Behind the Lens - A chat with Don Brice


What drew you to photography as a career?

I’ve always been fascinated by the media be it photography, news, television or radio. I love the way photography can tell a story without words. I’m also an insatiably curious person, and it’s great that commercial photography is a ticket into so many interesting aspects of the world.

You’ve been an extended part of the Two Hands family since the early days – how did you and Michael begin your journey working together?

I met Michael at a dinner party before Two Hands was started. He’d seen the Polaroid Transfer style that we use on the Picture Series and asked me to photograph his next few labels. We went on to photograph the new Two Hands Wines website and over the years have built a consistent visual style that helps tell the Two Hands story.

What has been your favourite Two Hands moment?

There have been too many great times to call, which is why I love my job. Some are related to the photography itself, such capturing the perfect sunrise or flying low over the vines by helicopter. But since wine is a huge hobby for me too, it’s just fun to be there in the vineyard or winery, hanging with wine people as the next Two Hands Vintage comes together.

You use really interesting techniques on the Picture Series labels, not to mention the characters on the labels – Can you explain your and Michael’s creative process?

The Picture Series wines have always had quirky names with a sense of fun.When Michael puts forward a new name we toss around some ideas for photos – usually over lunch in Chinatown – and then we see what happens.

Most labels have been made with large format Polaroid film, which is separated and squeezed into soft art paper in a process called a Polaroid Transfer. This is why the edges are smudged and the photo is imperfect. The film is almost impossible to get now, and some of the recent ones I’ve had to recreate digitally.

The images on our Single Vineyard Labels are so unique – can you share how you create them?

The Single Vineyard labels have been photographed almost exclusively on 50 year old plastic toy cameras called the “Diana”. In the 90’s I used to find them in Op shops and at garage sales. I started shooting art projects, playing with the fact that the poor quality plastic lens delivered relatively simple blurry shapes instead of crisp photographic detail. The Single Vineyard labels are so small that any fine details in a photo would be difficult to see. So I used the Diana to blur away the details and relied instead on strong shapes and dark silhouettes to give the photos impact. Fortunately for the Diana its film type was the same used in leading professional film cameras such as the Hasselblad, so in the otherwise digital age I can still find film to fit. I hand process the film in my darkroom and then scan the negatives, before they’re turned into the labels used on the bottles.

To see more of Don’s amazing work visit www.donbrice.com or follow him on instagram at @snappydon


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