Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Company Book

Recently we had a really good lecture from one of my tutors Paul Reas that included photographers who create company work books. Here are a few that were mentioned...

Josef Koudelka - Limestone. (2001)
This was a book made over two years for Lhoist Group who run qarries all over America and Europe. The book itself is large and very wide, allowing the panoramic photos to spread over two pages. The images are beautiful landscapes of the quarries and have quite a romantic feel to them. Here, nature has been transformed because of our consumeristic lives.

Bart Sorgedrager - Unilever (2008)

Sorgedrager actually came to Newport University last year as a guest lecture, so I feel I have quite an insight into this project. What's different about him compared to other photographers who have created company books, is that he approaches the company and asks to photograph their factory, usually because it's about to close. He then takes images of the staff at work, and a formal portrait of them and gives a copy of the book to each member of staff (all funded by the company).

His Unilever projects cover three factories in The Netherlands that were about to close down, each of them manufactoring different products and each getting a seperate book, although they do form part of a collection. What Sorgedrager does that is also quite different, is that he designs all of his own books, and when he is taking the image he knows how he wants it to look on a page. For example, he wanted a group shot of staff members from a particular factory, he knew he wanted the photo to spread over a double page, so he put objects in the center of the group so that no one would end up being in the gutter.

Brian Griffin - The Water People.
From what seemed like a dull commission by Reykjavik Energy to photograph their geothermal and hydroelectric plants in Iceland, turned into a wild story and journey into the heart of where The Water People come from. Griffin has always had a bit of a wacky side to him, but this book is simply magical. He creates a narrative in which he is travelling off to almost another planet, he sits in the 'meeting room' (the canteen) to be met by some of the crew who will take him underground to meet the strange, liquid life forms of The Water People. He photographs the landscape as if it is unknown territory and he photographs the people with either water dripping down their faces or layers of water over a glass screen causing a rippling effect, distorting them in odd ways.

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