A Lawson Unto Himself

Two things I enjoyed on this assignment; a challenge and a good debate.

This commission took me to University of Bath where the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (I-SEE) hosted a talk on climate change by Nigel Lawson. Lord Lawson being a bit of a climate change sceptic (just a tad), I was looking forward to not only taking the pictures needed by I-SEE, but also hearing his point of view on the subject.

Lord Nigel Lawson delivers his views on climate change at University of Bath

Shooting through the audience brings a sense of the speaker/listener interaction

The problem with photographing a talk of this kind is that mentally I can only dip in and out because I’m concentrating fairly hard on getting the exposure, focus and composition right, and this particular venue (a dimly-lit, tightly packed lecture theatre) was quite a challenging space to work in.

But while I couldn’t quite concentrate on everything Lord Lawson said, I did catch the gist of his argument and I definitely detected the mood of some of the audience members who clearly didn’t agree with his views.

Of course I wasn’t there as a member of the audience, but whenever I cover something like this I do need to be aware of what’s being said and what the mood and reactions from the audience are. Likewise I had to ensure my technical set-up would allow me to get photos of Lord Lawson speaking as well as reactions and questions from the audience. Not an easy task when you really only have room for one flash on a stand, but with a bit of jiggery-pokery I think I pulled it off with reasonable success.

A man in the audience asks Lord Lawson a question

A packed auditorium means a busy picture, just trickier lighting

While the resulting images might not win any prizes or plaudits, I always work hard to make sure that even under difficult lighting and in tight spaces my images don’t suffer the ghastly effects of direct flash or extreme digital noise caused by high ISO settings, either of which would detract from the subject matter and would have made the photos less usable.

As for climate change, that’s really a debate for another place.

 

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