• Andy Whysall

Not quite final images

Updated: Oct 23, 2019

See the previous post for the concept and later images heading towards my degree show, but I think it's fair to say that I now have something close to the final images that will be going on the wall. I showed you the four images of slender bits of nothingness, as printed photos are, held upright in coloured bulldog-type clips (that gave a little splash of colour on the otherwise black background). But our practice tutor Alice Myers wondered how the upright photos would look without any obvious support. So that was all day yesterday:




The series is called Joyce had never been abroad before. I have to say I'm torn on which version to go with. I do like the apparent magic in this set, with the prints standing up with no obvious help, but the splashes of colour lent by the bulldog clips were interesting. Also I wonder if using the clips as stands illustrates the photographs more accurately, in that all photographs need something (us) to bolster their very existence - no human as photographer, no photograph; no viewer, no point in there being a photograph.


As per the hanging plan, the final work will be printed 1000x800mm and dibonded for rigidity (glued onto a sandwich of polyurethane and two layers of aluminium, only 3mm thick but very rigid).


It occurred to me somebody might be interested in seeing how they were photographed. On my big desk (see the footnote for the kind of thing the big desk is often used for) I built a still-life 'studio' from A1 foam board, and I have sheets of A1 mounting board and thin card in black and white and various greys and blues for backgrounds. Two wireless electronic flashes, sometimes a tungsten lamp as well, and judicious use of reflectors and other light modifiers too, such as soft boxes and umbrellas, hopefully, get the desired effect. Here's the terribly untidy set-up, just using the catch-light cards built into the flashes for downward light:



A good flash meter is a wonderful thing for this kind of work, but a good one can also be expensive, even second hand. Astonishingly, you might be lucky enough to find the once very expensive Gossen Variosix F for less than a hundred pounds these days; I've been using mine for three years and I can't imagine how I lived without it.


If you're wondering how I got the photos to stand up by themselves (you have probably guessed already) it's simply dress-maker's pins which were edited out afterwards.


What is quite apparent is how using the smallest apertures, while giving the necessary depth of field at relatively close distances, can also degrade the image. The shots with the shredded photos, made at f22 with a wide angle lens, show distinctly softened fine detail compared to f11 because of the diffraction caused by the tiny aperture opening. I have never noticed it quite like this before. I'll reshoot again this weekend with another lens and see if it can be reduced.

Footnote

The stuff that usually gets made on the big desk usually amounts to things like this:


The frigate (Unicorn, Lyme class, British, about 1760) took six years to build on and off, and H.M.S. Hood's steam launch was a three-month project over winter 2015-16. The soprano rebec in lacewood, pine and walnut and care of the Early Music Shop, was made to give a hands-on aspect to the early musical instruments exhibited at Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. You can go there and play it. I get the impression that using the desk for projects that make less sawdust is more popular in the house. But a big sailing frigate is waiting to be resumed...I'll try to finish it before I qualify for my bus pass.

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