The Making of “Duet” by Cheryl Eagers

A boat repair workshop showcases a complex frame with a sign reading ‘Duet’ alongside the organised chaos of daily life. Boats, repair equipment, and all sorts of other related materials and components are strewn about. Entropic squall of mess, or delicately ordered system of form and function? The photographer invites you to draw your own conclusions

Technical Specs

  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Lens: EF24-70mm f/2.8L
  • Focal Length:24.0mm
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • ISO: 1250
  • Shutter Speed:1/125 sec
  • Focus Mode: Spot Metering
  • Tripod Used: No
  • Flash Used: No

About the Experience

I was on a photographic tour with Photograph New Zealand in the Waitaki District of Oamaru, South Island, when I encountered the scene I wanted to shoot. After making my way into the Victorian Precinct, I came upon this boat workshop that simply took my breath away. I set my aperture low and was able to capture the complexity and ambiguity of the scene that lay before me.

My Thoughts

It’s obvious that this workshop is mostly used for boat repair – and that it’s a pretty complex arrangement! But I immediately saw much more to the space than its apparent disorganisation.

To me, this picture contains a distinct narrative. All those tools, those secrets, those experiences; it is these things that make up the essence of humanity, something I really wanted to capture. There is passion here, too, among the hardware – this is a space belonging to someone living and acting out his or her passion, and embracing the values of labour that come with it.

I carry quite a bit of pride when I see the portrait’s namesake sign of ‘Duet’ and the varied colours of the flags. With a lower aperture setting, the viewer is initially drawn to these words before their eyes explore all the nooks, crannies and complexities found across the image.

I was also very proud that my image achieved a Silver Award in the 2015 AIPP Queensland Epson Professional Photography Awards. I’m glad that this distinction will allow more people to see and enjoy this picture – and share in my reverence for an era that has long since passed.

~ Cheryl Eagers ~

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