Recent Work – Chris Meek

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You have reached the archive of articles posted on my personal blog. This blog is no longer updated, but you can read my latest articles at my new website The Creative Photographer and find my photography ebooks at my new store.

Thanks for reading! Andrew.



Chris Meek at work portrait

At the end of February we spent three days in Raglan, a town on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Raglan is a small community situated close to some very highly rated surf beaches. Not surprisingly it attracts a lot of surfers, and is also home to artists and craftsmen who have settled in the area and built their businesses.

Chris Meek is one of them. Originally a panel beater by trade, he uses his skills to creates artwork out of pieces of metal salvaged from old cars (you can get an idea of what he does by looking at his website). They are like abstract paintings, but constructed from metal rather than crafted with paint and canvas.

Before I arrived I emailed explaining that I was undertaking a personal project photographing craftsmen. He replied and invited me to his workshop. I imagined a chaotic space filled with pieces of metal, work benches and tools. Chris’s workshop was exactly that. He welcomed me warmly on a grey, humid afternoon and we spent the next few hours talking about art and life while I took photos of him at work.

I took these photos with a Fujifilm X-T1 and a Fujinon 56mm f1.2 lens. The short telephoto allowed me to keep a reasonable distance, reducing the chances of a spark or a piece of metal shooting out and hitting me or the camera lens. I fitted a UV filter to the lens to protect the front element in case that happened.

The UV filter I use (specifically a Kenko Pro1 D UV) has four layers of multi-coating on both sides, which helps avoid ghosting or reflections caused by bright lights. Multi-coated filters are more expensive, but worth the extra money – if I had used a filter with less multi-coating layers I may have had problems with reflections from the bright light in some of these images.

By the way, I’ve just been looking at UV filters online and discovered that Formatt-Hitech and Heliopan and make UV filters with 15 and 16 layers of multi-coating respectively, theoretically giving even more protection against ghosting and reflections.

I also discovered another benefit of the Fujifilm X-T1’s electronic viewfinder – I was able to look at bright flames from Chris’s tools, even the flame of a welding torch, through the viewfinder without harming my eyes. I wouldn’t have been able to do that with an optical viewfinder.

The photos are all lit by natural light coming through a large doorway to Chris’s side. In some of the photos the orange glow from the flame was bright enough to add mood.

In the end it was a worthwhile afternoon and I’m very happy with the result. More to come in the future as I continue this theme.

Chris Meek at work portrait

Chris Meek at work portrait

Chris Meek at work portrait

Chris Meek at work portrait

Chris Meek at work portrait

Chris Meek at work portrait

Chris Meek at work portrait

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