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"Jonathan has photographed International Alert's work in three different continents. He always becomes part of the team, needs a minimum amount of support and delivers stunning images which convey a real sense of humanity."
Phil Vernon
Director of Programmes
International Alert
"Whether on a farm in East Africa, a Trawler in the Atlantic or a Royal Palace in London, Jonathan consistently delivers photography that makes us look good to our clients. "
Paul Campbell
Director of Purple Patch Group
"Quality photography is absolutely essential to our brand. It’s who we are, what we do and the impact we have on the world. And that means working with a photographer like Jonathan, who understands what we are trying to achieve with our work."
THOM MCKAY,
Director of Communications
RTKL.COM
"Jonathan has been a pleasure to work with, professional, well organised, creative and always delivering to the brief. Considering the breadth of topics we have asked him to work on around the world, he has also shown himself to be resourceful and flexible. "
Judith Batchelar,
Director of Sainsbury's Brand
"Jonathan has travelled to Intergen's power plants in Mexico, Australia and Europe and produces consistently high quality photography. Intergen's values are all about a high-quality work force for which we consider him part of. "
Mark Somerset,
Vice President
InterGen Europe
"Waiting on a quote from the British Red Cross "
Wendy Solesbury MBE
Youth Development Manager, British Red Cross
"We work with photographers that try to capture the essence of our work and reflect our company values in terms of design. Jonathan produces excellent results every time with creative flair. He is highly professional to work with as well as personable. "
Sean Collins & James Felstead
Directors of CGL Architects.
"Whether on a farm in East Africa, a Trawler in the Atlantic or a Royal Palace in London, Jonathan consistently delivers photography that makes us look good to our clients. "
Paul Campbell
Director of Purple Patch Group
"Jonathan has been a pleasure to work with, professional, well organised, creative and always delivering to the brief. Considering the breadth of topics we have asked him to work on around the world, he has also shown himself to be resourceful and flexible. "
Judith Batchelar,
Director of Sainsbury's Brand
"Waiting on a quote from the British Red Cross "
Wendy Solesbury MBE
Youth Development Manager, British Red Cross
"Jonathan Banks has captured the faces of different people that vividly represent the human side of the conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh where each individual remains above all a human being with his or her right to be what they are, wherever they live, with dignity and in peace. "
EU Ambassador in Yerevan
"Jonathan has travelled to Intergen's power plants in Mexico, Australia and Europe and produces consistently high quality photography. Intergen's values are all about a high-quality work force for which we consider him part of. "
Mark Somerset
Vice President, InterGen Europe
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photography

19

May

Microsoft Fueling Renault F1® Team with data

  • By Jonathan Banks

Racing is the combination of a team of people, the creativity and skill of the driver, and the technology behind the car. It’s not just the driver. It’s an engineering race. The Renault F1 Team knows this as well as anyone. As a technologically innovative powerhouse, they understand the role technology plays in completing their mission. They understand even better that it’s not the technology alone that leads to championship-winning teams: it’s technology under the power of people.

It takes a dedicated team to produce a winning Formula One car, from Renault’s Enstone and Viry-Châtillon Technical Centres to the track. The thousand-strong team is constantly exploring how to push the limits of engineering, making cars faster and more reliable than ever. Each piece of information is imperative to understand the dynamics of the car and transform these forces into performance.

Last year I was assigned by Microsoft to photograph how they are working with Renault F1 in the technology race of data for pole position.

Every time Renault F1 Team drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon get behind the wheel, more than 200 sensors collect over 50 billion data points that help the technical staff improve aerodynamics, performance, and handling. But one of the most vital sources of data isn't a sensor or computer. It's the human behind the wheel, whose point of view provides valuable information on how the car is performing and behaving; something that a sensor can’t communicate to the engineers.

The team must be able to trust the data they receive, analyse it, and visually interpret it in the most efficient way. Microsoft technology such as Azure Batch, artificial intelligence tools, and HoloLens, can help filter through each valuable piece of information—whether it’s human feedback or data generated by sensors—to create that competitive edge and help Renault F1 Team continue to vie as a credible championship contender.

The team is running thousands of digital scenarios with Azure Batch in order to improve modifications, pit stop tactics and more. The scalability of the cloud enables the team to these scenarios in minutes, reducing costs where previously it would have taken hours on-premise.

Renault is also using artificial intelligence (AI) to find insights from the billions of data points it generates every race. Azure Machine Learning can search the data for anomalies, allowing engineers to spend more time on innovation.

Renault is also using artificial intelligence (AI) to find insights from the billions of data points it generates every race. Azure Machine Learning can search the data for anomalies, allowing engineers to spend more time on innovation.

The team has already gone from placing ninth in 2016 to sixth in 2017, and after this year’s seasons, ranked fourth. Pierre d’Imbleval, Renault Sport Racing chief information officer, is confident that the use of technology will help the team improve further.

“We are at the top of the midfield. What will change the game is how we embrace technology that makes us even more efficient. It’s about being smarter in the way we work.”

Microsoft | Renault F1

17

May

Energy Photography – POWER to the PEOPLE

  • By Jonathan Banks

Energy company Drax Group is helping more than 170 small care homes by cancelling their gas and electricity bills for two months during the Covid-19 crisis.

I have been working with Vismedia to supply photography, film and 360 degree content to DRAX in support of their marketing material. I have photographed gas-fired power stations in England and hydro-electric power stations in Scotland.

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030.

All the care homes selected to receive the free energy are small businesses based in communities local to Drax’s operations across England, Scotland and Wales and are already supplied by Opus Energy and Haven Power – both part of Drax Group.

DRAX GROUP

03

May

The British Red Cross supporting people in crisis

  • By Jonathan Banks

The British Red Cross has supported people in crisis for over 150 years. I have been supporting them with my photography for over sixteen years. I have photographed everything from disaster relief to Royal events. They are, and always will be, the organisation that I most enjoy working with.

The work that I have witnessed has been amazing and the people that I have worked are incredible. The British Red Cross is always on standby to help with UK emergencies and the coronavirus is no exception. 

Over 70,000 people have signed up as community reserve volunteers for the British Red Cross, with more joining the Movement every day.

You could be doing anything from helping at your local food bank to playing a vital role in easing the pressure on the NHS by delivering essential goods and supplies. 

There are many ways of supporting the British Red Cross.

The British Red Cross

 

23

Jan

2020 vision for the future of retail

  • By Jonathan Banks

Numerous headlines have declared the decline, or death, of the high street and, indeed, many facts would seem to support this point of view. 2019 was the worse year on record for British retail. High Street sales fell for the first time in 24 years with 12% of stores now standing empty. In the United States there are about 1,200 shopping malls with one-third of them already failing.

Originally the high street and shopping mall was the centre of activity and social life for many people. With technological and social changes, we are shopping and interacting differently. Our current generation is the most informed and diverse in history, actively seeking out new experiences. High Streets and shopping malls cannot remain a collection of independent outlets that make up a whole, they must become contributing factors that create an experience for the consumer.

I photographed the Mall of Egypt in Cairo for the architects CallisonRTKL and operated by the Majid Al Futtaim Group. Last year CallisonRTKL topped the “Visual Merchandising and Store Design” ranking for the third year in a row. The 280,000-SM Mall of Egypt offers a dynamic mix of activities connected by a series of indoor and outdoor public spaces that respond to the region’s climate and lifestyle.

Located in Cairo’s modern 6th of October district, the retail and entertainment destination is designed to LEED Silver standards and is intended to foster a family-centred sense of community. The two-level centre includes a hypermarket, global flagship retail, a range of dining options, and exceptional entertainment venues including a cinema complex, the first indoor snow park in Africa and Magic Planet entertainment. The centre’s master plan is divided into three themed zones, each designed to complement the other and integrate with the overall 6th of October city master plan: Zone 1 or “The City” is arranged in a series of streets lined with retail and family-friendly public spaces. Zone 2 or “The Desert Valley” has an elegant interior, housing the centre’s upscale department stores, international retailers, and a central courtyard for music and cultural events. Zone 3 or “The Crystal” is characterised by its dynamic lighting and is the mall’s destination for leisure and entertainment.

The Mall of Egypt has been designed as a consumer engagement space with a sense of community created out of the entertainment, experiences, and services which are offered. It is no longer a place for retailers to push out product offerings into a mass market but somewhere which has a pull-marketing approach orchestrated around the needs and interests of an increasingly diverse consumer market, segmented by age, ethnicity and locality.

To succeed in the future the industry will always have to think like the customers it serves. The high street and shopping centre have to create a platform where people engage with brands to facilitate sales in an environment that is conducive to their requirements. There won’t be a “one size fits all” design concept but there will be certain elements that will transcend different shopping centres. Entertainment and the experience will be a key factor along with the dining facilities.

Specifically designed mini cities where people live, and work is one concept foreseen as the future of the mall. These would also feed into the appetite of the increase of consumer tourism of places to visit and shop. What we can foresee is that where we shop in the future will not look like the traditional high street as we know it. It will be an entirely new retail experience—one that will change throughout the year and even throughout the day to keep people coming back for new, fresh experiences. These advancements will affect developers, consumers, retail brands and designers, from the smallest neighbourhood to the most impressive Class-A regional shopping centre. The future of retail is ever-changing and ever evolving and it’s up to developers, retailers and designers to pinpoint what fads will fade and what trends will cement themselves and flourish into the future.

Behind the scenes

Photographing any project abroad has a number of challenges. I always work with the architect / designer and the building management team.

There are three important elements to photographing this sort of project. The first is understanding and appreciating the design of the project through talking with the architect and drawing up a shot list of spaces and features to be captured. After establishing a shot list, we agree on how long the shoot will take and start organising a suitable date agreeable to all parties involved. It is always best to photograph any space as soon as possible to showcase the project and avoid any wear and tear. However, too early after its completion and you may not have all the units filled and subsequently less people visiting. There are also additional considerations of local public holidays or unique events to consider. It definitely pays to speak with the building’s management team.

The third element is the logistics of photographing such a project and working in a different country. There is the obvious consideration of what essential equipment I need to take, where to stay local to the project, visas, weather etc. Then there are the unforeseen challenges that you have to work with, such as equipment failure and illness.

When I first landed in Cairo I had organised being picked up and taken to my hotel. The driver explained how I needed to pay for my visa in either Euros or dollars. I had neither so had to negotiate a local currency rate. On learning that I was a photographer he asked me how much equipment I had and whether I had more than one camera. I always travel within a whisker of the weight allowance with as many bags as permitted. These will contain some extra clothing and a toothbrush but 99% is equipment! My driver proceeded to tell me that of the last two people he had attempted to pick up with film and stills cameras one had been detained for five hours and then allowed to proceed without his equipment and the other had been turned away. Lucky for me we were just waved through.

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