Collecting Concept Research

Having reconceptualising my second assignment after visiting the Imperial War Museum North I have starting looking into how museums go about photographing their collections. Intend on replicating these looks but with my own interpretation.

So far far I have come across a few websites that outline the basics of their process. I have found that it is a fairly straight forward setup and execution that is used with emphasis on the isolation, detail and accurate colour rendition of the objects. I find, that whilst this is the most appropriate use of photography in this setting, for me, it is too cold for the collection I would like to build. Below are some examples taken from that illustrate the approach taken.

1. I find I prefer the look of the black background as I feel it adds a little richness to the object, possibly this is more due to the subject matter itself which wouldn’t be represented well against a white background being a cream object.

2. The white back ground is very clinical but does a good job of reducing the impact of the glass jar and allowing its contents to shine through.

3. Finally I find the use of mixed background with the bowl to be distracting and the shadows cast are reducing the ability to see inside the pot and also the end of the pot. For me, I would have preferred a less drastic shift in the background with some bounce light to reduce the heaviness of the shadows. I do like the use of directional light the highlight the embossed nature of the surface.

One other site published the following video;

This is a beginners guide to shooting for a museum environment, I found it very useful to see the equipment in use and the standards that the photographer works to setting the size, colour and weight details into certain images to catalogue items for inventory.

I actually found in this video the look I want to achieve.

I found the use of scale bars and weight scales reminiscent of crime scenes. The way evidence is documented for inventory and future reference gives the stock image a sense of context which is quite open to interpretation.

The capturing of hands within the image gloved in blue latex also lends weight to the image.

I really like the idea of replicating this technique and idea with the objects discussed in my previous post.

I have decided that this will be the route I take for this particular assignment. My next step will be acquiring the scale bar, weight scales, latex gloves and lighting equipment needed to achieve the look. I intend on shooting several test images before moving on to the drop in centre of Coffee4Craig to shoot the real items provided.

I also intend on following this assignment up with another series linking back to this one. The use of light in portraits is important to the interpretation of the images and I feel I can make good use of the same equipment to explore this concept as a third part to the overall series.

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