Matthew Lowery is a product and still life photographer whose work blew me away when I first saw it. His sense of design and technical expertise combine in his work to produce some pretty amazing images. Below, his account of a shoot of Bombay Sapphire gin.
This particular shot came about because of the whole gin renaissance happening right now. I wanted to do something that would place the stodgy old standard in a new light, so to speak. I also wanted to do something that would print and backlight really well on Duratrans. I love any chance to just play with my weird humor and have fun.
What is print and still advertising all about? It’s about telling a story inside of a single image. So here we have this bottle of Britain’s finest coming out of this dense London fog, ready to take you on, like “Gin the Ripper” or something. There’s a bit of Doctor Who appreciation in there as well. We put so much importance on liquors we buy and use. We dress them in these fantastic bottles and packaging, and we give them personalities. These products become these major factors in our lives, it’s really silly but also tons of fun. At the end of the day, it’s just gin, but in advertising you get to live in this kind of fantasy world. As an aspiring advertising photographer, I am totally into this kind of thinking.
I love building layered images and this is an example of shooting for Photoshop, where the compositing software is an integral part of the capture plan from the get-go. This shot was broken down into five or six exposures processed and brought into Photoshop to build the final image. Being able to backlight a bottle with three types of light and then combine them in post is cool because you can replicate real world illumination or throw reality out the window – and it’s done in a controlled, repeatable way, which is important when shooting composites. You can also build your CGI into the shot instead of just on top of it.
Shooting with 16-bit digital backs and being able to grade and compare shots on the computer in real time, on set, has changed the way we think about making exposures, and nowadays 1/10 of a stop actually means something. Knowing that, the Profoto D4 Air is really like my best friend when doing this kind of work in the studio. The D4 is all about precision and accuracy and it totally comes through when capturing these technical stills. It just takes the guess work out of post-production and I know if I need to walk back over to the set and reshoot a few speculars or something, the D4 is going to deliver the exact same exposure and color, or let me adjust it with a lot of precision.
The programmable delay is handy when I’m triggering off of sensors or a sequencer and I need to freeze and repeat. It’s just an awesome piece of hardware. It‘s kind of like this gnarly workhorse with tons of finesse and control. The D1 monolights are great as well. I’m always impressed by the quality of Profoto gear. The Profoto mount is brilliant for the way I work. It’s a great modular system all around.
All images in this post are ©Matthew Lowery, all rights reserved; story is ©Profoto. Please respect photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.