international

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.

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.  

Battery Storage Capacity.

EDF to invest $8 billion in battery storage capacity.

Battery storage capacity.

Battery storage capacity.

Industrial photographers in Renewable Energy battery storage.

Photography of people in industrial location. Commercial, Advertising Photography.

Next time you complain about no charge on your mobile phone just think what happens if there was no electicity left to switch on the TV, lights or your computer. 

Think of the electricty demand peak events such as commercial breaks in the X factor finals or the forthcoming royal wedding, those peak demands on generation planning require many assets to be brought on line just at the right moment, those assets needing to be running at full power before switching in the generators to produce the electricity.

To be able to draw down at a milliseconds notice enough electricity to bridge the gap between demand and generation means generation resources can be used more efficiently, and store power produced by renewable sources.

EDF have announced an $8 billion (£7 billion) investment over the next 2 decades in battery storage capacity, having already commissioned and brought online a 49MW facility they are continuing to move towards reduced carbon eneregy production.  

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.