Steampunk - While You Were Lost...Or Not
While You Were Lost...Or Not - The Project
After a while, you notice people becoming comfortable in their surroundings no matter where they are. Whether they are lost in conversation, daydreaming or they are busy with work their conscious mind begins to take a back seat. Postures change, pretence is lost, faux behaviours fade away and they become almost as comfortable as they would be in their own home. The concept behind my most recent assignment for Steampunk Coffee was to capture intimate portraits of people and their surroundings - Steampunk’s warehouse - in that moment of perfect unconscious symbiosis.
The problem I encountered early on was that no matter how discreet I tried to be people aren’t used to being photographed in this kind of situation and so they had a tendency to notice me. After a few days trying I realised I was going to have to go off tack. At that moment it became less about capturing the people and their surroundings perfectly and more about fast shutters, wide apertures and high ISO grainy images grabbed quickly. If there was something in the way be it another customer or some part of the building it didn’t matter - whatever happened happened, that was the shot.
From then on most didn’t notice me or at least didn’t have enough time to react. For those that did see me I realised that in that first moment of recognition when their brain was flooded with too many questions to make sense of why I was photographing them lay something equally as special as capturing them unaware. The project had shifted and I liked where it was headed.
I’ve worked on a number of projects with Steampunk over the last few years and I always find them highly enjoyable, especially when they involve The Warehouse. The Warehouse is the HQ of all things Steampunk. A cafe and roastery combined in one incredible building. Originally constructed as a joinery warehouse and now beautifully reborn as a thriving coffee shop its unique architecture lends itself beautifully to photography. Windows on only one side of the building wash people in unidirectional light. Bare light bulbs dangle from the ceilings, a constant presence in almost every image. Dark corners get slashed with light creating drama. White brick walls with dark mahogany furniture, copper panels, gold and black wallpaper and everywhere steel girders and glass creating impossible angles and solid counterpoints to the softness of the patrons. This building makes people look good, it’s that simple. So this was the project, capture intimate portraits of people using this amazing space, whether they noticed me photographing them or not.
View the slideshow below to see all of the images from the project.