industrial

#balanceforbetter International Woman's Day

INTERNATIONAL WOMAN’S DAY - INDUSTRIAL PHOTOGRAPHY OF WOMEN WORKING.

Recognising that women make an equal contribution to all industry sectors.

Industrial photography of women in the workplace.

Industrial photography of women in the workplace.

Not wanting to roll out the ‘token’ woman although it did used to be the case in some industries, where a company wanted to show how they were cool and hip because they employed ‘a’ woman in a perhaps not a traditional roll.

It is now fair to say that when I am told that we are photographing an engineer in QC or in an energy plant I never know if the model will be male of female.

And that is the way it should be!

PS: A big shout out to business’ employing and running apprentice schemes and having women in all areas of engineering.

#balanceforbetter #iwd2019 #photographers #construction #industrial #engineering #offshore #naw2019 #naw19 #Intenationalwomensday

Skills Shortage - why we need #Apprenticeships.

The importance of apprentices and apprenticeship schemes to future economic success. #naw19 #naw

#naw National Apprentice Week. #naw19

#naw National Apprentice Week. #naw19

As an industrial photographer I travel and get to photograph many different locations, on many construction, engineering, manufacturing and workplaces the content I shoot shows a skilled workforce engaged in all types of tasks. Getting the image that delivers the story..people - skills - investment - safety can be a challange at times.

I review my photography and website regularly and critically, and one thing is apparent, the age of the ‘models’ in the images.

Often a business will have lined up thier best and brightest for the photoshoot, a wealth of knowledge about the work in hand and an experienced eye on the safety issues and making sure we are photographing content that shows best practice.

Most of the ‘models’ I see have a few years under thier belts..which is great for images as it shows experience, knowledge and integrity through their facial expressions..and a few road miles adds a little character.

HOWEVER..where are all the young faces..the ‘young un’ ‘junior’ ‘the lad’ ‘the lass’ ‘bag carrier’ ‘tea maker’..or in photography land ‘voice activated light stand’…OK the terms are probibly non PC, but I’m sure you get the drift.

wc March 4th, 2019 is National Apprentice Week, it cannot be stated enough that the future workforce is going to pay for all us old people..it’s a point of view..but importantly we (business community) have a massive skills shortage. Paricularly in the engineering, costruction and manufacturing sectors..in turn those jobs securing finance, adminstration, material supply, energy, transport, research..the list is endless.

I know there are many will think that the investment they make in starting an apprentice scheme is just training a skilled workforce to leave and go somewhere else, NO NO NO, it’s bigger than that, OK they leave..but when you advertise for experienced welders, turners, electricians etc..where do you think they are going to come from.

You might loose a few..but you will gain..may be from someone else’s scheme..perhapes someone who will bring with them new learning, a different way to improve your business.

The big picture is the skills shortage, those business that are making a choice to run apprenticship schemes are investing in their future success and growth.

As an industrial photographer I am looking forward to seeing the average age of the people in my photographs start to reduce..now..is there someone ypung to carry this heavy bag.

Mechanical & Engineering Photography.

Construction Industry Photographers.

Construction electrical engineering.

Find a very small space, fill with pipes heat exchangers, valves & pumps add an engineer, client, lighting equipment..and a photographer, then photograph.

Shooting M&E can be a challenge, photography in very small spaces is not just trying to ‘get everything in’ but to show an image that has clarity and some sense of depth.

Photographing the services that keep buildings working is either done during construction phase or as part of a re-fit or upgrade, either way job one on the list when getting to a location is the ‘tidy up’. I will often ask for the location to be tidied last thing day before the shoot..it gives the airborne dust time to settle and clear, brushing the floors when you are setting for the shoot just fills the air making for less contrast in the image..fills the camera and lenses..and me.

Getting a viewpoint can be a challenge, often there will be only one view that works or is the only place you can set the camera. Then adding lighting, using a technique of mixing both flash and light painting illumination can be used to highlight and add contrast and separation to each of the elements in the photograph.

Lens selection is also a consideration, not just a case of picking the widest shortest focal length but considering how the perspective can be made less extreme by image stiching with a slightly longer focal length lens.

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.

Long summer days industrial photography.

Long summer days mean late nights.

Industrial photography.

Industrial photography.

Long summer days can be productive if you need sunshine and skies..but for dusk and night photography the days only mean very late finishes and early starts.

Getting just the right balance of darkening sky and the working lights influencing the scene can be a short window of opportunity.  The 'Golden hour'..and 'Blue hour' are often used to describe the changing light from day to night. Getting just the right time to get a night sky and yet still have enought light to contrast the structure against the sky to retain it's shape and form but still dark enough to let the working lights on the building or structure to create the magical pools of light is more an art of observation than science. 

Spring and Autumn are often a great time for dramatic skies full of colour as the low sun helps the high level clouds to 'catch fire'  but not everyone has time to wait for just the right sunset/sunrise so in the meanwhile it's sleep depravation time.

Oil and Gas Photographers

Oil and Gas Photographers.

Oil refinery photography

Oil refinery photography

Working in an explosive environment, I do like to have structure and order in my images..it adds to a visual composition that adds clarity to a photo - using people as scale and points of colour to draw the viewer into the photo.

Sometimes in complicated environments where there is a lot going on visually adding carefully positioned people into the image can add a controlled 'quite' moment in the chaos to help the viewer see and understand the context of the whole environment.

Oil and gas and energy photographers international industrial photographers.

Oil and gas and energy photographers international industrial photographers.

I was asked to describe my work recently and came to the opinion that my 'style' is 'classic industrial'..in so far as it's a style of imagery that shows the thing being photographed as recognisable and using it's own form to create a visual image that tells the story. 

Safety is paramount, all my camera and lighting kit is battery powered..and to the best of my knowledge there are no usable to the image quality and versatility required intrinsically safe housings for the camera and variety of lenses. So under permit working it's always a 'hot works' permit on the basis of there could be a source of ignition from the camera or battery with everyone wearing a gas detector to monitor the changing conditions… the regular 'chirp' of the detector always ever present.  

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. 

Clear thinking

The importance of a clear strategy communicated effectively can never be underestimated.

Find what you are looking for.

Find what you are looking for.

-Photographers are hired on the basis of geographical location, specialism, nepotism or sometimes just being in the right place at the right time -Photographers will often accept work because it's good business, they need the money, there's an empty space in the diary, too scared and too poor to say no, and in between those states is the angst of the void.

Is this the best I can do, will I ever work again, can I sustain the workload, how can I be in two places at once, is it worth the grief, everyones work is better...was I ever good enough? 

I have always liked the quote by Steve McQueen 'racing is life-anything before or after is just waiting', creating new work is both at the same time an opportunity for greatness or disappointment, a moment to define your condition-validate your creative or technical expertise in your chosen creative medium.

I have always struggled with the void between assignments-finding 'busy' work to do, researching locations, sales, social media, the accounts-VAT-Tax, looking for that 'something' that will be the eureka moment, looking for the dream client or assignment that is more important than life itself. 

There are many 'business coaches' out there who I'm sure can help me for a fee to understand what my goals are, have the mindset to win those dream jobs and achieve greatness..although I do question what greatness is these days!

One of the best tools for both business and mind-it doesn't cost a fortune, has no ongoing consultancy fees and minimal application costs..a magnetic whiteboard.

I put one of these up in my office some time back, it has listed the usual whiteboard stuff-all current work-things to do/remember-picture of the kids and dog and those free promotional magnets you get sent for your refrigerator door.

The most useful feature is the section for 'thoughts' the place where I layout goals and targets and any useful info and resources, it's the place where I can stand back-look with clarity at the next thing to do, don't underestimate the power of accomplishment in wiping off an item..it is liberating and addictive!

It's too easy to be swamped by the sheer mass of influences we take in, after all that's how we thrive and grow as creatives-letting these distractions add to our own interpretations, but in all the noise we need to hear our own soundtrack.          

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

Photography in a £1.13bn investment Biotech industry.

The UK's biotech industry according to the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) saw investment of £1.13bn last year, positioning the UK as moving towards being the world's third largest biotech centre for life sciences.

UK Biotech research for life sciences.

UK Biotech research for life sciences.

The UK Bioscience sector along with Switzerland represents over 55% of the European total venture capital investments. Driven by the demand worldwide from aging populations there is a great demand for improved healthcare and drug therapies to combat age related illness' and conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer's.

Lifesciences research and drug development.

Lifesciences research and drug development.

 It's good to hear that the biotech industry see's the UK in a very robust position going forward despite the uncertainties of Brexit, but compared to investments across the world- America Boston-£1.6bn and San Francisco-£1.5bn there is no place to complacent.

It is important that the Universities and Biotech companies make sure that the UK is an attractive place to study, research and invest not just for home grown talent but those from across the world wanting to be at the center of academic learning and commercial development.    

Panic and planning. (adding a small detail can make a big difference) Construction Photography.

'F8 and be there' Creating construction photography images when you have no control.

Offshore Wind Construction Photography.

Offshore Wind Construction Photography.

Sometimes you get lucky..being a professional is about getting lucky every time you pitch up at a location, and being lucky is more about thinking ahead far enough to bring together elements in a changing environment.

Offshore Wind Construction Photographers

Offshore Wind Construction Photographers

Construction progress photography-returning to the same location over a period of time to record how a project is progressing. Progress photography used to be just another line on the project tender by the client so they have a record at regular intervals, it can be so much more.

Creating image content on projects can be a great tool to engage (read-customers/stakeholders) and often show to a wider audience the activities not often considered associated with a brand. 

Returning a location regularly can present opportunities and challenges to keep creating fresh new content to show the story unfolding. Often the first 'big' lift is all about innovation, proof of concept...and the engineer's calculations were correct! then stages of progress showing the race to completion.

Planned lifts often give you a little time to 'scope' out a few good viewpoints to get clear unobstructed views whilst working around exclusion zones and other activities, but sometimes as the process is happening and the 'elements' are moving around a potential shot lines itself up.

Working out if you you have time get off site-into the project offices-up the stairs-find a 'body'-persuade them to stop what they are doing-get their PPE on and go stand on a staircase for 15 mins..then get back to the camera without missing a key part of the lift..and whether it's worth it! All I will say as an industrial photographer fitness plays an important part (note to self: STAY AWAY FROM THE DESSERTS and cycle more!!) 

''F8 and be there” is attributed to the photographer Weegee (actually Arthur Fellig) who shot iconic street images during the 1930's and 40's, progress photography is similar..it's about being there-and being there often means you get to be in the right place at the right time.

The positioning of the 'branded' observer in the shot was something I had in mind for while but was waiting for the right alignment of elements. On big projects it's nice link the people and brand with the huge structure constructions-giving them 'ownership' of the project.