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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Further research for Assignment 5

During my first meeting with Harvey's I was shown a book made by two professional photographers, Catherine Benson and Sarah Weal []. Some of there images I have included below.

They were not commissioned by Harvery's though I believe they have been used since to produce some images.

I emailed them to ask if they had any tips, to see what worked well for them and what didn't. Catherine kindly replied to me stating that light was indeed an issue as I had first thought. They shot almost exclusively with natural light and reflectors. A good tip was to set up any arranged portrait shots ahead of time to minimise disruption to the workers. This is excellent but as they were two people, perhaps one as a temporary subject to check light, I think they would have found this easier than I will.

'Don't forget a tripod...' that was another great piece of device - I will in fact take everything I own as I will be driving it is no problem to fill the boot up.

Catherine and Sarah's images are very high quality, they have given me inspiration with the subject matter, indeed Catherine stated in her email that there are lots of opportunities at Harvery's so I am looking forward to it. Watching their promotional video also has given me some ideas which I will combine ahead of time in a list. I also need to take a notebook to make notes of the people and subject matter as well as recording other potential ideas as I go along. I have two mornings to shoot so there will be some opportunity for revising the material. 

Bensonweal's images are more contemporary that I was envisaging on taking for the brief, but I will try and incorporate some if the opportunity arises. Their use of the little light is very effective though I notice a lot of clipped highlights in their images...given the low light I think this was avoidable. Thanks to Catherine for replying and for giving me more ideas and confidence.

Assignment 5: Defining the Brief

As part of the preparation for Assignment 5 we are to define a brief based on a notional client. The subject for this final assignment will be Harvery's Brewery in Lewes, East Sussex. Miles Jenner, the Head Brewer, has kindly agreed for me to take pictures during the brewing process next Tuesday and Wednesday.

For my notional brief I have devised the following:

Client: Master Brewer UK, an on-line subscription magazine for brewers and those in the beer trade. Income is solely through advertising.

Article: A Day in the life of a Traditional Brewer

Requirements: Capture images of the People and Place of Work of a traditional brewery. Images should be of varying focal length, portrait and landscape format. Images should capture the essence of the process and how varying people combine together to form the end product.

20 High quality images are required, from which 8 - 12 will be selected for inclusion in the magazine.

As part of some research I have found the following images relating to this subject I have rated them in order of which ones work well and which ones do not. The first has fantastic lighting and a great scene established, a wonderful  Pål Hansen.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Planning for the final Assignment

Not long after I started this course I took a tourist tour around an old Victorian brewery, Harvey & Sons of Lewes. At the time I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to capture some really interesting images, the potential at Harvey's is tremendous with an amazing architecture inside and out that seems to have stood still in time. It should also be noted that Harvey's brew exceptional beer (ref: and was even visited by the Queen last year!

I contacted the joint Managing Directors with a request to photograph the building and its workers. Miles Jenner, also the Head Brewer, replied back quite cautiously stating that they get many requests from photographers to use their place of work as subject matter. After explaining my position on the phone Miles suggested I meet up with him at the brewery to discuss this further.

Walking into the brewery again was like stepping back into time, you'd half expect the barrels to be wooden and transported by horse and cart. Miles' office probably hasn't changed in a 100 years, a small room with a large leather topped desk, opposite an open coal fire, the desk surrounded by books and awards.

Miles kindly showed me work from two previous photographers, once circa 1980, a small collection of black and white images, and the other more recent from 2012  from two photographers Catherine Benson and Sarah Weal, which we talked through.

The meeting went well and Miles has agreed to let me take the images which I am delighted about. I have asked for 2 half days, the second visit allowing me to review the first days images and make and re-shoots. This is now scheduled for the 17/18 February.

I now have to write my brief for this assignment, this will be based on the notional client being a Magazine associated with brewing and the images to be used to support an article on brewing with traditional methods.

Some key pointers that I will note here for the assignment are:

1. Light is low in this building - a big consideration
2. Take shots in portrait and landscape
3. Take varying focal depth shots (wide and close up)
4. Plan ideas ahead of the visit for portraits.
5. Take my iPad so I can review some of the images on site.
6. Take everything I own photographically, you never know if I need it.
7. Review magazines and articles / images of breweries.
8. Buy the staff some cakes from the local bakery - I need to give back something......

Lets hope I do this one proud.....