For some photographers, images come in an instantaneous flash. For others, like Seattle-based stock shooter Paul Conrath, the most enduring images come from a process carefully developed over time. "It’s really like a craft," he says. "The best photos are ones that are built."
This space-age timepiece follows Conrath’s metaphor in a very literal sense. Shot for a law firm representing computer chip maker Intel, the photo was the result of a collaboration between Conrath and Intel’s design firm.
"We had about three or four meetings before we even went into the studio," he says.
The buzzword from the Intel brochure text was "responsive," which got Conrath musing about time and global images. "I started thinking about orbiting things, and we worked out a drawing of this little model," he says. "We had a prop-maker custom build it for us using CD-ROMs and pieces of a clock. It looks pretty in the photo, but the back side of the thing is all just tape and clamps."
Though the shot appears to have been done digitally, Conrath is proud to say it was all done with straight photographic, rather than computer, trickery. "I diffused the background with a separate exposure first to give it a more otherworldly quality," he says. "I often work in layers like that—starting with the background and working forward."
A native of Portland, Ore., Conrath spent his formative professional years in California, earning a BFA in photography at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design in 1987. After that, he ran his own studio still-life photography business in Los Angeles before moving to Seattle in 1995. His major clients include Infinity Cars,
Microsoft, Nordstrom, Pioneer Stereos, Sega, Warner Brothers and Westin Hotels.Today, Conrath says his primary focus is stock photography that allows him to move out of his studio and capture more "slice of life" images. More of his images can be found at paulconrtath.com.