male councillor stood in front of orange flowers smiling to the camera in the grounds of Mardy Park
Cllr Tudor Thomas
Smiling female councillor in floral shirt stood in the grounds of Abergavenny castle
Cllr Sara Burch

This shoot was almost a year in the making! Meg, the singer and band leader from the recently branded Idle Minds (formally known as SouthBound), emailed me over a year ago after the original COVID-19 lockdown to try and organise a shoot. They’d recently had a member leave the fold and wanted a fresh batch of promos to portray the bands’ image going forward. Meg is a photographer herself (shout-out!) and had a clear idea of what she wanted which included the band smartly dressed juxtaposed with a rough, overgrown backdrop. We’d been in conversation for some time but due to the global-event-that-shall-not-be-named and people’s availability, it took a long time to put plans into action.

Band stood beneath decommissioned mineshaft on a cold autumn morning

We’d toyed about with a few ideas but eventually settled on utilising the industrial vibe of Newbridge and its surrounding areas as a location and as luck would have it, by the time we got round to actually shooting, winter had come around and we were treated to a beautiful crisp morning (bit of an understatement – it was bloody freezing) with lots of light and autumnal colours which provided a rusty quality to the style of the shoot.

I lit some of the earlier shots with a softbox to add a consitent feel across the images. I’m normally one to remove a lot of colour saturation from my work but with this I wanted to keep that orangey rust-like tone, whilst removing a lot of blue hues from the sky so that the skin tones and landscape had colour priority.

Despite the moody aesthetic that seems to ever creep into my work, the band themselves were incredibly easy to work with and not ones to take themselves too seriously. These are always the best kind of people to work with and help you to feel like they trust you without trying to micromanage the session. In fact we joked it could have easily been a promotional shoot for a new estate agent company rather than a band.

It was great to finally get around to making things happen and all the waiting and planning eventualy worked out for the best. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Idle Minds. Cheers guys!

Band members stood in abandoned mining field with mineshaft in the background
Moody black and white shot of group with high contrast shadows