between the vines / 13 October, 2007 [click for previous image: hand crafted]
between the vines / 13 October, 2007 [click for next image: Van Volxem]
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Title • between the vines

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
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