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Guest Post: A personal photographic project about Blacksmiths

12/02/2015 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

Today we share a nice personal photographic project about Blacksmiths and their craft that Dan Bannister (website) have been working on for a couple years now

I'm a commercial advertising, portrait and fashion photographer in Toronto and aside from commercial work, I try to keep my eyes open to other ways of seeing by having at least one personal project on the go at all times. For the past few years, that project has been portraits of blacksmiths and telling the story of their lives and the work they do.

A couple years ago, was having a casual lunch with a friend who is a creative at an ad agency in Toronto and she mentioned that blacksmithing was a hobby of hers. This immediately fascinated me because I didn’t realize that blacksmithing was something people still did, let alone in a big urban centre like Toronto. At the time, I was looking for a photo project that would be different than the usual work I do day-to-day for clients such as ad agencies, fashion retailers and magazines.

Eventually, she introduced me to one particular Blacksmith and I photographed him after spending a day in his workshop. He eventually introduced me to others and the project grew into a large series of images.

As the project developed and grew, I eventually ended up making a mini documentary featuring one blacksmith in particular named Lloyd Johnston, check it out here


Because of the closed quarters of most of the locations, I decided early on to do everything with one light and settled on a Profoto beauty dish with a grid. This allowed me to shape the light in very delicate ways to focus on the work they were creating and add drama to the final work. Here’s a quick diagram of the typical set up.

Here’s a couple of the set ups from one of the shops I travelled to in the old port of Montreal

You can see a selection of the stills images here:

Thanks for sharing your amazing project Dan!!

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