We love a challenge and few come tougher than the Faceiro 365 project; a portrait-a-day plan thought up by Chris Underwood, one of Nottingham’s finest photographers. Now the dust has settled, we had a word to find out how the year went for him…
How did the idea for Faceiro 365 come about?
I’d been thinking about doing a series of portraits for quite some time. I woke up on New Year's day, still feeling the effects of the party the night before, and decided I needed to do it. I knew it was going to be big, but I could never have imagined just how big a challenge I’d set myself.
Tell us about the equipment you used...
I use a Canon 5Ds, which is a 50.6 megapixel camera; the quality is what you’d expect on a commercial shoot. Most portraits were shot with either a Canon 50mm f/1.2, or 85mm f/1.2 which give a clarity to the images. I have some old Bowens studio lights set up at home, which is where a lot of the portraits were taken. Occasionally, I’d shoot at Scene Studios and use the Profoto packs which give a much cleaner light. I went to work in Shanghai during the project, and decided to take a little softbox with my Speedlite so I could take it around the streets with me.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
In the early stages, it was getting interesting people in front of the camera. A handful of times someone would cancel last minute, and I’d panic about who I was going to shoot. That left me running up against the clock, but I didn’t miss a day.
Who were some of the most memorable characters you photographed?
Getting to shoot you lot at LeftLion was great. Then there’s Will Robinson, legend of the Nottingham music scene, and boxer, Tim Sobers – former Midlands Super Welterweight Champion – who, after spending time behind bars, is now trying to help kids avoid his mistakes. I also had the pleasure of meeting Alex Bond, chef and owner of Alchemilla.
Another interesting character was a Scottish chap called Magi who lives in a den near Loch Voil. His camp had a stream running around it, with bells and crystals hanging in the trees. With the incense burning and smoke from the fire swirling around us, it was like a fairytale land.
The photos are aesthetically different, but they all have your signature...
It’s strange because I tried to do them differently to reflect different personalities, but many people have told me that they see my style running through. Maybe it’s the way I do the post-processing, maybe it’s subconscious.
What plans do you have for the future?
I’d like to do more work with celebrity and sports portraitures, and brands. Ultimately, I want to focus on what I’m passionate about: people.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I’d like to thank everyone who’s been involved. It was a huge challenge, and the help and support I’ve received has been incredible. I’ve met such a diverse range of people through Faceiro 365, and made a lot of good friends; that’s a fantastic result.