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David Cottam

The story behind the photo

When I first moved to Devon in 2002, David and partner Liz were temporary landlords of the Lamb Inn, a gorgeous 15th century pub opposite my new home in the village of Sandford. David told me he was a classical guitarist, so I told him I was a photographer on the music scene.
Having just finished recording his new album, he asked if I could perhaps take some photos for the CD sleeve.

A few days later, David took me to visit Angela Perkins’ big old thatched cottage as a possible location for the photoshoot. In the gardens was a huge old wooden barn, with split doors to enable airflow for threshing and winnowing wheat …but also ideal for controlling the light coming in!
After a bit of experimenting, I settled on having just the bottom doors on one side open so that David was lit from below but the background was still in darkness. As he began playing, I found the ideal position where just his face and guitar frets were in focus, opened the aperture fully to limit depth of field and took about a dozen shots.

I scanned the best negs and decided to submit the one above to the Fujifilm Profesional Distinctions Awards. A shortlist of entrants were then asked to submit large  prints of their work: I was overjoyed when my entry won an award in the Portraits section.

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