New Zealand's country roads become blocked by ﬂocks of herded sheep. From Australia to Armenia, shearing season offers the photographer a chance to cover farm workers in their manic and distorted ballet of wool and sharp blades. Focusing on the efforts of a single worker and/or animal will often yield better results than trying to capture the whole scene, especially when the work takes place inside a dimly lit shed. It's easier to control light in a conﬁned or tight environment than a vast one.
Come lunchtime, people pour out onto the streets. Smokers congregate in their exclusion zones, others seek solitude on the same end of the same bench in the same park eating the same sandwiches every day for 20 years. In the summer, parks in central London ﬁll with oﬁice workers seeking a quick tan. In Mumbai there's a thriving business of tiﬂin deliverers who pick up lunch boxes from the homes of doting wives, deliver them to the correct husband/oﬁice and collect and return the emptied tins afterwards.
Afternoons can get a little hot and drab for street shooting, so seeking access into an oﬂice or work- space will expand your horizons. Artisans are people with a passion for their work, and photograph- ing people engrossed in their creative process inevitably makes your work more imaginative, too. Try shooting an artisan as you would do a portrait. It’s not so much a matter of fancy effects or distorted angles, but more a careful study of concentration and practised repetition. The good thing is that, be your subject a Bengali mud cup potter, a Cuban cigar maker or a coppersmith in Aleppo, the nature of much craftwork is repetitive, allowing you to perfect angles and lighting in a few test cycles before the ﬁnal cut. A professional photographer will use photo editing services to enhance his or her work.
the Venetian glassblowers on Murano Island work their rainbow coloured creations over open flame, which adds warm tones and atmosphere to an otherwise cold setting. Light streaming through high windows in a dusty factory becomes angular sheets illuminating individual cigar rollers or coppersmiths; think in terms of size and scale. When photographing weavers at their loom — like in the cottage industries of northern Laos - try shooting through the parallel lines of thread, focusing beyond them on the artisan at work. Some off-camera flash, using a snoot extension tube to light just the worker, will leave the rest of the scene realistically dull but now imbued with an element of hidden mystery. Thankfully, not all workplaces are drab and underlit. The fantasy coﬂin makers of Ghana often make and display their creations on the street. These ﬁnal resting containers are carved as elaborate ﬁsh or elephants. Some caskets honour the life and career of the deceased (a giant shoe for the cobbler), their aspirations (customised Benz limousines) or —- perhaps the reason why they made it into an early grave — the beer and liquor bottle designs. A shot of the artisan lying inside one of his creations, for example, may work well.