At the end of the second day of being the event photographer for Mr Dilly’s World of Wonder shows at Brighton Marina, I took the opportunity of doing a few creative portraits of Mr Dilly, aka Marcus, as we had about half an hour before the events team arrived to dismantle the circus tent.

Marcus had brought along his smoke machine so we were able to inject a bit of drama and give some of the shots the feeling of him just about to appear through the curtain from backstage and a few from the front where he is bursting through! I set up a two-light system – one key light lighting Marcus from the front right with reflector to fill the heavy shadows and another behind him to illuminate the smoke and add to the atmosphere.

Marcus was great, despite being exhausted after putting on 3 shows that afternoon and he was really pleased with the outcome in such a short window of time. Ta-da!

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After being the event photographer at The Bookchat Roadshow for The Book Activist recently, her husband Marcus was keen to book me to photograph a couple of dates of his fantastic interactive storytelling shows – Mr Dilly’s World of Wonder – at the Brighton Marina.

Mr Dilly was performing at the Brighton Marina every Wednesday throughout August and asked me to come for two consecutive Wednesdays to capture six different stories to add a wide spread of photos covering most of his repertoire. We also took some time at the end to make the most of the props and a smoke machine for some creative portraits which were great fun! I’ll do a short post about them tomorrow. I must say, I’ve not had so much fun on a shoot for a long time and all the children and their parents who gathered to hear Mr Dilly’s high-energy and hilarious storytelling had a whale of a time!

It was tough not to get caught up in his storytelling and Mr Dilly’s ability to draw laughter from the adults as well as the children resulted in many a case of camera-shake. Of course the children couldn’t wait to be called up on stage to be a part of the tales. To swashbuckle as a pirate, growl at Goldilocks or slay a dragon for England but when Mr Dilly ventured into the audience to cast an adult into the story, most grown-up eyes fought to catch anything other than Mr Dilly’s gaze.

There were however some good sports who obliged and after being adorned in outrageous costumes and fighting the initial stage fright, they became completely immersed. For this is Mr Dilly’s special bonus skill. The art of bringing out one’s inner child. For forty-five minutes, a dad in a giant, furry Balou onesie forgot about being embarrassed and skipped, crawled, sang, roared and generally acted the fool. And he loved it.

And so there it is. Mums and Dads might be forgiven for preparing to sit through another summer holiday afternoon of mediocre children’s entertainment, but that was not to be. Parents and children alike were transported from inside Mr Dilly’s circus tent to another world. A world full of laughter and lore, of history and hilarity, of stories and smiles. A World of Wonder.

As Mr Dilly puts it, “Get The Happy!”.

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I feel very fortunate. Not only because I get to do what I love for a living but because I also get to meet some really lovely people.

I recently met for a coffee with The Book Activist, aka Victoria Dilly, and her husband Marcus to discuss being commissioned as event photographer for her upcoming Bookchat Roadshow event. The Book Activist is a school librarian and passionate advocate of the joyful pastime of reading. Keen to promote the benefits of reading, her vision is to reach as many children and parents as possible, to encourage reading for pleasure in a bid to help inspire them to pick up a book and let their imaginations run wild.

To this end, she has launched the Bookchat Roadshow. An event that travels to local schools, inviting many popular children’s authors to give talks about their passion to captivate their young readers’ imaginations, discuss the importance of reading and thrill the children by reading excerpts from their latest novels and signing the children’s copies! The Book Activist hopes to take the roadshow all around England.

We met at the peaceful Drury’s café in Hove and as soon as I sat down with my coffee, I liked them and wanted to work with them. Both Victoria and Marcus have a passion for encouraging children to thrive, whether that’s in confidence, creativity or imagination. Having a passion for something is evident in your words and your eyes. And recognising this in someone else is wondrous. I was excited to help them spread their word.

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A few months back, I was commissioned to shoot new products over two days for Brighton-based fire safety specialists Fireco ahead of their launch. Now the launch has taken place, I’m now able to show them off! Part of their professional range, the Dorgard Pro is Fireco‘s latest door retainer which holds open doors to commercial buildings and releases their locking mechanisms when an alarm is sounded, the Transmitter which is the central hub, monitoring all Dorgard units and the Repeater which extends the range throughout larger properties.

The first shoot utilised my portable studio lightbox to capture the ‘hero’ shots of the products and the second shoot was a location shoot at the University of Sussex‘s corridors, student union bar, cafeteria, lifts and science labs.

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At the end of April, NatWest hosted their ‘Friends Against Scams’ event at Portcullis House in Westminster. It was attended by various organisations including the Police and the National Trading Standards Scam team, dedicated to fighting fraudulent behaviour in the format of phone calls, emails and door-knocking, especially targeting vulnerable people. The Secretary of State for Security the Rt Hon Ben Wallace was the guest speaker and NatWest‘s CEO for Personal Banking Les Mattheson spoke of NatWest commitment to assist in preventing these scams’ success.

It was an eventful day. There was concern that the Security Minister may not attend as the Prime Minister had just announced her decision to call a general election and while I was photographing NatWest‘s CEO and the Security Minister together, the fire alarm sounded and we were all evacuated from the building! Fortunately, the minister did attend and despite having to go through the airport-style security with all my gear for a second time, we were all allowed back in the building to conclude the successful day. Event photography indeed!

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