Slightly random but a very challenging commission to say the least. I got the call from Tatler to pop along to Lord and Lady Archer’s house and photograph their Cat, Sunita, for the Pet of the Month feature.
In my mind I thought this should be a fairly straight forward job, a few quirky set ups and home by lunch! So I drove on down with a load of props (old vintage milk bottles, scones, tea cups and saucers) and started planning my shots. I don’t know why I thought this but I started to set up my lighting as if the cat was going to walk straight in, sit down, and look straight into the camera, like most portraits I shoot. Disaster. I had my assistant Gary jumping up and down, chasing, clapping his hands, trying anything to get Sunita’s attention. The front of house lady was tempting Sunita into position with her favourite treat, but the peanut butter proved to be too alluring and all I could hope to get at that point was the top of her head as she lapped up her apparent prize.
Something needed to change. After a quick brew and some light conversation, we came up with the idea of setting up the milk bottles by the back door and knocking one of the bottles over, spilling the milk. Sunita ran over, through the flowers, past my lights and started mopping up the dripping milk. The great moment came when the milk started to look scarce and for those precious few seconds, Sunita lifted her head up, stared straight down the lens and gave me the shot I was looking for. Of course we had to reward her with another spilt milk bottle.