Duncan Raban — A photographer like no other

When I first met Duncan Raban, like most people, I was super impressed with his wealth of celebrity pictures over 25 years; from sports to music and even royalty, Duncan took exceptional photos that sold worldwide.

If that is all he had done I would have been in awe, however in the late 90's he began taking a different style of photograph that captured the human side of the artists he had been snapping for years.

Firstly the Rolling Stones, then Tina Turner and Lionel Richie. These pictures have become iconic and express something of the natural human side of these well known stars.

Once again, if that was all he had accomplished I would have been chuffed to bits to have met him, but there is more.

A phone call out of the blue led Duncan in another direction, for the next 5 years he was commissioned to shine a different light on the staff, children and parents of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

He arrived to find 10 children waiting for a new heart. This raw experience took Duncan’s breath away and opened his eyes to who the real superstars were.

One particular boy, Hugo, caught Duncan’s attention. He was born against the odds with more ailments than you can possibly imagine. He was a fighter and at the age of 3 Duncan bought him his first superman suit — to Duncan he was Super Hugo — this photo has become one of his favourite pictures.

This life changing experience led Duncan to travel the country saying hello to strangers daily. Whenever we speak on the phone he regularly starts a conversation with ‘I have just met the most incredible human being’.

So in case you are wondering where does this new found love of people have anything to do with photography — after 30 years Duncan now combines his crafted photography skills with his well practiced ability to connect instantly with people.

That means he is able to use his personality and camera to take photos that are 3D, they literally sparkle and come to life.

These days we can all take photos so easily, either wanting to remind ourselves of a special occasion, someone we care about or try to make ourselves look a certain way — all posed! But how often do we take photos that bottle that moment or truly capture the real person without their mask?

Duncan wants to celebrate people — to him we are all superstars and need the celebrity treatment. Having watched him at work, before I have even had a chance to get my phone out he has already made them laugh out loud and snapped the photograph. It is a liberating experience and so refreshing to watch him in action.

Duncan not only possesses the ability to take photographs but coupled with his insane personality to get under peoples mask as quick as lightening, he manages to capture their personality which is priceless.

I challenge anyone to look at one of Duncan’s people pictures and not feel something magical.

http://www.visitchislehurst.org.uk/organisation/duncan-raban