I’ve been incredibly lucky this year, having enjoyed a number of holidays and short breaks – it’s been a seemingly endless summer for me. That’s partly because it started early, in the middle of March, when I joined my photographer husband Olley on what has become an annual shoot for him – taking the pictures for Sir Cliff Richard’s calendar. It’s a calendar that has in recent years only been outsold by that of One Direction, a measure of Sir Cliff’s enduring popularity.
When I wrote about the trip in April earlier this year, many of you left comments about how envious you were that I had experienced first-hand the generosity of Cliff’s hospitality. He was delightful – such a kind and genuine man. Our son Billy was with us as Olley’s assistant (may as well keep it in the family!) and Cliff made us all feel welcome in his gorgeous Caribbean home in Barbados, around which the shoot was based.
The images were for his 2015 calendar, which is available to buy now. You’ve probably read in the newspapers about the events he is currently dealing with, and I know he is devastated about the accusations levelled at him. I wondered whether he would delay the launch of his calendar but I’m delighted he has published it, and I’m sure his legion of fans will be buying it in their thousands!
I thought that you might like to see a few of the photos I took on the trip, giving you a glimpse of ‘behind the scenes’ . The cover shot on the calendar is a glorious photo of Sir Cliff wearing a white suit, standing in the sea at sunset waving a bottle of the bubbly he produces in his Portuguese vineyard. Technically it’s difficult to shoot towards the low sun without creating a silhouette – you can see how Olley overcomes this by putting Billy in the sea as well, holding a flash light to illuminate Cliff at the same time as keeping the golden glow of the sunset. I was delighted that I took one of my photos at the exact moment that Olley’s flash went off – pure fluke but I got the shot I was after!
And I have to say, Cliff was brilliant. Patient, appreciative and he didn’t complain once about getting drenched!
In the calendar they’ve cropped the shot so you don’t get the whole story, but I took one where you can see it all (along with Billy’s hand preparing the flash light.)
Water was very much a theme, of course, and there was one set up where Cliff stayed dry but both Olley and Billy got a soaking. It was in the infinity pool at Cliff’s lovely home. Sir Cliff was standing on the edge with the pool in front of him and, from a certain angle, only the sky and the sea were visible beyond him. To make the exposure work Olley needed to get a strong light on the front of Cliff – after several attempts the only way was to get wet, as this photo shows. The arm on the left, holding the cables clear of the water, is mine!
And that’s not the only time I helped. Cliff always likes to have a photo of everyone who worked on the calendar to put on the back of it, so Olley has to be front of camera for a change. I took the photo of Sir Cliff leaning back, supported by his team. Billy is delighted to have his name there as photographic assistant but I have to say – I’m a little miffed my byline as photographer has been left off!!
It was a lovely few days, a mix of work and pleasure but the work was so much fun it all felt like a holiday. And with the calendar up on our kitchen wall I can remind myself of those happy, sunny times all the way though the coming winter.
Until next time, take care