A Photographer's Eye - Meet the Artist: Rich Hardcastle
Posted on February 10 2017
It's the BAFTAs this weekend and we can't wait to see who will win those golden masks!
To celebrate the event, we turned the lens on photographer BAFTA photographer Rich Hardcastle to learn more about his work and ask him to select his top 10 picks from Culture Label’s photography collection.
With more than 25 years of experience behind him, commercial photographer Rich Hardcastle has a long list of famous subjects and clients to his name. Well known for his unique approach to portraiture, Rich masters portraits of people in any environment. He is arguably best known for his ‘in the moment’ images of celebrities at the BAFTAS, where he has captured the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson and his favourite subject, Ricky Gervais, whom he has photographed for over 15 years.
Rich documented the award winning show Extras, featuring Ricky alongside Stephen Merchant, the images of which were published in the book The Illustrated Scripts. Rich also travelled the world, documenting the hit TV show An Idiot Abroad. Take a look at CultureLabel’s selection of Hardcastle’s timeless works for yourself.
Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer?
Not really. I always wanted to direct films. Still do. My game plan was to shoot bands, then music videos and then move on to films. I have started shooting the odd video recently but I am still immersed in photography. The work I exhibit is very filmic, with staged theatrical scenarios… a film in one frame, if you will.
Tell us about your works that are in the National Portrait Gallery?
I have a few now; the first was of Phil Jupitus which I took for my continuing collection of comedians. The others include my photos of James McAvoy, taken for BAFTA Scotland, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, shot for The Sunday Times, which ended up being the portrait of the month at the NPG and my image of Idris Elba, which I took at my house when I was shooting him for one of my exhibitions.
What do you look for and try and capture when you photograph people?
I think unless a photograph tells you even a just a little about a person it’s just a picture of them rather than a portrait. And you also want it to be a great photograph regardless of who your subject is. You have to become that person's best friend for the 10 minutes you have with them, get them to put their guard down, to enable you to capture a little bit of their soul.
Who has been your favourite subject?
"Probably Ricky Gervais. Just because I've been shooting him for about 15 years now. He's always up for collaborating on any strange or interesting ideas I have for a shoot. He was the first person I shot for my first gallery show at Mead Carney a few years ago. His involvement definitely got the ball rolling in terms of others agreeing to be a part of it. "
Rich’s Top 10 Photography Picks:
Helena Bonham Carter - Rich Hardcastle
This was one of the first shots I took shooting backstage at the BAFTAs. The backstage area was lit by a constantly changing colour spill from the stage. I tend to be very unobtrusive when shooting and prefer to keep a very low profile in order to capture quiet wee moments like this one.
Kate Winslet - Greg Williams
Greg has a relationship with a lot of the folk you get at the awards, because he's shot them before, so you get these lovely photos that have a real personal interaction with him and the viewer. When I took over from him backstage at the BAFTAs I thought, if I can just sort of copy what he does then I'll be okay when I'm doing it.
Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston - Sarah Lee
Sarah Lee is an obscenely talented photographer whose work I love. This brilliant shot was used by the papers to depict an imaginary rivalry between the two of them concerning who'd be the next Bond. I actually think it'd be more likely that they were saying "You play Bond."
"No, you play Bond."
"I don't want it, you play Bond"
Everything she does is great and I have the added bonus of being able to call her a friend.
Cinematographer - Phil Fisk
Talking of obscene talent: Phil Fisk. Just beautiful, beautiful work. I love this shot and the apparent simplicity of it. As with all of Phil's work, the idea and the composition are second to none.
Banksy - Phil Fisk
I love this work for the same reason: lovely light, composition and idea. There's something sinister yet innocent at the same time about this shot.
Impala -Sam Hicks
I love Impalas. And I love buildings that have faces.
We don't have any photographs on the walls of our house apart from a couple of family ones but I'm seriously hankering after having this for my wall. I'm a sucker for symmetry and this pleases me no end!
Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe - Rich Hardcastle
Again, a good example of a quiet wee moment before the folk go on stage. This was Russell and Hugh practising their lines before presenting. I love the light on the background, sort of reminiscent of the gas lights in Les Miserable which they were filming at the time.
Hollywood Local- Hugh Holland
I'm a real fan of the skateboarding scene in California in the 70's. Hugh Holland's photos have a great visual quality to them as well as being historical documents of a pivotal time in a cultural movement. The mixture of the smog and the light in LA being shot on movie film produce a really lovely golden light in the photographs. In fact we named one of our sons Zephyr, after the skateboards.
Lou Reed - Mick Rock
I had to include something by Mick Rock as he's the granddaddy of rock photography. Shooting bands was a big part of me wanting to get into photography in the first place so I've always been very aware of Mick's work. This is one of those shots that give you a bit of a glimpse of his actual personality I like to think.
Sound Foley Still Life, Lightbulbs In Glass - Phil Fisk
Sorry, another Phil Fisk. He even makes still life shots amazing. Why is there a glass full of light bulbs? Who cares!