Behind the Scenes: Craig Leeson's Cover Shoot Wasn't All Blue Skies
The Beast from the East—an enormous snowstorm that battered the UK at the end of February—nearly ended this month’s cover shoot before it began. The crew woke to sub-zero temperatures, howling winds and a blanket of snow on the ground, so were ready to give up on their plans to photograph cover star Craig Leeson outdoors in a London park—but Leeson was determined to push ahead.
Leeson, who is best known for directing the 2016 documentary A Plastic Ocean, is used to extreme temperatures. Over the past few years, the filmmaker and journalist has travelled to some of the coldest places on the planet as part of his mission to record the rapid and worrying melting of glaciers for his next documentary, The Last Glaciers, which is set to be released later this year.
“It’s just weather”, he said on the morning of the shoot. “It’ll look amazing in the photos.”
The snow did add some drama to photographer Olivier Yoan’s first shots, but it didn’t last for long. Much to everyone’s surprise, the storm quickly cleared, leaving a bright blue sky that lasted for the rest of the day. “This fits the theme of the story—extreme weather,” said Leeson, who was first inspired to investigate the plight of the world’s glaciers when he visited the ski resort of Val D’Isère in winter and saw the effects of rising global temperatures firsthand.
“High up in the French Alps there was no snow, very little ice and it wasn’t really cold,” said Leeson. “I started talking to a lot of guides and people around the town and found that temperatures had been rising and glaciers melting over the last 20 to 30 years.”
Like A Plastic Ocean before it, Leeson hopes The Last Glaciers will change the global conversation and encourage people to take all aspects of climate change more seriously. “That’s what drives me with this film; the need to shake people and wake them up,” he says.
Read our cover story with Craig Leeson
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- Photography Oliver Yoan