Based in the heart of the Mourne Mountains, Kilkeel Seafoods process scampi right in the heart of Northern Irelands busiest harbour. They process scampi caught by some of Northern Irelands most active fishermen and their produce is sent out all over the UK and Ireland.
When I get a message from a company such as Kilkeel Seafoods its usually a request to photograph the food they produce or the way its processed. This request was a little different as they didn’t want photos of the food or the processing but the people behind it all. The very people that make the factory run would be my subjects for the day.
This would turn out to be more challenging than the usual request of food or process photos. The staff of most places I go to really don’t like having their pictures taken especially when they’re wearing work outfits that are not the most flattering!
The first area I was taken to just had three members of staff working away but as soon as I entered the building the workers started winding each other up and laughing and joking, this usually happens. Once they settled down I grabbed several shots of each of the workers before I had to move on to the next area.
Next on the list was the office staff. Like most factories the back office staff are as important as the people out on the shop floor. Their environment wasn’t as atmospheric as the main factory so I kept the aperture wider than normal to draw attention to the subject in the image.
The third part of my tour would take me in to the main factory area where the bulk of the employees worked. This would prove even trickier than the other areas as no one wanted to be singled out with their co-workers looking on. I pressed on regardless and with a bit of help from one of the office staff we picked out several workers on the floor who we could grab for photos.
It was important not disrupt the flow of the factory. If one area was held up due to my presence then other areas could potentially become delayed an the knock on effect would grow and grow. I usually have stands and lights set out when doing portraits but with people and equipment being moved around it wasn’t safe. Thankfully the inside of the factory had white plastic lined walls so I was able to bounce on camera flash around to make things look a little more interesting than going with just direct flash.