Having first worked for the Guardian under Eamonn McCabe in 1999/2000 Si Robinson then embarked on a very enjoyable period of agency work photographing high-end real estate and hotels in Europe.
Later he followed his passion for motorsports working for Double Red as official British and World Superbike photographer, also covering Touring Cars for Honda, powerboats and magazine assignments as well as diverse corporate and civic (official Royal photographer etc) shoots.
During this time he shot many product launches for BMW, Kawasaki and Harley Davidson in Spain, Italy, Dubai, France, and Malaysia etc.
In 2002 he began freelance magazine work and he was later tasked with producing a body of library and advertising images for Hitachi Construction Machinery, which involved photographing heavy machinery and factories across Europe and as far as Dubai.
“In 2020 I set up icephotographic.com to facilitate a return to interior, architectural and showroom photography often using composite imaging and the latest post-production techniques to produce current , relevant and advertising quality images”.
You are a great photographer and you specialize in pictures for interior designers, architects, showrooms and hospitality and you say something interesting for me that I want you can explain to our visitors: “ The images you use to show and market your product are your brand ambassadors on the internet, in magazines and brochures and your product, your company and you will be represented by them.”
Simply put, as reliance on non-direct contact increases and the internet and visual media become far more important so these become your shop window, your representation, and hence your “ambassadors” on the web. Imaging and copy will represent your product and demonstrate your ethos and personality. If the imaging is not to the very highest standards why on earth would a potential client imagine anything else would be.
I agree that good pictures sell better products and services. Do you think that professional people understand the value that you can add?
Currently some do but many definitely do not. For example; in the real estate sector photography must now fulfill certain requirements. A client scrolling through properties on the web at the rate of perhaps one a second must be stopped in their tracks by a compelling image. The group of images they see next must be of a very high ,advertising quality and these are there to capture the interest – an aperitif if you will- and not to remove the joy of discovery when an actual viewing takes place.
However, many (not all) agents, showroom owners, and developers are content with sub-standard images, interior designers less so but still to some extent.
We are now surrounded by and informed by superb quality imaging in most areas of advertising so why should our sector be any different?
When Christian Dior decide that superbly shot and post-produced images of Charlize Theron with a bottle of J’adore should be replaced with rushed snaps of a perfume box on a shelf in Tesco then I will stop trying to sell the idea of high quality images.
Why do you decide to focus in these sectors? I know that you worked before in motorsports.
I shot real estate and hospitality many years ago in the days of film and I always wanted to return to this field of photography especially now that composite techniques and post-production of digital images is so compelling
Pictures versus videos. What do you think about this?
It depends on the subject. A piece of furniture may be well represented in a short video but for interiors and property, absolutely not. Apart from removing the delight of discovery (in real estate) a video actually lowers the average image quality. Let me explain;- for instance any given room will have two or perhaps three best shot angles, add anything more and you are reducing the average quality of your presentation.
For the professionals involved in the sectors that you work in like interior designers, architects, hospitality, etc., I would like that you can tell them how is your way to work and why they really need to present good images to advertise and get more customers.
Simply put I believe very high image quality can be achieved for all products and at a viable cost.
I aim to get the very best possible images from any and every shoot. Ideally I like to work on a nicely set-up room, property, restaurant or showroom which I will usually have to adjust slightly to be perfect from one perspective at a time. I mostly shoot with supplemental lighting and usually tethered (connected to tablet or laptop) so I can see the play of light and shadow. I shoot high resolution (typically 50 megapixel images) and with architectural perspective control lenses. After post production I can then present the client with colour correct images sized exactly as required.
There are some specific differences between the work that you do for an architect, an interior designer and the other ones that you photograph?
Yes indeed, a lot depends on the mood and current trends. A showroom may need to be shot dark and very stylishly simple in keeping with the clients current style of advertising and brochure images. A room may need sunlight (real or lit) and playful shadows and possibly a softer look. A property needs clean, bright (but not overly bright or clinical) images with a stylish but welcoming feel. Each image should show consistently correct colours with any existing lighting colour balanced, straight and perpendicular walls and ceilings etc.
Which would be the work that you would want to do but you didn’t yet?
I am looking forward to shooting large exterior twilight shots in the better weather – correctly lit and not faked in photoshop as is currently common. There are a few photographers in the States shooting superb lit twilight shots and I really envy them the consistently good weather.