Alastair Laidlaw and Christine Marsden began working together in the early 90’s when they decided to combine their creative and technical skills. Their successful partnership has been established for over 25 years.After graduation from Bournemouth College - where he’d studied photography - Alastair moved to London. During his early career he assisted on many notable advertising shoots including the creatively acclaimed ‘Benson & Hedges Pyramid’ shoot. He would later go on to carve out a successful career as an advertising and editorial photographer. Christine graduated from Ravensbourne College where she’d studied fashion and textile design. She then pursed a career as a fashion designer and garment manufacturing consultant before moving into retail. She joined forces with Alastair, initally as a photographic stylist, but soon began to concentrate on creating her own images. This formed the beginning of their partnership which has continued to the present day. From the beginning they have worked as photographers, artists, designers and printers involved in every aspect of photography,producing exceptional work in both commercial and fine art areas. They also share a great passion for printing, specializing in the alternative photographic printing processes such as Platinum Palladium, Polaroid Transfer and the highly skilled Polaroid Emulsion lift printing techniques. Together they have produced exclusive collections of work in all three mediums and, on a number of occasions have used the famous Polaroid 20x24” camera.
One of the greatest joys in photography has always come from their fine art work and when possible they have always tried to combine these ideas into their commercial work. On several occasions, specialist commissions afforded them the opportunity to do this. These works in turn went on to receive multiple awards including several International Polaroid Fine Art and AOP Awards. One of their most notable commissions was the photography for the Alfred Dunhill Centenary. Selected pieces also belong to the International Polaroid Collection Archive in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their work has been purchased by private clients around the world and they have exhibited in Europe, America and the UK, including the Royal Academy and the Royal Photographic Society, where they have been invited guest speakers.
Throughout their careers they have always favoured creatively challenging projects and an early editorial commission reveals how fulfilling this approach can be. The job was a small still life fashion shoot which included hats, which lead to their meeting with the now world famous milliner Philip Treacy. From that first meeting followed a series of shoots involving Treacy’s stunning creations. They met the internationally renowned art director/set designer and artist Simon Costin, who allowed them to shoot his work, which resulted in some of the most spectacular images of their careers.
Alastair and Christine have always loved large scale images. Having already produced some of the largest, fine art Platinum Palladium prints in the world and then being able to use 20 x 24” Polaroid camera, both of these things were very beneficial in furthering this commitment.At the end of 2007 they came up with the first seeds of an idea for producing a highly creative ‘super book’ entirely devoted to diamonds titled ‘Dreams Of Diamonds’. Considering all the large format work they’d produced over the years, the idea of creating this fabulous book was a natural progression along a path they had already been travelling for a number of years. Along the way they became inspired by the incredible, ‘Vivienne Westwood Opus’. This was published in 2008, and reinforced their belief that it was viable to produce a super sized, limited edition book, something that was a lasting, significant reference point and a magnificent testament to print in the now seemingly unstoppable world of the virtual.
Shooting began in late April 2009 and was completed towards the end of 2011, with the final ‘Exclusive Collectors Edition Box Set’ being completed at the end of 2015. It was the largest, most challenging and spectacular project they had ever undertaken. In the wake of its success, further book commissions followed and soon they found themselves embarking on a yet another new phase in their careers, that of publishers and self-publishers. In 2015 The GIA (Gemological Institution of America) one of the most important gemological institutions in the world, hosted the fabulous ‘Dreams of Diamonds Exhibition’ at their magnificent headquarters in Carlsbad, California.
In 2001 they moved from London to the Highlands of Scotland, a few hundred yards from the southern shores of Loch Ness, which has proved to be an inspiration for both their life and work. Having always been drawn to nature and landscape, now living in such a magnificent location, it was only a matter of time before they started photographing the stunning wealth of scenery that was on their very door step. As the years went by an incredible collection of work began to develop and it became apparent that another book was beginning to take shape. And so it was that towards the end of 2013 work began on this exciting new project. Most significantly, it is their own unique style of shooting and creation of the images that makes their work so special.
They will revisit a potential location many times during different seasons and at various times of the day, or night, always aiming for wonderful combinations of land and skyscapes which will eventually produce visually stunning images.Capturing such images requires great skill, time and dedication, often leading to their being exposed to extreme weather conditions and sub zero temperatures in order to achieve the ultimate shot. This new venture is now nearing completion. Like their earlier book ‘Dreams Of Diamonds’ they are aiming to make their new book an outstanding publication, exquisitely produced and visually stunning. Further information and a few selected images from this new book are available to view on this website under New Project.
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