Cinematographer Anthony Littlechild ‘shoots the world’ for new Network Ten travel show – by Slade Phillips
Photo Number 6 is a reality television program combining the adventure of travel with the joy of photography. Host Alan Fletcher explores the world looking for that elusive photographic image that totally encapsulates the emotion, geography and human connections he makes.
By virtue of his twenty-two years performing in the iconic Australian television program Neighbours, Fletcher has become a household name in many countries, particularly in the United Kingdom. Fletcher is a photographer on a quest to capture photos that sum up his experiences. At the end of each episode he reviews five of the best photos he takes and chooses one to become ‘Photo Number 6’. That photo in turn represents everything he has experienced about the destination’s culture, people and geography.
Cinematographer and founder of Creative Head Productions, Anthony Littlechild, was commissioned by Mezzanine Films to handle the filming for Photo Number 6, an innovative new travel show for Network Ten. Littlechild, too, had acted in television shows such as Blue Healers, City Homicide, Neighbours, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Gallipoli and others. It was clear to Littlechild, when briefed, that this was a show where choice of camera was going to be critical. He decided on an ARRI Amira.
Littlechild explained, “Shooting a travel show I knew I needed a versatile camera, something that could do everything I needed, but quickly. It also needed to help me maintain a high image quality, making this show about not only travel but making it as ‘cinematic’ as possible considering the production’s circumstances.”
To say Littlechild ‘shot the world’ for Photo Number 6 is no understatement with the crew having to deal with sub-zero temperatures, snow, mountains, glaciers, hills, cliffs and vast landscapes in Iceland to the deserts of Sahara and Namibia, to extreme close-ups of wild animals in South Africa. He also shot the Scottish countryside, the hustle, bustle and inner city chaos of London, 45-plus degree weather in rural California and along the great ocean road in Victoria.
Photo Number 6 is not a standard travel program showcasing the obvious tourist attractions that locations have to offer. The show takes viewers ‘under the surface’ to explore the culture, politics, landscape and humanity of the destination. Through five fast-paced segments Fletcher and Director Stig Wemyss aim to take audiences on a quirky, humorous, dramatic and, occasionally, risky ride. Then Fletcher and Wemyss battle it out in the in-studio ‘red room’ seeking the perfect shot.
Apart from owning an ARRI Amira himself, Littlechild also owns many other cameras. Shooting Photo Number 6 gave him a chance to compare his inventory as he explained and concluded, “It’s easy for me to compare the Amira to my other cameras and for this shoot there was no camera better suited for the job. It felt like the Amira was made for it. I loved it and the show couldn’t have been shot on any other camera.”
“Each episode was shot in a different city, town and country but the common factor was that the conditions were never easy,” he says. But after all, travel is more than just getting off the bus and taking a few snaps.
Anthony Littlechild is an actor and cinematographer crewing in multiple fields, and working on over three-hundred productions.
Slade Phillips is a writer based in Sydney.