More Tom and Emily – A York Wedding

So the wedding plans for Tom and Emily’s wedding are taking shape and I can’t wait for the big day in a couple of weeks. Guests will be asked to have their portraits taken (classic low depth of field 85mm on white), carrying on the theme of Tom and Em’s engagement shots so far. Kind of like photo booth meets studio portraits. Naturally, it will be towards the end of the evening, when guests are at their most animated! There may even be the option for guests to actuate the shutter themselves. Fun!

Mat Smith Photography featured in this week’s Metro (London) and St Pancras International Station

This week my photograph of St Pancras International Station is featured in high-circulation newspapers and journals (London), as well as on large posters adorning the concourse at St Pancras International Train Station.

The photograph – which uses a photographic and processing technique that involves the combination of high-key and low-key long exposure photographs – is featured in the London Metro newspaper (2/3 page), 2 metre prints on billboards within the station itself, on the front page of the website of St Pancras International, as well as in the Camden New Journal.

This is part of a Valentine’s Day promotion for St Pancras International to bring visitors to the station where they can dine, visit boutique shops, and visit the now famous Champagne bar, as well as peruse the statues, beautifully restored architecture, and love poetry penned by historic British authors, which is printed around the station.

The photo: (Copyright 2010 Mat Smith Photography)

St Pancras Refurbishment

To see the work:

  • Pick up a Metro (London free newspaper) between Wednesday 10 Feb and  Friday 12 Feb, and look for the St Pancras promotion
  • Pick up a copy of the Camden New Journal
  • Visit St Pancras International and look for the large billboards in the middle of the concourse
  • Download a PDF of the Metro promotion: mat-smith-photography-metro-10-02-2010.pdf
  • Visit during the promotion
  • View the Metro e-Edition: (enter any email address to view, and skip to page 28)
  • Download the Metro app for iPhone / iTouch, and view previous editions. Wednesday 10 Feb edition shows the photograph on page 28.

Portraits of a pianist at Magdalen College, Oxford

Last Thursday I met talented pianist Ceri to take publicity shots for her website and upcoming album releases of her recordings of Bach. We spent the afternoon shooting in the picturesque grounds of Magdalen College, Oxford.

The weather was perfect for the kind of photography we were doing: overcast with no rain, the clouds producing a good strong diffused light. (I like to think of the British weather as silver, not grey…)

Mat Smith Photography - Ceri at Magdalen in the cloistersCeri, trees, Magdalen College OxfordMat Smith Photography - Ceri in the red, Magdalen College, OxfordMat Smith Photography - Ceri, piano, Magdalen College, Oxford

Wintry Christmas 2009 e-Cards from Mat Smith, London-based photographer

After an excited trip to Jessop’s, New Oxford Street yesterday morning to pick up my final set of prints for the year, I’m delighted to be able to offer an e-Card system featuring my latest wintry photographs, to send friendly Christmas messages to your contacts.

Free e-Cards:

e-Greetings Card Features:

  • The Polaroid and Rolleicord (film) photography of Mat Smith
  • Your personalised message
  • Six images to choose from


Favourite dishes of 2009

Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact I adore cooking and eating good food. Whilst I’ve no plans to turn this blog into a recipe or home-life blog, I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourites from time to time.

I can’t cook an interesting meal without taking its photo, making all my guests wait until the meal is cold, and generally being a food photo pest.

Here are my favourite dishes of 2009, in no particular order.

Layla cooked us all a fantastic “Tray Baked Chicken Maryland” at her new pad in Westminster. I like to call it “Banana Chicken”, which is frankly more descriptive, and the recipe she followed can be found on Jamie Oliver’s site here.

Laylas Banana Chicken

Layla's Banana Chicken

The recipe for the fabulous Carluccio’s dish “Penne Giardiniera” was released online this year. I haven’t pictured the finished product, but this recipe is superb.

Penne Giardiniera in the Making

Penne Giardiniera in the Making

On a trip to Budapest in summer, we were directed, courtesy of Yoon, to a fabulous restaurant called Babel, at which we ate their tasting menu with a perfect selection of wines to complement each course.

The award for the best chocolate this year goes to Babel, Budapest:

Tasting Menu at Babel

Tasting Menu at Babel

This year I have had good and bad experiences with pizza. I am a huge fan of pizza. Not the soggy, glutenous fayre served by the likes of Domino’s (or, for that matter, Pizza Express), but the freshly baked stuff, made to order.

I’m no stranger to baking my own; this was not something my mother taught me but rather I learnt at university whilst others were eating their pasta and pesto.

So this year, I decided to take my love for pizza a bit further, and spent hours perfecting the dish. I now use a stone base, which is really the only way to avoid slightly moist dough when you bring it out of the oven. It adds that stonebaked edge to the pizza, and almost negates the need for a huge stone pizza oven.

Here’s the Pizza Fiorentina, perfected back in July 09.

Pizza Fiorentina by Mat

Pizza Fiorentina by Mat

Now for the best cakes of the year, at the Marie Curie Tea Party.

Tea Party

Tea Party

James does the best dinner parties. His apartment is kitted out with the nicest crockery.

In fact, the Villeroy and Boch large bowl shown below was the very item of homeware that persuaded me to invest heavily in good crockery myself. As payment for a job this year with a homeware store, I decided to receive stock, in the form of a coffee grinder and some of my own Villeroy and Boch.

Here’s an excerpt from James’s brilliant Mexican food evening:

Guacamole, Villeroy and Boch

Guacamole, Villeroy and Boch

This guacamole also inspired my own ventures into Mexican food on a number of occasions later in the year.

Being a wedding photographer, it would be rude not to feature wedding cake in my list.

Courtesy of Jane Asher Party Cakes, here’s a photo of the most glorious Malteser Cake. I couldn’t resist the chance to turn the sparkly floor reflections into a bokeh that mimicked the Maltesers. (Which photographer could…?)

Maltesers, sparkly bokeh

Maltesers, sparkly bokeh

As long as it’s tasteful

When I was asked last month to photograph around twenty female nude university students for charity, it got me thinking about that phrase that hardly needs any extra explaining or context:  “… as long as it’s tasteful”.

This is the addendum that usually tells us more about the speaker than the preceding phrase “I don’t mind x/y/z…”, because it speaks volumes of our view of being naked.

At this point, it must be stated that I have no hang-ups about such a photography assignment, nor do I have any more excitement than I would have for any other type of assignment. Work – whether it features the naked or the clothed, the pretty or the less pretty, male or female, animal or vegetable or mineral – is work. In fact, work featuring twenty naked 19-20 year olds running around a field with horses for two solid days is hard work.

I imagine nudists will tell you that it’s our natural state – but for the rest of us, looking at naked people ‘in the flesh’ is something we do that involves only those who are very close to us. Of course, the internet generation – liberated as it is – finds it perfectly okay to look at photographs of naked people, moreover share with online contacts. A friend from school might have a ‘risque’ photo shoot and upload and tag photos on Facebook completely unabashed, caring little that their fathers or mothers will probably eventually see it – let alone friends of friends. But in the flesh – this is a little different.

When photographing naked people, one has to be aware of the typical British stance; we Brits are liberal enough to think it’s not immoral, but stiff enough to think it should nevertheless be done according to a generally accepted (and pretty abstract, if you think objectively) view of what is tasteful. In nude calendar terms, this means:

  1. No using props to hide body parts
  2. Moody faces work better than big grins
  3. Focus on the sensual aspect of nudity rather than the sexual aspect

The above maxims provide a generic and acceptable creative brief on which to base a set of modern photographs for a nude calendar.

They don’t address my deeper concerns about depicting nude women in this way, such as

  1. Women fought for the vote, why are they still taking their clothes off for men nearly a hundred years later?
  2. Why are nude calendars and Page 3 socially acceptable at all, unless we believe the same things as nudists?
  3. I’ve a very soft spot for the Futurist movement in art, and the philosophy behind the renaissance depiction of nude women that dismisses it as impure. (Note, this is not related in any way to a moral view; I have few moral views on the matter of impurity, just artistic views.)

Now I have got that out of my system, here are some of the out-takes from the Nottingham University Nude Polo Club Calendar.

For more information about the Nottingham University Nude Polo Club Calendar, please visit their Facebook group.

Below is an out-take from the calendar that didn’t quite make the cut. More photos to follow once the calendar has been released.

Hannah and Mini

Hannah and Mini