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It’s hard to believe really.    November 9th is the 25 year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The wall for me was the monolithic divide between the forces of good and evil.    I had spent my university career studying the politics of this world,  and never in my dreams had I imagined it would end.

So,  as a fresh off the boat photographer in London,  I was gobsmacked watching the news to see my world change instantly, and I knew I had to witness this first hand.

By the time I had flown across, and made my way down to Brandenburg Gate,  the party was in full swing.

It was pitch black walking in the woods along side the wall,  and I had no real idea of where I was,  or what was happening. There was a radio station OB unit blasting out Duran Duran’s Wild Boys,  as I was bumping into people and stumbling in the dark,  trying to make useable pictures.

I had my Nikkormat and my F3 and a dodgy flash… none of the hi-tech AF gear we have now,  and had to guess at distances and exposures in the pitch black.   Eventually I found myself at checkpoint Charlie,  where the locals were spraying beer over the Trabants as they came across to the west.

Berlin 1

Berlin 2

Berlin 4

Berlin 3

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Berlin 5

As dawn came up the Berliners were already out with hammers and chisels tearing the wall down by hand.

The pictures somehow seem underwhelming now… and I can’t help but think how much better they could have been if I had been more experienced…

Compared to what we can do now,  they seem pretty poor.   But we forget that in the last 25 years the world has changed fundamentally.  Somethings,   like iphones and the internet,  are for the good,  a lot seems worse.

Paradoxically despite the childhood nightmares of nuclear Armageddon,  we were probably safer then than we are now.  The brave new world has brought with it a host of new fears.

I finally arrived back in London 3 days later, having slept on the street for the duration.

I shot a lot over that time,  but it was that first night,  with Wild Boys booming out,  that I remember the most.

I was back a year later to photograph the reunification,  and I made a point of standing on the mound that marked the entrance to Hitler’s  bunker,  in the middle of what had been no man’s land,  as dawn broke on a new Germany, and the legacy of WW1 was finally laid to rest.

But by then the reality of the situation had set in,  and it was not the same party that November the 9th 1989 had been.

 

PS…. I still have those two cameras….  they sit in my little camera museum…

nikorf3

 

I guess when things that you witnessed are ancient history,  you’re all grown up.

And this week we have seen two nice big websites for totally different types of clients go live!

First there was B&J Parr,  a plastics recycling firm.   We were engaged to produce a big spread of images for both their website and for general library use.  This included stock product material,  arty process images, portraits  and of course some general site views.

BJ Parr photography by Dave Marsden at Page One Photography.

Dave visited them before the shoot to work up a shot list and receive art direction from the company’s creative agency Xposure Creative in Mansfield,  and then spent a day and a half on location with the client and Xposure shooting the job.   In the end we delivered 250 images which Xposure have been able to work into a great site,  and which now sit at the core of a new library of material for the client.

The second site to go live was of a totally different nature.   Working with Redbrick we spent two days a few months back creating a whole raft of high impact bold images to illustrate the new website and prospectus which Redbrick were producing for Ockbrook School in Derbyshire.

Ockbrook school photography by Doug Marke at PAGE ONE photography

With some excellent art direction from Redbrick, Doug used some bold techniques with available and strobist style lighting to produce a range of images illustrating various aspects of the school,  including music, arts, maths, athletics and outdoor activities.  The results sit at the core of the new site and are supplemented by material shot by the school.

What has been great from our perspective on both of these jobs was working with some great creative partners to realise their vision.   Most of the time we are working on our own,  and we are responsible for the end product.   (Which of course we enjoy! ) But we also like to work collaboratively,  adding ideas to a pool and using our skills to bring a vision together!

Another nice observation from these two shoots was that we were able to produce a library of material…. instead of images shot for short term use,  the clients have invested in their photography and will be able to use the material to support the brand well into the future.  Photography as an investment!

We are now shooting video exclusively with our Canon 5dmk3′s,  and conventional thinking is that you can’t really Run and Gun with these cameras.

We think that’s nonsense.  If you know these cameras instinctively like we do, and have a good audio set up,  then the advantages of using them, with their excellent low light capabilities, wide dynamic range,  and superior colour rendering over conventional video cameras, are obvious.

Last week we produced for our friends at Nottingham City Transport a short “fly on the wall” film documenting MP Lilian Greenwood taking the Guide Dogs “Blindfold Challenge”.

With no real idea of how the event would go, we were given a pretty simple brief…. Go along and see what happens!

So,  with Charlotte in tow to help carry my stuff,  including two cameras, radio mic, boom mic and tripod,  we set off!

We did a couple of short bits to camera,  then set of with Lilian on a couple of rapid bus trips.  A frenetic hour dodging baffled shoppers and students,  and we were back in the city centre.   A quick piece to camera with Lilian and then another with Mr NCT himself,  (No one wanted to stand around too much in the rain…)  and it was job done!

Whilst we had the tripod,  you can see in the result that it was practically all hand held..(we did have the second camera bolted into the bus on a rapid mount for an  interior shot whilst the bus was in transit.)

In the end,  a 4.5 minute video shot and turned around in less than 48 hour… shot with one photographer and his assistant,   and then edited by same!

Using these cameras can be challenging.   You have to know them very well to work the menus and options quickly,   but the dividends we feel in terms of picture quality are worth it.

 

For the Techno geeks out their…. I used 2 Canon 5dmk3′s,  the Canon 17-40l,  the 85mm F1.8,  the 20mm F2.8,  the Rode Video Mic,  and the Sennheiser radio mic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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