Beer, design and industrial lines

by James Cannon


James Cannon caught our attention with his striking series of photographs of Beavertown brewery — we loved the harmonious lines, toned down palette, focus on design and intimate vignettes of people at work.

What inspires you?
Real life moments and emotions, capturing live action and communicating an emotion or feeling within the work. Colour, shape, emotion, beauty. Usually I would shoot sport and active lifestyle projects that tell a story. I love how a sport brings people of all backgrounds together. Taking the core values of good visual storytelling, I would bring this to each commission and project. 

Was it a personal or commissioned project?
A commissioned project of the back of some personal work with the amazing Bamboo Bicycle Club!

Where have your images been displayed?
In weekend and monthly magazines, commercials and alongside charity projects. 

What made you pick breweries as a subject matter? Any relevance to design?
Because who doesn’t love beer? 😀 Breweries specifically because of my love for a clean, clinical and graphic aesthetic away from my commercial work. I think most photographers I know have a fascination with airports, planes, that beauty of design for fast cars, engines and robots, that with the stunning architecture, it all informs the way we see the world.

What were the differences from one brewery to another?
The scale and expense of machinery was the major difference. Craft brewing can be a process originating from your home kitchen but to sell more commercially the operation has to be scaled up.

What was the most fascinating part of the beer production, any quirky stories?
Day to day it’s very much a work hard play hard attitude. There’s a natural camaraderie between the workers and of course the tasting continues throughout the day. What was interesting is just how flexible a process the manufacturing can be from batch to batch. Brewers would have a chance to work with companies to produce a variation on their standard line of beer to tweak the recipe by changing the grain/wheat or adding stronger elements to adjust the taste towards a the desire of a brand, a new menu or a limited edition taste crafted for the client. 

Did you go into the brewery with a particular narrative in mind or to simply capture moments and the process involved?
I think the best approach when shooting in a working environment is to keep an open mind, to work around what you have and to shoot in a natural way to get in keeping with the surroundings. It’s a shoot about the brewery and shooting it in its most appropriate way. Documentary and natural storytelling takes time and considered framing to get right and realising what it is you love about a new environment is key to enhancing those attributes in a still frame. 


Chris Jeeves
Bitchin’ Kitchen in house beer enthusiast