David Suchet ,    
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David Suchet I was very pleased, recently, to be given the opportunity to create a television program People I have Shot  exploring what my grandfather Jimmy Jarche's life as one of the first Fleet Street photographers was like in the early part of the last century. Following in his footsteps, I discovered that his working life was varied and full of adventure.   He would be assigned to photograph subjects inside Buckingham Palace and Downing Street one moment and then be down a Welsh coal mine the next. The photographs in this feature are my attempts to take pictures in similar situations to the ones my grandfather found himself in and to show how much life has changed over the last hundred years.  It made the process ever more personal and close to my grandfather that I used his 1954 Leica M3 to capture these images. I took all of these photographs (1,2 & 3) back stage at Victoria Palace Theatre during the show Wicked. I was so glad to be able to play the role of photographer backstage and relax rather than feeling the nervousness and anxiety that one inevitably feels before going on stage to give a performance.  I just had fun and enjoyed my passion for photography. 1 2 3 This photograph was taken in Wales on a sheep farm in Breton on Penclyn Farm, whilst sheep were being herded traditionally. 4 5 These photographs (5 & 6) were taken in Wales in front of Penallta Pitt although the men in the shot were from Unity mine. My grandfather Jimmy was the first ever photographer to go down a mine in Wales (Penallta Pitt) and take a ‘naked flash lit photograph’. 6 This photograph was taken whilst standing in exactly the same spot in which my grandfather Jimmy stood many years ago to take almost the exact same photograph, which is now held by Getty. The lovely white haired old lady (Betty Rees) in my shot knew all of the people who were in my grandfather's original photograph. For these photographs I was given the rare privilege to photograph actual classes in process at The Royal Ballet School in Richmond Park. (Images 8 & 9) 7 8 9 When General Sir Michael Jackson arrived for the shoot he jumped out of a taxi and let me know straight away that I had three minutes flat in which to photograph him. I answered, "Yes sir!" and went to work straight away. I took just three photographs during the three minutes the General was with me and this is one of those.  The General asked me, "What do you want me to do?” and I answered, "Nothing at all sir, just think about all the wonderful men and women who have died in the service of our glorious country." 10 11 David Cameron needs no introduction and he was very charming and welcoming to me. It was truly surreal for me to be invited into no. 10 Downing Street as a photographer and not an actor! 12 Nick Park (creator of Wallace & Grommit) now uses this photograph of mine as his own publicity shot. I have met Nick on various occasions and we have always got on very well, so he was very pleased to sit for me to take his portrait and I am very pleased that he still uses it professionally. 13 With this photograph I tried to recreate as accurately as possible one of my grandfather Jimmy's photographs, a copy of which is held by Getty.
Penallta Pitt, Wales. Victoria Palace Theatre during the show Wicked. Victoria Palace Theatre during the show Wicked. The Royal Ballet School, Richmond Park. MAY 2012 BACK ISSUE Back to current issue