I started out as launch Art Director on one of the most successful ever UK magazines. It was called loaded, I witnessed its meteoric rise from 50k to over one million monthly sales, the design of the magazine was often heralded at the time, as one of the world’s most influential and innovative, along with US title Raygun. It was gerenally felt that we all had the best job in the world, even by the staff of rival mags FHM and Maxim, difficult to argue with that even today. Soon I began to fill the pages not only with my designs but with my photographs.
loaded went on to receive every major publishing award and accolade, after two years at the art helm of loaded I found myself promoted to group Creative Director for IPC Media special projects, going on to launch Eat Soup and Later Magazine, for the men that had grown out of loaded and still had enough faculties intact to be able to read and cook. I came up with the title 'Later' and it somehow stuck.
Editor Phil Hilton, went on to dominate another end of men's market with Nuts Magazine, he now runs Shortlist and Stylist, we stay in touch. The Editor of Eat Soup David Lancaster, is someone I've been working closey with for two years or so on the story of the Vincent motorcycle, the teaser is in the FILMS chunk on the homepage.
Anyway... Having somewhat surprisingly been a loaded fan, Tina Brown, most notable Vanity Fair’s editor, came to me to work on her new launch Talk Magazine, backed by the Weinstein brothers and published by Hearst in NYC, the magazine was probably the most high profile launch the world of magazine publishing had ever witnessed, I'd certainly never seen anything like it. The launch party, held at The Statue Of Liberty, was attended by Robert De Niro and Robert Kennedy Jnr among others, I had definitely moved up in the world, I also moved west, to Hollywood, to be Talk's L.A. staff photographer. On the masthead, my name nestled in alongside those of David Bailey and Patrick Demarchelier.
For Talk, I would rub shoulders with Hollywood A-listers on a regular basis. Chatting with Steve Martin, Warren Beatty and Kim Basinger now became second nature, something that comes in handy when shooting difficult subjects and supersized egos under pressure.
The front cover of an early issue of Talk was not only designed by me but also featured my photograph, one of Ricky Martin singing into the ear of a joyous Luciano Pavarotti. Sadly, the aforementioned Kennedy Jnr died in a plane crash, leading to the magazine devoting pretty much the whole issue to his name and therefore canning my cover.
Whilst in L.A. I also worked for Q Magazine, Britain’s leading rock music publication, on a freelance basis, touring with and shooting the likes of REM, Eminem, Beck and Cypress Hill.
I returned to the UK in 2002, to be hired almost upon arrival, by Felix Dennis to be Creative Director of JACK Magazine, a slick men's title that Felix had just acquired from a company called I Feel Good Publishing, a company formely owned by loaded founder James Brown and until then, art directed very brilliantly, by my good mate Jon Link, another loaded cohort. Good things came from the JACK days.
My next Creative Directorship would come a few years later when golf lifestyle/fashion magazine GOLF PUNK was launched to great success in Europe by another former loaded editor and good mate Tim Southwell. As well as designing and art directing the magazine month to month, I would shoot most of its fashion and cover imagery, leading to a few awards, including Sports Photograph of the Year and BSME Designer of the Year. It would also lead to a multitude of campaign shoots as photographer and Art Director for major sports brands - Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Trendy Golf, Peak Performance, KJUS, Lyle & Scott and Pringle, so I know and understand the needs of such brands, plus know and work well with their creative people.
At Musto I shot all product... Country, shooting, equestrian, Zara Phillips signature range, sailing and lifestyle.
I'm able to take on all creative assets and talke them to higher place, whilst keeping a brand uniformity that cannot be reached with four or five individual image makers.
A move into documentary film making came next, most notably when teaming up with Rob Alexander to make a warmly received portarit of ice cold electronic music pioneer Gary Numan, called GARY NUMAN: ANDROID IN LA LA LAND, the film enjoyed an international theatrical release and some great reviews (see below), it took us four years to make and was a huge challenge but one I embraced, so I know about challenge and how to succeed with one.
Prveious to that was the critically applauded film for Channel Four, Knockout Scousers, following three young Scouse boxers on their road to the Olympiic Games, the trailer for which can be viewed on this site, I'm currnetly working with the co-prodcucer of that fim Robert Douglas on a new boxing endeavour, this one on Don king, an ambitious film to take on, but again, I enjoy a challenge.
Learning my craft in documentaries, I've also shot brand films, for Lyle & Scott, Cartier, Gemfields, KJUS, Nike, Noble Equestrian Outfitters and Wolsey...
Clearly I bring something to the table most photographers and filmmakers do not, twenty years or so of art direction experience, I travel well and I can handle celebrities, egos, tough situations, plus I can also handle tight budgetes... And horses.
That's enough about me...
Look forward to hearing from you.
A Film By Steve Read And Rob Alexander
**** The Guardian **** Total Film **** The Times **** The Express
“Numan is winningly candid and guilelessly charming” - Variety
“A film that reminds me to smile” - The Huffington Post
“Startlingly honest and sincere” - Austin 360