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Portrait of Laurence Simpson by Julian Hanford

Bloody Hanford.

I thought he was just a great photographer. He didn’t say anything about being a creative polymath.

“How about this for your Assorted Nuts portrait,” he says on the ‘phone, and describes his idea.

"It’s brilliant,” I concede, and a date and a venue are set.

I turn up to find a dodgy old community centre that he sometimes uses. “Cos it’s near where I live,” says Julian.

Before long I’m struggling into the bits and pieces he’d picked out from the National Theatre costume hire place.

There were not one, but two hats, because he was satisfied with only the brim of one and the crown of the other.

“I’ll shoot you with both,” he says, “and create the hat I’m happy with."

“Er, yeah,” I say, “and where’s the papier mache bomb?”

“Oh don’t worry about that,” he says, “I’ll make it later, shoot it, and comp it in. Here, hold this basketball instead.”

The background is a municipal mess, I’m holding a basketball, and I'm balanced precariously on two stacked village-hall chairs.

He wasn’t happy with the height of just one.

Two days later he sends me a text. ‘Ready?’ I tell him yes and go to my computer to await his email.

Ping. And it’s brilliant.

If you just want a great shot, hire a great photographer. If you want some magic sprinkled on it, hire Hanford.

Clever bastard.

Laurence (Loz) Simpson - copywriter/creative director turned novelist