Photographers' Dining Club

Photographer Interview – Phil Sharp


1. Firstly, could you tell us about the breadth of your work? What are you known most for?

My practise is split between 3 sectors – Advertising, Music industry, Actor’s head shots.

2. How do you split your personal and professional work?

My personal work is still very much portrait based. Personal work is a little bit like exercise. Getting out the front door is the hardest bit, but once I’m committed to doing it, I really enjoy it and I’m pleased I made the effort. The benefits always make it worthwhile.


3. What is the stories behind this portrait of John Lydon?

So I photographed John Lydon for the cover of Loud & Quiet Magazine. My assistant, the writer and I arrived at the flat Lydon’s manager rents when they’re in London. It was a bare, modern flat with plain walls and plain, cream furniture.

Lydon, an Arsenal fan was watching the Saturday lunchtime kick off between Chelsea and Spurs, I asked what the score was, “nil-nil” he sneered “I hope they both loose” A typically witty and slightly hated-filled response was exactly what I had expected but still made the prospect of getting a good cover shot slightly daunting.

I was asked / told by Lydon’s manager “20 minutes for photos enough?” In these situations I always find it best to simply say ‘plenty’ and cross my fingers. After initially hostility Lydon soon lightened up, could see I knew what I was doing and relaxed into the photo shoot. In some respects, his experience guided me, I though to myself, he’s been on photo shoots since before I was born, in terms of being a model he knows way better than me what works and what doesn’t.

As the shoot went on, Lydon explained how’s he’s been suffering with teeth problems recently and touched upon other things to do with the joys of getting old, and there’s a few frames where a real frailty and humanity comes through. For one of the true icons of 20th century youth culture this always felt particularly poignant.

4. Are you a foodie? What’s the meal that will make your day?

Despite aspirations otherwise I’m always drawn, essentially to peasant food. The joy of Pizza is hard to beat.




All Images Courtesy Phil Sharp


Phil Sharp is a portrait and commercial photographer based in London. He is known for his relaxed yet professional attitude and his distinctive and contemporary photographic style. Phil shoots for various magazines and record labels as well as a range of clients including Red Bull, Samsung and Orange.

For more work by Phil Sharp click here 



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