Photolink Focus – Mark Aldred

What happens before the photoshoot? Before the photographers and models have arrived? Samples manager Mark Aldred explains his role and why he prefers to remain anonymous.

Mark: “We’re at our best when we can’t be seen. Although this can involve long days it’s satisfying to know that we’ve played our part. I work with Dennis Crump who normally arrives between 6.15am and 6.30am each morning.

I check-in around 9.00am and work until 6.00pm, so we’ve sufficient cover for 11 hours.  It’s usually Monday to Friday but we’re led by our clients and workload, so we do work weekends when necessary.

When the merchandise arrives from clients we mark it in and then place it on the rails before transporting it over the road to the studios for the models to wear. This should all be completed and signed off before the models, stylists and photographers arrive.

When they’ve finished we do the reverse, package the merchandise back up and send or deliver back to the clients. We do try and keep things as easy as we can and not over complicate the process and it’s normally just the two of us, which helps.

One aspect of our job that might interest people is the sample system we have in place. Once the merchandise is dropped off with us and coded up we can monitor and see exactly where it is at any given time.

I think this is quite popular with clients because they can find out where their product is almost immediately. Is it in the studios? Has it been photographed? Is it on the way back to the client?

Each week is completely different but on a Sunday evening I’ll know what deliveries we can expect, the number of items, what driving is required (we do three external trips a week) and if Dennis or I need to hire any extra bodies.

I also work quite closely with the still life team and this is important because the merchandise may need transporting to the models straight after shooting in their department.

Overall, it’s great fun. I’ve been here nearly 18 years and I think there’s a good reason for that. We have a great team.”


Imogen Gee

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