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On liking people - Photographing a live recording session

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

Edis wanted the session's photos to look genuine and timeless and I wanted that too, so I decided to shoot everything on film. Photos shot on black and white film give me those feelings, but that's a discussion for a different blog.

Before flying to the Netherlands I admittedly spent most of my time worrying about the light conditions in the studio. From the photos, it seemed like the studio was mostly lit by dim overhead lights and I wanted to shoot on HP5, which rates at 400 ISO. The space at Banka Studios looked massive and the guys planned three days of recording overnight, so I would probably need more light than I could carry.

I generally don't enjoy worrying about things for too ling so I did the best thing one could do. I asked for help. Emiel (who aside of being a friend is also a gaffer) came over with his van of lights and helped me light the space. We used two Aputure lights as key lighting and then double taped tubes next to the main instrument stations. I also turned on every vintage table light I could find. I really love Emiel and as of that day I also love tube lights.

With the lightning business out of the way, I was able to focus on the one thing I really enjoy. That is, being around and getting to know people who are passionate about what they do. The light is important, but the reason I enjoy taking photographs so much is because I really like people. Sometimes I like to think that this is the only skill you need for becoming a photographer, really. But then again, nobody writes blogs titled "THE ONE SECRET PHOTOGRAPHERS DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW - BEING PRESENT AND LIKING PEOPLE". Or at least I haven't come across any, and I wonder why.

I mostly shoot portraits but I will go and assume that this must be true for other types of photography as well. That to be a good nature photographer you should really like nature and that shooting a building involves a time period of observing and appreciating. Of course I was also extremely lucky to be given so much creative freedom for this project, with zero technical specifications. But generally speaking, when I spend less time being present and engaged with what is around me and more time worrying about the technicalities, the moment is gone.

The moment is always gone, so I say lets spend more time being present and getting to know and like people, buildings, insects, trees and whatever else we might want to be photographing next.

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