People ask me regularly what sort of background education I had before I decided to become a full time photographer.

Basically, I started out as a model-maker. I made models of all sorts of things. From prototypes of toys, special effects models for advertising, TV or films and I even broke into the car modelling world at Ford. Learning how to model full sized cars in clay.

Clearing up my office I stumbled upon this video of a model I made as part of my final year at college. Commissioned by the late Hollywood actor Sam Wanamaker, this model was of his dream. A recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The dream became reality and is standing proud on the South-Bank – London.
3 of us worked on the model, each creating sections that came together as the final piece. Predominantly made of Western Red Cedar it was a work of passion and precision. I remember all too well the time it took to saw 1/2mm x 1/2mm sections of wood for window frames and planing the wood to create our own veneers.

As far as I know the model is still at the Globe. If you’re there, have a look or at least ask about it.

Of course, most of this model-making is now done with 3D computer graphics. Another part of my past that I might mention one day:)

The video is a bit poor, it’s old and ripped from a VHS. Anyway, enjoy!

Lots of sweat and tears went into this model. Not to mention a tiny little bit of blood every now and then!

It came to my attention recently that a very special location is NY is in the process of being erased from the cityscape.
5Pointz was a place for graffiti artists from the city to gather and share in their art. Located in Long Island City, NY. 5Pointz  soon grew to international acclaimed levels, attracting artists from all over the world to participate in the evolving art exhibit.

The artists and organising body of 5Pointz knew that there was  a wrecking ball hanging over there head, after all, the old warehouses were located on prime development land.
Despite their greatest efforts to retain and protect the building, October 2013 saw the definitive decision of the New York City Council approve a $400mil redevelopment of the area.
November 2013 saw the building whitewashed.
The art was covered up for good, symbolising the end.

What about the resident artists? A recent report suggests their art will be featuring in an exhibition. Good luck to them all!

This a selection of images I made during the NYC trip I made with Nikon Europe.

  • Stuart Webster - A great collection of images Rob they really portray the diversity and beauty of graff. Wish I’d have been able to visit before it was destroyed.

Towards the end of 2013 I was asked to produce a short commercial presentation video for the the Ghent plant of Tower Automotive.
The idea was to show the complete processes line that Tower can offer to customers.
This includes the rail delivery of the raw components, assembly and welding of parts right up to the final despatch to the car assembly plant.

Produced in association with Bastiaan Blockmans

This was probably one of the biggest photographic challenges I’ve faced for a long time. The assignment to shoot a Boeing 777F as it landed, was turned around and departed.

On the face of it, pretty straight forward you’d think. The challenge to be that it was all happening at night, in a totally unknown situation and with unpredictable weather conditions.

The plane was due into Zaventem at 20:00-ish and leave again at midnight and there was one chance at getting it recorded. I could  hardly ask the pilot to go around again. The whole setup was calculated as best as it could be, we were told where the plane would put it’s wheels down, where it would taxi to and where it would leave the runway on takeoff. I had to be at all the positions in time and ready. Luckily I was being escorted and driven around the airport by one of the ground crew who knew the place like the back of his hand.

Of course the weather was against us in a big way. Standing right next to a runway in horizontal driving rain wasn’t a lot of fun but we managed to keep rain off the front lens element and I pushed the gear as far as I technically could to catch everything the best I could, in what was effectively pitch darkness.

Not only did the client want the landing and takeoff photographed but they wanted a couple of dramatic ground shots to show off the aircraft. I took lighting and all sorts of contingency plans, just in case. I had no idea where aircraft would be until we arrived and were briefed. I was lucky, I didn’t need to use any lighting.

I’ve been allowed to share some of the shots so as you flick though, spare a thought for those ground handlers that stand out there night and day to make sure our parcels get to where they have to go on time.

This is the type of assignment I love. Walking into a situation of unknowns, minimising the risk and just going for it.

Big thanks to Frank for assisting that  night too.

 

  • Wolf - Nice stuff. On the positive side at least the weather gave you some nice “floor” reflections :)

  • Mick - Up, up, and away!
    I agree with Wolf, the rain was a plus in this case.

 

This past working year has been a pretty exciting one. When I look back at what I’ve been up to this year a few sectors of my work jump out, jump at me and I get reminded of.

“You’re the the 360 plane guy who loves beer and little plastic people’

I cannot deny the fact that I’m one of the lucky ones who loves getting up to face work on a Monday morning, I thoroughly enjoy traveling to making virtual tours of aircraft, I’m so thankful that I don’t have a beer allergy and have risen above the criticism of ‘wasting time’ with LEGO figures to even have a photo of my Test Team on a magazine cover.
In between the higher profile or social network showable jobs that I’ve been lucky to have done, I’ve also enjoyed the bread and butter jobs too. Small things that get no air time but are none-the-less rewarding to do. Also plenty of stuff that gets no air time for other reasons, NDA, internal corporate use, etc. Just remember though, every single photo you see out there. Packaging on food, cat food labels, posters, brochures, magazines, etc. They all have someone who made them, a team of people behind them. Unrecognised, unknown and inspiring colleagues who are getting on with their work making this world a brighter and more interesting place.  2013 has seen this profession undermined and devalued further by the assumption that photography can be done by anyone with a camera. I raise a glass to those colleagues out there who are sticking to it, who are rising above it all and sharing in this passion I have for making and creating images. Cheers guys and girls!

Without sounding all gushy and slushy, my clients have all been gems to work for. I don’t need to name names, they all know who they are and I’m looking forward to working with them all again next year.  I thank them for putting up with my sarcasm and sometimes difficult mannerisms. In other words, I appreciate their trust in me.

Some might have even noticed that I’m busy working together with Paul Walsh on a magazine about beer and food. In fact it might have been slightly hard to avoid for those who follow me. The 2nd issue is approaching the publish date and the whole team are loving every hard working moment of getting that into the world. If you’ve not seen it yet, check it out. Belgian Beer and Food. 

To cap off the year I noticed something this morning, a first for me and was worth a smile. I was published on the ELLE website!  😉 No glamour fashion beauty editorial thing but images of beer. BEER! Yep. It was a Liefmans cocktail evening in SIPS cocktail bar in Antwerp.  As always, a fun evening and some tasty beer cocktails. Below a set of images from that event.

To all of you, make 2014 great. Attack it, don’t let it wash over you. Every day will be unique and every day a challenge. Make them count.
Live, Love and enjoy.

Rob.