A Conversation with Alistair Guy at Home Grown, where Luxury Meets Business26th August 2023
Home Grown is a private members’ club providing unparalleled networking opportunities for its members. Nestled in the vibrant heart of Marylebone, London, and part of the Home House Collection, Home Grown boasts a selection of business lounges, private dining rooms, a restaurant, a Unicorn bar, and 35 boutique bedrooms. Alongside a calendar of networking and business events, Home Grown regularly hosts launches for unique products, books to supercar rallies, restaurant takeovers by celebrity guest chefs, and, exclusive supper clubs. As well as a community that supports high-growth entrepreneurs, Home Grown is never shy of supporting up-and-coming music performers and visionary artists.
Renowned for his work in the London fashion scene for over two decades, Alistair Guy epitomises the role of both photographer and bohemian man-about-town.
His portraiture has graced the pages of prestigious publications such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, while his distinct persona has positioned him as an ambassador for popular menswear brands and The British Fashion Council. Alistair’s recent venture into abstract photography has captured the attention of art enthusiasts. Notably, his collection, Incidentals, was showcased at the Study Café within the Home Grown Club for an entire year.
In this exclusive interview, Alistair Guy shares his creative journey and the inspirations underpinning Incidentals. He offers insights into his future projects and imparts invaluable advice to aspiring creatives and entrepreneurs.
How did it all begin?
It all began when I was invited to an event that The Luxury Network and Hapag Lloyd were running in partnership with Home Grown, and were generously donating a raffle prize for a luxury cruise holiday. Surprisingly, I won the raffle and embarked on a 10-day cruise around the Canary Islands. Before the cruise, I had been developing a new abstract approach to my photography and saw the cruise as an opportunity to explore this concept and potentially create an exhibition.
Where did the idea for Incidentals spring from?
The idea originated from my travels, particularly during the COVID pandemic and its early stages when we had limited opportunities to explore. I visited Spain and during that trip,p I was inspired to capture photographs featuring a combination of man-made structures and natural elements.
You were renowned for portrait photography, why did you switch to objects?
I’m primarily a portrait photographer, known for capturing subjects from film, fashion, and music in my past exhibitions. However, in my third series, I aimed for a more artistic direction, incorporating geometric shapes and forms into my photography. Titled Incidentals, the exhibition showcased images of man-made and natural objects captured using a Google Pixel mobile phone. As a long-standing brand ambassador for Google, using their technology was a natural choice. The focus was on the artistic concept rather than the camera itself. During the exhibition, I deliberately kept the camera used undisclosed, as I believe any camera can capture remarkable pictures in capable hands. Additionally, I conduct masterclasses to empower individuals to improve their photography skills using the equipment they already have, given the impressive quality of phone cameras today.
‘Alistair’s photography of Hapag Lloyd portrayed a distinct elegance that transcended the typical perspective of freedom associated with cruise ships. Focussing on and framing the elements most would overlook, his exhibition was like a poetic reminder to notice the details surrounding you in any given environment’ Neil Kenyon, Architectural & interior photographer, Founder of Arki Magazine
How well do you think your photographs fit in Home Grown?
The Study Cafe was a perfect venue for the display. The cafe is adorned with maps and has a travel theme throughout, making it a natural choice for showcasing a travel-inspired exhibition.
What is your favourite piece from the collection?
My favourite picture is the one with the bollard, which we used on the flyer. It represents the connection between the cruise ship, the dock, and the water. The composition, with the line between the bollard and the water, is what I find most captivating.
What are your plans for the future?
Whilst I’m not a painter, my background in art and fascination with painting might lead me to explore it in the future. David Bailey, a renowned photographer, served as an inspiration, as he ventured into painting later in life. I had the chance to photograph him and others replicating his work on canvas during educational programs at the National Portrait Gallery. Bailey’s transition from photography to painting is incredibly cool and intriguing.
Can you tell us about one successful story of inspiration?
I gave a talk on Facebook that inspired an entrepreneur to become a photographer. He had his first exhibition in New York, focusing on travel and landscape photography, and has started selling his images. It’s a wonderful success story.
Artists will be artists, but they still have to show an entrepreneurial mindset. What is your advice to emerging entrepreneurs and creatives?
It’s crucial for me to actively discuss my work, as many photographers and artists tend to remain in their isolated worlds. I must admit, I was guilty of that for many years. However, I’ve realised that engaging in conversations, collaborating with others, and working with people can amplify the impact of my work. My advice is to be receptive to others’ advice and seek alignment and collaboration with like-minded individuals.
Another valuable piece of advice is to avoid confining yourself to a specific niche. Apart from my photography and educational projects, I have also ventured into the realm of feature films. I produced and directed my first short film, which was released just before COVID. Keeping an open mind and exploring different mediums have been crucial for my growth.
Can you share a bit about your experience at Glastonbury?
I collaborated with Vogue to photograph Glastonbury for eight years, capturing trends and fashion at the festival. It was a fantastic experience being the sole fashion photographer with access to VIP areas and the creative people in the music and fashion industries.
Any photography subjects I may have heard of?
Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, and Florence and the Machine.
What are your thoughts about Home Grown’s looks?
I love the space’s old Georgian townhouse charm, with its beautiful design and well-considered lighting. As an architectural enthusiast, it’s visually appealing and acoustically comfortable. The vibrant and colourful atmosphere fosters creativity and inspiration, making it an ideal environment for artistic expression.
What about a quote you live by?
Just do it, without overthinking. Seize opportunities and capture moments without hesitation.
After a year at Home Grown, Incidentals will now be showcased at Albumen Gallery, curated by Stephan Schmid. With a strong commitment to the finest photography worldwide, Albumen Gallery honours the historical significance and timeless artistic value of the medium.
Excitingly, Home Grown’s Study Cafe will feature even more captivating displays by photographers and artists globally with the artwork on a monthly rotation sharing pieces from finalists of the Dubel Prize. This dynamic space promises to be a hub of creativity and inspiration, offering members the chance to surround themselves with fresh perspectives and talents.
Alistair Guy: alistairguy.com
Incidentals can be viewed at the Albumen Gallery