For all Britain’s Got Talent fans, tonight you witnessed the wonder of Maddox Magic. We first met Sam “Maddox” Dixon back in 2016 shortly after he returned from tour performing with Coldplay. At the time he was transitioning from music to a full time career as magician “Maddox Magic”, specialising in close-up sleight of hand magic and deceptive illusions.
Back then we had great fun treading the streets of East London, photographing as he stunned people into silence on the street with impressive tricks whilst maintaining that unmistakable Maddox smile and unassuming vibe. Read more and see photos from our 2016 shoot here.
For this shoot our brief was to capture more of Sam’s personality, with the addition of a studio setting for May’s front cover of international magic magazine “Vanish”.
Maddox for Vanish Magazine front cover, May 2018 edition
Once finished in our Chiswick High Road studios we took a stroll around the block. We’re always a fan of our local railway arches. To others a dingy uninspiring narrow alleyway, to us it provides eye-catching texture, interesting backdrops and therefore photo opportunities galore.
Maddox, Stamford Brook arches
A theme to many a Mat Smith Photography shoot is the coffee stop; this shoot was no exception. Artisan Coffee have become particularly special to us – as well as neighbours they also roast their beans in the workshop at the bottom of our garden.
Maddox, Artisan Coffee
Talking about the roasters, this was our next shooting location. The mix of rope lighting, London stock, ply and render allows for a great range of scenes all in one venue.
Maddox Magic, Coffee Roastery, Chiswick
Maddox card trick
Just before sunset we strolled around our local square before heading back to the studio, and as we packed down for the night, we were lucky enough to be treated to a trick.
Maddox Magic, St Peter’s Square, Hammersmith
The magic of Maddox as well as, of course, the magic, comes from who he is. Relaxed, personable, engaging. He drew us in and astounded us with a card trick that has left our brains all a-jumble. Afterwards he graciously heard our rookie theories as we scratched our heads attempting to work out what we had just both witnessed.
Today’s date, March 8th, International Women’s Day. And the year, 2018, the centenary of women’s suffrage in Britain – although of course we must wait another decade before we the can mark the centenary of equal voting terms for men and women. I was first introduced to suffrage aged 7, by Mrs Winifred Banks, and so, one evening after a photo shoot this week, we re-visited the 1964 Walt Disney classic, Mary Poppins.
I say “re-visited”, for Mat, it was a first.
I hadn’t seen the film for decades, and as well as wincing at the ludicrous “London” accent of Dick Van Dyke, I couldn’t help cringe at the portrayal of Jane and Michael’s ditsy, apparently inept, and often absent, suffragette mother. Many have wrangled over both the positive and negative impact of Mrs Banks and her help or hindrance to the ensuing attitude shift toward women and the roles we fulfil in society. She was, nevertheless, my first introduction to the ever-present plight of women to reach equal standing with men. As I was not, sadly, a “daughter’s daughter” of a feminist, its impact was meaningful.
Today I have been looking back to some of the inspirational women Mat Smith Photography has recently had the pleasure to meet and photograph.
Lady Hale – Portraits for Bristol University
We were commissioned to photograph Brenda Marjorie Hale, Lady Hale of Richmond back in 2016, before she took up appointment as the President of The Supreme Court in 2017. Her role as President follows her appointment as Deputy President from June 2013. In October 2009 she became the first woman Justice of The Supreme Court.
Lady Hale – Now President of the Supreme Court
Lady Hale talked of hoping to use her position to inspire other women and show that they can reach the pinnacle of any profession. She hopes to further improve the gender balance in the Supreme Court moving forward. We wait with eager anticipation to see whether women fill either the position of the new Deputy President or any of the three currently vacant Justices positions later this year.
We ended our shoot in her private chambers:
Lady Hale in her Chambers
Toto James – Portraits for Women’s Institute
“Woman of the Year” nominee in celebration of her work as a Marketing Consultant with leading law firms, and her voluntary work with the Women’s Institute. Mat Smith Photography was invited to her home for an editorial shoot for the WI Magazine, WI Life.
Woman of the year 2018 – on sofa
You can read all about Toto in this month’s WI Life edition, “The Inspiration Issue”, where our photograph of Toto James is featured on the cover, with a double page spread celebrating Toto, who in her life has blazed a trail in both the business and voluntary sectors.
Woman of the year 2018 – with statue
Mary Kerr – Portraits for Lincoln’s Inn
Mary is currently the Under Treasurer of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn.
During our shoot with Mary we loved hearing about a project she, with a wry smile, coined “her baby”; a major £20m conservation and extension project on the Grade II* listed Great Hall and Library, situated within the Bloomsbury Conservation Area in High Holborn – the biggest single project since its original construction in 1845.
Mary Kerr, Under Treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn – in the cloisters
Those who follow Mat’s various personal social media feeds, will be all too aware of the somewhat smaller basement project that fills much of our spare time, and so we were particularly inspired by the 1,247 sq. m, two-storey extension being constructed below ground under the East Terrace of the Great Hall. A day-lit basement providing state-of-the-art teaching facilities comprising a large, multi-purpose lecture theatre and mooting space, 10 flexible advocacy training rooms, quiet study and break-out areas, and additional social meeting spaces.
Mary Kerr, Under Treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn
We look forward to taking up Mary’s offer of revisiting her awe-inspiring project, once it is complete later this year.
Dr. Sabrina Cohen-Hatton – Portraits for American Psychological Association
Commissioned by the American Psychological Association, Mat Smith Photography had the pleasure of photographing one of the most inspiring women we have ever met: Deputy Assistant Commissioner at London Fire Brigade, Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton.
Portrait of Sabrina Cohen-Hatton for American Psychological Association
Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton – Deputy Assistant Commissioner, London Fire Brigade
The double studio session held at our High Road Studios, in Chiswick, has been one of Mat Smith Photography’s recent highlights. The brief was to somehow capture Sabrina’s warm, approachable personality whilst dressed in full Brigade uniform, on a stark white studio background, which will be used as a cover shot and feature article in the APA’s May magazine edition later this year.
One of the best parts of any shoot is hearing about the lives of those we photograph. This shoot was certainly no exception. Having left home at 15 and school at 16, Sabrina’s firefighting journey began at her local fire brigade in a small, South Wales mining community. Since then, as well as rising the ranks to become one of the most senior fire fighters in Britain, having served at a number of major incidents, including the Westminster terrorist attack in March this year, Grenfell Tower in June, and the Holborn fire in 2015, Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton also has a PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience, having undertaken a series of night classes.
Portrait of Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Deputy Assistant Commissioner
She has won two prestigious international academic awards for her research into incident command in the emergency services. It is the first time in history that psychological theory has been used to improve the way officers make risk-critical decisions and her work fundamentally changed the national approach to how fires are fought, to make both firefighters and the public safer.
Sabrina’s book, a firefighter’s memoirs, “Through the Fire” is to be published by Transworld in Spring 2019, which I, for one, can’t wait to read. And if TV is more your thing, Broadchurch producer Kudos is also adapting her memoirs into a new TV drama series.