For this assignment I chose to develop exercise 4.4 using a mixture of objects to try to show texture and form. I had looked at the work of Edward Weston who had used a similar subject and had , I believe, used a light source to light them in his studio. I also looked at the images taken by Imogen Cunningham however I felt that these used natural light rather than a directed light source.
I initially set up the background using both black and white card however I soon preferred the high contrast look against the background . I set up one porta-flash light set as a continuous light to the left and had an additional porta-flash continuous light set above should I require additional lighting to show the form and texture.
As a contrast to this set up I also set up both a light box and a scanner.
I photographed a variety of subjects against the black card , the light box and the scanner. I liked the way the light shone through the objects on the light box and how the scanner flattened them.
I set my camera on a tripod in manual mode to control the black and whites in the image and to obtain the high contrast look that I was trying to achieve, showing texture and form. I had two lens, an 18-300mm Zoom lens and a macro lens. The macro lens was too heavy for my tripod so the images were not as sharp as I had to hold it, a better tripod might be needed for this lens. I wanted to ensure that the images were sharp so I kept the f-stop high , between 18 and 22 and slowed the shutter speed to increase light.
I was pleased with the resulting images and felt I had managed to capture the textures and forms as I had intended. The images do have an essence of Edward Weston however I did use some creativity to experiment with this further. I experimented with the light sources to change the effect on the object, the light box provided some interesting images, especially where the light shone through the shells to highlight their colour. The light box drew your attention to the colour and patterns on the object. The scanner had a different effect again, it flattened the objects so the shadows which show form are not visible, your attention is then drawn to the texture. The raw egg without its shell looks like a pearl under the scanner which I found beautiful.
Using my various lighting set-ups I was able to capture:
- Form and shape using the continuous light units
- Pattern and colour using the light box
- Texture using the scanner
My final selection of images use this combination of sources to capture form, shape, texture and pattern.
I thought at the beginning of this assignment that I would present my images in monochrome, Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham’s images used monochrome and although this was ‘of its time’ I thought that it draw attention to the texture and detail. I ordered my final selection in both monochrome and colour and I was surprised to find that whilst I do love the monochrome the colour adds another dimension. Without the colour it is impossible for the viewer to see the light shine through the shell displaying its magnificent colours or the pearl effect that the scanner revealed in the shell-less egg.
The continuous unfiltered light to the left of this image gave a high contrast with the black background to highlight the pointed spiral of this shell. Casting shadows against itself to reveal its form. The detail in the rings of the shell look almost like layers in a rock face or rings in a tree.
The same shell taken placed on top of an artists light box meant that the light shined through the shell transforming it from its hard, dinosaur type texture to something almost magical as the light shows the smooth curve of its interior and the lines lit to show their golden hue.
This beautiful majestic lily with the continuous unfiltered light cast from the front left reveals the form of each of its five petals and their tongue like texture. Water droplets sit on its surface and the stamens reach out towards us, these are silhouetted on the right hand petals.
The same lily is no longer beautiful or majestic as the scanner light renders it flat and spider-like. The stem is revealed and appears strong but the petals which usually hold its allure are weak and lifeless. It looks trampled and forgotten.
The smooth surface of the egg is lit again from a continuous light on the left, it shows the texture alongside the speckled surface and appears like a moon at night.
The same egg, raw and devoid of its shell , scanned to reveal its membrane and a little of the yolk that hides within. The scanner light has turned this simple egg into an almost pearl like iridescent egg.
This rose is again lit with a continuous light from the left, It reveals petals to look like crumpled tissue paper, uneven and mottled but with such a vibrant colour.
The same rose taken using the light from a scanner, it appears broken and fragile, its colour now slightly more insipid. It appears pathetic yet the detail of the stamens and leaves are revealed. It feels clinical in this light, like the subject of an autopsy.
A clam shell with its two halves are revealed by the continuous light to the left, the lines and ridges in its form converging to what appears mouth like, I can feel its shape and the twist of it ‘mouth’, Strangely it reminds me of a mouth without dentures? the gums butting together, no longer quite meeting, a space where the teeth should be!
The same shell sat on the artists light box and lit from underneath reveals the ridges and knuckle-like, bony structure. It also reveals the beautiful golden colours of the shell.