Shooting "Point Blank" - High Resolution Gun Photography

Shooting "Point Blank" - High Resolution Gun Photography

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to stare down the barrel of a gun? Well Toronto-based photographer Peter Andrew teamed up with art directors Simon Duffy and Derek Blais to show us. The series, “Point Blank”, features iconic handguns in high-resolution "portraits", some of which are printed as large as 4×8 feet. In order to achieve the incredible detailing in these shots Peter used one light, a Nikon D800E and a 100mm macro lens to shoot as many as 20 frames per portrait. Focusing on each part individually and then combining them in post production allowed for a high depth-of-field but with 36+ megapixels, Peter was working with files as large as a gigabyte. With only five prints of each gun being made they range in price from $3,600 for 5 feet long and $5,000 for 8 feet long.

handgun-firearm-pistol-fstoppers-peter-andrew-photography-Peter's work featured in Bruce McDonald's new movie "The Husband".



“Guns have a massive amount of power associated with them. They are designed to kill. We decided to photograph portraits of them in a similar way you might photograph a powerful person. Like powerful people, pistols have this “perfect” quality that we wanted to explore.”


Desert Eagle

“As we started shooting them, we could see flaws in their design. Metal burring around the barrels, scratches in the metal. This imperfection and detail were very interesting to us; connecting us back to these images as portraits.”



“We also loved the impossible perspective these portraits provided. Typically, when you see a gun at this range and perspective it’s usually seconds before the pistol is fired. This makes it very hard to examine at point blank range. As the viewer, you want to lean in and see the detail; but at the same time it’s very uneasy to be as close as you are to the barrel of a gun.”


Smith & Wesson

“We’ve thought a lot about the politics and here’s how I put it. I think that guns are safe if they are used by safe people and dangerous if use by dangerous people.”



“I’m not saying guns are good or bad in this project. What I am saying is that guns can be interesting to look at from a technical and visual perspective.”


Smith & Wesson

It's always good to ask an artist for permission before posting their works but even more so when they have access to this many firearms. So I contacted Peter for permission and a few quick questions, in hopes of getting to know him a little better.

1) How did you get started in photography / what was your first paid gig?

“I started by assisting. My first real gig was a food shoot for Molson-Coors.”

2) If a unicorn were to magically remove cameras from your hands, forever, what would you want to replace them with (the cameras not your hands)?

“Probably a Milwaukee Sawzall.” (huh?)

3) If you were trapped in a pit full of ravenous chinchillas what would you want your last meal to be?


4) Do you have any amazingly must see projects in the works?

“As always I'm working on my highway series. Also, I'm working on a project on the Air Jordan chronology.”

Peter and his crew have more models in the works and have aspirations for a book of the series. So if you want to be kept up to date on this or any of Peter's other projects be sure to like him on Peter Andrew's Facebook page or follow him on Twitter @lusztyk.

order point blank prints

via [Point Blank]

Kenn Tam's picture

Been holding this damn camera in my hand since 1991.
Toronto / New York City

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until the next US school massacer..... american gun wackos... you have to love em.

I would say that this has almost nothing to do with the gun itself, but the literal objectification of the subject. This kind of macro photography works incredibly well with everything from flatware, to hardware, to garbage.

so why guns?

I couldn't answer for the artist, but guns have a lot of emotional/political baggage with them. By objectifying them (enlarge them so much, put them out of context on a white background), it distances the emotional response and requires the viewer to look at the object as an object in detail.

Admittedly, what I should have said was that this has almost nothing to do with the love of guns.

+ ∞

Why not guns? It's not illegal or immoral or tasteless, it doesn't seem like there should have to be a larger reason.

i use to be of the opinion that guns were something evil by themselves and was "afraid" to own one or be around one. But after a close encounter with an ex-convict at my home, i braved up and purchased one. It took me a while to feel comfortable having it, but soon realized it was just a tool that can be handled safely and securely.... and it brought me peace of mind that if an encounter would happen again, i had at least a half a chance of protecting me and my wife. I've had many guns since, i live in the country now where it takes the Sheriff department 45-60 minutes to reach my house when called, and have done that on a couple occasions..... if guns are not effective at stopping a would be assailant, then why do our law enforcement carry them. They are no different than you or i........ if the guards at the navy installation had been armed, then they would have had to opportunity to stop the slaughter.... you cannot legislate guns out of existence or keep them from coming over our borders by or for people of ill will..... its a right we have as citizens, and if you've never felt the comfort of knowing you have a weapon in your possession that will give you the power to maybe not only save yourself, but the lives of your wife and family.....then you are missing out on something very special....

I was warned that the next massacre will be with the most used weapon for murder, the hammer. We should ban those quick, yes?

most used weapon for murder may be the hammer, but it's damn hard to kill off dozens of people with a hammer in a few seconds. an AR15 with a beta mag makes short work of that. the reason that people call for tighter gun restrictions is not to eliminate death by firearms, it's to eliminate mass shootings. one person killing another will never be avoidable, it's the one person killing many that is.

The idea that one person killing many is avoidable is a false notion, to say the least. Weather its by guns, explosives, or some other means.

Criminals will find a way to get there hands on these implementations, weather they are legal or not. Thats the thing about criminals, they don't follow laws.

The idea behind it being that you can purchase an AR15, mini 14, shotgun, etc, at walmart. you can't buy C4 at walmart. people still get their hands on weapons such as M249s because if you're really want it, you can get whatever you want. what sensible gun control advocates are trying to avoid is the everyday person being able to buy off the shelf weapons with little to no effort that have little purpose other than massive damage (ie, you're not going to hunt deer using a semi-auto rifle with a 60+ round magazine)

You mean to say that the disgruntled youth that go about mass murdering their school mates would easily be able to get their hands on guns if the rights to arms yourself and the mass retail availability was not there?
Coming from a country where a gun owner is required to undergo a fairly rigorous licensing process in order to be allowed to obtain a gun, I beg to differ with your comment. What you will find is that because of the lack of availability, that only those that are really well connected would ever have the means to get one. Yes they could if they choose go to the hardware and pick up a hammer but the fact of the mater is that not only is it harder to kill one person let alone multiple people with a close quarter weapon, it is also a hell of a lot more personal striking someone down in close proximity than it is to stand meters away and pull a trigger, therefore it is less likely that the perp's would do it.

Here's some reading for those who think gun laws aren't effective...

Soooo we shouldn't bother with making it harder for them to get semi-auto or full auto guns right?

Same goes for nuclear weapons. Terrorist will get their hands on it if they want it enough so we might as well have them at Walmart....

Bullshit argument, you can do better.

how do you make it harder to get full auto guns?

The problem is that once you place any sort of arbitrary restrictions on the specifics of a firearm, it becomes extremely easy for radical activist judges to take away the rest of our rights piece by piece, citing judicial precedent as justification.

Anti-gun fear-mongers like Bloomberg and Feinstein can't seem to wrap their very small minds around the fact that there's no correlation between reducing the freedoms of the general population and the behavior of a literal crazy person.

It sounds counter-intuitive to the uneducated or ignorant mind, but the best answer is actually to make it easier for mentally stable, law-abiding citizens to purchase and carry firearms in the daily lives. In every mass shooting we've seen in the last 5 years, the perp was aided by the fact that there was a shortage of people who could apply appropriate counter-force.

PS. Cool pictures. (insert eye-roll at anti-gun trolls here)

HAHAHAHAHA... you seem to be very misinformed or blind.

No point arguing with people who have that kind of biased belief system...

Keep it up with your freedom. When you're tired of having your kids geting shot at in your school, move over here. e got space and it's quiet...


Where people is most killed by american guns ? US or Irak and other happy countries ?

so, the usa army should carry hammers right? would you prefer to confront a man with a AK47 or with a hammer? I guess you are very christian and republican... jajajajajaja

idiot, tell that the casulties in DC today.. you stupid moron.

Crazy libtards...gotta love em... -____-

As Ulfson is a Norwegian name, one may be reminded of 22 July 2011?

Norwegian Gun wackos, gotta love em...

The photographic subject of the Gun as Art is a wonderful interpretation and beautifully executed above... and I own a Beretta, too.

Let's photograph guns! ZzZZZz...

Guns are beautifully crafted instruments, a pleasure to hold and to use. Unfortunately they get into the wrong hands.

They amaze me! I don't own neither want to, but the precision and engineering that goes in it has to be acknowledged.

I think this is where the artist wanted to go with this.

I really like this perspective of the guns themselves. Anyone who knows about guns and gun safety, know not to point them at yourself or others. It is cool looking down the business end without feeling slightly nervous.

The point of these pieces might have actually been to make the viewer slightly nervous. Because they are pointed directly at the viewer, the muzzle will seem to follow you around the room, always pointing at you.

Alcohol kills many people with accidents, liver decease, related cancers and ruins the lives of individuals and the families of those who abuse and we are quicker to applaud the artistry of a glass of beer than point out the controversies. Why should we treat photos of cold steel different unless we hold double standards?

shootings in washington DC.... america is such a great nation.... not!

why are my replies being censored by this page/admins? I'd like to know what it is I have done? Is it because I am black and have an opinion? Or is it because I am muslim?

Let's get the discussion back to the photos.......pretty sweet, although, a D800e isn't really ESSENTIAL to getting shots like is one i shot on my desk with a D7000 at iso 1000 with an on camera flash (bounced), and a 55 3.5 macro...5 shots stacked in PS CS5...Then i up-rezzed the file to 60" wide @ 300dpi.....this is viewing the actual print size, which you would then view from over 3' away.......which looks amazing....never mind from across the room....excuse my terrible pen tool clipping, this took me all of 5 minutes total....

Curious what people actually think about the lighting vs. all the anti-gun comments from non-US citizens who think it's magically easy to get fully auto (one pull, lots of bullets) stuff in the US (hint: it's not...look up "NFA permit" and look up all the convoluted rules that vary *per city* in the US).

I'm not sure I would have used a one light setup and might have done a rim lit low-key setup instead. The amount of engineering it takes to build these is pretty amazing...though beaten easily by the insides of mechanical watches like the one that Rafa Nadal has on his wrist that was designed to survive his racquet speed...

Well, it's not really a "one-light" setup. The article mentions that up to 20 exposures were taken and combined in post. This allows the artist to light just part of the subject perfectly then move on to the next part and light that perfectly as well.

the 20 exposures they're talking about aren't separately lit exposures, they're 20 different shots, all focused at different figure that a gun is 8" long or to shoot one head on, you need a LOT of DOF...which isn't possible with just one shot, if you want to get all the detail by being as close as you focus on the muzzle (closest part to the camera), then focus back a little, shoot, then focus back further, then shoot, and repeat that like 20 times.....then you stack them all up in PS and blend the layers together...

More than likely it is just one light he's using, MAYBE 2....i'm thinking a softbox directly over head, shot on a white background/base...The shot of the D300 that i posted above is with one light, bounced straight upwards (basically the same as a big softbox over head...) The lighting is pretty much identical.

That Dessert Eagle sounds delicious.

Damn it! I specifically told myself not to make that mistake and then I did. Thanks for the catch Christopher.

Eagle, my favourite dessert.

To put the images more in a sensible context I'd add graphic images of gun victims just next to them. So you see the "tool" and its impact on the subject.