In August 2021 I was approached by an agency client about a possible project that involved food photography and maybe a little more, thus began a journey that took me into Heavy Metal, food photography, portraits and industrial photography and videography.
A metal foundry in the black country had found that its production had fallen because of global changes, the company Chamberlin & Hill had been producing quality castings since 1890 and had decided to venture into the consumer cookware market and they designed and made a griddle and skillet.
The brand EMBA was born and I am proud that I was involved with the development and execution of the visual assets for the website and marketing for these great products.
The story of the company is steeped in the industrial heritage of the black country that is close to my heart, I grew up in West Bromwich in the Black Country and remember the foundries and Heavy Metal industry that was the home to the music of my youth, ( I was even a roadie for Judas Priest for a short time). The heritage and people are part of the story that it is important that the foodie audience connected too, as with local produce, farm shops and specialist suppliers, the food buyers are often interested in where and how their food gets to them, food miles have become a problem, and so with cookware, its great to know that your cast iron Griddle, has not come thousands of miles across the world, but has been cast in the heart of Britain's old industrial heartland and is the best quality because of intelligent design and precision casting.
The agency and client understood that the potential of a brand and allowed me to explore the creative possibilities of such a story.
From the design to the manufacturing and the foundry process, I had access to all areas (with appropriate safety equipment and gear) this allowed me to explore areas that would not normally be considered for a food product.
When shooting the castiron cookware I saw the items as sculpture, with details and facets that made a great video, this video was more fine art inspired rather than just a product shot.
I did shoot the standard product shots but also a few days of food photography with a food stylist.
The portraits of some of the foundry workers was certainly something I wanted to do, putting a human face in such a launch was important to me, and they have not featured on the website much, they shall reinforce the social media campaign over the next few months.
Lighting and animating heavy metal in the studio does have certain challenges, not least when a piece of metal of 5 k has to spin, studio rigs had to be upgraded. The food was in the most part beautifully prepared by the home economist Liz Martin, but I was able to use my old chef skills especially with the Full English.
This project has been challenging but so much fun, it combines all the genre of photography I enjoy and I certainly hope my contribution shall make a difference, not just to a company, but to all the workers involved. Making more people engage with food and cook from fresh, the foodie world has many products that you can’t live without, but especially my new EMBA skillet is something I now use everyday and has replaced the ‘non slip’ pans that have always concerned me as the teflon style chemical surface has lost its coating and maybe has ended up in me?
Client: Chamberlin & Hill
Brand: EMBA cookware
Creative Lead: Joy Lunn
Producer/ Director: Lorentz Gullachsen
Editor & Effects: Ross Gullachsen
Second Camera : Patrick Baldwin
Home Economist: Liz Martin
The launch is at the BBC Good Food show at the NEC November 2021