As a photographer, he lost all jobs. Now he is making sessions through FaceTime to people around the world

Photographers around the world have lost their jobs virtually overnight. The crisis most affected wedding photographers, creators of family, portrait or event photography. Theoretically, their work cannot be done remotely. Theoretically.

One of them is the British wedding photographer Tim Dunk . The creator, however, found a creative way to photograph others without leaving home. Dunk makes portrait sessions via FaceTime . It is not only a way for him to cope with isolation, but also to save the budget. Importantly, he donates 10 pounds from each session to help others. At the beginning, when browsing photos on my smartphone, I thought that the portraits presented by the creator came from sessions taken before closing. I have made sure several times that the portfolio it shows on its subpage are pictures taken remotely by FaceTime. After watching them on a computer screen, obviously technical imperfections come to light. Ideas, staff, and skilful use of light are of a high standard.

This is no accident, because Tim is a great photographer with a rich portfolio. In Poland, hardly anyone knows him, but already in 2018 he was included by the prestigious Rangefinder Magazine among 30 rising wedding photography stars in the world. Thanks to the new shooting method, Dunk is available for new portrait sessions in virtually every corner of the world where only stable internet is available. Just write to him and make an appointment, and he will take photos without leaving your home.

What a creative Yorkshire photographer does is a great symbol of the situation we find ourselves in. Limited, but looking for a way out. Often deprived of normal earning opportunities, but still sharing with those in need. Forced to go online, even when it seems theoretically impossible. And above all, able to find in the new situation and learning from it new conclusions and skills.

His story, but also photos, inspired me to such an extent that I want to try shooting through FaceTime myself. In the meantime, in order to learn how Tim Dunk creates his remote portraits, I decided to write to him and ask about it.

Krzysztof Basel: How did you come up with the idea to take pictures through FaceTime?

Tim Dunk: Like people all over the world, I'm stuck at home, unable to safely do what I love. This isolation obviously has negative financial effects, but it also severely limited my creative and social possibilities. Therefore, I began to look for opportunities not to be overwhelmed, but in these difficult conditions I still create and meet my friends without breaking the law. I talked to several friends to try photos through FaceTime. Initially, it was just a fun experiment and a way to collaborate with my creative colleagues around the world. I didn't think of it as business.

However, this experiment quickly turned into something serious. What did FaceTime's first session look like?

It was great! I wasn't sure exactly how it would work and whether the possibilities of the technology I used would not be too limiting. After all, the image quality on FaceTime is not high. In practice, it was simply great fun that aroused us and lifted us spirits.

What does this session look like in practice?

When I call for the first time, the model shows me the space in which they are and their vision, their ideas for staff. Using video conferencing, I look around and look for the right background, please open the curtains or doors, move some things or turn on the light. The most important thing is to find the right light and colors, but also mood and humor.

When everything is ready, I decide when I take pictures, using the button to take pictures during a call. This photo is really a 3-second video from which you can extract photos or export as video and even GIF. Photographed people use the iPhone, but I work on the MacBook Pro during the session. After completing the session and saving the photos to disk, I import them into Lightroom and process them. It's not easy, because these are only JPEG files, not raw RAW files, but you can still do a lot of skillful processing. However, you need to be very careful about burns.

At a real portrait session, contact with the person being photographed counts. For faceTime photos, this contact is probably even more important?

Photoconferencing has many limitations. I am not talking only about the quality of the photos, but above all the difficulties associated with the limited impact on the composition, exposure and setting of the iPhone. But you are right - as in the case of a traditional photo session, the most important thing is the relationship with the photographed person. How he listens to my instructions, how he implements my instructions. Maybe even this relationship is more important in this case, because the photographed person must not only control his body in accordance with my ideas, but also embrace the entire scenery and camera.

What have you learned from these unusual sessions?

I had to slow down and work with the technology I have, not against it. I learned to accept her. It's a bit like taking Polaroid photos. You learn to take restrictions and incorporate them into the process, not try to make an SLR camera with an iPhone with FaceTime.

I liked the idea of ​​the FaceTime session very much. It is a brilliant photographic symbol of this difficult period. Do others think so too?

To be honest, the reception is amazing. My friends, family and photography community support me a lot. When you experiment, try to implement your crazy ideas, you don't know how others will perceive them. In this case, the idea was immediately accepted.

How many sessions have you done so far?

I have done almost 60 sessions so far, and people reserve new ones every day. I photographed people in my hometown of Yorkshire, all over Great Britain, and in people's homes closed all over the world.

You travel with the camera even during a pandemic!

It is amazing to me that I can take pictures this way. Especially at a time when we feel a little detached from the people who make up our communities. Thanks to this, I can visit places that are completely new to me.

What is the common denominator for these photos?

I have already photographed remotely in living rooms, gardens, tunnels, staircases. Neighbors, but also people from the other end of the world. Singles, couples, entire families with children and pets. Various props pulled out of wardrobes were used for the session, as well as everyday items. However, my sessions have always been quite fast, specific, closed in a specific time frame and in a similar visual language. However, what connects all these photos most is the fact that all the people photographed were in the same situation: they are locked in their places of residence.

Who and how do these sessions help?

Closing is difficult for everyone. I like to be busy and sessions create the structure of my days. It's also a great way to meet new people and meet old friends. Thanks to this, I can still practice creativity, stretch my creative muscles and develop the way I do portraits, even if my set of tools is very limited. And the absolute best thing is helping others. It's great to know that I am doing something useful not only for myself but also for others. In this way, I give them a break from quarantine, but I also transfer money to The Trussell Trust, or NGO, which supports food banks for the needy in the UK.

Good luck and thank you for the interview!

More photos of Tim Dunk can be found on his Facebook and Instagram profile, as well as on .

As a photographer, he lost all jobs. Now he is making sessions through FaceTime to people around the world


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