No one warned me that there’d be shards of white hot metal flying towards my camera lens when I was asked to photograph the ‘Hot and cold metal’ workshop at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Not that I’m complaining though, using a few creative tricks these micro-explosions soon became an ally as the photos show.
The ‘workshop’ was just that: a noisy, vibrant and productive place where a group of talented artists deftly crafted cold metal into new forms using heat and brute force. Using stealth and cunning I was able to position myself (safely!) to make it look as though the sparks were flying into the lens of the camera, for some really dramatic shots.
The class was lead by Brian Fell and Owen Cunningham, two artists and both regulars to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park who bring a friendly and helpful hands-on approach. Part of the photography brief was to show how teachers engaged with the students at the event and give an accurate portrayal of what prospective participants can expect.
I set out to meet that brief by focussing my efforts on the techniques people were using, their tools and watching carefully for any conversations or interactions that took place organically. It is these organic situations which make the most natural and reusable photographs – especially if I’m hugging the wall or hiding myself discreetly in some other way.
There were some impressive sculptures being created at the event too including a hinged snake and an ambitious gate for a driveway with two child-like forms attached. Even better, much of the materials were salvaged from elsewhere meaning the workshop was green as well as good fun.
Lively event photography
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