Bert’s Photo Book — How It All began
In the past years, I’ve captured numerous watches from all kinds of brands. While most of the images are only used once or twice, some never see the light of day. Revisiting my archives is, therefore, a great pleasure, as I often come across images of a special watch I had forgotten, or just a shot that came out better than I thought it would. So to give those shots the attention that they deserve, we’re going to share them in this new series called Bert’s Photo Book.
I’ve previously shared some of my favorite close-up shots in my watch macro A-Z article, but now it’s time for a bit more variety. I could probably fill a few dozen topics with similar photos when I dig my way through my vast photo archive, but I wanted to pick images that illustrated what my life in and around the watch industry is like. To best tell that tale, it’s best I go all the way back to the beginning.
A life in pictures
With an interest in mechanical watches for many years, I got sucked into the online horological world some 15 years ago. Looking for info, I ran into the same forums over and over again. Eventually, I became a member of several myself. Without realizing, this moment marked the start of my photographic journey.
After posting a quick (and blurry) snapshot I made the remark, “Will look into quality photography.” Needless to say, I was true to my word. I started experimenting endlessly with different sorts of lighting and set-ups. Within a few years, I had created multiple watch calendars, had my images published in several international magazines, and joined Fratello. And I realize some of these shots aren’t the most exciting ones, yet they are part of my journey in the world of photography.
Being one of those autodidacts, I learned things the hard way. Simply by trying and experimenting with the ideas that came to mind. One of the first things I played around with is lume shots. This is a subject that requires a lot of practice and trial and error to get things right. Although fun, it is also a challenge. Below is one of the first images I made. Capturing the luminous glow of some of my watches at the time in one image. For a little fun, why not see how many you can identify in the comments section below?
After doing these completely dark images I moved on to shooting watches you could actually see. Combined with some props I took the first steps in creating mood shots. Still nothing serious but it was all part of the process of getting experienced in capturing watches. Those experimental years helped me understanding light (and how to use it) better. While the learning curve was incredibly steep in the beginning, things all became easier before running into limitations again. This is where digital editing stepped in and it was the second learning curve in mastering photography.
While using single props in the beginning, things went into filling up the entire image with multiple items. Making the most of the available space in an image while maintaining focus on the most important part, the watch! Below are some samples which date back to around 2012.
You could say that all watch photography is macro photography in some way. But zeroing in on the incredibly fine details of a watch has always been a personal passion of mine (in fact, it may come to dominate the Photo Book). At first, using just an extension ring in combination with my standard lenses (which is an easy and cheap solution to create macro photos). Without diving too deep in the subject, extension rings simply allow you to focus much closer to the subject. Below is one of my first super close-ups of the LEC, or laser etched coronet, of a Rolex 16610 Submariner.
Hope you enjoyed the short introduction to Bert’s Photo Book, the easy to digest, visual topic on Fratello. While I already have a few topics on my mind, any feedback is much appreciated. Feel free to leave ideas in the comments or just send me an email.