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The bakery project beginnings

Jun 26, 2020 | bread

Baker Boys – Hook

Well if the last post was a look back in time this one is a bit of a jump.

This morning I was wishing a couple happy anniversary and went back to their wedding and re-processed an image of them from eleven years ago.

It is always interesting going back and looking at my images with fresh eyes. Would I choose a different one? Would I process it in a different way (now that the software has progressed this can be a bit easier!)? Would I have shot it differently?

I was planning to post something about the origins of my Real Bread Campaign project so as I delved back into the files I thought it might be interesting to share my thoughts as I know that some photographers read my mutterings too.

Here we go then.

My Nation Of Shopkeepers project kicked off on the 20th of March 2013. I’d been pondering the work of August Sander, a German photographer from WWII who took intriguing photos of people at work. Do google his work because he has an interesting portfolio.

A friend ran a wedding dress shop and I wanted to record her there for many reasons – not least of which she was stepping away from the business due to ill health.

I took photos of her, but did a run of other Shop Keepers in March, April and through to July that year.

And so it was on the 5th of April that I visited Baker Boys bakery in Hook, near Basingstoke and spent much of the night-shift with Paul Hill and his colleague.

Looking at them now I am surprised how “economical” I was with frames – as you can see here. This “film strip” (yes they were digital files so I’ve just made it look pretty) was the whole shoot.

Every frame.

Anyone would think I was still shooting on film rather than digital, taking so few. I don’t go mad these days (certainly I seem to shoot fewer image than many of my colleagues for some reason) but re-looking at my Nation Of Shopkeepers it was a common theme that there were extremely few images taken for each shopkeeper.


Mocked up film strip showing a shoot at a bakery

Thirteen frames. Clearly the first few I was adjusting the lighting that I was using (at the time a small softbox off-camera – something I wouldn’t contemplate now in the speed and action of a bakery).

I had an idea that I wanted to photograph. Once I saw the baker in action I refined that idea and then went for it. Eight frames of him and the shoot was done. I spent much of the rest of their shift talking baking with them and simply watching.


That was the spark to fan for my current project: many more images watching the night-shift unfold in front of me.

I chose frame eleven: the fifth shot of him.

My original processing is on the left. What I would do with it today is on the right. What I would do in another seven years… who knows!

Right now I prefer a warmed, toned, image. I cloned out some stuff in the background before cropping it out anyway! The crop is much tighter.

I do know that I would take many more photos now and explore the bakers doing their thing.

Original processing of image of baker
A reworking of the image of a baker using today's software and a different vision of the final image.

For the photographers needing nerdy details: the originals were shot on a Canon 5D II with a 24-105 f/4L , ISO 800, 1/125 at f/5.6 at 60mm. A softbox with an EX580 inside was off to camera right on a stand and triggered by PWII.