Other People's Jobs: No5 the photographer

IT'S ten o'clock. 'I get a lot of my business by pulling things round,' states Andy, setting up his big umbrella flash gun. 'I pull things round and help people out of the shit. You've got to do it. They're good to me. I'm good to them. It's only right.'

Andy, the Professional Photographer (established in fine premises called the Coach House; formerly, in fact, a cow-

shed), is moralising. He's moralising because he's just been on the phone and someone has asked him (successfully) to fit a rush job into his already rushed schedule.

The model ('I'm the sort of model who gets a lot of check-shirt jobs') crouches patiently by the open bonnet of a car. He's been wiping his hands underneath it to make them look nice and oily. 'Do you think my hands are oily enough, Andy?'

The idea is that Paul (the model) is a DIY car mechanic who spends time getting his hands nice and oily. But, no problem. Because now there's a new product: Spit and Rub (not its real name). You pour a tiny sachet of blue crystalline powder on your hands; briskly spit on them; give them a good rub. Dirt and oil falls off; your hands are left spanking baby-clean.

'Can you hold the spanner a bit more to the front? Give it more glint . . . Yeah, that will do. No, it doesn't matter that it's not connecting with a nut. It looks right.' But then the rush job arrives in the hands of a smooth, pink-shirted, slightly ruffled man. He wants some photographs copied. Suddenly there's a lot of bending and crouching in a different part of the studio. There's also a little bit of bantering of the tense and humourless variety.

Andy: 'Have a look Jim.'

Ruffled Man: 'It's all right, I'll trust you.'

Andy: 'You're the first person to trust me. Ha. ha. Ha.'

Together: 'Ha, ha, ha . . . ha ha.'

Back to the main job of the day. 'We need a bit more texture. A bit more mood,' says Andy. The model looks like a Vermeer painting with the addition of an axle-jack. Light is flooding under the car from a spotlight. The photographer's assistant, Mark ('This is a realistic situation. This is real. This is the real thing'), is busying himself removing fat cables out of the shot. Then the Creative Director arrives.

The Creative Director, wearing a shirt that looks as though a wigwam has collided with a vegetable stall, says: 'It's a lovely day,' in a dull voice. He moves to the darkest and coollest part of the studio to take stock of the situation, then hops around the set a bit: 'How are we doing then?'

'We're not a million miles away now,' says Andy.

'His hands aren't oily enough.' So we start again.

Three o'clock and there's a problem with the lighting. Creative Director: 'I want something really subdued. Really moody. Is there a problem with doing that?'

Andy: 'No problem, but his thumb's out of focus; it doesn't seem as crisp.'

Creative Director: 'Well kill his thumb then. But I don't want overkill.' Once everything has been killed and the test Poly (Polaroid) has come out okay, Andy loads a film and clicks. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

It's half past six and after much clicking the job is over.

'Greeeeat,' says Andy.

'Yeees, greeeat,' says the Creative Director, not to be outdone.

'Ace,' says Andy.

'Bloody hell. Ace,' says the Creative Director.

As Andy flicks through the Polys, something strange happens. His face slips from its bearded pink to a bearded puce.

'I don't believe it,' he says.


'No, I don't believe it,' he says once more. We wait. We wonder. Andy's jaw drops a bit. We continue to wonder.

Eventually he points to a infinitesimal bit of blue and red on the Polaroid. This bit of blue and red is wedged between tiny bits of green, orange and transparent things which are arranged on the amateur mechanic's work-shelf set up for one of the shots.

'What's wrong?' asks the Creative Director.

'That's the Polaroid box. It's in the shot. I left the Poly box on the shelf.'

'No one will know,' says the Creative Director truthfully, 'it's microscopic.'

'I know,' says Andy. 'But it's not professional.'

The young photographer's assistant who has spent his day 'dumping' power packs (which involves setting all the flash guns off so a little humble lightning fills the studio), shifting props around, fetching sandwiches and making coffee, looks admiringly up to Andy. Given the disparity in height he actually looks down admiringly on Andy but with a quotient of respect writ large enough on his face for everyone to be aware of it. He doesn't mind staying another hour, or another 10 hours if necessary. This man Andy is a Professional. -

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn