Los Angeles-based photographer Jeff Berting had been working on a personal project about Craftsmen for some time before he received a call from Daren Elms at SouthBay Magazine. Jeff had worked with SouthBay in the past and Daren wanted him to create a series of images about the workers at MotoArt, a company that turns old airplane parts into furniture.
Daren’s idea was to have Jeff photograph the MotoArt workers in a similar way he did for his Craftsmen project — showing the people and processes behind the construction. Jeff mused that people don’t often think about how the objects around them are made, which is part of the reason why he is so interested in photographing craftsmen.
To prepare for the shoot, Jeff scouted the MotoArt studio ahead of time to check out the workshop, their workflow, and what sort of equipment he would need. Scouting also gave Jeff ideas for different images he could make and it allowed him to formulate a plan so he would not be forced to improvise on the shoot day.
Jeff knew that the workers in the shop had limited time to be photographed and deadlines of their own. And he knew there would be no time or opportunities for any reshoots.
But despite the tight schedule, the workers were very accommodating.
Everyone was great and very generous with their time, but I was very conscientious of the fact that they still needed to work.
Jeff mused that the facility he photographed was a sight to behold.
It was a combination workshop and aircraft museum all wrapped into one. Most workspaces have tools and bits of inspiration and photos around. This place had vintage aircraft and aircraft parts everywhere.
I loved that they can take an old airplane wing that most people would perceive as junk and turn it into the really wonderful piece of furniture.
Jeff was grateful to Daren Elms for giving him the opportunity to work on this project.
I’m always interested in photographing craftsmen and the work that they do. I think it makes for great storytelling. So while I don’t have any specific plans for this project, I will be adding it to my overall collection of craftsmen images.
Here’s an example of one of MotoArt’s pieces of furniture constructed from an airplane wing:
See more of Jeff at jeffberting.com