NHT user David Bishop is a talented commercial photographer who’s been freelancing in the Bay Area of San Francisco for almost 30 years. Working out of his studio just south of Market Street, he resides about a half-mile south of Giants stadium, where on a good night he claims he can hear the team quietly sucking. As part of the extended ‘family’, he has been shooting with NHT for the last several years. Below, he chats with us about life, liberty and the pursuit of great sound (and pictures).
Q: How did you first get involved with photographing NHT products?
A: The first project was shooting their Xd speaker systems, and eventually I got involved in later product lines as they evolved. The most recent shot was of the M-00, those crazy cool pc hifi/pro speakers. We set up as an environmental still life with a very slick 20" Apple iMac, cool desktop speaker stands and a glass table. In the background are the windows of my studio.
Q: Tell us a bit about your style of work…
A: Many of my photos are of wine and food, and I also have an illustrative style that has nothing to do with either of the other two. The one thing all have in common is an intense focus on small details and intervals of space between products and their environment. For speakers and high tech photography the details are in the surfaces of the equipment; designers spend so much time fine-tuning the look of their gear that lighting is really critical to revealing all those exquisite relationships. Shooting wine and food is similar to a degree because designers do pretty much the same for the labels and capsules of their clients wines. Capturing those fine details like gold lettering and inlays, gloss and matte varnishes, embosses and debosses is critical. In addition, placing those bottles in an environment that's pleasing is also important; it's an extension of the kind of 'gesture' a wine makes, both on the shelf and in advertising.
Q: So which NHT’s do you use at home?
A: I’ve got a pair of Classic Absolute Zero's on either side of a Sony 42" LCD monitor for enhancing our home viewing. I run the pair through a Parasound ZAmp along with a couple of Cambridge subs. The Absolute Zero's really enhance dialog and are spectacular for projecting an acoustic depth into the living room. DasBoot was another movie entirely after I added the Zeros. We also use the Two’s in the music room (really the front living room) where my daughter and I play our instruments (violin/viola and guitar/piano). The 2's are sitting in built-in bookshelves powered by another Parasound ZAmp, tuner and pre-amp. Using an RCA mini cable we use iPods for most of our music listening, and my daughter uses it to rehearse pieces she's working on.
Q: So why NHT?
A: Well to be honest, when I was introduced to the product line they were far more interesting as visual objects, and my thinking at the time was that there wouldn't be much of a difference NHT's product and other high end speakers. As I've come to know the products better my ears have grown to appreciate the speakers. Living in well-heeled Marin County has given my ample opportunity to visit people with no constraints on their spending habits and a chance to hear very good home theatre systems. I've been impressed...but not that impressed. Although I'm a photographer that's embraced the high-tech digital lifestyle, I still live in a relatively intimate, analog world of acoustic instruments. NHT's have been a great non-intrusive compliment to that.