Transient Asylum Studio

This is my second post delving a little behind the scenes of a recently completed commission for the Incorporated Society of Musicians. In conjunction with COG Design, the commission was to create a formal portrait series of current ISM members to integrate into their new recruitment campaign titled 'MyISMis'. For full details about the brief, please read my last 'MyISMis' news entry titled 'The £12,000 Microphone'.

Let me introduce the ever-smiling and talented composer of drama, film and opera > Ed Scolding.

Upon finding out that Ed was chosen for the 'MyISMis' campaign, I gave him a phone call to find out a little more about how he professionally ticks. Sure, one can make a portrait in many locations but I wanted a more meaningful contextual setting, so we threw a number of ideas around. 

Like many modern day composers, Ed works from a home studio and after seeing a few snaps of his authentic & characterful studio space, I still wanted a more personable degree of spectacle to visually lift his portrait in the campaign. Conversations continued and I discovered that Ed had recently premiered he first fully staged Gestalt Arts production of his opera work 'Adrift' in an arts space in South London > Asylum in Peckham.

Asylum operates out of the charming remnants of Caroline Gardens Chapel which forms the heart of London’s largest complex of almshouses originally known as the Licenced Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution Asylum. Lead by artists in residence, Jo Dennis & Dido Hallett, the space is hired out for everything from TV productions, exhibitions and weddings to fashion shoots and launch parties. I went to meet Jo and have a general recce. 

Walking around the rustic space I imagined relocating the bare bones / key components of Ed's home studio into Asylum. True to the authenticity of the brief yet with added flavour and seasoning - Ed whole heartily agreed and loved the 'nod' to his opera, so we set a date. 

A sweet morning's work followed with a 8am load-up at Ed's house in South East London, a 20 minute drive around the 'South Circular' (all Londoners know that this is a pretend term to mirror the North Circular but is in fact a ludicrous mess of rat runs and atrocious road design > I digress...) plus an hour & half to clear the space, set-up all the studio parts from scratch and fire a few frames. 

Thank you Ed for a great collaboration and to Ceri Wood for your assistance too. 

Nerdy note alert. The cameraphone snap above suggests a healthy amount of daylight, the opposite was true and without the modelling lights set to full blast, we were practically preparing the shoot in the dark. Also compositionally speaking, you'll note the glorious stained glass windows rising towards the ceiling - well yes, they were very tempting to include in the frame, however once on we started to arrange the picture I judged that more than enough of the location's character seeped from the walls, so I went for a condensed, tight composition of Ed relaxing during his recording session. More often than not, I'll pair down and take away details to really focus the viewer's eye. 

Thanks to Jo Dennis for the loan of the space > I hope you managed to source a qualified printer for your wallpaper design idea :-)

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.