Jamie Maclaren shoots work for the Editorial with Moving Image module

I wanted to take a portrait of someone local to Cheltenham and was inspired to approach the owners of Monty Smith, in Bennington Street. I thought this independent clothing store had a unique and quirky atmosphere to it: unconventional, vintage feel, and colourful. I met the co-owner, Sukhy Rai, in the shop. He was very welcoming, enthusiastic, and relaxed, so much so that we decided to take some test shots straight away!

The name of the shop creates an air of mystery because no one there is actually called Monty Smith. I wanted to reflect this in the front cover portrait. The shop has a photography studio in the basement. I decided to shoot there as I would have more control over lighting. I used one light source to throw shadow, creating intrigue and mystery. I’m very pleased with how I captured a private moment here. The subject is very proud of the ethos of his shop and the items sold there: I feel that emotion comes across strongly in this portrait.

For the double page spread, I returned to the public space of the shop floor. I used natural light from a line of skylights in the ceiling. I decided to shoot this portrait as a half-face: it is playful, reflecting Sukhy’s character. As only half his face is visible, the subject retains an air of mystery, linking back to the front cover portrait.

I very much enjoyed this brief because it allowed me to think outside the box. Going into a new situation and photographing somebody I had never met was really useful experience for the professional world. It developed my people skills while also drawing on my technical ability to shoot on location in an unfamiliar space.

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