The latest talent to come on board at Shooting Gallery Asia is London-based Scotsman Stuart Hamilton, a reputed automotive & lifestyle director/photographer and a familiar face to constructors like Bentley Motors, for whom he has shot numerous campaigns. By way of introduction, we had a chat with Stuart and asked him a few questions. Please read along to get more insight into the man’s work.
- Hi Stuart, welcome to the Shooting Gallery Asia family. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and how you evolved as a director-photographer in London?
Firstly let me say how delighted I am to be part of the Shooting Gallery family, it represents a wealth of talent and experience that I’m proud to be associated with!
So, that’s a great question and I suppose the answer probably goes back further than my time in London. I was actually born in Scotland and brought up in the Highlands. That is where, surrounded by the most stunning landscape and light that my inspiration and love of photography and film first began. Of course when I moved to London it became hugely influential in my work and gave me the opportunity to work with some of the industries best creatives and shoot some amazing campaigns that eventually won many awards and recognition from the likes of D&AD, Communication Arts and Kodak.
- Who is your greatest inspiration and what motivates you in what you do?
Honestly, my greatest inspiration whether directing or shooting is working outside in a great location with a bunch of talented people all pulling together to create a stunning piece of work that myself and my clients can be proud of.
- How has your style evolved since you first started capturing images?
Styles change! Throughout the industry we see new styles or faces come and go, it’s as simple as that! However I’ve always stayed true to my own vision and never copied the latest trend. It’s a strong vision, very simple images shot with great consideration to the framing and light. I think the least amount of retouch or trickery leads to the strongest images and the most awarded campaigns. Less is more
- Seems like you travel quite a lot for shoots, can you share with us the most interesting location shoot you had?
Travel is a huge part of my job and thankfully something I love! It also inspires me. When you travel your eyes and senses are opened to new and fresh influences. I draw on these experiences to push for stronger locations that ultimately benefit my clients. A good example of my approach and vision for a project would be my Hummer campaign. The account had just moved to a new agency in Boston (USA). Late one Friday night I got the rough layouts to consider and bid, immediately I could see this was a ground breaking campaign for Hummer, a total “U” turn on their normal “macho” imagery. I asked my rep to set up a meeting for the following Monday and I flew to the US to meet with the creatives. MY idea was simple : I wanted to take these huge Hummer trucks out into the wilds where they belong, not the streets of LA. I researched some countries over the weekend and put forward Chile and Mongolia as the type of locations / terrain I wanted to shoot in. The brief was to shoot 4 double page spreads. We drove all over Chile from Patagonia to the Atacama Desert with a very minimal crew for 10 days shooting at every opportunity. In the end I delivered so many images that the agency struggled to edit it down and presented some 14 spreads to the delighted client. It was also amazing value for money as I not only shot the stills but worked with a young camera assistant to direct the video as well.
- Is there any figure or subject that you have not shot before and that you think would be extremely interesting to have in front of the lens?
Every subject is interesting, I shoot or direct a lot of car based campaigns but I also love interacting with people. It’s so important as a director or photographer to be able to chat, make people feel easy and perform in front of the lens. I’ve an interesting project that along with my producer we are working on just now. It’s sort of a loose documentary / life film and each character I’ve cast has a very unique look, personal to themselves. They range from city brokers to hipsters and punks, but each one of them have tattoos. That’s the common link and through little scenes they the talk about why they are tattooed.
Stuart, thank you for your time and we look forward to see more of your work soon, from around the world and of course here in Asia!