A home for the things I think are worthy of sharing. Will largely be photography based.

Archive for September, 2012

Materials Council – Super Brands, London Design Festival

Materials Council

Yesterday I did a job for Brad and Ian at Materials Council and Architronic at their stand at the Super Brands London exhibition – part of the London Design Festival. It involved photographing their stand and the surrounding area in the morning before the public turned up and then coming back in the evening for the opening reception.


Photography geekyness wise it’s not overly difficult however there were some areas to keep an eye on. The exhibition is called “Whiter than White” where the Materials Council is displaying some of its white materials. So the areas to keep an eye out are :

White Balance – With mixed lighting (white light panels above, and more orange Tungsten not far away) then white balance is something to keep a close eye on, especially since the title of the display has the word “White” in it – wouldn’t be great if everything was orange! The obvious get-out for this is to shoot RAW and choose the White Balance later in post production – so this is what I did.

Exposure – When you get a viewfinder full of white – and if on some camera automated exposure mode there is the danger that the camera will under expose the white to get it averaged out for middle gray. There are different techniques to counter this – and I used a mix depending on  the scenario. When steadily photographing the white material – going up and down the display I switched the camera to manual and set the exposure myself. The lighting on the display was fairly even so this was made possible. At other times when moving around photographing people around the display etc – I generally used Aperture Priority set to 2.8 for nice shallow depth of field, but set the camera to exposure compensation of +1/3. This could on occasion be not enough, or too much – but since I was shooting RAW this gives more leave-way to change the exposure later on.

With post production the trick is to get the material to be white, but not blow-out the details. Also while shooting and editing the old term of “expose to the right” applies i.e. exposing so that the historgram sides to the right – more white, but without over exposing.  The point of this is that making things darker in photoshop etc tends to be better than making them lighter – as noise etc becomes more evident then.

Here’s a quick selection of the opening night. Got in rather late but edited a quick few for their newsletter today.

if you’re wandering about the Gin – then they were the sponsors of the Architronic areas (presentation area turned bar for the reception)

Materials Council Coverage of the opening day.

I took a few pictures of some of the areas – and will upload a couple of pictures later on.

In collaboration with Super Brands London – the Tent London show is going on at the same time in another part of the venue – The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane. I was quite surprised to see this as it was upstairs and a LOT bigger than I expected – it was huge.  As far as I can tell – Super Brands was for the larger more established designer companies, and then Tent was for the smaller companies – either starting out or still relatively small scale.

Unfortunately – as I was working I didn’t really have the time to photograph them but there’s plenty to see.

If you’re into interior or furniture/fittings design and free over the weekend – I highly suggest going. Mind you – open House London is also on this weekend. Entrance for Super Brands/Tent London is £8 in advance or £10 on the door for adults. Less for kids etc.

Magnum Photographer Christopher Anderson

Nice little video on/from Magnum photographer Christopher Anderson.
Talks briefly about how he became a photographer, “fell” into war/conflict photography and then out again.

Bit of an arty piece – uses words such as “engaged”, “conciousness” etc which all too often can be used in far too much of a high-brow manner, but in a very down to earth way. I appreciate that.


Unfortunately I can’t embed it – wordpress.com doesn’t like script embedding – boo WordPress/oolaya

15min long

(Originally from Nikon Blog)

Remixing or Copying

Of late I’ve started to think that I should work on a “Project” again (again as in thinking I should, not having done one before) as I don’t seem to be photographing much for myself but more for other people. I enjoy this and sometimes it brings in a few pennies but all too often the editing can take weeks of my free time evenings which on occasion can be fulfilling but when it continues for many evenings can drag on.

One issue I’ve had with thinking of topics to cover is that they all seem to have been done already or are too obvious e.g. the view out of windows in my life (home, office, bus etc). Reading through photography blogs and magazines pro-photographers seem to start personal projects for two reasons A. Just as a creative output for themselves, but also B. to create something interesting and (arguably) innovative so that it can show their prospective clients or peers something new and a reason to pay attention to them. So it’s this later point which I find troublesome.

I am rather averse to doing work (photography) that is too similar to to others or making use of other people’s work – it’s for this reason I generally don’t photograph statues or graffiti. If I took such photographs I wouldn’t consider myself the major contributor to the end piece and so not really my work. I would of course be happy to photograph such things for the purpose of documenting them – but not to present it as my own “art”.

This also leads on to one of my pet hates – such projects that are every repeating. Reading many photography articles and blogs as I do all TOO OFTEN you se the same thing coming up time and again. Often presented as being quirky, different or innovative – but since I’ve seen it all before – not in my mind. Common examples would be levitation photographs (where people seem to be hanging in mid air, either vertical or unusual poses) – my most hated, Fashion shoots using powder, under water fashion shoots, etc I could go on.

HOWEVER I recently watched this TED talk by Kirby Ferguson – he was the person who made the Remix videos that made the rounds a while ago but the Ted talk encapsulates some of those areas. It’s interesting – take a look:


And it’s started me thinking – is it too bad if I do something that’s been done before ? It might even be really hard to actually find something that someone somewhere hasn’t done before with photography in terms of projects. As long as I choose something without being influenced by someone else to omuch (i.e. doing something because X person has, or I’ve seen another person’s effort),  and that I make it my own, not copying others too much – then it might not be too bad. E.g. there has been quite a strong resurgence in light painting photography recently – and even though it’s not a new thing (See Picasso doing some) I appreciate it as  some of the recent results have been fantastic – check out Dennis Calvert.

So – maybe time to let go of the hangup of doing something that may have been done before…..

Let’s see what I choose.

I’m still not touching “levitation” photography though 😉

Here are the rest of the Remix videos from http://www.everythingisaremix.info/