Who remembers the opening scene to 1985 classic blockbuster Back to the Future?
For the uninitiated: a camera pans across a messy work surface, taking in all manner of clockwork contraptions and electronic wizardry – cogs spin and gears grind shortly before diminutive skateboarding actor Michael J Fox is reluctantly roused from his sleep by a million ringing alarm clocks.
Unfortunately Doc Brown and Marty were busy on Sunday 26th September (something to do with the Libyans) – the day of a kinetic sculpture workshop at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, but that opening sequence should give you a fairly accurate impression of the environment I was invited to take photographs in.
Participants at the creative workshop were crafting sculptures with integrated motors, cranks and cams, to inject movement into otherwise stationary forms. Under the tuition of Jim Bond, there were all sorts of mechanical forms taking shape from clapping hands to cannibalised computer components.
A personal favourite was a piece made from two lengths of thick-gauge wire, anchored in parallel and bent to an obtuse U-shape. A large ball-bearing then rolled between the two rails like some elaborate over-sized executive desk-toy.
The format of the shoot was similar to previous assignments, such as the Hot & Cold metal workshop: I was invited to photograph people, process, tools and products for use in marketing through print and web.