I was commissioned by Unlimited magazine to create a portrait of CEO Linc Gasking of New Zealand tech start-up 8i, who develop virtual reality systems and 3D technology. The assignment came in on a Friday and the shoot was scheduled for first thing on Monday, giving me the weekend to organise props for the shoot. As we were not permitted to photograph any of the actual technology, to visualise the story we decided to shoot the portrait in Wellington’s Opera House to create the impression of somebody watching a 3D movie at the cinema.
I managed to collect 10 pairs of 3D glasses from a film junky friend, and managed to blag some empty popcorn cartons and drinks containers from the kind folks at Reading Cinema for the other props. I glued a cardboard baffle into the popcorn carton to give the impression that the cartons were full of popcorn.
I was aware that I would only have a total of twenty minutes to shoot the images for the story as Linc had to rush off to a meeting at 9am. As the Opera House is a darkly lit environment, I had already visualised how I would light the image, so when I arrived it was just a question of quickly setting up the key light, and have a second light back-lighting the subject and the Opera House seating.
Sadly this was my last shoot for Unlimited magazine as they have now been absorbed by Fairfax Media’s Stuff website, who use staff photographers rather than commissioning freelancers. Shame really as I love doing this work as it can be very fun and challenging.
Several months ago I was commissioned to photograph Glenn Milnes of New Zealand software company Ike GPS. The company creates software that allows the accurate measurement of geographic features within a photograph taken from any smart phone. As the company had recently launched onto the New Zealand stock exchange, the angle for the story was floatation.
The magazine’s art director had arrange for the shoot to go ahead at Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre in Kilbirnie, and luckily for me, Glenn was pretty flexible time-wise meaning I could schedule this shoot in the evening after work. Below are some of the images from the shoot:
It’s been a while since I posted any of my recent freelance work, so it’s about time I caught up. Spotlight Reporting is a company specialising in software analytics for business, based in Petone, Wellington. I was commissioned by Unlimited to photograph CEO Richard Francis. These assignments can be tough when it comes to creating successful portraits as often there is very limited time with the sitter (as generally they are busy, working people) and generally there is little opportunity to plan ahead with the photographs you intend to make, and you never know what the location looks like before you walk into it. Thinking on your feet and using any available elements to enhance the portrait are the order of the day.
Luckily for me on this day, the afternoon sun was shinning brightly and when I arrived I noticed that the sun was shining through a slat-wood fence and would be perfect for creating a star-burst which would help illustrate the story of a company called Spotlight Reporting.
A couple of months ago I was commissioned by Unlimited Magazine to produce a portrait of Phil and Ted’s CEO, Campbell Gower. This was for the style of portrait known as The Office, and is predominantly more about environment than the person. Phil and Ted’s is an innovative designer of pushchairs and strollers. As you can see from the images below, this creative flair is fully incorporated into the fun and lively workspace. The assignment took about 1.5 hours, including the 40 minutes of manic driving to and from my work to the offices of Phil and Ted’s in the Wellington suburb of Newtown, during my lunch hour(s).
A couple of months ago I was given an assignment by Unlimited magazine to photograph David Dell. The Sheet Music Archive is located at the former site of the National Centre for Biosecurity and Disease Control (which has now move to the site next door) on Ward Street in Upper Hutt. The whole site has the appearance of an abandoned town, with numerous dirty, empty institutional-style buildings, desolate spaces with no human presence (except for myself and David Dell) and vegetation that is gradually asserting its dominance and creeping across and through unused tarmac.
The Sheet Music Archive itself is housed in a small, dark portacabin and is filled with boxes of, and random stacks of sheet music. Being run by volunteers, it might not be the most modern of archives but has its own chaotic charm, which to me suits the idea (at least visually) of an archive. Below are portraits of David Dell, who is the lead volunteer for the Sheet Music Archive.
Back in November I was commissioned by Unlimited magazine to produce a portrait of Ben Fulton, owner and founder of Red Witch Guitar Pedals. The plan was to give the portrait the look and feel of a music gig. I also liked the idea of having a wall of guitars in the background. Kudos and BIG Thanks to Hayden Okey, manager of The Rockshop Wellington for allowing me to occupy his shop for an hour while shooting these pictures. The shots were reasonably straight forward to set up, due to the fact that I had previously taken an ambient light reading from the shop on a previous visit (ambient light levels not varying greatly on a day-to-day basis) and played with the lighting set-up in my living room on the evening before the shoot. I arrived 15 minutes early to ensure all my equipment was set-up and ready to roll when Ben arrived.
Another “back in July” moment. I had planned to post these photos on here weeks ago, but sadly I forgot all about them until now. This was a commission for Unlimited magazine to produce portraits of Museum Hotel owner Chris Parkin. The brief was that the space was to be more prominent or representative in the frame than the sitter. Hence the reason why Chris occupies a small portion of the frame. This series of images were shot about 7am shortly after first light, and a little over an hour before I was due at work! I chose not to use flash for these images (with the exception of one where little ambient light was falling on Chris’s face), as this would have ruined the ambiance created by the lighting within the space. Plus trying to set-up multiple flashes in three locations would have been rather time-consuming. Below are the three different portraits of Chris, along with some of the artworks (to be used as space fillers) which Chris and the Museum Hotel are renowned for.
Continuing on from my last post, here are a couple of images from a commission by Unlimited magazine to create two portraits: one, CEO of Aviation New Zealand, John Nicholson; the other, director of Kiwi Landing Pad, John Holt (not the John Holt of reggae fame!). These two portraits demonstrate opposite ends of the spectrum when completing these kinds of assignments I think. I usually try to schedule between 30 minutes to one hour if possible, just to get a good variation of shots (and just in case the office-space isn’t to photo friendly!)
I had originally arranged to photograph John Nicholson for a period of between 30 minutes to one hour. When I arrived, John told me that he had to collect his car from the mechanic shortly, so I only had twenty minutes! The pressure was on. When time is limited, you are certainly forced to make quick decisions and in this case, I chose to forgo the fluorescent-lit office for the more interesting building lobby which had a number of features which could be used in the composition and for bouncing a flash off of. I think in this respect, having less choice and fewer options, helped to create a better photo.
Whereas when photographing John Holt, the options were endless. Kiwi Landing Pad is an entrepreneurial organisation which helps New Zealand companies break into the US market. As such, they do not have office space in New Zealand. I therefore had ample opportunities for choosing suitable locations with all the right elements to suit the subject. The ideal place to photograph John would definitely have been the helipad on top of the Intercontinental Hotel. The view would have been fantastic, the early morning sun would have helped to highlight John and the surrounding buildings (which would have also given the impression of the corporate or business world) and you also have a landing pad. To me, this would have been the most desirable location for this portrait. However, finding out who I needed to contact about access was a bit of a wild goose chase, and the deadline was closing fast. Even though I was happy with the locations I eventually chose, I think that having so much choice with location narrowed the creative possibility in the portraits some what.