Photographer takes wide angle on work

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 October, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 October, 1993, 12:00am

A FORMER Playboy lensman who has just directed a commercial with Frank Sinatra will be among the master photographers attending Image Hong Kong '93.

Barry O'Rourke's seminar, entitled ''Photographing Women: Beauty Photography Techniques for the Professional and Amateur'', will be one of the highlights of the event.

O'Rourke admitted he had devoted his career predominantly to photographing beautiful women ''because I learned early on it was lot more fun to be sent to the Caribbean in the winter in New York and photograph women in bathing costumes, than it was to stay in the studio and shoot refrigerators or children''.

But he said he would not be focusing on Playboy -style pictures at Image Hong Kong '93.

''I worked for Playboy in the 1960s when it was very much more tame than it is now. People magazine is riskier today than Playboy was then,'' said O'Rourke.

''I'll be talking about lighting and attitude, the relationship with the subject, making them feel comfortable before the lens. I always wing it; try to relate it to the audience,'' he said.

''Some photographers have an ego thing and they won't talk about the lens or F-stops, but that's the kind of stuff people at these meetings want to hear.'' O'Rourke is not just a guest speaker at Image Hong Kong '93; along with fellow top photographer David Moore, he acted as an adviser to the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA) in organising the event.

''We suggested shoots and topics to be covered, and I got the American Society of Media Photographers involved,'' he said.

''People are always very interested in photo-journalism. It seems glamorous travelling all over the world, following world events.'' The junk trip shoot at sunset was Moore's idea, and it was he that made sure participants could be on the vessel, not just photographing it from the shore.

''Initially, the idea was to watch a junk sail up and down and have photographers take pictures from the harbour, but I wanted to get them on to the junk. That way, you can get close to people working the junk, and the rigging,'' he said.

''It makes it much more interesting.'' Both men said Hong Kong was an ideal place for a photographers' meeting.

''Hong Kong has always been a good place for photographers to shoot,'' said Moore.

''It's very lively, dramatic, and there's the mix of old and new which photographers like to hold on to.'' O'Rourke said Image Hong Kong '93 was one of the most enjoyable and best-planned seminars with which he had been involved.

''The guest photographers spend a big part of the time with the participants, going on shoots with them; eating dinner with them,'' he said.

''There's a lot of communication, and it's a lot of fun.'' O'Rourke, who is well-known as a commercial photographer, said he now spent more of his time directing commercials.

''It involves the same sort of principles as still photography in advertising, but it is more complicated because it involves a crew and technicians and cast, and you can't just go off on your own and do it,'' he said.

''I specialise in lingerie and gambling casinos. It's a strange mix, but it just happened that way. We've just done one for the Sands hotel with Frank Sinatra.''