Yesterday evening our team were on Baker Street to document a historic event, organised by three synagogues in the West End of London. Central Synagogue, New West End Synagogue and Western Marble Arch Synagogue have come together to bring Jewish learning back the West End, with a series of events called ‘Connect’. We were privileged to be the exclusive photographers of this event, with the world’s media all clambering for access.
The theme yesterday was ‘Fashion’, bringing together religious minds and design gurus to discuss a number of issues. Undeniably the main talking point in the run up to this event had been the presence of John Galliano, who was sacked by Dior in 2011 after being found guilty of racist and anti-semitic abuse in a bar in Paris. The incident caused a major storm and hit the front pages all over the world. On the main panel were also Caroline Burstein, the founder of Molton Brown, the wonderfully elegant Ronit Zilkha, Jewish Chronicle Business Editor Sandy Rashty, and the enigmatic Rabbi Barry Marcus MBE – who we are privileged to work with and learn from on a regular basis.
Rabbi Marcus had been working with John Galliano for a couple of years since that incident in Paris, and they have struck up a close bond. He opened proceedings by explaining that Jewish people wholeheartedly believe in forgiveness, and he asked the audience how they would feel if they were constantly reminded of every mistake they had ever made. It was an inspirational opening address, which was followed by John Galliano spontaneously opening his heart to the audience for a few minutes too – this felt like a landmark moment, a one which all those present will look back to and think, “I was there.”
Thank you to John Galliano, Nicole Farhi and Ronit Zilkha for all being kind enough to give Blake a few moments for some individual portraits. Many thanks to Steven Leas, a close friend of Blake Ezra Photography, for bringing us in to cover this amazing event. His public ‘thank you’ to us in the closing remarks, with a few very kind words, was extremely generous. Looking up to see this esteemed panel looking in our direction and applauding was surreal to say the least!
Here are a few of our favourite shots from an exceptionally interesting evening…