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Photo Writing is the web version of the Photo Writing mini-magazine produced by Limephoto and Emil von Maltitz since 2010. As of 2015 it is now completely online. Feel free to browse through the articles and please leave comments in the comments section if you would like to engage with us.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

For the Pleasure of it

As a professional commercial photographer I often find that it's actually quite hard to photograph for myself. The standard response when people hear that I make my living from a camera is, "wow, that's so cool, you get to take photos all the time". And it's true. It is cool! I am in the incredibly fortunate position to be able to do what I love on a daily basis. More than that, I really, really....really, love what I do. I'm also lucky enough that regardless of what I'm shooting, I tend to be content with a camera in my hand. So it might be a product shot of an aluminium pipe, or an architectural image of a haute couture hotel, or maybe a stylistic image of a model, or perhaps a field of sugar cane, or an industrial worker, or a corporate headshot...the list goes on. the thing is, it's what other people want me to shoot. Not what I want to shoot for my soul. That's where, I as a photographer, and anybody else who does this, have to be careful not to starve the soul.

Okay, so the image here is not a work of art, far less an impressive virtuoso of photographic skill. It's really easy to do. I used 2 flashguns (an SB-800 and SB-80dx for the gear-minded), bounced into a silk brolly each, positioned so that they lit the tray of insects below with an even 45 degree light from left and right sides. You can see a faint shadow under each insect. I left this on purpose as I want the bugs to look like they were shot on white, not cut-out and pasted on a white in photoshop. The image was shot for a friend who works at the Natural History Museum in Durban and was intended to be turned into a large A2 print (I've printed it on Epson's Fibre Paper on a Epson R3880 - and it looks stunning).

I've always wanted to do a shot like this. Yes, it's easy to produce. No, it isn't particularly technical, but I find the overall result quite compelling. I'd love to do more of them in fact. No one is paying me to do it though. So it's for my soul. And that's important.

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