Do you remember those infamous ‘Man From Del Monte’ adverts? Brian Jackson was the man in the panama hat. As well as being an actor and photographer he is also the latest LomoAmigo!
After serving in the Fleet Air Arm as an air crew cameraman, Brian returned to civilian life for a career behind the camera which quickly developed into owning and running his own photographic, sound recording & film studios. Meanwhile, Brian has had a very successful career as an actor, in films such as Carry On Sergeant and Legend, theatre with the Royal Shakespeare Company and numerous TV appearances.
Brian is known across the world as ‘The Man From Del Monte’. These adverts ran in 32 countries, in case you aren’t familiar, here he is!
Name: BRIAN JACKSON
My Grand children call me BRIAN THE LION!
Age: I don’t care how old I am
You are of course infamous for being ‘The Man From Del Monte’, can you tell us a bit about that?
I like the ‘infamous’ bit- I think! Being The Man for so many years really changed not only my life but also my familys’. In all the years I shot the Del Monte commercials I was reconised only twice- the reason? In nearly all of the commercials I always arrived at the site in something rather splendid; a beautiful white Grumman Seaplane; a white helicopter; white Mercedes and so forth, dressed to kill in tropical outfits and, of course, The Hat. Nobody connected the jobbing actor walking down Regent Street as being the same guy seen in so many exotic locations who travelled in such style.
There is a great deal of difference between a jobbing actor like me shooting commercials and starry names endorsing a product.
I’ve had many chats with execs in advertising and most of them say that the public remember the stars but not the product. There have been many expensive, classic failures.
What have been your career highlights so far?
The years with The Royal Shakespeare Company and having a brilliant start to my acting career, without any training, at the world famous Old Vic theatre. Nearly forgot: years ago I danced and sang with Ginger Rogers as her leading man in the musical MAME at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the home of musical comedy.
Oh yes, being in a Western.
How long have you been a Lomographer, or are you new to this whole thing?
I bought my youngest daughter Jo a Lomo when they first appeared in London quite a few years ago which she promptly lost or it was nicked and I think I bought her another. I came across what I believe may have been the forerunner of the Lomo many years ago when I was a Royal Navy cameraman. It was then a Russian camera issued to Soviet combat photographers during WW 2. Like the original Kalashnikov, the camera was designed to operate in all extreme weathers.
What cameras/film do you usually shoot on?
I could never remember all the cameras I’ve used in my time but they range from 10 X 8 plate cameras to Minox pinholes. These days I use my LC-A+ and a Casio Exilim according to the results I’m looking for; I try to suit the film type and speed to the subject. For example, my Cuban holiday just begged for black & white stock.
How did you find using the LC-A+?
Easy peasy! So handy when travelling, holidays and the like or just simply walking in the woods. I’ve always preferred to ‘eye view’ through a finder- you get the exact moment- then click! You know at once if you’ve got the shot. Once you get to remember easy-to-use manual focus it’s a doddle.
Your shots don’t look much like drizzly old England, where did you go?
Cuba- pronounced Kooba in Cuba! Go there folks before it all changes …. and take your Lomo AND lots of films because they are sooooooo expensive there.
If you could photograph anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Serving in the Fleet Air Arm as well as later being a civvy photographer with my own studios plus being an actor, has taken me to many parts of the world; several African countries; almost every place in north & south Mediterranean; middle Asia; nearly every country in Europe, east & west; the former USSR; North America & Canada- but the South Americas and the Pacific Rim countries have always eluded me: so either of those two beckoning locations would set me on fire.
What’s next in the world of Brian Jackson?
Tomorrow? Playing cricket at Windsor in the castle grounds and planning a cruise for later in the year. Also, I think my family are secretly planning a holiday in my favourite island- Gozo. The ‘secret plan’ is to take a large villa and invite all my immediate relatives to join which will be great for me but please don’t let on that I know, Shhh!