Chris Schwarz's Blog

Shooting the Cover of the Workbench Book

I’ve been involved in hundreds of professional photography shoots in my journalism career, and each one is ridiculous in its own way.

Yesterday we shot the image for my forthcoming book, “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use,” which is scheduled to come out in early October. So at 7 a.m., I began cleaning up the shop, which was a wreck as a result of our struggle to finish up the August issue of Popular Woodworking. I pulled the bench out from the wall and began the archaeological dig through the mountain of shaving and sawdust (ah yes, something from the Creole Table Era, circa 2006).

Then Al Parrish, our staff photographer, came in to survey the scene. He didn’t like the fact that the bank of windows on the right side of the bench didn’t have a tool rack and you could see the cars in our parking lot. “Can we build a tool rack?” he asked.

Today? No.

So we put some of the parts from my sideboard project in the window to obscure the Chevy pickup truck. Then the designers came in. I braced myself because designers have asked for some pretty ridiculous things of me over the years. They had one change: Designer Terri Woesner went over to my broom, picked it up and walked to my bench.

What? Not clean enough?

Terri pushed the broom into the pile of shavings and dust and then artfully sprayed the mess across our shop floor. Then she walked around the bench, positioning the shavings in a thoughtful manner, using the bristles of broom to place them.

Then Al went to work. The image above was shot with our shop lights turned off (which is how I work anyway) and one strobe positioned off to the right of the frame. He also did a little work on the image in Photoshop. Anyone notice what he changed on the bench?

– Christopher Schwarz

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