One of my favourite pieces of work was created for Pringle of Scotland. It illustrates beautifully what inspires me time and time again – the element of the unplanned and unknown in art direction and photography.

The shot was for an autumn/winter advertising campaign and the concept was inspired by early pictures of Paul and Linda McCartney hanging around London and their Scottish farm. The images were relaxed, intimate and glamorous in an unpretentious, British way. Our shoot was on location. We were to set off from Pringle’s offices, and we had a location van and a 1960s Rolls Royce.

Everyone was ready early – the photographer, the models Erica and Edwin, the hairdresser, the make-up artist, the stylist, the assistants, the clients and me, the art director. I said to our photographer: ‘Why don’t you go in the Roller with Erica and Edwin, so you can shoot some black and white on the way?’

The day went well and we awaited the arrival of the contact sheets. When the pictures came in they were fabulous and became the iconic images for the campaign: subtle, glamorous and seductively intimate. They could only have been created in that twilight zone between the planned and the unplanned, where spontaneity happens. No clients, hair or make-up artists were in the car, and my art direction began and ended with the suggestion that photographer and model take the Roller.

Such elusive moments always inspire me. But it is getting tougher to build in the seemingly empty space in projects so that great things develop.

Valerie WickesView

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