The Dangers in Photography

My assistant saved the vodka bottle!

Photography is not thought of as a dangerous, or contact sport. However, photography has its dangers, and I have been on the receiving end.

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Let me state from the outset that the situation did not involve outraged art directors or clients unhappy with the billing.

The shoot involved a bottle of vodka and a glass with ice cubes. Illustrating vodka on the rocks. To give the impression that the bottle and the glass were “floating” it was necessary to use a grey seamless background paper. Seamless backgrounds are generally about two meters wide with probably 40 meters in the roll.

The way this works is you run the seamless down the wall and gently curve it into the flat surface on which the object to be photographed is sitting. This means there is no “seam” or line between the back wall and the floor.

My game plan was to have a sheet of glass on some low stands, lit from underneath. I cut out the circle to match the vodka bottle, and another for the shot glass with the ice cubes in it. With the light from below, the vodka bottle would really stand out, as would the glass with ice cubes.

Monkey Business.

Having experienced ‘melt down’ with ice cubes on another shoot, I prepared myself this time with some acrylic ‘ice’ cubes. Now nothing could go wrong.

Now the items were put in place on the grey seamless on top of the glass sheet. The other end of the roll of seamless was hung on the wall on hooks already placed there.

Now to get the focus correct we use modeling lights. These are tungsten globes which allow the photographer to position the flash heads to get the lighting needed. With the bottle and glass being lit from below, this was quite a tricky exercise which took a little time.

Finally we were ready to pull the first Polaroid and as I said, “Go!” there was a huge bang and the montage on the glass of vodka and ice all toppled into the middle of the set, bringing the grey seamless with it, pulling the roll off the hooks on the wall.


The roll looked as if it would hit the camera on its tripod so I moved to shield it, with the result that it hit my head, knocking me out and I fell on the floor hugging the camera to my chest.

And what about my assistant? She saved the vodka bottle!

After I came to, we worked out just what had happened. The tungsten lights under the glass plate heated it up too much and it cracked through the middle and taking a V shape, pulling the seamless paper off the glass and dislodging the full roll from the wall hooks which landed on my head.

And yes, we sat down in the shambles of the studio and drank the vodka. Wouldn’t you?

An interesting conundrum

The picture of this monkey was not taken by a wildlife photographer, but by the monkey itself. The world’s first simian selfie. We can use this selfie, as there is no copyright for the image, as it has been uploaded to Wiki Commons. The guy who owned the camera says he owns the copyright, but Wiki says that, since the monkey took the photo, technically the copyright would belong to the monkey. But since copyright law states that copyrights cannot be assigned to non-humans, there is no copyright on it. All very interesting, and in some ways a bit silly, but that is the way the world is heading.