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Dustin Hoffman to David Cameron: Oli Green

Dorset-based photographer Oli Green is known for creating powerful, mesmerising portraits of brides, children or some of the best known faces in Britain. This week it was the turn of David Cameron when he turned up in Chettle in Dorset....Country Calling talks to Oli Green

Here is David Cameron photographed in Dorset last weekend by Oli Green in his trademark relaxed, natural style – the prime minister even sporting a bit of Sunday morning stubble. “I thought it was nice to show him in quite a casual way, normally he’s photographed in a shirt and tie,’ Oli says. As you’ll see from the pictures below Oli has done many celebrity portraits – Dustin Hoffman,  Cerys Matthews and Kelly McDonald among them – but he also works as a wedding, portrait and commercial photographer. The key thing to Oli Green's work is that every image is powerfully mesmerising whether it’s David Cameron staring out in his weekend jumper or the bride wide eyed behind her veil. His skill is to always convey the character of his subject. David Cameron whom Oli knows well, is seen feeling comfortable with a friend, even though we know the week brings tough questions over the Leveson report. He shows Cerys Matthews as beautiful but with edge, which is how I'd always imagined her. With Will Young there's a boyish sweetness in the image which feels very genuine. And look at this portrait of a younger Jade Jagger looking the image of Mick. Oli says: ‘I’ve done a lot of studio work but wherever possible I prefer to work with natural light. I really like to keep things as simple as possible without too much faffing because then people start to relax and that’s when you get the best shots.” Oli began his career assisting the legendary photographer Rory Carnegie. He was still a fledgeling photographer when Dustin Hoffman walked past his Notting Hill studio and he decided to seize the moment. “I managed to persuade him to come in for a quick portrait, he was very nice about it,’ he says. It's such a strong image (main picture above), that incredibly well known face with the familiar smile and deep set lines. To produce the shimmery, almost metallic effect Oli treated it with a solarisation technique  first developed by Man Ray. His wedding and portrait photographs show the same raw power - often combining an element of reportage with his offbeat, edgy style. I love this picture of a bride and groom in the car, shades on, champagne to hand - it's the absolute antithesis of those standard cheesy, line up photos  - or this beautiful Audrey Hepburnesque bride pictured behind her wedding veil. Oli was an usher at the Camerons' wedding, camera in hand, and they chose his pictures rather than the official photographer's to hang on their walls. He creates something unusual, almost indefinable in his images, both a timelessness and a mood that lingers. With family portraits, the same rules apply - natural light wherever possible, a setting where both children and parents feel relaxed. Props for rock and rollers like this family of boys pictured below. As a favour to Country Calling Oli Green is offering our readers a half day portrait session at the discounted rate of £300 (normally £400 or £750 whole day). This includes a DVD of all high-res pics from the shoot. The ultimate family Christmas present? Contact Oli here  

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