I was recently given the opportunity to photograph a great graffiti artist Ben Eine working on a piece for Converse Head Office in London.
We’ve spent about 16 hours together in the corridor in front of the Converse office where I would follow Ben around with a camera trying to get some interesting images and videos of him at work. I did not have a strict brief for this job so I could really do what I liked, which is the best thing in my work, freedom to create. I always try to be like a ghost in these situations, so I don’t disturb him at work. I never told him to pose or change anything, just simply document his creative process as it is, no alterations.
I did not have any elaborate light setup or anything like that, just a few prime lenses to help me get the right depth of field and help me work in dim lighting conditions without the need for a tripod or extremely high ISO. I always set mine to max 1600 and try to you as wide aperture as I can. I did have an SB900 speed light to help me out sometimes but I did not use it all the time.
When I shadow a person like this, I like to sit down and watch them first, from a distance and try to understand how they work. Get into the zone, we are, photographers, artist like any other and getting into the rhythm of things is important. I love watching people work, trying to figure them out, there is something exciting in being just an observer. After some time you start seeing a pattern of how someone moves and behaves, how they paint, disappear in the own world.
As I was sent there to do both, photos and videos I would often switch between cameras. I had one camera on a shoulder rig to help me steady my shots and be able to hold it for many hours. Another was on a tripod recording a time lapse sequence (wide angle) which I will later add into the short video clip about Ben’s work for Converse. I will post the finished video when it’s ready and accepted by the client.
It was a long day and night but overall everything went well and my ceilings are happy with images and videos. I shared some selected pictures with you in my gallery.