So we are here again. The huge launch of the new Bowers and Wilkins 800 Diamond Speaker has brought us right back to its birthplace – Worthing. This shoot though was going to be polar opposite to the clean, clear, über-simple environment which previously supported the advertising images. This time round, stark reality was what we were after – well, as close to stark as you want to get, when photographing iconic technology.
In the manufacture of the 800 Series, there are a large number of different and complex stages, including laser cutting, pressing and gluing of veneers and spraying of lacquers onto speaker bodies, not to mention the final stages of assembly and polishing. We had just one day scheduled for this shoot, during which time we had to blast our way through as many of these complicated stages as we possibly could. I found myself pulling innovative and ingenious new ways out of the hat, to successfully capture some very tight angles, whilst still sticking firmly to our carefully pre-planned agenda.
On this shoot we were chasing an image that felt far more emotive than the previous similar ones we’d produced. This time round, the goal was to connect people with process – we were looking for warmth and human linkage. The unbelievable effort and impeccable production standards B&W put into their manufacturing, illustrate perfectly, the level of excellence they reach with their speakers. Our job, on that day, was to get up close and personal, to visually record and convey all of that.
The usual, more clinical capture was put aside, to allow a more organic shot to develop that would tell a story. Technology photography normally involves locked-off cameras and different light passes. But on this shoot, and for the above reasons, we went for a hand-held and, in many cases, shot using only the light available. We found this approach was the key to what we wanted to communicate – which was the high quality environment in which these great speakers are born and built. I was satisfied, the client was pleased and we were able to show another Bowers and Wilkins success story.