Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser.
I recently installed a permanent series of four large format prints in the Bear Café in Todmorden. It was a great commission; combining my passion for local food and photography, crafting a detailed and distinctive view behind the scenes in the kitchen.
The initial brief was to deliver an artwork which would achieve two things: showcase some of their local suppliers and producers, and better inform customers that all the food is prepared on the premises.
Both are central to their business… the Bear is passionate about using local, sustainable produce wherever possible, and has long been affiliated with initiatives like Incredible Edible Todmorden. They’re also proud of how their dishes are produced on the premises, but as the kitchen is two floors away from the dining area, customers are often unaware of this. The client had previously seen my work so was onboard with the idea of using a high resolution 360° panoramic print, so we could capture the detail and experience of the kitchen fully.
Like any shoot, proper planning was key. I shot an initial test panorama during a recce a week beforehand: this allowed us to consider the positioning of products and people, and then we used a printout to mark up areas to address. As we always had a large, detailed print in mind, one of the key things to bear in mind was that we wanted an even distribution of points of interest throughout the scene. The client was keen to emphasise the importance of the teamwork and skills of the whole staff, so we planned their positioning.
We were keen to use bright natural sunlight streaming through the kitchen window to beautifully illuminate the fresh produce on display, so worked out the optimum shoot time for direct light. The team at the Bear ensured the space was organised, and added a lick of paint to the walls, making sure even a working environment would look at its best, while still staying true to its purpose. I’ll always explain to clients that a quick wipe-down or tidy-up in real life can save hours in post production… and the real-world effects last for longer too!
Chef Scott and manager Rhian added lots of little touches and details to the scene to reflect the personalities in the business… from Scott’s homemade kimchi in jars and stickers of seminal Manchester club nights on storage containers, through to the signature wooden bear who normally sits on the bar upstairs. See if you can spot them all…
After the shoot I processed the panorama, working at higher resolution than normal, and then tested several different projections to portray the whole 360° of the kitchen with as little distortion as possible. In the end I chose four square prints, each covering 90°, and prepared the final images for print.
The detailed fine art printing and mounting was by CPS Digital in Manchester. They did a great job. The installation, before opening hours, was fun… and the final work closely resembled the mockups we’d envisaged. Looks great, can be seen from the street outside, and it’s been provoking discussion and interest since it went onto the walls.
Thanks to all at the Bear for their help, co-operation, patience and enthusiasm. Read below the jump for more technical photographic info…
A small selection of images from a recent shoot at the Headen & Quarmby production facility in Greater Manchester. Recently featured in Mary Portas‘ new show on Channel 4, “Mary’s Bottom Line“, the building’s filled with reminders of the rich heritage, skills and traditions of clothing production in the north of England.
Trading for almost eighty years, the building is full of materials, fabrics, machinery and memories which harks back to the glory days of British textile production in the mid 2oth century. There are reminders everywhere of a close-knit community of skilled workers. Now, as the machines operate here once again, age-honoured manufacturing techniques sit cheek-by-jowl with modern computer aided design.
After a decade when the machines were mothballed and production moved overseas, once again the factory is resonating to the sounds and sights of undergarment manufacture, staffed by a group of new apprentices tasked with making Kinky Knickers in Blighty. And right now, these knickers are hot…
Lovingly made using authentic Nottingham lace, the new Kinky Knickers collection flies the flag for British manufacturing. Championed by retail guru Mary Portas, each pair is handcrafted by local apprentices, and comes in a gorgeous vintage-inspired gift box. Leading retailers… including Liberty, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, House of Frazer, ASOS, Boots and others… have embraced the chance to carry the cheekily retro, 100% British underwear. Public demand for the new lines is incredibly high, and everyone was working flat out (though not getting their knickers in a twist) when I was onsite.
Acclaimed creative agency Mill Co are delivering a new Headen & Quarmby website and brand development, and Anti Limited was commissioned to photograph the detail and character inside in the company’s headquarters in Middleton. As well as a range of intimately observed stills, taking full advantage of the natural light and unprepared working environment, we also captured a 360° panorama of the production floor. This gives vistors a chance to see the story behind the knickers…
Click/tap the image above to view a panoramic 360° view of the scene in your browser
This is a superbly positive project; a great story of British talent and optimism, and it provided an evocative selection of details to capture and highlight. The subject matter gels closely with many personal and professional projects we’ve worked on, and it’s always good to support a scheme which promotes locally made, quality products. There was a tangible pride and professionalism with everyone I met – deservedly so, judging by their products – and I hope they maintain their position as a successful, well-respected British manufacturer for the next few decades. Thanks to all the staff at Headen & Quarmby for their unbridled co-operation and enthusiasm.
You can view a larger gallery of photographs from the day’s shoot here on Flickr…
Enjoyed the chance to have a nosey around the John Rylands Library in Manchester earlier today, as part of a brief guided tour for photographers.
It’s a stunning building; with so many views and details the hour flew by. I had a great time, saw lots of things I’d like to have spent more time shooting, and would urge anyone to check out this architectural gem in the city centre.
The majority of these shots are HDR, shot with a variety of exposures; some 3x AEB and others up to 9x with a Promote controller, then processed in Photomatix and Lightroom.
This is a recent piece for a forthcoming release on the Scots label, Mighty Robot Recordings. It’s an electro EP by a young female producer, with remixes from Ultradyne and Ottomatic. The 3 different plugs were inspired by the combination of a Scottish label, a French producer, and a remix from Detroit’s foremost electro musicians. The idea of the jack came from a design from the artist. As I arranged the plugs on a lightbox and shot away I tried lots of differing angles and layouts, but this reminds me of an evil robot probe closing in on the lonely jack. I feel this is a suitably dark and dystopian vibe for the release.
MRR00000010 Katelectro – Plug EP
Release date 2009