A hare, a tangle and some barnacles

Last week, I came up with an idea to offer a free photography service to local businesses, artists and any other folk that were looking to get things photographed. The system was simple, send or drop off your items at my house, I'll photograph them, send you the photos and you can come and collect your items once done.

To my delight, I got a message through fairly quickly from local artist Clare Townley, who wanted to take advantage of my offer and give me some lovely baked goods (the cake was delicious, thank you!) in return.

I received a number of interesting items from Clare, which were:

  1. A hare head ring holder

  2. two rings - one copper and one bronze

  3. A ceramic sculpture

  4. Barnacle brooches and their packaging

I had complete freedom to photograph them in whatever way I chose and couldn't wait to get started.

Hare's head ring holder with jewellery box lid and bedsheet

I came up with lots of ideas about the colour of backdrops to use, additional props and materials to help style the pieces but quickly came to the realisation that I couldn't source any of these things whilst being isolated.

So, this was the time to get creative, to use what I already had in the house to do those photos justice and to bring to life the vision I had in my head. I spent my time collecting anything around the house that seemed useful or interesting; boards, fabric, little objects, vases, flowers, pieces of paper, books, plants and just about anything else you can think of. The place looked like a mess afterwards but thankfully I have very patient flatmates.

Ceramic sculpture set against white fabric backdrop

I then spent a lot of time placing objects together, moving things about, taking objects away to get a more minimal look, which is my preferred style and then deciding none of it worked and starting from scratching again. Often, I have an image in my head but I work best when testing things and getting the elements in front of me. After this, the shooting process is a bit like doing a bit of exercise, I start off with some warm up shots, which help me get into the rhythm of working til eventually I gain a bit of pace and get the great shots I'm looking for.

In the end, the hare's head image was made using a bedsheet and a little lid from a jewellery box, I placed the brooches on a coral coloured cushion we had and used various props to style the other photos you see. It quickly made me realise that whilst it can be useful to go out and buy additional props for shoots, sometimes it's not at all necessary. A make do and use what you have approach can be just as successful if not much more rewarding!

Head over to Instagram for more shots of Clare's work!

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 © 2020 Holly Wheeler

            Newcastle upon Tyne