When Tom Puyaubert asked me to photograph Bodegas Exopto, I wanted to show something of his passion for wine. Here is a man who swapped France for La Rioja and who loves it so much that he founded his own winery. Tom’s grapes come from one of the most picturesque parts of the region: The slopes around Ábalos. The scenery and the early morning light made for beautiful photos without need for much intervention by me.
But Tom’s winery is in a unit on an industrial estate in Laguardia. How could I show the soul of the enterprise and quality of the product in such a sterile place? The answer is through the clever use of light. In the above picture the backlighting gives a richness and purity to the grape juice. In the first photo below I wanted to cast Tom as a magician at his cauldron so I put a flash inside the vat. The white flash light turned purple when it bounced off the grapes and illuminated Tom’s face.
I also wanted to give a sense that wonderful wine can be made in the most unlikely of places and that is why I like the photo taken outside the open door showing just a hint of what goes on inside. The old wooden vats are wonderfully photogenic. I added to the warmth of the scene by using remote flashes covered in orange gel.
Light and composition are key to good photography but the value of thinking and planning shots beforehand should never be underestimated.