Photographing the Cabinetmaker

Continuing the theme of photographing genuine craftspeople in their work environments I took the opportunity to visit Paul, a skilled craftsman, a Cabinetmaker,  working from his garden workshop in the small village of Thurne in the English County of Norfolk, UK.

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It was a very frosty morning in December when I arrived at Paul’s historic home. The sun was shining in a clear blue sky but it was very chilly!  The visit had been planned but I hadn’t seen the space Paul works from, for all I knew it could be cluttered or untidy, cramped or dark or full of power tools. These situations can be tricky to photograph aesthetically.

gjn_0152We chatted over a warming cup of coffee before venturing around the back of the house into the workshop. I was in for a treat, as I stepped into the space the sunlight filtered through the window behind Paul’s uncluttered, tidy workbench. The ambience of the space was more than I could have wished for.

gjn_9993Positioning Paul between me and the light coming from the window ensured I got the soft, backlight I love to work with. As a skilled cabinetmaker Paul uses vintage hand tools in his craft. As he worked on the wood with these tools I captured moments as the particles of sawdust almost glittered as they floated into the air.

To avoid dark corners in some shots I used strobe light directed into them and kicked a little reflector behind the subject. I also tried to counterbalance the window light by experimenting with the added glow of an electric heater almost out of the frame.

For more small business, craftspeople images see here.