Today I’d like to share the story of a commercial photography shoot commissioned by Instagram for a special feature in B&T’s bi-monthly magazine. B&T “handed over the reins to photo sharing platform Instagram”, who used the opportunity to showcase some of the ways Instagram is being used.
Instagram choose to feature Sydney based Dinosaur Designs, whose “Instagram account is an inspiration and creative force”.
My brief was to photograph at Dinosaur Designs Sydney HQ, where they design and manufacture all their products. The direction I was given by Instagram was to “do anything you like, but try to show things in a different way….”. Well, that’s a dream brief for most creative photographers like me – it’s basically a licence to work without restrictions. However, experience tells me that few clients really mean anything, and in fact they will often revert closer to a more mainstream presentation in the end! So when given this sort of brief I will always capture what I see in a more conventional way, as well as pushing the boat out.
The two main subjects that I was asked to photograph were the creative environment and the founders, Stephen Ormandy and Louise Olsen.
I was allowed to photograph pretty much anywhere and anything in the building, which gave me incredible freedom.
I began by photographing some products on display, but looking to find a new way of doing so. Here I photographed vases from a low angle, so that we see the shape and light differently.
There was a huge mobile hanging from the ceiling, and after photographing it from various angles, showing close up detail as well as the whole object, and with different backgrounds, I decided to look at it differently. I thought about babies lying in their cots, looking up at mobiles moving and spinning above them, and decided to photograph from their viewpoint.
I then went into Stephen Ormandy’s painting studio, where he was putting the finishing touches to pieces for a new exhibition. When I arrived he was sat, contemplating the work he was about to do, and I loved the way he was absorbed in his thoughts. It was as if he was lost within the paint and painting, so I sought to capture this idea.
Shortly after he started to paint, so I was delighted to be able to photograph him at work.
Next I moved into Louise Olsen’s office, where she was sifting through cuttings on her desk. I was intrigued with how she surrounded herself with ideas and inspiration, seemingly without order so that everything felt very organic.
She sat down to look more closely at some items, but was interrupted by Stephen coming to discuss some ideas of his.
Finally I photographed Stephen and Louise together in a couple of different locations. My favourite image, and the one that was published in B&T, shows them with their dog enjoying a candid moment while I worked unobtrusively.
In the end Instagram decided to go with the more conventional images (as often happens!), and included more examples of other Instagram accounts than originally envisaged. That meant that the Dinosaur Designs portion was shorter than expected, but still covered a double page. Here’s a snapshot of the what was published.