Hendry’s desire to relay stories and fabricate characters through photographic means along with Proctor’s visual flair and ability to “create rather than recreate” have joined forces in their new exhibition, Legends. Catalysed by a chance meeting when Hendry’s gallery was being used for a shoot involving Proctor’s incredible headpieces, the creative partnership hit the ground running. We chat to the guys just days before the grand unveiling and first private viewing of the show.
Rich you’re a photographer and John you’re a stylist. Were your visions always harmonious or did the mediums ever clash?
Rich: Although we're approaching a project from two different angles we've been very lucky in that we both have a very clear vision regarding the quality and standards that we both work too, so once we'd agreed on a pretty tight brief it was relatively straightforward to achieve what we wanted. I hope John agrees…
John: As is with most photographers and their stylists, it becomes a symbiotic relationship where you bounce off each other. It's the same craft really. If it's not harmonious it’s either not a healthy working relationship or something needs to be changed on the project. Either way it has to work!
What is it about comic books, superheroes and Greek mythology that capture your attention enough to influence your work?
J: Comic books are not usually of any interest to me generally but I can find a creative thread in anything that triggers my mind and this did. The comic book thread was open to interpretation.
R: Comic books and graphic novels are a fantastic form of storytelling and they're great visual stimuli too. The amount of comic book adaptations in the cinema is testament to this.
So can I sense your inner child seeping through in his exhibition, Rich?
R: It probably is! It's often only as you get older and gain more skills that you can finally realise the things you wanted to do as a child.
As well as the comic book influence, did you take inspiration from any other artists throughout the process?
J: We didn't take any lead from other photographers or artists it just was about pure portraiture with a fashion edge, beautifully shot. We just knew how it was to be lit and styled. That was the easy part!
R: I try not to look to other photographers’ work too much as it would be all too easy to imitate other peoples styles. One of the main things that influenced this project was looking at historical portraits of the aristocracy and mythical characters in the National Portrait Gallery. One of the best bits about living in London is having these resources on your doorstep.
How did you go about sourcing and selecting the models to portray your characters?
J: Sourcing the models was challenging but with our contacts combined and having 15 years in the biz, it was made easier. We had nothing but enthusiasm from all involved in the project. It was really organic actually and just seemed to roll out brilliantly.
R: One of the things about this project was we'd often spend up to six or seven hours on one portrait, with hair and make up and styling and everything, so we were limited to only being able to shoot two or three images each week over about a month.
Because of this we were able to sit back and have a good think about our models between each shoot so we had plenty of time to get that part right. We worked with several model agencies on this too and they were all a great help in slimming down the options once they'd grasped the brief. Some of the real people we shot very much determined the brief too, as they're personalities influenced their 'character'.
Finally, without giving away too much information, do you have a favourite piece from the collection?
J: I have to say that my favourite is the image on the invite (pictured above) as this was the first I worked on. It got the creative process and juices flowing!
R: As each image got shot it became my new favourite and the same happened again when they came back from retouching, one by one. As we spent so long on each shot with each person they have all become very memorable to me.
View more of Rich Hendry’s work at www.richhendry.com or check out John Proctor’s projects at www.johnproctorstylist.com. For more information on the Legends exhibition, contact the gallery on email@example.com.