I recently completed a commission for the Incorporated Society of Musicians to create a formal portrait series of current ISM members to integrate into their new recruitment campaign titled 'MyISMis'.
The members were selected from a broad range of music professions to reflect the reach of the organisation's services and core values. Choral & music directors, composers, music educators, singers and musicians were photographed in their typical working environments to highlight two key themes of the design brief - 'Identify' & 'Inspire' - created by the culturally wise team at COG Design.
Craig Ogden is one of the world's foremost classical guitarists and is often found beavering away in a recording studio, so it was decided that a noteworthy studio would suit his sitting. The state of art British Grove Studios in London was the chosen location.
10 years ago Mark Knopfler built and opened his own dream-designed recording studio(s) in London featuring near unparalleled levels of recording and mastering technology, effortlessly integrating historic analogue with the latest digital equipment. For more technical information, read Rick Clark's Mix Online interview with Mark.
Craig and I booked out an empty main studio 1 and BGS's manager David Stewart kindly offered an engineer to put together whatever combination of recording 'booth' we required - especially one that would be professionally right for a classical guitarist. This help also allowed me the fortune to shape the studio's contents to suit my ideal compositional needs. After all, I wanted Craig's set-up to look right and natural but also include signature visual nods to the portrait's location.
Whilst building the composition, we stumbled upon the surprisingly tricky decision of microphone choice. We enquired about connecting a suitable microphone and within minutes an impressively large array of bespoke boxes varying in size was presented to Craig and I like a scene from a black market heist involving St Trinian's in-house spiv > Flash Harry. One by one the rare microphone boxes were opened - you a name a decade of manufacture from the past 80 years and its flagship mic was cushioned in the most luxuriously decadent velvet.
Based on nothing more than visual appeal I chose the one that would look cool in my frame. The engineer noted that it was a model from the 1950s and it had recently been rescued, rebuilt and was now worth an estimated but modest £12,000...yikes! Yes, I had unknowingly entered the treasured world of high end microphones...
To view the whole series of ISM portraits, please go to my gallery emileholba.co.uk/incorporated-society-of-musicians and look for the '+' symbol in the top right of any frame to view large.
My personal thank you to good friends Mitch Dalton & Ralph Salmins (surely two of the music industry's busiest session gods?) for hooking me up with British Grove Studios. And a warm thank you to David Stewart at British Grove Studios for your exemplary hospitality.