Metal recycling photography

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Industrial recycling photography

On this industrial project I was commissioned by EMR to provide a series of images that demonstrated the scale and capacity for recycling various metals at the EMR - Willesden recycling site in London.

We had an amazing day that seemed to follow perfectly from one set up to the next. Sometimes the photography Gods shine on you and this was one of them. The sun was shining and the recycling site looked perfect.

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most mundane things. As we approached the main reclamation area, I happened to look at a puddle of water left over from the dust spraying and all but dried up by the sun. As I walked past it I admired the reflection of the deep blue sky above. The penny dropped and I had an idea of trying to mirror the scrap metal and truck scene that we were about to photograph. The ground immediately surrounding the area was just dirty black concrete, it would be good to hide it and divert the attention away from the mess. I asked one of the site staff to flood/wash the surface with lots of water (they have a lot of water hoses around the site to keep the dust down). When we'd got enough water, we brought the EMR truck into position and captured the scene with the reflection in place, changing a dirty area into something much more appealing.

There's lots of opportunities to get great shoots at an interesting recycling site like this. Showing the scale of the production was 'big on the brief', so I looked for images that would adequately convey this. One of the shots I was most happy with, was arranged with alongside a huge excavator scoop and a single washing machine. This one gives a great sense of scale. I always ask lots of questions on a shoot in areas that have huge health and safety implications, I don't want any images being rejected for being unusable after peer review.

Here's a short behind the scenes video clip (apologies for the poor footage) from one of the photography setups. I'm up in the cherry picker and a car is being loaded ready to be metal stripped and recycled.

We left the shoot knowing we'd had the almost perfect shoot, everything worked as planned, everything dropped into place and we the hit brief square in the face. The glow of a awesome shoot surrounded us as the way home.

I've included a few of my favorites from the shoot, I hope you like them too. I always love to hear from you, so please leave your comments below.