A Photography Masterclass With John Nassari at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel

In August a lucky member of the IBAs team was invited to a photography masterclass with a difference. Run by one of the top photographers in the industry, John Nassari, Karen was treated to a fun filled day at the Mandarin Oriental hotel Hyde Park where she learnt all the top tips from the pro himself. In honour of World Photography Day on 19th August, the one off event called Back Stage: Life Through a Lens at one of London’s most luxurious hotels had been designed to show another side to photography in a unique & special setting.

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Discovering his passion for photography at just 13 when his step father gave him his first camera, John Nassari went on to earn a degree in advertising photography at the then University of Arts before pursuing a career in advertising and editorial photography. Exhibiting in top galleries across the world, he works closely with the British Council curating exhibitions on Identity and he also regularly competes for numerous well-respected accolades including the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize and the Events Photography Awards.

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Recently named as an Olympus brand ambassador, John Nassari is working alongside the high-end digital camera manufacturer for the Back Stage project at the Mandarin Oriental. A project created to tell the story of life at the hotel from the staff’s point of view, John is currently undertaking a six month residency at the hotel where he is staying one day a week from June – December 2015 where he has access to all areas of the top hotel. The photographs of behind the scenes life at the hotel will feature in a unique exhibition and book which will launch in early 2016 to coincide with the camera maker’s 80th birthday.

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Based at the epicentre of this project, the masterclass invited guests to step into John’s world and get a glimpse of the back stage workings at the Mandarin Oriental. With an introduction to the project, a look at documentary photography and a camera workshop where they learnt to use the Olympus OMD EM5 II cameras, the attendees were then let loose for the practical exercise of the day. Working in pairs, the teams were instructed to photograph the hotel’s door man while he worked, using the knowledge they had gleaned from their earlier sessions. After their photography time was up, the group regathered in the function room to review everyone’s work and to each choose one image from their collections which would go on to be published.

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A fantastic experience for any photography enthusiast – as Karen certainly is – the day was a wonderful insight into the intriguing world of John Nassari. We can’t wait to see the images he will capture at this year’s awards ceremony where he is both the dedicated photographer and sponsor of the Best Designed Blog Award.

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