Jonny Storey (above, on a break, on location) is a London based fashion photographer. His iconic images have appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Hunger magazine and L’Officiel Homme and he has photographed stars from Paloma Faith to Daisy Ridley.
I was doing work experience with Holborn Studios when I was 14 and I was assigned to Terence Donovan (who I had never heard of at the time). He was shooting the Robert Palmer Addicted to Love video. I was the tea boy and ran around doing errands. I was brought up on a farm so knew about grafting and did the two-day shoot. Afterwards, he gave me a folded up fifty-pound note as a tip which was more than I earned in a week. I think that was my lightbulb moment!
First big break?
I was on a shoot assisting and I took a Polaroid with a girl riding a bike with movement. The fashion editor loved it and commissioned me (I think it was Bliss [magazine] back in the day). I got my first job pretty much on the back of a Polaroid.
Professional turning point?
It was shooting beauty and covers for Sunday Times Style which opened doors and gave me the platform for my name. You get higher profile models, get asked to do better money jobs.
A Pentax 6×7 medium format camera. It was a bit awkward and clumsy and it had a slow shutter speed, but the lenses were really beautiful for portraits. It took 120 film and made you slow down taking a picture. At one time I had seven – they can be a bit temperamental and if you’re on a trip to the Caribbean you need backup. It was the magic of seeing the bigger frames; you only get ten images per film, so you have to be more precise in what you are taking.
Who inspires you?
It’s the early pioneers of the Americana style like Stephen Shore and Eadweard Muybridge. The dedication hawking a massive glass plate camera around the mid-west in the 1930s. Muybridge did the famous shot of the horses running. There was a bet to see if all four legs of the horse left the ground if it gallops: he proved they did.
Advice for an aspiring photographer?
Do your time assisting, you don’t realise how much you’re learning. You have a difficult situation, you have to pull something out of the bag and in the back of your mind you remember that shoot where the weather was bad, but you turned it around.
Digital means there is a scatter gun approach to taking photographs. Be more measured and think about what you are taking.
Best for clothes shopping?
Mr Porter – I just bought a Sunspel summer shirt – it’s the ease of use, the brands and you don’t have to look through rails and rails of stuff you’re not interested in. It’s a very bloke-y shop: get in, buy, get out.
Shoe of choice?
The traditional Churches tasselled loafer. It’s slightly mod with a shorter trouser and a white sock if I’m a bit smarter. Note: I’m not rocking the mod haircut and I wouldn’t wear the Fred Perry polo!
Who cuts your hair?
Gow Tanaka – he’s a session stylist and also does private clients. He lives next door to the pub, so it tends to be a haircut and a pint!
Are you a soap and water man or do you moisturise?
I only use water on my face. I don’t shave, I clip my beard. Simple routines suit men best. It’s having the ritual: wash my hair, a bit of product when its dry, deodorant, splash of aftershave and off I go.
Heath product of choice?
The body wash (Hair + Body Wash). It has a good smell that wakes me up in the morning and a bit of caffeine. It makes you feel alive.
I have quite a few, but the original Acqua di Parma is my favourite and was first bought for me as a gift. It has a holiday feel about it that reminds me of sunny days.
Best long haul & jet lag survival tips?
Always have a bottle of water on board, you can’t rely on the trolley. And a good set of headphones – I now go for the in-ear ones as the bigger ones are uncomfortable. Stay awake in the daylight hours, asleep in the non-daylight is the only way to get through jet lag.
Last exhibition visited?
Hockney at the Tate.
Last great meal?
Last night! My wife Maya Oakley is a nutritionist and an amazing cook. She made a great chicken roast. Her curries are a favourite, and she did a Moroccan stew the other day which was amazing. Nourishedlondon.com.
Best London location?
My favourite view is coming in from Norfolk, where I come from, on the M11. Just as you get to the top of the hill from the M25 you see east London in all its glory. It gives me a feeling of coming back to life and London.
Many of us live an ‘urban natural lifestyle’ – how do you balance hectic city life with something that feels a bit more calm and natural?
I was brought up on a working farm in Norfolk, so I have always been close to nature and seeing the circle of life. When I first moved to London all I wanted was to live in the centre, so was in Clerkenwell. But then, when children arrived, we moved to Stoke Newington where I have a little garden. That is my solace. I grow veggies, salad boxes, radishes and broad beans. And in the studio on the canal in north London I have indoor plants.
What is your greatest life lesson?
You don’t always need to fix something – sometimes just go with it. Try and work with things not against them.
JONNY STOREY GREEN BOOK
Holiday read – I’ve just been recommended The Moon’s A Balloon by David Niven from the ‘70s with anecdotes of Hollywood.
Track – Elvis’ live version of Polk Salad Annie by Tony Joe White.
App – Met Office weather app is critical for my work.
Gadget – iPhone X
Sport – Squash or badminton
Dream car – Alpha Romeo Stradale (I love modern classic cars – here are two I own)