Philip Berryman
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Tory Burch Book Launch

As you grow older you want the gap between what you’re dreaming of and the reality you live in to get smaller all the time. For many people this gap remains the same all their lives. I am glad to have made the gap a lot smaller for myself with this photographic book.Andreas H. Bitesnich

I love this quote from Andreas H. Bitesnich’s wonderful photography book. It is so true that we all share dreams of what we would hope to achieve in our lives or a dream of the kind of life we would like to live. Then the notion that we are caught up in the process of trying to achieve that goal and little by little closing the gap between dream and reality. Then as Andreas writes, the reality for many is that the gap remains the same all ones life.  For him the creation of his book has closed the gap and rewarded him with a massive sense of satisfaction. I wonder perhaps if I look back on past achievements, could I do the same and feel proud of what I have done. Certain achievements and goals met perhaps have reduced that gap. Or maybe I need to consider what should I do right now in my career in order to reduce the gap.

It would be wonderful to publish a book of my work and I imagine most photographers would cherish the idea that on coffee tables across the globe there is a publication of your images that reflect your own unique vision on the world. The very notion that people not only consume your photographs but seek pleasure from them and desire to revisit them from time to time. I have many wonderful photographic books and each weekend I make time to sit and read them. Some are signed by the photographer and I have photographed numerous book launches and enjoyed watching people meet the author or photographer and have that brief moment of connection in their company. The most famous photographer I’ve ever met and had my copy of his book signed is legendary photographer Richard Avedon. It was many years ago when he visited London and gave a talk at The South Bank Centre. The room was filled with every picture editor, art director, photographer, agent, curator, student, and stylist in town. It was truly incredible to listen to this creative genius talk through his iconic images and tell many a great story. The queue to get a booked signed was a mile long and it was impossible for Avedon to sign every copy. The organisers had to draw the line and decide who was the very last person to get their book signed. That very last person was me! I couldn’t believe it when the arm came down like a guillotine between me and the person behind me. I only had a few short minutes to chat with the legend Richard Avedon. If I recall other wonderful artists and creative individuals whose book launches I have shot include Albert Watson, Kate Moss, Arthur Elgort, Christy Turlington and others. A few years back I was kindly given the massive Magnum Magnum book published to mark the 60th birthday of the picture agency. At this point in time the following Magnum photographers have signed their chapters within the great book: Elliot Erwitt, Stuart Franklin, Jim Goldberg, Alex Majoli, Mark Power, Marc Riboud and Alex Webb. An utter pleasure to meet some of the Magnum agency greats.

I own a couple of books by the genius photographer Peter Beard. Now neither are signed but how I came about one of the books is a good story. One evening shooting for Vogue at a fashion party I was arranging two models and trying to get their best angle. One of the girls had copies of Peter’s book and promptly handed it to me when I expressed an interest.  She declared it was now mine to keep and I was taken back by her generosity. If I recall she explained that various beautiful models had been dispatched across London to hand out copies of the book to people the girls felt would appreciate one. Since that night I have met Peter Beard on two occasions. The first was aboard a luxury super yacht in Monaco. I was yacht hopping during the Monaco Grand Prix for Harper’s Bazaar. My brief was to move between yachts by speedboat and snap beautiful people and celebrities. Our team also had a fleet of Jaguar cars to take us to the race circuit each morning and other key venues around Monaco. From the dock I would then board a speedboat and hit the next floating party. On board one of the yachts I met Peter Beard and told him how I had recently come across his book. We had a good chat and a glass of wine or two and it was a pleasure to spend some time with him. I was born in South Africa and had spent much of my childhood on my grandpa’s farms in Zimbabwe and it was this love of Africa and the fact we were both photographers that connected us. The second time I met him he was walking along 5th Avenue in New York. I was in New York shooting fashion and I spotted him whilst having a breakfast meeting in a diner. I saw him as he walked past and I promptly ran to say hello. As ever he was charming and gracious. I would love to own one of his incredible images and add it to my collection but sadly the funds are just not there right now. On very funny moment whilst shooting at the Monaco Grand Prix happened whilst I was aboard the luxury mega yacht Le Grand Blue. I was shooting a party and every now and then I would hang by the DJ booth and watch the mayhem ensue. The DJ was the R&B legend Puff Daddy and every now and then he would turn to his butler, who whilst wearing white gloves would hold up a mirror to Puff Daddy who would then check his hair and clothes briefly before returning to the decks. As a result of witnessing this I now never travel without my white-gloved butler and mirror.

So this evening’s book launch was for two books. The first being The Interiors and Architecture of Renzo Mongiardino: A Painterly Vision and the second being Haute Bohemians by Migeul Flores Vianna. The evening was held at the magnificent Regent St. Tory Burch store. A talk was given about interior design and the trends in home design, interiors and the use of art in such grand environments. Sadly no models handing out free copies of the books on this occasion. The luxury of the clothes in the store complimented the luxury of the homes in the books and all round with the stylish guests it was a celebration of style and good taste. There were plenty of mirrors in the shop and so I gave my butler the night off.