Marquee Magic
life in the circus

Marquee Magic delves into the lives of the people who live and work at Zippos Circus with particular attention on ringmaster and budgie performer Norman Barrett MBE.

A little over a year ago I was walking past the park one lunchtime when I saw the huge tents of Zippos sprawled across the green. Intrigued I went back that evening with my camera to create intimate portraits of the performers LINK. I discovered a group of dedicated and fascinating people. I wanted to delve deeper into their story. So I teamed up with filmmaker and friend Joe Morgan, and after weeks of storyboarding and planning we went back to capture the magic of the marquee.

Jugglers, mothers, clowns, and fathers, from the children of trapeze artists to death defying bikers – find out what life is like in the circus.

Featuring
Norman Barrett, Lucio Mauro Zafalon, Emilion Delbosq, Rosey Delarue, Joanamarie Messenger-Austen, Lewis Delbosq Samtus, Kimberly Souren, Nicolas Souren, Huhssei Nyogr, and Tamerlan Khadikov.

Crew
Directed by – Joe Morgan & Charlie Clift
Researcher – Olly Mayhall
Camera – Joe Morgan & Martyna Knitter
Sound – Olly Mayhall
Sound design – Sound Node
Original Score composed by – Molecular Sound
Grading – Alex Berry

 

 - Modern Tarot – The Sunday Times Magazine - Charlie Clift

Modern Tarot – The Sunday Times Magazine

  It’s not every day you get your cards read on a photoshoot. But I guess that’s to be expected when you’re asked to photograph two modern-day tarot readers for The Sunday Times Magazine. I know what you’re thinking. Weird witches trying to predict my future? No – it was fascinating. It felt like more of a therapy session and Fiona and Jennifer want to use the readings as a way of interviewing well-known people in an unconventional way. I think that’s pretty cool. I always like trying out new ideas and that’s exactly what I did on this shoot. Although I couldn’t help getting some props involved and we obviously made it rain tarot cards. Big thanks to Russ for the commission and to Fiona and Jennifer for being so collaborative and fun. Read the article here: LINK

 - Environmentally friendly babies for M&C Saatchi - Charlie Clift

Environmentally friendly babies for M&C Saatchi

How do you get people to think about the environment? You put giant pictures of  their children up on their office walls of course. I photographed an internal campaign for M&C Saatchi that would make their staff think about the environment and the planet future generations will grow up on. We wanted to get all the emotions – and we were not disappointed. There were smiles, frowns, dribbles, joy, tantrums and tears. It was emotionally draining at times as nobody enjoys watching a baby cry, but we always had mum or dad on standby to jump in after a few seconds to comfort the kids. Massive thanks to all the families involved! What an incredible brief this was. Thanks to the team at M&C Saatchi for making it happen – Mimi Gray, Shaska Bain, Angelo An and Alan Jones.

 - Marquee Magic – life in the circus - Charlie Clift

Marquee Magic – life in the circus

Marquee Magic delves into the lives of the people who live and work at Zippos Circus with particular attention on ringmaster and budgie performer Norman Barrett MBE. A little over a year ago I was walking past the park one lunchtime when I saw the huge tents of Zippos sprawled across the green. Intrigued I went back that evening with my camera to create intimate portraits of the performers LINK. I discovered a group of dedicated and fascinating people. I wanted to delve deeper into their story. So I teamed up with filmmaker and friend Joe Morgan, and after weeks of storyboarding and planning we went back to capture the magic of the marquee. Jugglers, mothers, clowns, and fathers, from the children of trapeze artists to death defying bikers – find out what life is like in the circus. Featuring Norman Barrett, Lucio Mauro Zafalon, Emilion Delbosq, Rosey Delarue, Joanamarie...

 - Doctor Who at Abbey Road Studios - Charlie Clift

Doctor Who at Abbey Road Studios

Ever wanted to experience what it’s like recording at Abbey Road Studios? I went behind the scenes there recently with the talented composer Segun Akinola when he recorded the score for the new Doctor Who. Every single musician was a joy to listen to but there was one stand-out pinch yourself moment when Shahid Abbas Khan began to sing… everyone in the sound booth was left speechless by the beautiful sound coming out of this man. It was a pleasure to photograph, and even better to do it in the backdrop of this iconic studio. Thanks for having me Segun.

 - Let’s Talk launch at Exposure Gallery - Charlie Clift

Let’s Talk launch at Exposure Gallery

Join us for the launch of Let’s Talk at Exposure Gallery on 29th November from 6.30 – 8.30pm. The exhibition has been curated by The Photography Movement and is part of a series of exhibitions that promote the benefits of using photography to support mental wellbeing, as well as raising awareness and funds for charity partners. Address: 22-23 Little Portland St, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8BU RSVP to [email protected] Can’t make it? Don’t worry – the exhibition is on until Thursday 13th December. Mon-Fri 9.30am-6.30pm.

 - A Dutch Royal visit – Portrait of Brixton - Charlie Clift

A Dutch Royal visit – Portrait of Brixton

It’s not every day you get to show the Dutch Royal Family your photography exhibition. The King and Queen were visiting Pop Brixton and I was asked to tell them about my project Portrait of Brixton. They were both genuinely fascinated and were keen to find out how I approached my subjects, the practicalities of photographing outside in British weather and were eager to find out about the characters I met. The exhibition is on display until the end of October and you can see the project here: LINK Many thanks to Frank Augstein for the photos.

 - Tortoise Media – Slowing news down - Charlie Clift

Tortoise Media – Slowing news down

There’s a new news company in town, and they want to fight back against clickbait. They want us to slow down and wise up. I was asked to photograph the founders of Tortoise Media for their Kickstarter campaign. And they are quite a group of people: James Harding – former editor of the Times and BBC News, Katie Vanneck-Smith – former President of the Wall Street Journal, and Matthew Barzun – former US ambassador to the UK. Needless to say it was fascinating meeting every one of them. Tortoise thinks we are being overwhelmed with information and that trying to follow the 24 hour news cycle can be confusing and exhausting. So James, Katie and Matthew (and Agatha the Tortoise) are on a mission to change that. You can find out more on their kickstarter: LINK

Let's Talk exhibition, Regent's Place, London -  thanks to British Land - Let’s Talk – discussion and Q&A at Broadgate - Charlie Clift

Let’s Talk – discussion and Q&A at Broadgate

Join me for a lively and thought-provoking discussion and Q&A about everything from mental health issues to the ideas behind the Let’s Talk exhibition. I will be talking alongside project volunteers Emily Hartridge and Scott Shillum as well as Kenza Dairi from Mental Health UK. When? Thursday 25th October from 12.30pm -1.30pm Where? Broadgate, The Space | 3FA, ground floor of 3 Finsbury Avenue Square Get free tickets for the event here: LINK

Jordan Stephens - Let’s Talk – sparking millions of conversations about mental health - Charlie Clift

Let’s Talk – sparking millions of conversations about mental health

We don’t talk about mental health enough. That’s why today a project I’ve been working on for over a year launches in the Observer Magazine and will be an outdoor exhibition from the 8th of October in Regent’s Place, London. Let’s Talk is a campaign that aims to spark millions of conversations about mental health. By literally drawing people’s most difficult thoughts on their faces, lettering artist Kate Forrester and I hope to inspire others to open up about their own mental health. Massive thanks to everyone involved, especially the volunteers to have agreed to let us photograph them for the campaign. Please spread the pictures far and wide and visit the outdoor exhibition to see these portraits printed 2 metres tall. Most importantly please talk about mental health. It’s ok not to feel ok. Speak up, let’s talk. www.letstalkcampaign.com

 - Ruth Davidson for cover of The Sunday Times Magazine - Charlie Clift

Ruth Davidson for cover of The Sunday Times Magazine

I’ve asked many people to dance in front of my camera, and politicians have always said “No”, until now… I was in Edinburgh to photograph the leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson. I’d done all my research and come with many ideas, but ultimately I didn’t know what Ruth would be like, plus I was very aware that she was rather pregnant. The last thing I expected to happen was for her to shake her stuff in front of my lens like she was in a nightclub. Even Ed Balls who is famed for his appearances on Strictly Come Dancing refused to do the cha cha cha when I photographed him. However, when I brought up Theresa May’s recent rhythmic movements on her African tour I discovered that Ruth does like a dance or two. A self confessed fan of cheesy pop she requested Pink’s “Raise your glass” and away...