It can be hard to coordinate days and dates. Some photographers can't do weekends. I generally can't do weekdays. And national vacations can add another layer of complication if people have kids or family plans.
In the end I approached five photographers with a day and date. One was away. One ignored my approach - this wasn't a big surprise or a big problem. One continued to ignore every message I have ever sent. And two said yes.
It's actually good not to cram too many shoots into one day. Even when the work and situations are different and the photographers are good. After two or three shoots it's hard to feel like you're not just repeating yourself and that's the kind of thing that shows in pictures.
So, all in all, a very productive day and a generous opportunity to visit the New Art Projects gallery in the West End for James M Barrett's portrait exhibition, which was wonderful. There is such incredible depth to his photography. The portraits are unrelentingly exposing - revealing every line, every scar, every bump or blemish, every stray hair or uneven line of stubble - and yet they are not at all unflattering. They are strong and calm and speak of beauty and wisdom. They also have that uncanny knack of giving the impression that not only is the photograph looking at you as much as you're looking at it, so great is the connection with the subjects, but if you glance back at a photograph after moving to the next, it still seems to be looking at you. For all the hours of post-production, they seem utterly real and full of life and completely devoid of fakery or empty surface.