Some time back I put together a small, pop up studio set for me to practise still life techniques with. It was assembled, after a little bit of pondering, from an old computer table with wheels, three lengths of steel framing and an old projector screen. My idea was to create an infinity background and as the table was mobile I could quickly pull it into use by a south facing window and use natural daylight with a couple of reflector surfaces to add or remove any shadows. I added to it a daylight balanced lamp, a gift from a fellow photographer friend ( thank you Shaun ). For all its compact size it is a very useful set up and I can pull it into action very quickly when something catches my eye and I think that there is an image in there waiting to be made. The three tomatoes heading this post were bought by me for a salad, they came from a market I like in Southport on the Lancashire coast. as well as being very tasty they had pleasing plum shape so before dining I set them up and took the shots and then enjoyed eating them before review the images. There was only a little work needed to balance things up on the levels and I have another image for the files ready to find a home.
One attraction of the studio is the sheer flexibility of the subjects I can photograph on it. The above teeth casts are from an expensive visit to the dentist so I thought I would put them to use and make a couple of images out of them. Again I can bring the set into use in a few moments and have an image done very quickly if needed or I can spend time trying out various settings in order to maximise the impact of whatever subject I have in front of me.
This image is being worked on as the basis for a poster series I want to put together, again when an item come to hand I can make an image very efficiently as I get more familiar with getting the best out of the set. Overcast days are good for that lovely, diffuse light, so I can be working indoors when the skies are less that satisfactory for the landscape photography which I also produce. An odd drawback is that my house is now slowly filling up with items and ephemera as I find more objects to make use of.
One example is this tin of sardines, my eye was caught by the label, which I still have even thought I ate the fish some time ago. My ‘props’ box is getting fuller
I found these labels on a shopping centre floor, I was attracted by the distressed condition, so they are now in the box along with the teeth, sardine can label and about another hundred objects that range from a small brass coffee mill to the pieces of a dried flower arrangement rescued from a charity shop. Basically something catches my eye and next is in the studio.
Borrowed for a few moments, a pair of Converse All Stars, also in the poster pipeline along with the riding boots. I prefer to have the image and then work with it to produce the final work rather than have an idea and then have to collate and collect images after.
A pair of my boots, this image has been used as a poster at a friend’s request, a lucky coincidence as I only took it as a practise run shortly after completing the set.
So thats a small backlot tour around my studio, it’s a great place to work when the rain is coming down outside or I find yet another object, piece of junk etc that fascinates me enough to take it’s photo.