Or to give it's full title: The EE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS at the Royal Opera House, London.
These awards are the hi-light of the British film industries year, the night where the great and the good come together to give each other a pat on the back and say "well done". It's also the night where the press spend the next day (and the television pundits transmitting live) discuss the glamour and fashion faux-pas of the attendees. It's the night when the word "glamour" is on everyones lips and everyone assumes, because I attend it as a press photographer, it must be a glamours evening for me also. So just how does the day unfold?
It starts with me leaving home in the morning dressed very smartly carrying not only 3 cameras, lenses and enough batteries to sink a battleship but also a small step ladder in case "the draw" is not favourable (more of that later). Of course this means I am on the receiving end of many strange looks (even having been asked if i was a window clear at one point).
iPhone Image: On the TrainiPhone Image: On the Train
After arrival in Covent Garden the next stage of the annual game commences "hunt the accreditation office". The office, which handles the passes for all of the media and others needing access is in a different location each year and finding it is always tricky. Pass obtained its lunch.
The "draw" commences at 3pm. Unlike the image many have of press photographers, we can be a quite orderly lot. For events such as the BAFTA's (and other premieres) a random draw (think cards from a hat) is held beforehand where each accredited photographer chooses their position in order according to the draw. At big events your whole evenings success can rest on this 15 minutes; come out last or make a poor choice of position and the chances of decent images rapidly decreases. Shock of shock (we all pray to come out early but talk our chances down) I come out first. This gives me 1st choice - I opt safe and go for the centre, next to the 2 house photographers.
iPhone picture of my view before the eventiPhone picture of my view before the event
Now we wait. Arrivals start at 4:45pm and last until 6:30pm so we are basically on our feet for almost 2 hours before the photography even starts. Once the doors are open, the arrivals always start slowly with guests either taking their time walking down the carpet (meeting others, doing TV interviews etc) or arriving late. This leads up to a frantic hour between 5:30 and 6:30 where all hell breaks loose. I did not count how many shots I took but the photographer behind me shot just over 2900 frames in that time. Look on the left of this image, that is basically a queue of A list movie stars, directors and producers waiting to be photographed!
ALICE EVE ATTENDS EE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS ARIVALS AT ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, LONDON, UK ON 08/02/2015Alice Eve arrives on the red carpet for the EE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS on 08/02/2015 at Royal Opera House, London. Picture by Julie Edwards
After the arrivals, it is off to the backstage area to wait for the winners and presenters. We don't have long; by the time we get backstage, unload and complete another draw for position (I come out very near the end this time), the ceremony is under way and the stream of subject starts. At least here we have chairs and power so between photographing, I am downloading the arrival images, captioning, editing and sending the images to press.
EDDIE REDMAYNE AND FELICITY JONES ATTENDS THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING AT ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, LONDON, UK ON 08/02/2015Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones backstage after winning the OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM for the film THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING at the EE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS on 08/02/2015 at Royal Opera House, London. Picture by Julie Edwards
This continues through to the end of the ceremony at 9:30pm. At this point its a mad dash for a train as the Southern service is so poor on a Sunday. Editing continues on the train and with 47GB of RAW images in total to go through, through the night until 4:30AM. (I do a further mop up the following day just to finish off with photographs of persons it was not so easy to identify).
So thats the typical "glamorous" BAFTAs day of a press photographer.
So which are my favourite images from the night? I'll show my favourite monochromes with a slide show in my next post.