Giles Keyte has worked on some of the biggest film sets in the industry. Graduating in 1994 in Photography, Giles signed-up to the course to take his photography skills to a higher level and to actively build contacts in the industry.
Since then, he’s built an impressive portfolio working across the globe on films including Star Wars: Rogue One, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Martian, The Fast and Furious 6 and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. “My knowledge was very little when I started college,” said Giles. “I had some technical and business skills but a college education gave me a great footing to face the outside world and I left with a portfolio to be proud of but the understanding and no illusion of the fact it can be tough looking for work.”
Starting out as an equestrian photographer during college, Giles said that it was a great job to develop a fast style and strong work ethic dealing with clients and standing in muddy fields getting wet and dodging fast-running horses. “After that I worked for a few months as an assistant for a few fashion photographers in New York,” he said. The work ethic paid off and Giles realised that he needed to gain as much experience as possible to succeed and gain more skills in this diverse industry. “This period was between my FE and HE course,” he continued. “Fashion photography was challenging and fun as I saw a completely different side of photography but it made me realise that in the long term, fashion wasn’t my passion and this wasn’t the right industry for me.”
Towards the end of his course, Giles contacted a stills photographer to ask for work experience. It was during this very unique placement that he gained his first taste of the film industry, working on the James Bond movie, GoldenEye.
Giles said: “As a stills photographer, the main aim is to represent the film in production from on-set stills to documenting behind the scenes, and if possible to be involved in poster art.”
“Working on a film set comes with specific requirements: for example the camera needs to be sound-proofed.”
Giles amusingly describes the teamwork involved in being an on-set stills photographer, as it can be a cross of being a UN diplomat and the French mime artist. “Without the crew and actors on your side, you will not get your shot,” he said. But he does get to work in remote parts of the world and work with very talented people in the industry.
Describing his time at Carmarthen School of Art, Coleg Sir Gâr Giles said: “It was a supportive environment and you got the encouragement to feel that you could make it as a photographer when you left. It was great to meet like-minded people to share ideas with and the facilities were very useful but the major element for me, was the support and input from the lecturers, providing vital tools for the preparation and solid foundation for my later career.”
Giles has since worked behind the scenes shooting action stills, a huge number of films and photographed some of the most famous faces in film and TV including Jodie Whittaker, Helen Mirren, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Vin Diesel, Rowan Atkinson and Judi Dench. In recognition of his ongoing achievements in this challenging industry, the Society of Motion Pictures Stills Photographers (SMPSP) added him as a member in October 2016.