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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Booth

Hot Stuff

During my years as a staff photographer on a newspaper I always enjoyed covering the feature articles. They basically encompass anything and everything but, in more depth than a standard news article both in words and pictures. The problem while working as a staffer however, and even more so in recent years, has been the lack of time to carry out these assignments properly.

As the number of staff photographers gradually reduced over the years, so did the amount of time you were able to allocate to each job as the pressure mounted to get everything done in the diary through less bodies.

Fortunately, (in some ways) these days I often find myself with more time to apportion to features as once they have been delegated to me, I usually do the organising and setting up myself to suit subject(s), features editor and myself. This has given me more time to think about what I can do photographically for the feature and how to prepare (if necessary) beforehand.

Recently I was requested to illustrate a feature on the Chilihound, Graham Ford, who creates spicy sauces from chipotle smoked chilies which he imports from Mexico. I wanted to try and create an image which would just involve him and the chilies - nice and simple in theory. I thought this could be done by creating a visual which appeared to show Graham buried in the chipotle chilies he uses in his sauces. So how could I easily do this? I purchased a large piece of thick card and cut out a hole in the centre which fitted the outline of my face when I put it through the card.

Not having met Graham before the shoot, I hoped that his face would be a similar size to mine and indeed that he would be game for somehow lying under the card and having his beloved chili peppers practically covering his face! Fortunately, he was happy to play along and the set up was created by balancing the card between two chairs while my subject positioned himself underneath and poked his face through the hole. Chilies were then scattered over the card to completely cover it. I stood on another chair in order to look straight down at Graham and his spicy surrounding, while flash light were positioned either side of the set up. Hopefully the end product has created the visual of 'man buried in chilies'.

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