Sometimes my job has less to do with the final product, its more to do with the process of getting there. On this occasion I had been asked to produce a series of editorial images for client from North Lincolnshire. Cote Hill cheese are prize winning artisan cheese producers, working from their own farm and using milk from their own herd. Until fairly recently they had worked on a fairly small scale but a recent national award forced them to expand and grow their business.
Mary had been a long standing client of mine. I photographed her producing cheese several years ago the she was first starting out so when she decided she need some new updated photographs of the new production facility, she asked me to come back.
All the cheese is hand made in small batches, which is something I really wanted to show. Mary and her two sons put a lot of care into the production of the cheese, which is as much a work of love as it is an art and science. Overtime I have been back to the farm I have learned so much as to how much work goes into the production of real cheese, that it makes me really want to be selective about how I buy it. Once you have tasted a real cheese, like Cote Hill Blue, you will not go back to the mass produced rubber blocks you get in the supermarket.
On this occasion I had to work fast. The cheese works fast going from a warm silky liquid to a firm gelatinous cream in a matter of minutes and quickly gets firmer and firmer as the moments pass. I didn’t have any time to spare and nothing could be posed or set up in advance so I worked as quickly as I could in the limited space available. Used a single Nikon SB80DX speedlite, mounted on a Manfrotto Nano stand with a Cactus V6 trigger to light the room. I simply bounced the light of the white walls to create a soft light that wrapped around the subjects. I used my Fuji XPro-2 with the 18mm for the majority of the images, but I did occasionally change to the 56mm lens as well. Changing lenses was problematic as the atmosphere was extremely humid which meant my camera would steam up rapidly.
The Fuji XPro-2 is the perfect camera in this situation. It enables me to work fast without having to worry about all the bells and whistles of a DSLR. I wouldn’t have had the space to work with a big camera in the tight space of the dairy and the last thing I wanted to do was to distract Mary and the boys while they concentrated. The virtually silent shutter enabled me to work quickly and quietly without disturbing the cheesemakers.