In May I shot fashion in Bangkok for the clothing company TEPP, at Dreamer Studio. The studio had a nice rustic vibe about it, and was sufficient size for full length shots. I was assisted by a great local photographer Ake, and the shoot consisted of men's clothing, men's underwear, and women's sports wear.
I went to Angkor around Xmas of 2015. I have always loved visiting ruins of ancient civilisations - I went to many sites in Mexico as a kid in the 1970s, such as Tikal and Montealban.
Angkor is incredible, and it is hard to convey the scale of the civilisation that existed there, and the complexity of the structural engineering that was utilised by the builders.
As I was anticipating conducting a photography workshop at Gold City Shoes in Bangkok last week I had done some shoe photo tests in my lounge in Sydney. The best shoe I had kicking around was this handmade brogue by the revered British shoe maker, Grenson. I shot this on a white seamless with 2 Profoto strobes through an octabox and grid respectively.
Gold City Shoes sell approximately 5 million shoes per year, and supply boots to the Thai military. Their warehouse is massive, and below are some Iphone pics of the interior.
Last week I shot a range of men's garments for TEPP in Bangkok. They were all flat lay style and shot on location at the company offices. I did 120 shots, and worked with a Fuji XT1 and various lenses.
So it's Sunday morning, I go for a walk around the block in a misty rain all is drenched on the streets of Bondi, and I take shots as i go with my phone enjoying the diffused light for a change from the usual hard contrast. I get home and upload the pics to Instagram.
I get home feeling inspired and make a piece of toast with smashed beetroot, sautéed carrots, and a sprinkling of parmesan and parley. It tastes really good and I decide to make another and shoot it. I need natural light and a white plate, and i style it up carefully, shooting with my Zeiss lens and old Canon. The shot kind of reminds me of Irving Penn's aesthetic - it could be the clean whites and the rough and ready food combo. I post it to the 'Gram and one friend says it resembles Groucho Marx.
I move on to shooting some sea shells. I had been wanting to do this for a while since doing copy work of a print of some in black and white by Max Dupain, which I had shot for an auction catalogue. The pic in on my Art & Object page...
I couldn't do it exactly like Max since I had no black velvet kicking around the house, so I decide to use a circular piece of black slate I had been given as a cheese platter by Felicity Jenkins as a gift. I had to progress with daylight as I had done with the toast shot - keep the light natural. Also, I was liking circlular composition and a square crop from the morning walk, so I kept with this look.
Interestingly, if you look at the food shot and the shell study closely you can see from the 'plates' and their shadows that the lighting is the same.
After the shots I got a phone call from a friend asking me to do some portraits of her son this afternoon for an acting agency. I agreed, and after the call got to thinking about how to do it, with my Fuji camera gear at my office across town. What the hell, I can use the same set up as for the still life shots - the Canon and the Zeiss 50mm, my only Canon mount lens. It should be ok, though I prefer a longer focal length.
Then I thought approach. I like Martin Schoeller's portraits of celebrities so I had a look online and found a discussion about his technique...kino flo lighting, damn, I only have Profoto strobes...I decided to look at the book i bought in Bangkok, Lighting People by Rossella Vanon. It's one of two great books on technique that I have, the other being Light Science Magic. I settled on a lighting approach, and then considered a mid length portrait. I have a postcard of a photo by Nicholas Muray of Frida Kahlo, an iconic image. I decided I would use that for inspiration.
by Nickolas Murray, wow!
Problem is, to replicate the shot above i need a grey wall, and the lighting is more complex than you think. The Muray shot is a masterpiece, taken in 1939, when colour film was in its absolute infancy (Kodachrome came out in '37).
In the time of writing I shot some portraits of Xavier. As so often happens I used the Frida pose from above but to no great success. Irregardless, here is a separate photo from the shoot that I am happy with:
I like photographing on a white background. It's actually very challenging, and many a novice photographer tries to do their E Commerce photos and can't understand why the whites go grey. Clear cutting aka deep etching has its own issues.
Here are some recent product shots on white:
In August I visited Chiang Mai and was fortunate to go to Wat Sri Suphang. This temple site is unique for having a building completely coated in silver, inside and out. It has been declared a national treasure by the King of Thailand. The silver work is all done onsite, and I documented the men working on new pieces.
Here's another pic of the day, this time from the Art Gallery of NSW. I shot this last December during the Nude show, and it features Wild Man by Ron Mueck.
It was a hard work to shoot as the face almost had a 'sweet spot', a perfect angle to shoot it from, and I also wanted to to give a sense of the scale. I shot it from several angles, including from above with a ladder, and decided it worked well with a fairly wide angle lens.
Occasionally you pick up a publication and chance upon something you have shot. It was a pleasant surprise to see this image of an artist in performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art from an event shoot I did earlier in the year, published in Liveworks 2017, the handbook for the Festival Of Experimental Art.
Pic of the day...
Since the beginning of this year I had been considering rebooting a digitisation business, and this has eventuated with Digitisation Service Australia, here in central Sydney.
I had had a similar business ten years ago 'Viewfinder'.
Increasingly I have noticed a demand for a specialised and independent digitisation business since I returned to Sydney 18 months ago to work at the Art Gallery of NSW, and subsequently on the mass digitisation project at the State Library of NSW.
I will run Digitisation Service Australia alongside Kreisler Photography.
It was a privilege to do the installation documentation for numerous galleries and artists who exhibited at Sydney Contemporary 2017.
The annual event was fabulous, and I saw plenty of art that I coveted. It was good to meet up with familiar faces, some whom I hadn't bumped in to for years.
Here is a selection of shots from the event:
I have been doing a series of educational workshops on product photography while in Bangkok.
Yesterday it was flat lay shooting of bags, and today I've been teaching Tong, who has a prestige jewellery business. Tong wanted to learn how to shoot jewellery for his family business.
We looked at using a light tent to capture a diamond necklace on black, and I encouraged him to take the shot with his new Olympus Macro lens. We had purchased the light tent the day before at MBK shopping centre, and I was really impressed with it - I will definitely buy one myself.
I ran through file management and outputting jpegs optimised for web as well.
I shot some handcrafted bags for Marchi Leather in Bangkok late last year. Pictured right is the Cubit. I was reminded of these while giving a Bangkok workshop today on shooting products, and used this image as an example of the many stages of the process in product photography, and issues around getting clean white backgrounds.
I am busy doing editing and post production on a private collection of over 200 boomerangs at Carriageworks. It is a significant group of objects with some going back well over a hundred years.
I decided to feature them on a white background, which is the convention within museums. They were done using a copy stand set up with Elinchrom lighting and a Canon 5d, with a Zeiss ZE 50mm makro planar.
Since 2015 Nick Kreisler has been exploring Bangkok shopping malls through a camera’s lens. Much like a modern day Grand Palais these styled environments overload the senses with a rich tapestry of technology, advertising images, and products.
Kreisler masterfully captures reflective surfaces choosing to present them in diptychs of rhythmic lines, shapes and angles. Kreisler’s images capture the playful allure of these capitalist temples while still alluding to a dystopian reality simmering below the shimmering surface.
Kreisler is an established Sydney and Melbourne based photographer. He describes his artistic approach as a ‘‘cool observational approach to portraiture and street photography. It should look easy, democratic, and devoid of pretence". He counts Robert Frank, Richard Avedon, Lee Friedlander and Helmut Newton as influences.
I am exhibiting work in a group photography show, Arcadia, opening on July 19th, 6-8.30pm.
My contribution is images of Shopping Malls in Bangkok, taken between 2015-2017, from my series 'Shiny Surfaces'.
Collab Gallery is at 64 Pine St, Chippendale, Sydney.
Show runs until July 29th, 2017.