Last week were The Prince’s Trust’s Celebrate Success awards at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. These awards recognise 22 young people throughout the UK who have turned their lives around with help from the Trust. It’s my job to take a series of images that reflect their lives, from hardship to success. I also need to make them look cool.
The awards are attended by various celebrities and Prince Charles, and my images are projected onto the cinema screen at the back of the theatre to accompany a voiceover about each person. This brings a certain pressure on getting the job right.
This year was the tenth time I’ve completed the photography for this amazing event and the 2015 shoot was the most epic yet, taking me from Aberdeen to Padstow over a four-week period. One week I started in Bristol, flew to Belfast, then the rest of the week took me to Londonderry, Strabane, Belfast again, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Peebles, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh before flying back to Bristol. The following Monday I was shooting in Padstow, Cornwall – over 700 miles between consecutive shoots.
The travelling can be a bit of a challenge but it’s worth it because it’s one of the most uplifting experiences to meet these positive and active people, particularly after you find out what dramatic circumstances they have come from. Most have terrible family circumstances, got mixed up with drugs, been bullied, prison or have mental health issues. If you go to the Prince’s Trust website you can read all about them.
To spend some time with these dynamic young people, gain their trust and then to take their picture which hopefully does justice to their achievement is one of the most rewarding things I do as a photographer.