I was asked by Up Here Business magazine in Yellowknife to do a profile shoot on Sean Boyd, the President and CEO of the recently-beleaguered mining company Agnico-Eagle. I had little information to go on when first accepting the shoot, and my original instructions were to shoot a simple portrait with few distracting elements. However, one of the company’s assistants mentioned their “core sample” wall might make a good backdrop. Core samples are essentially extracted rock made from long drills that companies use to survey the land for potential minerals. The results are these long, stratified columns that convey their geological secrets.
My Photo Editor at UHB immediately liked the suggestion so I now had my plan. I decided I would need the semi-specular light quality from a beauty dish lighting Boyd at a nearly 180 degree angle, to scrape the light along the textured columns and define the shadows. I backlit Sean with a strip box to even things out, the result on my subject was something akin to a hatchet-lighting effect, bringing out both texture in the background as well as hewing out the features of my subject. In this case, the background dictated my lighting approach, and fortunately it suited the subject as well.
I was very pleased to see the layout in the magazine. I think it conveys a stoicism and strength in the face of the company’s recent set-backs with their Northern mining projects.