Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Greg Williams decided he wanted to be a photographer when he was six years old. It only took him 13 years to land his first break as a photojournalist, capturing the Burma war firsthand. After documenting strife in Chechnya and Sierra Leone, too, he started a project in the British film industry for The Sunday Times Magazine in 1997. This, he claims, is what led him down the path he’s on today.
Since, the English photographer has worked on over 150 movies, collaborated with global lifestyle brands, captured countless cover images for acclaimed magazines, and photographed celebrities and everyday people alike in profound and happenstance settings. His art as a photographer physically bleeds from set to countryside setting, and from behind a camera to behind an iPhone.
Recently, Williams collaborated with the spirits brand Martini & Rossi to celebrate the joy of friendship and connection. As the world emerges back into social settings, extraordinary moments will take place. To kick off the campaign, Williams shot a collection of intimate and authentic images of his wife, Eliza Cummings, as she celebrated her birthday with a group of friends after much time apart.
Whitewall spoke with Williams about this spirited collaboration, his top tips for shooting on an iPhone, and how having a good time results in great photographs.
WHITEWALL: What do you feel you and Martini & Rossi have in common?
GREG WILLIAMS: Martini & Rossi is a brand rooted in friendship. It was founded by three friends over 150 years ago. As restrictions ease across the world, they wanted to inspire people to capture their own moments of reconnection at a time unlike no other.
They were looking for a photographer with an authentic style to spearhead this initiative focused on honoring social rituals and friendships, something we will never take for granted again. As someone who is known for my candid, reportage style, it was a great match!
Also, the Fiero & Tonic was my favorite, so I was excited to work with such an iconic brand renowned for these drinks like Martini & Rossi.
WW: This campaign embraces reconnection and shared moments. How are you enjoying those facets of life now, amid and after the pandemic?
GW: The past year has been tough, and I’ve certainly missed being able to hang out with my friends, that’s why I’m so pleased to be curating a digital gallery for Martini & Rossi of the best images and to see the joy as friends come together.
WW: This collaboration also features a competition, encouraging the public to share their images online with #MartiniMoments, in hopes of winning a virtual iPhone photography class with you. Can you walk us through that?
GW: I will also judge entrants who submit their photos to this global digital gallery/archive of friendship reunions, and then host remote photoshoots for four winners around the world using emerging technology I have been using for top fashion magazines since the pandemic began. They’ll also win the camera that I shoot 80 percent of my photos on—the Leica Q2.
WW: What number one tip will you share with the winner?
GW: Start thinking about light. The most crucial part of capturing aperitivo hour with friends is having a good time, but second to that is good lighting.
WW: What are your other top tips for shooting on an iPhone?
GW: Your best camera will always be the one that’s with you! While I of course use professional camera equipment, I also shoot on my smartphone every day. Get to know the functions you are working with. For example, when taking photos on a sunny day, the auto exposure might overexpose your subject. You can manually control this by using the exposure function and you will immediately see how your friends truly become the subject of the photo. The important thing is that you expose for the subject, which very often means overriding the auto exposure in either direction.
WW: How would you describe your photography aesthetic today?
GW: First person candid reportage within the entertainment industry.
WW: In 2016, we traveled to Miami and shot the new Lexus car with stand-in models with you. How would you describe shooting in a group setting versus shooting solo?
GW: When teaching photography, no matter how many students are present, you still have to focus. It’s a bit like when teaching, when you have lots of students around you, as when there’s lots of distractions around you, you have to focus on maximizing the image in front of you.
WW: What is your relationship like to art and design? What's seen in your home?
GW: My father was a theatrical writer and director, my mother was a graphic artist and my brother is a painter, so I was brought up in an artistic family, and my home is full of artworks from photography to sculpture. I’ve also really enjoyed designing my custom Leica Q2 with Daniel Craig.
WW: What shoots and/or films are you working on now/next?
GW: I’ve just finally completed my work on Venom 2 and No Time To Die for which I’ve done an exclusive selection of prints which can be viewed online.