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My Night with Sir Ranulph

December 30, 2013

’Tis the season that blogger types the world over get a bit reflective and do their reviews of the year, but that seems a bit daft when all you have to do is scroll down to see some of my highlights.

And while its been quite action packed recently, a late entry to my 2013 best-ofs  happened only just a couple of weeks ago.

Explorer and adventurer Ranulph Fiennes photographed by Rachel Spivey

Adventurer, raconteur and frostbite expert

As a photographer I get asked to do all kinds of stuff and go all kinds of places, so when I was asked to shoot Sir Ranulph Fiennes at the Savoy, I jumped at the chance of a bit of glamour and high-society.

Conference at the Savoy

Famous the world over, it was nice to top a year of great venues with The Savoy, London

Sir Ranulph was the guest speaker at conference organised by a serious global financial services company and the event was as top-notch as you’d expect.

Speaker at a conference at the Savoy in London by photographer Rachel Spivey

…it was this big

My job was to capture all the action – well, people stood in front of PowerPoint presentations and other people sat around tables listening to them – and generally record the two-day event for posterity.

Conference food at the Savoy

Exquisite food, beautifully presented

I’ve covered a number of conferences and events like this over the years, but never one where the puddings came adorned with a pansy!

Conference room at the Savoy

The Savoy offers a bit more than your average conference room

The conference included a series of speakers on the main stage and a number of small group meetings. A select number of  delegates even got to enjoy a private dinner with Sir Ranulph and it was cool to be in the room and witness him holding court with his anecdotes of daring do.

What an incredibly charismatic character!

Ranulph Fiennes after dinner speaker photographed by Rachel Spivey

Sir Ranulph telling of his exploits

When you do a job like this, it’s great to feel part of the crew and one of the best parts of the event for me was hanging out with the lighting and sound techs. That sense of camaraderie and teamwork is one of the things I miss working on my own.

After a lot of on-stage shots I was soon in my element working the room and capturing some candid moments, though it was very different vibe to the weddings I have been doing a lot of lately.

Candid photos of conference delegates by Rachel Spivey

Delegates mingling

Often at these things there’s some sort of entertainer working the room, usually a magician or some such. It’s good for me as it’s a distraction and makes people less conscious of the camera. In addition to a graphologist the organisers had hired a fantastic silhouette artist, Charles Burns. He just snipped away freehand and knocked out some incredible likenesses in just a few minutes. I was very impressed.

Silhouettes by Charles Burns

The intricate silhouette work of The Roaming Artist

I’d like to thank Alison Medwell who approached me to do the job. The last time I photographed Ali was her wedding in 2011 and it was lovely to see her in full swing and witness first-hand how well her new event company Medwell Creations is doing.

Event Silhouette artist Charles Burns

Charles gets to grips with Ali’s professional profile

So, along with all the Christmas wedding album orders and December weddings, it has been a mad month and a fitting end to a busy year.

Thankfully the rumours around the wedding industry that bookings would be in 2013 down due to superstitions about the date proved unfounded in the end. As always I have met some great couples and give thanks to the Wedding Photography Gods for continuing to send me the nice ones!

It was a tough decision to say bye to the studio in June, although to be honest I haven’t looked back. It’s been great to continue working with established clients like Ochre and Ocre, nice to be out and about shooting pubs again for Marston’s and fun to work with some like minded collaborators like the Vintage Hair Lounge and Carrie Southall and Katherine Doyle

No round-up would be complete without special mention to Dan who has proved invaluable time and time again.

And, of course, a huge thanks to my special ‘back room boy’ Mr Spivey for his patience and enduring support, especially when things get crazily busy.

Also to my Mum for stepping-in (often at short notice) and looking after my boys.

Blimey, it’s like an Oscar speech…

Here’s to a cracking 2014, whatever it may bring.

RS x

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