My first shoot for the Cambridgeshire Mencap project took place at St.Johns College, Cambridge University. Cambridgeshire Mencap provide a catering & hospitality training course in the college’s kitchens. Students meet for classroom activities and then more hands on work in the college kitchen and canteen. Both environments leave little room room for manoeuvre. Where possible I would choose a background which had either colour or interest, this sometimes meant rearranging and placing objects which were either relevant or added to the perspective and composition, not only in the background but also in the foreground as well. Lighting in working environments is also challenging. The kitchen environment could have been very difficult, with overhead fluorescent lights and stainless steel backgrounds. The kitchen was a busy place and so not somewhere lights could be placed easily, I used both on camera flash bounced and one small light on a stand placed at a right angle to subjects and slightly behind. The catering course tutor suggested a scenario with a student stirring a large vat of meat stock, this worked well as the student could interact with kitchen staff and both the colour and steam from the boiling vat made a dramatic composition. The students and kitchen staff were very co-operative to my instructions and made the shoot a very enjoyable experience.
Cantellday the designers for the new website and printed material were also present at the shoot to lend a hand and art direct. This was useful and helped with getting the right approach which would hopefully continue throughout the project.
The entire shoot encompassed many different environments and lighting considerations as well as developing trust and hopefully a rapport with the subjects which made for some spontaneity. Allowing a photographer in to your home is not always comfortable, keeping lighting to a minimum and using lights which are mobile while not requiring an extra pair of hands to set up, was essential. I used throughout Nikon SB800′s with the Nikon SU800 Commander unit and also pocket wizards. At present the SU800 cammander unit is not reliable enough in situations where the environment and subject changes very quickly and there is a very little control over the direction the shoot will take. Using small flashes triggered remotely with pocket wizards enabled me to position lights anywhere I could place a super clamp or light stand. Typically out of the way of young children but supplementing the existing light. In some cases I relied only on the available light due to requests by Cambridgeshire Mencap service users.
The final printed material produced can be seen below.
At the begining of the summer of 2009 I was asked by the marketing and communications team of Cambridgeshire Mencap to undertake photography for a new website and to update existing library images. The work involved visiting many of the homes, services and activities of the service users over a period of just under 3 months. With the aim of the photography to capture creative natural and fun images of volunteers, activities and service users.
Work is now complete on the new Cambridgeshire Mencap website and the site is now live. Cambridgeshire Mencap is a charity based in Cambridge, UK and supports local people with learning disabilities. Their important work encompasses supported living, access to community activites and training. They also support parents and carers providing them with information, advice on relevant issues and backup when they need a rest. Undertaking photography work for Mencap was a real joy and great learning experience for me, and gave me a better insight into the lives of those with learning disabilities and the conditions associated with having a learning disability. As well as the parents and people who support and care for them.
Spire Healthcare commissioned Alex to take photographs for a new image library. The photo shoot took place in Manchester, Leeds and Hull Hospitals on 3 consecutive days during October 2009. Resulting images are to be used across the Spire group for all corporate marketing and PR.
Lots of portraits taken over two days for the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital’s new nursing recruitment brochure. Great job, loads of fun meeting some very nice people. The brief was quite open with guidance to take approachable, happy portraits with neutral backgrounds. I chose to shoot with available light where possible and fill shadows evenly.
Cover Portrait Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital Nursing Recruitment Brochure