|(c) 2011 R.Battye. Source:
He also had a very successful exhibition called 'This England' - Which sought to explore and expose some of the U.K's counter and subcultures. Being a bit of a fan of this kind of scene - Metal, Punk, Goth, etc - and having a deep set love for the 'alternative life' I was happy to be working with, and learning from someone who had similar tastes.
I wasn't lucky enough to be there while he was shooting models (boo hiss; the previous day involved a nude model, the proceeding day has a burlesque dancer in full costume and make up) but I was too nervous about being a totally useless assistant to think I could be guaranteed on for such works.
Instead it was a product shoot, photographing packaging of all things - jewellery boxes and gift bags. I felt I was quite fortunate in this respect, as it meant that a model wasn't stood around getting more and more perturbed while I potentially blundered about.
Contradictory to this, the work went fine, I think I managed to made myself useful, and near the end of the shoot (which extended itself to 7 hours rather than 2 [due in no fault to me or to dreaded tech.]) Richard starting doing more conceptual and as he described; 'arty' shots - macro shots under low light with high exposure, really bringing forward contrasting colours and textures, making what could have been quite dry work entertaining, and it was fascinating watching someone who really knows what they're doing with a camera making portfolio worthy photos - ones which would make photography majors at BCU weep - out of what could be read as nothing more than an embossed cufflink box.
In terms of what I learned, it wasn't as definitively focused on illustration, but I don't see that as something bad:
- Time management: Richard's estimation of a 30 product shoot taking ~3 - 4 hours was smashed by a 7 hour session. I realized I should be prepared for things like this, and not to expect any job to go as described.
- 1 job a day? Ha! When I left the studio, Richard met with a model and designer, to do a test shoot, before he had personal commitments to attend. I need to be prepared to not only juggle numerous projects from one day to the next, but to deal with both on the same day.
- Don't just do what you love: The amount of projects I saw being worked on today was quite astonishing: There were jobs to pay the bills, jobs to do as favours*, jobs which are personal, and probably some more I don't remember. It was awesome to see that Richard's personal tastes and projects had sparked, and he has had the pleasure of being commissioned on jobs off the back of works he has done due to his love of the subject, it was also humbling: There is a necessity to pay the bills, and the services you offer need to pay them bills, so those services need to be flexible.
- R&D: I heard an awesome analogy; big businesses have whole teams, funded, protected and paid to basically mess around, explore and experiment with what they have available; to expand the company's toolkit. Why should a single practitioner not set aside time to act in a similar manner?
I fear this week will be over before it's beginning has even set in. Hopefully the notes I take, connections I make and bullet points here will remind me of things I forget!
Today's coffee sketches - More of these weird forest guardian things... Trying to lock down good sketching gear as well - A running out/drying up sharpie is excellent for shading, PITT pens seem to be good for sketching, or, better than Uniball pens, and a blue biro is good for a break up of black on black on black...