Mike Leigh, Happy Go Lucky.


 This portrait of Mike Leigh was taken in 2008. It was taken on the publicity run for his new film at the time, Happy Go Lucky at the Watershed.

 I have the affliction of being awestruck by the presence of those who I deem to be very very very good at what they do. So much so all I hear in my head is the monotonous mantra of  “God I hope my photo does them justice”.

 I was with Natalie Banyard from the Bristol Post waiting to go in and we were chatting about his films and also his notoriety for not suffering fools gladly. We then found out that Mr Leigh had angrily cut short his previous interview after he found out the interviewer hadn’t actually seen the film. Fair enough you might think and thankfully Natalie had seen it but the mantra in my head had now switched to “Oh bugger, oh bugger”. My composure didn’t improve as I walked into the small auditorium to find the only light source appeared to be a 30 watt light bulb. He greeted us warmly enough and agreed with Natalie to get the photo out the way. I thought maybe he I should ask him to sit up a bit but he seemed happy how he was so I let him be. Natalie held my slave flash and I banged off about three shots and left.

 Because he seems to be slouching I’d really thought I hadn’t done him ‘justice’ and therefore never really liked this portrait. But recently with his film Mr Turner and the numerous documentaries on Mike Leigh I noticed that he always has a somewhat shubbly demeanour and that this portrait of him is not as bad as I thought. That and him being the genius that he is, he does seem to have a knowing look that I am indeed, crapping myself.


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