Thursday, 23 April 2015

GarconJon meets Mark Hunter for Brooks Brothers

There are very few times in life where I've felt starstruck but holding the gold medal of Olympic Rower Mark Hunter has got to come close to that feeling. He may have achieved greatness but his humility and charm is powerful with his attention now turned to motivational speaking and his work as Programme Director of London Youth Rowing. I travelled to Henley on Thames to shoot him at his rowing club, photographed as part of a series of profiles for Brooks Brothers on iconic American menswear. Mark is the second of the series, keep checking for more and see the rest online at

Mark Hunter MBE, Retired Olympic Gold & Silver Medallist in Rowing

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? My younger years were spent is the East End of London before moving out to Essex when I was a teenager. I became interested in rowing and the sport then took me to Henley-on-Thames for over 20 years which was quite a change. I'm back living in London now so I've gone full circle!

Describe yourself in 5 words? Easy-going, Determined, Driven, Passionate, Articulate

What's your star sign? Cancer

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a kid I dreamt of playing football for West Ham, but once I realised my skills weren't up to standard I decided I wanted to become a physiotherapist. It was only a matter of time before the Olympic Dream got my attention!

As a child who was chronically unfit, I always admired others who were naturally athletic. How did you first get into sport? I've always enjoyed participating in a variety of sports. My parents
were sporty and we enjoyed going to matches or tournaments together. Their support has been something very special. I'd just started rowing in 1992 when I had the privilege of meeting Sir
Steve Redgrave as a 14 year old and I got to hold his 3 gold medals. That's when I started to catch Olympic fever.

There always seems to be a defining memory for successful people - something that switched them on the right path. Was meeting Redgrave that for you?  I knew I wanted to go to the Olympics when I first watched it in 1992, watching TeamGB win 2 rowing gold medals and seeing them on the podium, hearing the national anthem and watching the Union Jack being raised. It really captured my imagination, and I knew what I wanted to achieve! When Lottery funding started in 1997 it made it possible for me and many others to become full time athletes, which was very motivating. I wasn't fully funded until 2001 but up until then I was working full time and training around work.

If you hadn't got the funding what was your career plan b? It was all about the Olympics! Luckily, it worked out.

See the full interview below.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

GarconJon meets Darren Kennedy for Brooks Brothers

With classic American brand Brooks Brothers owning one of the best menswear stores on Regents Street, it's understandable that some of Londons most stylish gents love the brand. This month Brooks Brothers asked me to document these men for a new series on and after a good chinwag on set, I couldn't resist but ask my own questions for GarconJon. In the first of the series, I caught up Darren Kennedy over a coffee at Hawksmoor Spitalfields to talk about life as a broadcaster in the digital age and the extended American family the Irishman has. A group which includes President Obama.

Darren Kennedy, Broadcaster and Writer

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I'm a true Dubliner, I was born and bred in the city. And despite the fact that I spend most of my time in London these days, Dublin will always be my home at heart.

You may be a Dubliner but I know you've travelled some in your time. In your opinion what's the best place to live and why? I've lived in Paris, London, Toronto and Bordeaux but in terms of quality of life I'd say Dublin really is up there with the best. It's actually a fabulous city to live in. I know I'm biased but it's the fact the city is a very manageable size with the sea, the mountains and the countryside are all within bicycle distance from the centre. When it comes to weather, Los Angeles offers a tempting combo of city, sun and beach.

Describe yourself in 5 words? Happy to laugh at myself!

What's your star sign? Capricorn and I've been told I'm typical - practical, loyal and determined once I set my mind to something.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Growing up I wanted to be a vet. I was fascinated with nature and wildlife. My favourite programmes to watch were David Attenborough documentaries and I used to image myself travelling to the Galapagos Islands. I've yet to make it but I will one day. As a result our house was like a menagerie with cats, dogs, birds, fish, turtles, frogs... you name it, I tried to keep it as a pet. I went through a stage of wanting a pet lamb, despite the fact we lived in the city! My veterinary dreams perished when I realised I'm actually very squeamish!

As a Scotsman, I always find people have a curious response to my nationality – particularly in the States. What do people say to you when you first open your mouth and find out you're Irish? I travel quite a lot to the States and so many people there have such a strong affinity with Ireland - even Obama has Irish roots for God's sake! Americans can be funny and on occasions one or two have tried to convince me that they're more Irish than I am - despite the fact they may never have set foot on Irish soil. I find it endearing to be honest. The funny thing is, no matter where I find myself in the world, I never seem to be far from an Irish connection. Over the decades my countrymen have travelled far and wide, so most people are very receptive when they hear the accent.

See the full interview by clicking below.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Studded Eagle: Le Marais, Paris

Leather motorcycle jacket on the streets of Paris, emblazoned with silver studs in the shape of an American eagle.

Devil in the Details: Le Marais, Paris

Blue work overshirt with navy bucket hat and polka necktie on the streets of Paris. See another look from this gent outside the Hotel Westin here.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Classic Carman: Quai Saint-Bernard, Paris

A driver in Paris dressed in a classic grey single breasted suit, with unbuttoned white shirt and black car coat.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

GarconJon meets: Brooks Brothers' London Gentlemen

This month I photographed five of London's most intreguing gents for mens clothier Brooks Brothers, an iconic American brand founded in New York in 1818. Together we selected five honorary British men to show their unqiue styling of quintessential classic tailoring.

From the iconic navy blazer to their repp ties, the enduring quality of Brooks Brothers pair with distinctive details have made them the building blocks of refined wardrobes around the world. From tomorrow for the next 5 weeks photography and interviews with the ambassadors can be seen on the official Brooks Brothers website and here at Check back next week to following the story, starting with broadcaster Darren Kennedy.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Giulio: Pitti Uomo, Florence

It's great to bump into familiar faces across the world. This is Giulio, a talented photographer and Florence native, who I photographed a few years ago at London's Picadilly Circus for the 100 Beards book. See the portrait by clicking here.