Monthly Archives: November 2013

“Suddenly it just went up in flames” – Pete Doherty’s vest and other stories…

Photographer Dean Chalkley is a man who loves to talk.

The thing is, his stories are so beguiling that I love to listen to them.

So what I imagined would be an hour or so’s worth of interview time at his London studio turned into practically a whole day of music sharing, sandwich trips and a viewing of his latest short film project.

Ever generous with his time, a gently charming raconteur with an easy manner and a disarming lack of ego, it’s easy to imagine how Dean sets the often unbelievably high-profile celebrities he regularly shoots for the likes of the NME, Sunday Times and Observer at ease.

Charlotte Gainsbourg © Dean Chalkley/NME/IPCMEDIA

Charlotte Gainsbourg © Dean Chalkley/NME/IPCMEDIA

And you can sense their relaxed participation in his work – you never get the sense they’ve just turned up for a job and are posing blankly before moving onto the next stop in the conveyor belt of photo shoots and interviews they must be used to. They’re active contributors to the distinctive works. While his portfolio is a boggling list of familiar faces – there’s a twinkling look of enjoyment and engagement behind the well-known features that’s not so familiar.

From Tim Burgess and the White Stripes through to Amy Winehouse, Patti Smith, Hollywood A-lister Scarlett Johansson (there’s a great story about her and a location mix-up in the interview), Kings of Leon and Paul McCartney, Dean’s shot them all.

Perhaps my personal favourite of Dean’s stories is a tale of Libertines and Babyshambles musician Pete Doherty accidentally setting himself on fire in the studio having become, as Dean delicately puts it, a little worse for wear.

It’s a great example of how the most unexpected of situations can lead to creative gold – as Pete promptly re-donned the charred remains of his vest and closed his eyes in a poetic state of hazy euphoria – and Dean captured the moment on camera.

Pete Doherty © Dean Chalkley/NME/IPCMEDIA

Pete Doherty © Dean Chalkley/NME/IPCMEDIA

There are plenty more tales, and plenty of inspiration and ideas for photographers, music lovers, or just those who enjoy a good yarn in my interview, which was done for fab arts magazine Ideas Mag.

You can have a read of it here

And you can browse through Dean’s wonderful portfolio here

Dean Chalkley © Dean Chalkley

Dean Chalkley © Dean Chalkley

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Eat an apple every day…

One of the fun things about going freelance is being able to write about pretty much whatever I find interesting and inspiring. 

I don’t have to think within the boundaries of a certain area or worry about whether it fits into a certain section of a paper or not. 

So when I came across organic skincare company Essential Care in my ever-ongoing quest for lovely, organic and ethically sourced products to put on my skin, I knew I wanted to feature them somewhere.

The small family run company has a great story – Margaret Weeds first started developing the natural products from herbs in her own garden to treat her family’s sensitive skin. Along with her daughter Abi, they launched Essential Care 10 years ago – and now have fans including Hollywood actor Amanda Seyfried and West End and TV star Denise Van Outen singing their praises.

Their products are pretty delicious – and all vegetarian, with some vegan as well as being certified by the Soil Association, the gold standard in organically produced goodies.

They promote Fairtrade farming, produce in small batches and cold-press their essential plant oils to keep a hold of all the goodness in there which can be lost otherwise. What’s more, my skin has never looked so good since I started using their products. Ethics are one thing, but if it doesn’t actually work, it’s no good.

So I was chuffed when fab ethical beauty blog Beauty Boots asked me to do a Q&A with Abi.

If you fancy a read, you can link to the site here: Under the Beauty-Scope

And you can visit the Essential Care website and snaffle up some of their lovely products here: Essential Care


Essential Care co-founder Abi Weeds

Essential Care co-founder Abi Weeds


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