Meryl Streep Macintosh Chair


The Times asked me to do a portrait of Meryl Streep, she was only in London for one day and I found her so amazingly kind and receptive for an actress of her status and talent. As I was checking the camera, I looked up and she had fallen asleep because she was really jet lagged. I whispered “Meryl” because she’d told me I could use her first name and I was a little nervous. She blinked her eyes open, looked into the camera and in that moment I knew I’d got the shot.

Sienna Miller Chelsea Studio 2010


Sometimes you just have a great rapport with the people you photograph. Sienna Miller was so radiant and so funny and laughing most of the time, I just adored her. Her agent said “You’ve got a half an hour”, Sienna stayed for two hours and we drank coffee and talked about all the films that we both loved.  I could tell she was going to be a huge success, her intelligence and keen wit made her really stand out in my mind. Below are some dressing room pictures of our reflections in the make up mirror, which incidentally have have never been published before today but capture how open and fresh she was in the studio. A complete joy to work with, I would love to photograph her again.


Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono

I was commissioned by The Sunday Times magazine to photograph Yoko Ono. Prior to my arrival and setting up, her P.R. person told me “you’ve got 10 minutes”.

Yoko came in looking very composed. There was a stillness about her, similar to that of many Japanese people I’d come across in the past on my visits to Japan…..a polite containment and dignity.

I asked her to stand on the spot my assistant had marked. I started to shoot, but Yoko remained unanimated
I said” Oh come on Yoko” in my best Liverpool accent,( as she new I had known John in my Art school days in Liverpool back in the day)
“Give us a song” she smiled “Ok I will “ she said I will sing the Beetles song,” When I’m sixty four, and I am sixty four”, we both laughed and she sang away waving her arms and really enjoying herself, ending with a bow, as my assistants and I applauded.


If you’d like to inquire about purchasing a print please contact me though my website at:

If you’d have a press inquiry contact Chilli Media who run my archive:
Tel: 01622 600491 /// Web: /// F. @CHILLIMEDIA Steve Tomkins

Band on The Run – The Great ‘Wrong Film’ Debacle

Band on the Run1 copy

This was one of my first photographic jobs when I was still an Art Director. I had known Paul McCartney and John Lennon from my art school days and Paul asked me to shoot the cover of his new Wings album Band On The Run. With only enthusiasm and not much experience I went for a meeting with Paul and his art director the late great Storm Thorgerson from Hipgnosis. Paul and Storm talked through the basic concept that surprisingly the ‘band was on the run’ and we all agreed that the best way put this across was like an old fashioned ‘Hollywood prison break movie’ with the convicts in a spotlight against the prison wall (with additional celebrities as convicts).

On the day I hired a spotlight from the lighting company which, unfortunately, was not powerful enough for the job. This meant that everyone had to be very still for over 2 seconds for the picture to be sharp. Two seconds may not sound like a long time, however, they did have a party before the shoot and everyone was very much the worse for wear, but still enjoying each others company to say the least. Trying to get everyone to stay still and play the part of escaping prisoners was proving extremely difficult, amid the laughter, jokes and substance haze; I arranged them all together so they could lean against each other and the wall. Now, because they had all become a little unsteady on their feet, Denny Lane fell over a couple of times laughing hysterically – everyone was having a great time.  I had to have a megaphone to get their attention, I had even positioned myself up to the top of a ladder, next to the spotlight and barked instructions persistently, which the most part everyone ignored, until I finally snapped and screamed ‘Stay Still!’.

I only managed to shoot 2 rolls of film, which is only 24 exposures in total. The group couldn’t hold the pose for long, some would be still in one frame and others would be moving in another, the real worry was that there wouldn’t be a shot where everyone was still and sharp. My woes did not end there, once the film came back it had a strong warm yellow cast but thankfully there were four frames where everyone was sharp. I showed them to Paul and he loved them, I never mentioned the golden hue to him until a few years later when I was photographing the back cover for Wings At The Speed of Sound.

Paul Mc Cartney.Wings atnthe Speed of Sound.Album Sleeve.i

After the shoot, over coffee, I said ” Paul, there is something I’ve meant to tell you for years, that yellow light on the Band on the Run Cover? That was a mistake. I used daylight film instead of tungsten ” Paul laughed and said “That’s fine, I thought it looked great and that you meant to do it.”


Above is a letter I received from Paul along with the with the 25th Anniversary CD of Band on The Run which he kindly sent me. The great thing about Paul I have found over the years, is that when you ask him to dress up or do funny things, he is always up for it – and is magic in front of the camera. Working with him over the years has been a lot of fun, and a genuine pleasure. Below is a picture that has just been used by Random House in NYC for the cover of his forthcoming biography Man on The Run.


Below is the original shot.



If you’d like to inquire about purchasing a print please contact me though my website at:

If you’d have a press inquiry contact Chilli Media who run my archive:
Tel: 01622 600491 /// Web: /// F. @CHILLIMEDIA Steve Tomkins

Gucci Glamour with Lisa Seffert



Everyone asks me ‘How did you get that beautiful shape, like a wave on the dress’ ? Confession; I did not use wind, wire or strings. I simply had my assistant throw the skirt in the air from the side and quickly pull his hand out of shot. Many of the frames had his arm still present but after about 25 attempts we finally got the shot that we all loved. The dress is by Tom Ford for Gucci.

Maserati for IL TRIDENTE


I shot this campaign for iconic italian car designers Maserati for there inhouse magazine IL TRIDENTE. I worked with my dear friend and stylist Marcella Martinelli on this shoot using clothes by PradaVersacePhilip TreacyRoger Vivier  and Sergio Rosi and it was shot at Farnborough Private Airport. The shoot was conjunction with Maserati and Luggage supplied by Louis Vuitton.

_Mazerati beauty hat.G_1578

During the the shoot, to get the angle I wanted I had to strap a the flash unit toa cherry picker platform.   Since we we were at an airport with it’s exposed position the wind was blowing the swaying the platform from left to right. I then had to time the shot for when it was exactly in the middle position, while it was gusting from side to side.  This combined with the fact that I was shouting instructions to the models (the fabulous Marla at Premier and Albert at Select) meant that the whole job was like patting your head and stroking your tummy, 25ft from the ground  on a moving platform! Not an easy shoot, but very rewarding. Thankfully it was the first time I had used the Canon 5D MKII and the quality of sharpness and colour saturation of the camera more than compensated for stresses of the job and helped me to achieve the final great result. I had bought the camera in Taiwan and subsequently bought, 2 more Canon 5D MKIII’s and it is the camera I use most of the time for it’s speed and efficiency.


If you’d like to inquire about purchasing a print please contact me though my website at:

If you’d have a press inquiry contact Chilli Media who run my archive:
Tel: 01622 600491 /// Web: /// F. @CHILLIMEDIA Steve Tomkins