There's nothing glamorous about industrial photography, but I love it. I get a real buzz out of photographing large machinery, dozers, trucks, factories, construction sites, mines and quarries. It must relate back to being a kid playing with Tonka toys. I'm lucky, as an industrial photographer in Australia, there's plenty of opportunity to shoot for clients in natural resources, construction and manufacturing industry sectors.
Once site staff are on board with what we are trying to achieve, they bend over backwards to make things happen.
However, no matter how much fun industrial photography can be, it's at these types of locations where safety generally, and especially while conducting photo shoots, is of the highest priority. I've been through countless site induction sessions and am fully equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment for most industrial operations. My awareness of workplace safety requirements helps to ensure that the images I capture display occupational health and safety (OHS) best practice and reflect the company's high priority on the safety of their people. Along with the safety gear, I come equipped with a 4WD so access to the remotest locations is never a problem. Camping out is sometimes required to ensure I'm up and ready to shoot at sunrise or to shoot night time operations.
The challenge of industrial photography is to tell the story or demonstrate the scale of operations. The images are often for an investor audience, who are never likely to experience the location first-hand. It's my role to create images that communicate the dramatic significance of industrial locations and portray the experience and character of people who work there.
On the subject of people, site and operations managers aren't always the ones to welcome photographers with open arms. For them I am just an additional element they need to keep an eye on. That's why I like to engage them in the process of creating a great shot. I find that once these site and operations staff are on board with what we are trying to achieve, they're full of great ideas and bend over backwards to make things happen. It's all about being able to connect and communicate with people.