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Michael Powell on BBC One Show discussing photographing Donald Trump

Following on from my blog about the day I met Donald Trump (scroll down), the BBC One Show contacted me and asked me to take part in their feature about the new President. You can find it here. It’s the first feature on the show. I was filmed being driven around Gloucester in a custom Trump Cadillac limousine designed and built for Donald Trump in the late 1980’s while being interviewed on the time I spent with him at Claridges back in 1996. The car has an automated drinks machine fed by supplies of booze in the boot, fax, shredder, safe, NEC 9a phone and TV. Apparently Cadillac wanted him to order fifty but he stopped at just two. The interior is awash with varnished teak, leather, Trump logos and gold fittings. It has a 5 litre engine and unsurprisingly we had to stop for fuel while filming.

Weirdly, Donald Trump is not my family’s only link to the USA Presidency as my father found himself playing golf with Vice President Spiro Agnew in the early 1970’s. The President at the time was the infamous Richard Nixon. Agnew’s tenure was dogged by corruption allegations and he became only the second Vice President to resign from office. I don’t know if he ever cheated at golf but according to my father nobody lost a ball as the course was teeming with secret service agents operating as ball-spotters.

Michael Powell,Donald Trump,Cadillac limousine

BBC The One Show 19/1/17

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The day I met Donald Trump

Some chap called Donald Trump appears to be in the news rather a lot right now so I thought I’d search the archive for the shots I took of him back in 1996 for The Times. The now President Elect was on a visit to London during the week of his 5oth birthday. At the time he had ambitions for a London Trump Tower. It never materialised. I don’t know why but given the recent emergence of statement buildings on the London skyline he may have been ahead of his time. Unusually there was just him and me in the room for the shoot; no PR, PA or security. I suspect this may never happen again. I recall setting up my lights in a room containing a Trump Tower model so used it in the shots. He can’t have been in a hurry because we chatted quite a bit and looking at the shots again I had time to move my lights around. After getting the steely-eyed serious shots I needed I asked him for some smiles. He said I should tell him a joke. I can’t recall what it was but it worked as there is a nice sequence of him laughing to and away from camera. I tracked down my diary for that year and I shot The Donald late afternoon. My first job that day was a portrait of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts followed by the actress Eleanor Bron whose career includes a role in the Beatles film Help! and is said to be the inspiration behind Paul McCartney’s Eleanor Rigby. Quite a day. Look out for the forthcoming post The day I didn’t meet Bill Clinton. Really.


USA President Elect, Donald Trump photographed with a Trump Tower model a week before his 50th birthday in June 1996.

USA President Elect, Donald Trump photographed with a Trump Tower model a week before his 50th birthday in June 1996. ©copyright MichaelPowell /


USA President Elect, Donald Trump photographed with a Trump Tower model a week before his 50th birthday in June 1996.

©copyright Michael Powell /



©copyright Michael Powell /

All you need is… tuition

A bit of creative wedding photography here and a good one for those in need of photography tuition. I’ve always enjoyed shooting silhouettes and unusually, here is one shot inside that doesn’t feature a window. It’s something I’m often asked about when doing one-to-one photography tuition. There’s a real knack to them and many photographers fail by expecting the camera to shoot exactly what the eye sees. You need good strong shapes, good exposure technique and awareness of what the camera can faithfully record. This one was shot at Sarah & Adam Gayfer’s wedding in Lincolnshire. I used a very wide aperture on a 85mm lens to isolate their features from the background while still managing to read the word ‘love’. I’m particularly pleased the way the ‘v’ of the ‘v’ draws the eye straight to their faces. For more creative wedding photography go here. For a photography tuition session go here.

©copyright Michael Powell/