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The thing-ummy-bob.

"She's the girl that makes the thing that drills the hole that holds the spring that drives the rod that turns the knob that works the thing-ummy-bob"

the thing-ummy-bob.

The Gracie Fields 1942 song and used recently by merchant services provider Square. pretty much describes how complicated modern plant control can be, "the-thing-ummy-bob" could easily be used to describe all the wheels, valves, switches..even the graphical representations displayed on large screen displays in control rooms across the world. 

I have photographed epically large industrial complexes with state of the art automation..the kind of installations that everyone uses bicycles to get around..and there only being 2 people on shift to control it all. There's no arguing that the investment in making a safe, efficient, cleaner and a more productive plant is good news all around, but often there's no substitute for 'hands on' intervention.

It might just be one wheel attached to a valve amongst hundreds or even thousands that routes steam or product flow to a process or tank, but knowing just where to find that one valve when the screen graphic shows an adjustment or isolation is required come down to the mk.1 opertive.

The skill required just to turn a valve takes training, experience and knowledge, being able to recognise from a graphic on screen to the physical control "somewhere out there" only comes with 'hands on' experience..it's part of the whole package.

Industrial photographers do get to see a lot of thing-ummy-bob's, clients ask "we want to see people" ..not as easy as it sound's when there's so few around and they are all busy being productive, often this means seeing a potential image and having to return to the same spot with the 'model' and even then only getting 2-3 minutes before they are needed somewhere else. 

It's too easy to forget that industrial photography is not the most important thing -as an industrial photographer frustratingly it is to me (not that I take my work personaly…much!!)…that's where understanding your part in the grand scheme is important..my 'thing-ummy-bob' is just a small part of the process, it just needs planning and organisation to fit into the final product.

Nine images.

How do you choose only nine images, if you have looked at the portfolio pages on this website the issue seems to be too many rather than too few. I'm still looking at choosing a much smaller number of images to show my industrial photography, but am having separtion issues about reducing content.

9 images text.jpg

I ask myself..often..is it enough just to show a few images that show the type of work you do, or will visitors only assume that is all you can do..if you show a picture of an oil refinery can viewers make the visual jump to a paint factory. 

As an industrial photographer the locations we work in can be very diverse but still require the same level of creativity and skill to achieve great loooking images. Then add into the mix shooting to brand image guides and also creative post production, all making the body of work more diverse and creatively different.

I understand about creating a body of work on a single subject but if that is what you show will viewers ony think that is all you can produce. Perhaps it's time to hand this off to a picture editor or photo rep to decide, perhaps just too near the subject to understand the core of my own photography. 

Brent Delta - the old lady of the North Sea.

Recycling of offshore oil gas rigs. Shell Brent Delta demolition photography.

 Brent Delta at the start of demolition. Offshore Photographer.

 Brent Delta at the start of demolition. Offshore Photographer.

Shell's Brent Delta one of the largest and oldest oil production platforms in the North Sea has been  brought to shore at the end of it's working life.

After nearly 40 years at sea (just think how long your car would last in that environment) the 44 meter tall excluding the flare stack, 24,000 tonne structure will be environmentally dismantled at the Able UK's Seaton Port, Hartlepool, UK with over 97% to be recycled.

A massive undertaking even taking the title 'largest ever marine lift' -to date anyway. It's the beginning of a new industry at such a scale, the decommissioning of such structures and the legal requiremnts for companies to remove such structures at the end of their working lives will see more growth in this offshore sector.