With exquisite timing in the very midst of us moving house my best friend Mark Bader called me as with short notice Contiki Travel had asked him to get to Rome sharpish to shoot the cover for their upcoming Europe brochure.
Being August the cost of flights was extortionate but the cover shot was so urgently needed so the daylight robberies were approved and I booked my flights.
Since 2003 on two or three occasions a year I have assisted Mark on projects in places as varied as Crane Beach Barbados which is recognised as one of the top 10 beaches in the world, to the glamour of the new eco friendly toilets at Bluewater shopping centre.
The few days before my departure were a blur as the house we eventually moved into was not ready so our belongings had to be moved twice in four days, firstly into storage and then I found a man and a van (thanks Fritz) and our friend Linda kindly offered her help as well and everything was quickly moved in a whirl of dust up the rambla to our new home.
I unpacked as much as was humanly possible and then buggered off to Rome leaving the new house piled high with unopened boxes and one fuming girlfriend to deal with the mess.
Almeria Airport has regular shuttle flights to Madrid and destinations can easily be reached so within five hours of leaving I was on Italian soil steeling myself to do battle; ooops I mean to try and buy a bus ticket into Rome City centre. As all was short notice the nine crew and models all arrived at different times with the earliest getting there at 8am (poor James) and the latest at 11pm. So us early birds went and scouted the object of our mission The Coliseum.
Mark has an App (remember them?) that shows the time and direction of sunrise and sunset for any world location and then it offers to make a cup of tea. For a photographer this is awesome stuff indeed and we knew exactly when we would have to be there to take advantage of the light and get the required effect for Contiki, the client.
Normally the pre dawn world is a mystery to me but when on location its part and parcel so at 5.30 the next morning nine of us were standing awe struck watching the dawn light slowly lit up the most iconic symbol of the Roman Empire.
In the past a photographer would take a Polaroid to see whether the shot would work or not then shoot a few rolls and courier them off to a processing lab to check them before rushing them back to a client who may have been waiting on the other side of the world which could all take days.
Nowadays with digital photography the shots are loaded straight onto a laptop and edited and in this case dragged onto the template for the cover and emailed to the client. It’s much quicker and better for the environment as its only leccy being used not rolls and rolls of film and no couriers or printing materials.
The management at Contiki gave feedback over the phone and the next day’s shoot was tailored to ensure the client would be happy.
So far this year I have stood in front of the Coliseum for three long days without once stepping inside, I wonder which iconic world landmark will next have us loitering with intent alongside it. Wave good bye to the Box Brownie!