Jeremy Clarkson and a lamb
The Sunday Times Magazine

Jeremy Clarkson is best know for driving fast cars and having controversial opinions. However, recently he’s turned his hand to tilling the soil and become a bit of an ambassador for countryside communities. Rather a u-turn, and one I was eager to exploit when Russ O’Connell asked me to photograph him for the cover of The Sunday Times Magazine.

I had photographed Clarkson once before, when he had taken over the magazine with a rather comical set of recipes designed to inspire everyone to eat more healthily. That time I shoved a carrot in his mouth. But what was I to do this time? How do you present such a well known figure in a new and interesting way?

Obviously I turned to Jesus for help. You see the thing I love about visual art is that there is a rich history to call upon. Certain types of images represent certain things, and a man holding a lamb will in some way remind everyone of Jesus, even if they didn’t realise it. So by getting Jeremy to hold a tiny sheep I can call upon all the emotions that are typically associated with Jesus and place them upon him. It had to be done really.

All that was left to do was to find a lamb and as it was lambing season that was fairly easy. The one we chose ended up being rather a poser totally at home in the limelight of our little studio – or maybe he just enjoyed cuddling with Jeremy.

Massive thanks to Russ O’Connell for the great fun commission, to Oliver Mayhall for assisting so brilliantly, and to Nick for persuading Jeremy to hold a lamb.

Read Nick Rufford’s interview with Clarkson here: LINK

 - Sirin Kale and Lucy Osborne – British GQ - Charlie Clift

Sirin Kale and Lucy Osborne – British GQ

Sirin Kale and Lucy Osborne are honoured in this months GQ Heroes for their determined investigative journalism that brought to light Noel Clarke’s many sexual allegations. It was a real privilege getting to photograph these two incredible people who have helped to shine a much needed light on the dark side of the film industry. Read the interview with them on GQ here: LINK Massive thanks to Robin Key for the commission. Hair and make up: Emma Small Photo assistant: Oliver Mayhall Retouching: Melissa Morgan    

 - Louis Theroux – The Sunday Times Magazine - Charlie Clift

Louis Theroux – The Sunday Times Magazine

This was a fun shoot! Louis got totally involved from the off. The kick photo was basically our first frame, and it just got better from there. Collaborating with brilliant people is one of the things I love most about my job, and this shoot was exactly that. Thanks so much for the fun Louis! Massive thanks to Russ O’Connell for the awesome commission, Dan Biddulph for the great layout, to Emma Leon for grooming, to Rami Hassen for assisting, and Melissa Morgan for the retouch.

 - Poppy Appeal 2021 – Royal British Legion - Charlie Clift

Poppy Appeal 2021 – Royal British Legion

  I photographed and filmed this year’s Poppy Appeal campaign to celebrate 100 years of collecting in the community. Travelling across the country from Plymouth to Sunderland we met 10 incredible people who collect for the Royal British Legion. From ten year old Maisie, in Plymouth, who has been fundraising since she was just four, to Vera, who is 82, and has been a committed collector in Durham for more than seven decades. In fact Vera has raised over £1million in her time! I photographed every collector in their community, from seafronts to stores, and supermarkets to stations. Creating both still and moving portraits you can see them holding their buckets, smiling broadly and always happy to see you. As well as meeting them in their home environment we also invited them all to London. The aim – to create a special group image bringing all ten together, one collector...

 - Richard Dawkins – The Sunday Times Magazine - Charlie Clift

Richard Dawkins – The Sunday Times Magazine

When I found out the scientist and outspoken atheist had written a book about flight I immediately thought of Icarus, the boy who flew too close to the sun, and then straight after that of Leonado Da Vinci’s incredible designs for human wings.So I got in touch with the illustrator Lindsey Spinks and asked her to create some life-sized wings for our photoshoot. Over the next couple of days Lindsey took over her house tea-staining a giant cloth and then sketching out a pair of giant Da Vinci inspired drawings for Professor Dawkins to stand in front of.Thankfully the professor was totally up for the idea and got rather involved in posing in front of the wings. Surrounded by the epic building of New College Oxford it was a wonderfully surreal experience. Huge thanks also to Russ O’Connell for the commission and for being so up for my idea, and...

 - Xiaomi Imagery MasterClass – Portrait Photography - Charlie Clift

Xiaomi Imagery MasterClass – Portrait Photography

“Creating a great portrait is all about those special moments, when everything comes together and you get that honest moment of connection.” Xiaomi asked me to create a masterclass for them on portrait photography. I talk about discovering the power of portraits with my Let’s Talk project, create colourful images of jewellery designer Beverly Quintal, tell you how I prepare for a shoot, take you on a tour of our set, and explain how I work with people to create those moments that make the best portraits. Massive thanks to the team involved: Jewellery Designer and talent – Beverly Quintal Production – Germaine Walker Agency – B.E.N. DOP – Nico Hambleton Editor – Gary Askham at Quality Control Sound – Matthew Boyle Styling – Efe Igbinadolor Make up – Michele Rowbotham Photo Assistants – Robin Bernstein Rebecca Gray Digi tech – OuiDigi Lettering artist from Let’s Talk – Kate Forrester

 - Spotlight Awards Winner – Portraiture & Celebrity Photography - Charlie Clift

Spotlight Awards Winner – Portraiture & Celebrity Photography

I’ve been named the best Portrait and Celebrity Photographer at the Spotlight Awards by Production Paradise. Massive thanks to the judges for choosing this image of Glenda Jackson photographed for Bafta, and to Claire Rees for trusting me to take a totally new approach to the Bafta Winners’ Portraits when we deep in covid and couldn’t do it the normal way. Read my winner’s interview here: LINK

 - 200 Best Ad Photographers in the World – Lurzer’s Archive - Charlie Clift

200 Best Ad Photographers in the World – Lurzer’s Archive

It’s a great honour to be named one of the top 200 advertising photographers in the world by Lurzer’s Archive. The judges selected a whopping 11 of my images to feature alongside many other awesome photographs from around the world.

Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta - Die Zeit - Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta – Die Ziet - Charlie Clift

Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta – Die Ziet

“We are facing a global crisis. We are totally dependent upon the natural world. It supplies us with every oxygen-laden breath we take and every mouthful of food we eat. But we are currently damaging it so profoundly that many of its natural systems are now on the verge of breakdown.” Sir David Attenborough in the Foreword to Partha Dasgupta’s recent report for the UK Government on the Economics of Biodiversity. Most economist like to concentrate on money, not Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, he has spent his recent years concentrating on something far more valuable – the biodiversity of our planet. When I was asked to photograph him for Die Zeit I jumped at the chance to meet such an incredible thinker. However, it was sad to hear such a well researched and accomplished figure speaking in such blunt terms about how humans are destroying our planet. “The reasons we...

Michaela Coel - Bafta - Bafta TV Awards 2021 - Charlie Clift

Bafta TV Awards 2021

Michaela Cole was statuesque as she received not one, but four awards for I May Destroy You, Paul Mescal was in state of shock not quite sure how to process the golden mask he was holding, Rakie Ayola broke down in tears of joy, Olly Alexander screamed at the rooftops, Golda Rosheuvel danced to Elvis, and the Banjo brothers celebrated their must-see moment. It was an honour photographing the official portraits at the 2021 Bafta TV Awards. It’s not often you are given the freedom, support and encouragement as a photographer to truly do what you think is best. But it does happen. And Claire Rees at Bafta is just that person. For three years now we’ve worked together to celebrate the Bafta Television Awards. In 2019 I was backstage at a massive ceremony with an afterparty to match. Amongst that we built our set, an homage to the classic...

Ed Miliband - British GQ - Ed Miliband – British GQ - Charlie Clift

Ed Miliband – British GQ

In the UK if you’re a public figure the media tends to show you in a single way, a full bodied persona boiled down to a single dimension. And as a fun and humorous politician (quite the unusual thing) Ed Miliband was only ever portrayed as a joker when he was leader of the Labour Party. However, when I met Ed it became instantly clear that there is also a serious and thoughtful side to the man. He’s happy to laugh and play jokes on himself, and he’s just as happy to dive deep into a philosophical discussion about changing the world. His interview with Jude Rogers is fascinating and candid, so head over to the GQ site for a read, or even better buy a copy of the magazine and enjoy it in beautiful print. Massive thanks to Ed for letting me invade his home and garden, to Robin...