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Catastrophe at The Apothecaries’ Hall in London – Event Photography

Ebola, Earthquakes and Medivacs; Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine

Apothecaries' Hall main staircase event photographer Trevor AstonAttentative audince Apothecaries' Hall event photographer Trevor AstonI was the photographer at the Apothecaries’ Hall in London for this event organised by the Medical Journalists Association.  The hall is beautiful and the ancient home of The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries.  The talk, organised by the Medical Journalist Association was given in the Great Hall.  Dating from 1671 the Great Hall has fantastic, dark Irish oak panelling with a carved screen at the south end of the room and a minstrels’ gallery at the north end.  Every time I needed to change position to photograph I walked on tip-toes across the very creaky oak floor, but I still sounded like a ghost creeping round a country house in the dead of night!

The Apothecaries’ Hall is also home to the world’s only Faculty of Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine which trains medical professionals from around the world to respond quickly to natural disasters, outbreaks of disease and battlefield injuries as well as longer-term emotional trauma.  At this meeting chaired by Lawrence McGinty, men and women who tackle some of the most challenging medical emergencies talked about life on the frontline of healthcare.

One of the privileges of being a photographer is getting to see things, getting to hear things or in this case, both!

Professor Richard Williams event photographer Trevor Aston

Professor Richard Williams, an international authority on psycho-social aspects of disasters based at the Humanitarian and Conflict Research Institute (HCRI) at Manchester University.

speaker Gillian Dacey Apothecaries' Hall event photographer Trevor Aston

Gillian Dacey, formerly with Public Health England, who has been at the forefront of fighting Ebola and is a specialist paramedic dealing with earthquake victims trapped under rubble.

Air Vice Marshal Aroop Mozumder, Commander, Defence Primary Healthcare, President of the Faculty of Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine based at the Society of Apothecaries.

Air Vice Marshal Aroop Mozumder, Commander, Defence Primary Healthcare, President of the Faculty of Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine based at the Society of Apothecaries.

Trevor Aston works in Richmond, Southwest London and Surrey as a portrait, event and editorial photographer.

Home is where the dust is

commercial business photography Richmond upon Thames London-7989commercial business photography Richmond upon Thames London-7945A home is more than a pile of bricks and mortar, at least it is once it’s been lived in for while; absorbing something of us, our breath and our dust. So what happens when we go?  How long does it take for that bit ‘us’ to fade away?

The question came to mind as I was making my way around a flat in Epsom, photographing it’s empty rooms for the developer just before the renovation begins. The rooms were empty, but I wasn’t photographing an empty space, it was the lounge where they’d sat on the sofa and watched TV, the bedroom where they’d slept, the bathroom sink where they’d brushed their teeth, the kitchen cupboard where they kept their teabags and tins of soup. commercial business photography Richmond upon Thames London-7951 I didn’t know why they were no longer living there, but I had a strong feeling.

In the lounge I spotted a small note stuck to a wall.

 

 

 

Then I felt knew at least one thing; that this had been home to Suzy’s Daddy.

commercial business photography Richmond upon Thames London-7997

 
Trevor Aston works in Richmond, Southwest London and Surrey as a portrait, event and editorial photographer.

Do websites really need photographs?

what's wrong with white space?

what’s wrong with white space?

Most websites have photographs on them, but does anyone ever ask why? Delete all the pictures from the average website and what have you lost? No more over-happy people with pearly-white smiles, no more wholesome, beautiful families, no more immaculate interiors and perfectly presented meals.  A good web designer always wants to leave lots of white space on the page, so won’t they be happy without pictures cluttering it up?

There we are then – the end of the photograph.  Unless we can quickly come up with a convincing argument for adding back a few pictures.  Of course there are places, things and events that have to be seen to be believed. But also, aren’t there feelings that can be conveyed more effectively, impressions made more immediately and connections made more strongly with the right photograph than could be done through text alone?

photography for websitesThe average website visitor is not willing to read very much online. I find it very wearing to read text on desktop computers and laptops for any length of time, and reading a block of text on a small portable device is a complete pain.  It’s often true that a well-chosen picture can convey a message in an instant.  In fact it’s true that picture plus context can convey several messages at once.  For me, seeing a picture of a family enjoying a take-away burger is more attractive than a big close-up of a fat-seeping piece of re-constituted meat in an oh-so-plain bap.  If the people enjoying their burger and fries look like my family and me I’m more likely to be tempted, just because that reassures me that ‘people like us’ also eat fast food.  When we look at a website we want to feel that we’re in the ‘right place’, we’ll be welcomed, understood and appreciated.  Photographs don’t just help ‘target’ the right people, they contribute directly to the businesses image. The photographs on a website can reinforce or damage a brand’s image, I think they’re unlikely to be neutral.  They can help tell us what a company believes, how it works and even how it might treat us.

So is that enough to justify devoting a few more pixels to photos on websites?  Or are there instances when none of that applies?  Well, if all you have are badly composed, ill-lit mobile phone photos or generic, unconvincing stock shots then I think white space is better!

photography for websites

Trevor Aston works in Kingston and Richmond upon Thames, Southwest London and Surrey as a portrait, event and editorial photographer.