<<< o >>>between the vines 14 comments + add yours

This one was taken at much the same time as this one, approximately 45° to the left.

On a loosely related matter: there's a discussion on my recent posts on Craig Judd's site today. Specifically:

"I mean I haven't spoken to Dave in length about his trip to Germany recently, but I would love to get his opinion on whether he felt as free of spirit to shoot in his usual style, or whether he was technically castrated by the requirements of the client."

And I'll answer that in a roundabout way ...

Tomorrow, John is coming over and I'm taking my 15mm fisheye for a stroll around our local multi-storey carpark, particularly the stairwells. I'm choosing the venue, the equipment, the subject matter, the company, and so on … and if I get anything decent, I'll post it here. And I will feel "free of spirit", as Craig put it, not least because there's no pressure, and the only needs to be met are my own.

When you shoot for a client, things can be quite different; i.e. the main priority is to satisfy their brief or expectations rather than your own. While I was in Germany I was extremely fortunate in that I had a lot of say over what got photographed, at what time of day, under what lighting conditions, and so on. Sure, I didn't have an entirely free hand – there were some things that definitely needed to be photographed – but I had a lot of input into the creative process. I should also add that had I been on holiday in the area I would probably have taken many of the shots I've posted anyway, so I guess that's a good sign that I didn't feel too constrained.

When I was in the Bahamas, on the other hand, I didn't have quite the same freedom, as the majority of the shots were art-directed; i.e. the agency knew exactly what the shot should look like. My job the was to realise their vision, not my own. And if you remember, the majority of the shots I posted from that trip were of the models I was working with, shot on my own time. If you're interested though, eight of the set shots are reproduced in this gallery.

So, what's the answer to Craig's question? I don't think there is a simple one, not least because I enjoy all three of the scenarios I outlined above, as much as anything else because their requirements vary. When you're working towards an art-directed shot, for example, it's your job to make the best of the scene, the lighting at the time, the props, and so on: and I really enjoy the technical aspects of that sort of work.

When you're working to a less specific brief, as I was in Germany, you have more freedom to ponder how to take a shot, when to take it, the best vantage point, and so on. And with this sort of job the challenge is both technical and aesthetic, and again, I really enjoy the challenge of having to find the shots to meet a brief.

Personal work, on the other hand, is more to do with aesthetics than any technical concerns. For example, I'll often go 'beachcombing' on overcast days as I much prefer diffuse light for those sort of shots; i.e. if the shot is available, I'll take it: if not, I won't. Likewise, I photograph my children at times when they don't mind being photographed, rather than attempting to get them to pose. And I guess that my best work, in my opinion at least, is done under these sorts of conditions.

All that said though, I don't think that any of the above scenarios impact on my "freedom of spirit": I love taking photographs, irrespective of the circumstances under which they are taken, or who I'm taking them for. I suspect that my best work is produced when I'm left to my own devices, or have a high degree of control of the process, but I also enjoy the challenge of more prescriptive commercial work.

Does that answer the question? I'm not sure ...

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
2.00pm on 3/10/07
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
aperture priority
C1 Pro
3x2 + travel [Wiltingen, Germany] + commissions
comment by Craig@ id7.co.uk at 07:31 PM (GMT) on 13 October, 2007

Dave, it does... 100% , thankyou, your work continues to inspire..... CJ

comment by mahan at 08:11 PM (GMT) on 13 October, 2007

i really like this kind of photos...

really simple and clear...tnx alot

comment by Emerald at 08:38 PM (GMT) on 13 October, 2007

I only hope that the skill of being so flippin' good at what you love has definately been passed down, well done Dad :)

comment by mch at 09:10 PM (GMT) on 13 October, 2007

pure magical photos..bravo

comment by David Chabashvili at 05:40 AM (GMT) on 14 October, 2007

This is a beautiful place! Excellent work! love the green and perspective!

comment by Sharla at 05:51 AM (GMT) on 14 October, 2007

You didn't mention this aspect of working for clients that have definite ideas of what they want to see, but I suspect it is true for you: there is a great deal of satisfaction being able to deliver someone else's vision through your own skills that they are incapable of accomplishing. There is a technical side of photography that has to be conquered before the artist can realize all his visions. To have that level of experience and to deliver someone else's vision is quite satisfying. Although less known or often seen publicly, Ansel Adams delivered a number of commissions for clients. Among his most notable clients was Kodak. His work with color was not his favorite median, for a number of technical and artistic reasons, but he still enjoyed the challenge and he still managed to deliver captures that met his clients desires, but were still recognizable as having the Adams stamp. The challenges of meeting someone else's requirements can push your development in directions or areas you may not have explored well and will later strenghten what you can do artisiticly. To be paid for this journey to another plateau is also very satisfying.

comment by Jennifer at 06:13 AM (GMT) on 14 October, 2007

Gourgeous shot. Congrats on having the opportunity to pursue photography professionally.

comment by Richard Trim at 06:59 AM (GMT) on 14 October, 2007

I'm glad to hear you do what you're told sometimes Dave!!! As for today's image ... I love the descent. richard.

comment by Jennifer at 09:33 AM (GMT) on 14 October, 2007

Another lovely shot AND with hint of Autumn colour ;-) Interesting to read your thoughts. Will we get to see THE shots from this trip?

comment by hixster at 05:27 PM (GMT) on 14 October, 2007

Love the last 2 photos, I notice they're becomming a little bigger too? ;-)

comment by djn1 at 06:02 PM (GMT) on 14 October, 2007

Thanks all.

Richard: I live in a house with one wife and five daughters - I'm well practised at doing what I'm told ;-)

comment by Rob at 09:44 PM (GMT) on 14 October, 2007

I like this one a lot. Its the best of this series IMO

comment by Beth at 04:21 AM (GMT) on 15 October, 2007

Beautiful scene and photograph. This one makes me want to reach out and touch the leaves.

comment by Laura at 07:37 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2007

Beautifull shot!