In the run-up to the Lib-Dem's leadership vote in 2006 I was asked to shoot some portraits of Menzies "Ming" Campbell that could be used to loosen his elder statesman image and show him in a more relaxed, informal mood. We did the shoot in-between his constituency duties in St. Andrews one cold morning in January and among the images that worked best was this shot of him walking on the beach. I've used the portrait in my portfolio on-and-off. I like the drama and the light and the fact that he's a well know figure shown in an unexpected context, not in a suit stalking the corridors of westminster. When I took the picture he was walking and I was keeping pace backwards while shooting with a Leica and a 35mm lens. It wasn't bright and I needed a fast shutter to avoid blurring from the movement so manually focusing at f2 or f2.8 meant a few of the shots were soft on his eyes but this one is pin-sharp, you can even see a tear forming from the bitterly cold wind.
I don't know whether the images were ever used by Ming's campaign, though he did win the election to leader. As far as I know they didn't appear in any media at the time so it was nice to have a request last week from the New Statesman magazine to use the image, I guess either Ming or the image or both have aged well.
As you can see the image got flipped to fit the page. It certainly wouldn't have worked in this layout un-flipped, his face would be in the gutter and the balance of the page would be way off. Sometimes you wonder why images get flipped, even resent it, but I have no complaints about this. It's interesting how we still recognize a face in mirror-image, I doubt more than a handful of people would notice the difference, if any. Interestingly Ming himself would be less likely than most to realize he's been flipped since we all recognize our mirror image more readily than a straight picture. I read once that it's good practice to show clients their portraits in mirror-image for approval for exactly this reason, does anyone do this I wonder?
Anyway, I think after 5 1/2 years "Ming on the beach" now holds my record for the longest gap between commission and first publication.