Category Archives: New work

Working Through Lockdown

Although I have continued to work throughout the whole coronavirus pandemic (whilst complying with government guidelines), a lot of my clients have been working from home so shooting on location with them has been tricky. Luckily I have been able to use my home and garden to help out as I previously mentioned.

For that shoot I had to photograph a shoe, comp the shoe on to a stock shot of a leg and then repeat for the dorsi flexed or plantar flexed stages of taking a step during walking – can you tell I don’t know what I’m talking about? Luckily I had some experts from my client on hand to advise!

The image was for the front cover of the latest Halo Medical catalogue, which looks like this thanks to the good folk at Remember Creative:

I also had to shoot a rather large outdoor log burner and the client wanted both studio and location shots, so I had to muscle it single handedly in to my house during the first lockdown. Once I had got it in it was then a case of moving around it rather than moving it around as it weighed 75Kgs, but the client was delighted with the final pictures and I was pleased to get it back out of my house without giving myself a hernia.

The CALBQ studio shot. Photo by Douglas Kurn
The CALBQ shot in my home studio or dining room as Mrs Doug likes to call it!
The CALBQ studio shot. Photo by Douglas Kurn
Photo by Douglas Kurn

Luckily the weather was fantastic for the outdoor shots that I took in my garden and I certainly wasn’t in need of any additional heat from the log burner but I had the power of retouching to help me out with the flames.

A behind the scenes shot in the garden.
Photographing the CALBQ on location in my back garden.
The final CALBQ location product shot.
The final image with added flames.

In between lockdowns I was also asked by Halo Medical to attend their factory in Northants as they have been investing heavily in new technology which they wanted to promote. I had previously been to the factory to create some portraits of the craftsmen who hand made some of the shoes, as well as some reportage shots of them at work which they had made into large canvas prints. It was lovely to see the prints still hanging in their reception area and looking great.

This time though things were a little different: I got zapped by a temperature sensor, had to sign a form to say I hadn’t been to any at risk places, had to use hand sanitiser and wear a face mask to enter the building. I’ve also had to resort to wearing my contact lenses on jobs now as masks make it tricky to see.

Douglas Kurn with steamed up glasses
Not great for a photographer!

There were some really interesting machines doing quite intricate stuff, and it was great to see the way the old hand crafting and the new technology worked together.

Halo Medical Technology. Photo by Douglas Kurn
Halo Medical Technology. Photo by Douglas Kurn
Halo Medical Technology. Photo by Douglas Kurn
Halo Medical Technology. Photo by Douglas Kurn
Halo Medical Technology. Photo by Douglas Kurn
Halo Medical Technology. Photo by Douglas Kurn
Halo Medical Technology. Photo by Douglas Kurn
Halo Medical Technology. Photo by Douglas Kurn

If living in lockdown and with the coronavirus pandemic has taught me anything (apart from you can open a screw top bottle with a foil cutter) it is that we need to be resourceful and just get on with it in any way we can.

Oh, and according to Mrs Doug, my home studio is a dining room NOT a permanent feature…

:DK

Lockdown:Look Up

How did you spend the Lockdown? I spent it looking up – not in a life affirming, positive way, but quite literally looking up – at the skies above me. Living under the Heathrow flightpath this would normally result in seeing loads of planes, but with air travel severely curtailed there was so much more to see; birds, clouds, helicopters, moons, super moons, and more clouds.

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Still Tolling

Imagine being born in 1918, shot in the stomach during WWII, held as a Prisoner Of War, accused of being a spy, suffering malnutrition and nearly losing the use of your legs, being in Dresden when the Allies bombed it, escaping across the border, returning to the town you’ve lived your whole life, ringing church bells since you were 11 years old, receiving the Order Of St Mellitus from the Bishop Of London, receiving the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, being mentioned in the House Of Commons by the Prime Minister, and finally packing up driving…at the age of 100!

Meet Dennis…

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Mr Mr Pearce

Now I’m used to photographing in very small places, as my project on bellringers will attest, but when I agreed to photograph artist Mr Mr Pearce in his studio on Johnson’s Island, I didn’t realise that it wasn’t much bigger than a desk, and had all the usual artist paraphernalia inside including a lot of his artworks (obviously).

Johnson’s Island, Brentford
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Icons Of Rock

I’ll be honest I’ve never really understood why someone would want to dress up and pretend to be someone else so when a (last minute) opportunity to photograph the inaugural Icons Of Rock festival in Surrey presented itself I jumped at the chance to find out. The festival was a line up of Tribute Acts to famous musicians; Limehouse Lizzy (Thin Lizzy), Michael (Jackson) starring Ben, Absolute Bowie, The Illegal Eagles, Live/Wire (AC/DC) and Killer Queen.

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Split The Difference

How brave are you? Would you recommend that someone attend an anger management course? What if that someone was holding an axe? That’s what a former boss suggested to my latest subject Clay – before he left and set up his own business – as a tree surgeon, hence the axe. His leaving was more to do with paperwork and the safety ‘elf than anger management though.

Despite how that sounds Clay is a remarkably mild mannered man and a bell ringer at the local church in his spare time. He also lives in this beautiful old listed cottage in the heart of Surrey.

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Greeting The Sun

Why would grown ups get up at 4am, strap some bells to their shins, and head to a hill in Surrey to wave hankies and bash sticks? Probably because they were members of the Ewell St Mary’s Morris Men and were participating in their annual dance event to “Greet The Sun” on May Day morning. It was a mixture of intrigue, and a rash promise to a magazine editor, that made me get up even earlier and head to Box Hill to capture some portraits of the Morris Men as the sun came up at 5:34!

It was pitch black when I arrived to set up my gear, but I had packed a head torch and had done a reccé of the hillside a couple of days before to work out the best spot for the portraits. Initially I was alone but then I heard what I thought were goats, only to realise that it was the bell clad Morris Men making their way down from the car park!

It was very misty on the day and we were on the shadow side of the hill so the sunlight wasn’t around for long but there were some interesting skies and I was able to get these portraits.

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Max A Hatter

It’s amazing what you find on little islands. I met Max A Hatter on Johnson’s Island in West London; he makes hats in a very small studio, at the top of a spiral staircase (I seem to be sending a lot of time in small rooms at the top of spiral staircases!) Max was introduced to me by Tim at Clement Knives, who I photographed on a nearby island making chef’s knives.

Max’s hats are really quite unique; based on a bowler style but with influences from Sapeurs and Yardies, and with a Turbanesque – a detachable padding or turban, which is used for position and comfort. 

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Who Tolls The Bell?

Campanologists that’s who! The sound of church bells ringing out is a part and parcel of town and village life in England, but how many people have seen inside a bell ringing chamber? My latest project involved creating portraits of bell ringers in their ringing chambers, which seemed like a good idea until I saw the steps I’d need to climb to gain access (and yes that’s my foot on the top step – and no I don’t have big feet!):

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On A Knife’s Edge

Or more accurately a knife’s edge on a river’s edge. Meet Tim who hand makes knives from reclaimed steel in his workshop on Lots Ait on the river Thames in Brentford. Tim’s a trained chef, and like all chefs he has a fascination with knives, but he’s taken it a step further and decided to make them himself.

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