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Baking with Light - On Location Photography

Assignment: 'Produktion/Production'

Some time ago I had the opportunity to photograph a local baker in action. I wanted to make the most of it so loaded three cameras with the black&white Fomapan 400Action film.

Here are synonyms for the Swedish phenomenon Konditori:




Cake shop



the Preparation
I brought the Olympus XA for the wider compositions - it's a 35 mm lens. The Canon P had the Jupiter-8 50 mm. Taking advantage of the Olympus Pen F crop factor the 45 mm Cassarit would act as a semi-tele at 67 mm for tight compositions. The lens was recently cleaned by "my camera guy" so is in spick and spam condition.

I had to be prepared for bad or sporadic light sources so I brought a small LED-light with the option of mounting it on the Canon P's hotshoe.

the Experience

It's a small bakery. They sell bread and pastries at the counter and serve up to 30 seated customers.

In the morning at 3 AM the baker and the confectioner - who also happen to be brother and sister - begin preparations. The ovens are switched on and last night's dough is shaped into breads that are pre-heated.

The business has resided in the building since 2007. The history of the bakery goes back to the sibling's grandfather who ran it beginning in the 1930s. The move seventy years later from the cramped ground floor in a residential tenement was much needed, the confectioner conceded to me with a smile.

I arrived at 3:30 and after introductions started snapping away. The wider angled XA was never considered. I thought even the 50 mm was too wide at times. The led-light came in handy since the light was even but poor all over the space. There were not many harsh shadows but the LED-light eased some low light details like facial features.

Most of the photographs were exposed at 1/125th and 1:2.8. There was a choice between depth of field and steadiness/motion blur. Since I don't always trust my hands to be steady enough at longer exposures I opted for a faster speed - steadiness. There also is an aesthetic reason for the narrow depth of field: Since the whole space was rather cluttered but clad in white and evenly lit - i.e. not particularly exciting in itself - a narrow depth of field steers the eye to what's in focus.


The project at large

The aim of my photography project 'Produktion' is to document local labour in different types of production facilities. The idea came from an urge to document colleagues at a paper mill where I worked. At the mill the rules for photography are very strict and I was declined to visit as an independent photographer. I have since drummed up two planned exhibitions so the next time I approach the mill to visit I have a more professional weight to my request.

I also aim to pen a contract of sorts to set straight terms of publication with the company. That type of contract I will henceforth bring on any photographic visit. In this day and age people are apprehensive to photographs like never before. I hope that my contract will make people at ease as to my intensions as a photographer and publisher of photographs.

In conclusion

I was pleased with the experience of making the photographs on site. The way they turned out - mind you, me being just one third through the scanning process - makes me very happy. Despite the bad lighting and initial unfounded worries about the Canon P rangefinder being wonky, everything so far looks really good. Black & white film is a joy to work with both aesthetically and technically. My old bits and bobs can clearly still produce photograps of a certain value.

Thanks for reading my blog! Don't hesitate to contact me or comment! Do check out my Instagram at #ourbooksmalmo and visit my Etsy shop getOurBooks where there are lots of cameras and photography equipment to choose from.


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