All that matters is what the audience sees.

Primary Packaging. New York.  "A Chanel Press Sheet".

The pendulum swings.  We revered available light.  Then everything got lit with big softboxes.  Then we revered available light.  Then we lit things with lots of small flashes.  Now were heading back to our reverence for available light.  When I went on this job in NYC I took a few lights and some umbrellas with which to modify them.  But the entire factory was lit by white, translucent windows that ran the whole length of the building.  You can see the windows in the background.  The rest of the plant was suffused with a mix of skylights and florescent lights.  The light had a direction and texture that was so rich you could reach out and taste it.

We carted the lighting stuff around but we only used it for a few images done in conventional offices on a different floor.  On the press floor it was all about the unguent, luscious light.  It was a job that changed my point of view about lighting.  For the first time I realized how important it could be not to light.  And I loved that.  That's when I discovered my abiding love for tripods.  That's next.

These are copies of prints we made on DW fiber paper (Oriental Seagull) for the agency and client.  No exif as they were on film.  Hasselblad 501cm,  top image:  80mm.  Bottom image:  120 Makro Planar.  Film:  All Tri-X.


  1. Wonderful, industrial feel to these photos, Kirk. Like.

  2. I was a printer (until it died) most of my life. I can smell the ink in your first shot. That truly captured the press room.

  3. Kirk:

    Nice stuff! I love available light and b/w. Great effort!

    A while ago you mentioned using the m4/3 on every job and had a "fantasy" of going exclusively m4/3. It seems that you may be moderating on that goal since I see mention of, and images from, a lot of different cameras lately. What gives? You're one of the few beacons of reason on the internet that uses a camera for expressing a point of view and not as a way to enlarge pixels for inspection. I love the concept (and freedom with all those legacy lenses) of m4/3 and think that Oly is on to something. Too bad Canon (or good for Oly anyway) thinks it m4/3 might just be a fad.

    If you have a few moments to spare, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

  4. Re-Posted from the original which ran back in 2010. Woke up and had the same feelings today.

  5. Beautiful. Photography that draws me in, and draws me back to linger and imagine. Many thanks.

  6. Very much the feeling of a press room.

    I spent many years in newspaper, first as a photographer and later an editor. Sometimes when things got a bit too much for me I'd go back to the press room and just stand around for a few minutes. Somehow it soothed my mind and reminded me we were actually doing something that mattered.

    Your first photo brings back some of that feeling.

  7. Available light fan since the 60's. Always chuckle when the flashes go off in huge stadiums. BUT ... learning from you when to add "just enough" to help the look.

  8. I was looking at a second-hand Hassleblad in a shop in London yesterday and I have to say I have renewed respect for your ability to produce these photographs - the guy in the shop took me through the process of loading film and getting ready to shoot and the opportunities to b*lls everything up seemed remarkably plentiful. Not to mention the weight of the thing. But what beautiful objects of engineering both the bodies and lenses are.


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