Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas (when Charlie met Nick)

Angry Santa 2

Merry Christmas. May you have a wonderful time full of excellent food, presents and cosy evenings!

One of the best things about my work is that I meet people. And I love meeting people. I have photographed such a great diversity of sitters that it would not fit in one blog post. From cancer-survivors, to world-famous chefs. I have photographed human rights activists, celebrities and politicians. My recent sitter however beats them all. He is known all over the world and he is an undeniable legend, especially popular with the younger ones. He is an elusive guy too with rumours spreading far and wide this time of the year. Is it true he doesn’t do anything all year until Christmas? Is his business sustained by an army of illegal child labourers? Do his trusty travel companions really play Monopoly despite their hooved limbs?

Child fantasies aside, I have always felt sad thinking of Santa. After all, he visits all the children in just one night and all he gets for this hard work is a glass of sherry and a mince pie. However many glasses of sherry it does seem like a small reward for climbing down chimneys which are not just unpleasantly claustrophobic but in most cases in the UK - boarded up and unused too.

Nick is a busy man, especially at this time of the year, but he found an hour in his hectic December schedule for a quick photoshoot with me. I was eager to use the shots for my Christmas cards and ask the legendary man all the questions.

Unsurprisingly Santa was tired. He works hard all year preparing for the big night and no, there is no army of children helping. He likes sherry but cannot stomach more than a few mince pies in one night. The chimney climbing part is one of his favourites actually - you should see the faces of all the jack russells and black labs when a man armed with presents and dog biscuits appears from nowhere on their territory. We chatted and Santa lit up one of his guilty pleasures - a Cuban cigar. The reindeer don’t let him smoke and drive anymore these days.

Nick is an easy sitter - full of stories and a wonderfully expressive face. It was a pleasure to photograph him in a more personal way and with no presents or children in sight. Big thanks to him and his team of elves who organised everything so efficiently. You were legends. See you next year, hopefully!

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