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‘Going the extra mile (or even 200) is just part of the service, Sir’

20/02/2012 When renowned award-winning Scottish photo duo Ross Gillespie and Tricia Malley ran into a bit of a capture problem in a snowstorm - they experienced at first hand what they described as ‘legendary’ Hasselblad customer service.

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Peter Capaldi - actor - The Thick of It: Field of Blood

The partners have run internationally acclaimed broad daylight Limited – for the past decade and have examples of their work held in permanent collections at both the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh and the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Their unique and thought provoking ‘As Others See Us’ exhibition and accompanying book of prominent and adopted Scots - including actor Peter Capaldi and Alex Salmond (First Minister of Scotland) - celebrated the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns, the country’s most famous bard, three years ago. Now it has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.

But shoots don’t always go to plan as well as they did in that project.

And it all started to go badly wrong recently ahead of a special portrait session for the Entrepreneurial Exchange - a Scottish organisation for growth oriented business people.

Ross tells Hasselblad News: “Tricia and I have a unique shooting style. We have one camera at a session - our trusty old Hasselblad 501 with a CFV-16 digital back - and we just share it between us.

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Tommy Dreelan - oil & gas industry mogul

The truth is we don’t ever really know who has pressed the shutter on any particular shoot. It may seem a bit unusual but we have always worked very successfully this way. We just have ideas in our heads as to how the shot should look and we work around each other.

The problem was that we had been using the 501 in a snowstorm a couple of weeks prior to an important shoot planned to take place in a local quarry with Akmal and Afzal Khushi – the brothers who own Trespass, the Outdoor Clothing Company.”

He adds: “We had wrapped the camera up the best we could but it must have still got damp within the sensor area because tiny black spores started to appear. We sent the camera down to London but we were told it had to go abroad to be repaired. We were getting desperate as the important Khushi brothers shoot got ever closer.

But Hasselblad’s David Nield was just fantastic. When we told him our plight he jumped straight into his car and drove from Leeds to Scotland – that’s almost 200 miles – on the morning of the shoot. He met us in a roadside lay-by and presented us with a brand new H4D-50 for the day, so the shoot could go ahead.

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Akmal and Afzal Khushi (brothers and owners of Trespass outdoor clothing)

I have to admit it was a bit like a scene from the spy film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as we sat there at the side of the road while he explained the functionality of the new camera. We were a little concerned of course, as we had never used that model before and we were used to Flexcolor software not Phocus. But David promised us that we would find it easy to use. And we did. That guy and Hasselblad really saved our bacon that day.”

Now the duo is scoping a brand new project for The Commonwealth Games, alongside ongoing social and commercial commissions.

“We never stop”, confesses Tricia. “We are always hungry for more work – and to be honest, we engage positively with every challenge that befalls us. We plan ahead as much as we can too. Ross is a trained illustrator, so often he will create a unique storyboard for each sitter ahead of a shoot.”

Portraits: www.broaddaylightltd.co.uk/portraits-1

Entrepreneurial Exchange: www.broaddaylightltd.co.uk/entrepreneurial-scotland

'As others see us': www.broaddaylightltd.co.uk/as-others-see-us

Tricia's work: www.broaddaylightltd.co.uk/tricias-stuff-1