The Craftsman

The Craftsman



The Livingstone brothers have a furniture business and in a part of their workshop they have opened a gallery behind their shop which is always worth a visit. The paintings on display are very strong and energetic, but when I dropped in on Thursday with my camera, I was more interested in their workshop at the back of the gallery. Ian was busy stripping the varnish from a dining table and as I have yet to find the courage to ask for everyone I photograph to stand and pose, I had to be satisfied with this capture of a combination HDR of three images, with some slight movement registered in his hand.

How would you deal with this situation? I’m not certain that getting people to pose produces the best result because they become self conscious, or even say they don’t wish to have their picture taken. I suppose what was needed was for me to spend some time scoping out the workshop so that I had time to consider all the angles, particularly the viewpoint. I have this idea at the back of my mind that the best viewpoint for an interior like this is square on to one of the walls but in this shot I like the fact that the viewpoint gives some nice diagonals whereas square on to the wall would have been all static verticals and horizontals.

I suppose that the biggest problem with cluttered but interesting interiors like this is finding a clear structure to the composition because all the little details can be very distracting.

Next time I visit I will ask for a stare into the camera pose as this has worked well with portraits taken in India. Talking about this location with you has really helped me to start sorting out how I might approach this subject matter next time. I might try to place the camera high up, because I feel having strong diagonals does help the composition…….hmmm……we shall see.




25 thoughts on “The Craftsman

  1. Personally I like this and while there is ‘clutter’ behind, it is out of focus and adds to the sense of where they are – the workshop out the back. For me this works. Nice job and nice bit of context. MM 🍀

  2. I actually like the motion in the hand John and the motion in the brush. The swirl of the brush strokes adds texture and purpose to the motion. It is an active shot that I feel is well composed. The table serves as a leading line to your subject and the tools, etc. to me are not clutter, but tools of the subject’s trade – part of the composition to tell a story. Your angle and composition serve to introduce the viewer to both your subject and his work environment. I quite like it! But, if the motion blur really bothers you, you could adjust your settings to allow you to increase your shutter speed or use flash, which will freeze the motion. Blessings, Robyn

    • Thanks Robyn. Your assessment is much appreciated. I’m sure that you are right in saying that a small amount of motion blur can work in some settings. Working in low light situations often means submitting to increased noise through upping the ISO and of course, as I was bracketing this shot, the over exposed component can result in quite slow shutter speeds. As I never, ever use flash, and always rely on available natural light, the only option for me is to increase the ISO.
      Thanks again, regards, John.

      • I run into this situation often too John! Sometimes if I have noise from a higher ISO I use black and white because it can give the photo a vintage flare. Tripods are always great for needing to use the lower SS. Just cumbersome if shooting on the go. Your work is great!

  3. Pingback: Craftsman Michael Paul Smith Creates Realistic Photographs From A Model Town | R.B.Bailey Jr

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