I had been given a little helpful warning before the shoot by the journalist who had interviewed him previously:
-He doesn’t want to be photographed during the interview (fair enough, the magazine already know)
-He didn’t seem to like small talk (slight problem as I find silence quite hard to handle, especially when I’m working)
-He can be quite brusque and probably won’t do anything he doesn’t want to do (so basically I can’t ask him to do anything then)
I entered the room with more than a slight trepidation, as one of the countries most prominent Politicians throughout his lengthy career, even before the warning I worried that I might be met with a no-nonsense kind of man who would find my patter somewhat frivolous.
The person I actually met though was a gentleman who stood up as he greeted me with outstretched hand and a warm smile. It was still hard to tell at that stage, but I had a sense that it might go well after all. The interview started and I began setting up in the same room. It’s moments like that, when the dictaphone is recording and the room is quiet but for the low level hum of someone speaking about interesting and important things, that I realise how many zips and velcro fastenings I have in my kit. Honestly, trying to undo velcro silently is REALLY HARD, in fact it’s impossible. Zips are slightly easier, if you pull them slowly and sort of muffle the sound with your hand, but velcro, no way. Impossible. I managed to get a tiny bit undone and then proceeded to pull my softbox out of a tiny gap milimetre by milimetre. It took ages, I was glad the interview was quite long.
With lights ready to go and a few set ups in mind, I had my ten minutes with Michael. It transpires actually that he can do small talk very well, so we chatted about the fact it was his birthday and where his wife was taking him for dinner. He remarked on how awful Photographers patter was but in a jovial piss-take way which I liked. He’s an impressive looking man, with characterful eyebrows and that trademark hair so I felt close ups were the best way to illustrate that. I had no reason to worry at all.