Sorry but today’s post is brief. The candle has been lit at both ends this week getting a paper done and that took priority over everything else.
I missed sharing this image last week and I quite like the black background. Once this paper is dispatched, I should have time to get some lights set up to work inside and that will give me more flexibility (and air conditioning).
The work is at a point where I can start on the series of abstract macro images. The previous posts give an idea of what I’m looking at doing but I may get even closer. The only problem with that is minimum working distances get smaller and lighting is more tricky. The title image this week was very close up and will need more light when it comes to the final image. That light needs to be soft enough to reduce hard shadows but bright enough to allow a smaller aperture and get a sharper result.
The second series of images is proving to be more difficult. What I saw was each tool being held to add a human element. My hands lack the necessary character to complement the weathering and rust but they are what I have to work with so I have a couple of ideas to try out. First will be to get them pretty dirty, the second will involve an in camera double exposure. Sure, I could do two images and merge them in post. I may still go down that road if it leads to a better result.
These images are of another item I recovered when I was cleaning up. I found this old file on a window ledge where perhaps it had been misplaced years ago and left to the elements.
Like the previous update, these images are just for reference right now, all I’m doing is placing the items on an outdoor table, using available light and noting what I want to revisit later. I still need to look at lighting to bring out the colour and texture. I’m also thinking about backgrounds that contrast or compliment the object. Then there is composition. So far the focus is on macro but there is scope for other approaches.
As I spend time with these objects the engagement is taking place on two levels. There is the detached observation competing with the personal recollection of my father using these tools. Deciding how to incorporate that connection as part of the context of the final images is probably the greater challenge.
Following on from last week I wanted to share one image. At this point I am spending a lot of time just looking at these objects to work out what their potential is but I also made some images as visual notes and this one stood out.
Last week, there was an image of a pair of handles for a spade and shovel. This is the same pair of tools but shows the edge of the spade with the shovel as background.
Anything that is worn down has a story behind that wear.
The physical appearance may simply be the natural actions of time or exposure to the elements but then there is a story about that object or place before the years of repeated use, the rust and the rot changed it.
The idea for this project began in my parents backyard during a cleanup. I came across tools and other objects that had seen better days. A shovel my father had used for decades to tend his vegetable patch. The remains of an old clay pipe half buried in a garden bed. A small hand fork with the tines worn down to almost nothing.
At one point these were all useful things and they were valued and looked after. It was difficult to see them like this, knowing my father was not here to clean, oil or sharpen them. He was loath to throw away things that could be repaired or repurposed. Many of the things he built used recycled timber and nails that had been straightened after being bent on a previous job.
This is a different world. The mass-produced object has little value and is discarded and replaced without a second thought. It may not even have been worn or broken, just obsolete.
Restoring any of these objects was at best impractical but they had value to me as a physical connection to my father and I wanted to retain that somehow. My thoughts turned to what other purpose they could be put to but even that was limited.
The idea of photographing them should have been obvious.