Sunday, January 20, 2008

I took 2 photos and then my camera broke...

I took these photos today of a piece I've been working on for several years - I showed a version of it last spring at the library's recycled art show (there's going to be another one this year). I find this a particularly hard piece to photograph, because it's a bunch of grape stems and a bird mummy hanging in space, and the space in between the objects is very important to the piece. But of course photos inevitably flatten all that space out, and you lose any sense of depth the piece has. I've been calling it Nest, but I feel that's still a working title, since the piece keeps evolving.

So, since my first goal this year is to have good j-pegs of more of my work - especially of this piece - to send out for applying to shows, I took the opportunity of Leon's nap to move the kitchen table, hang the frame from our dining area chandelier-thing (the best place to take photos against a white wall in our apartment), and put the stems and bird back up to photograph. I've recently brought some clip lights back from my old studio, so I was hoping I might finally have enough light to catch the depth and detail.

















Unfortunately, I'd only gotten two shots when my camera, which has literally been coming apart at the seams for over 6 months, suddenly seemed to come apart entirely. The housing, which is missing most of its screws, popped open even more than normal, causing the shutter button to appear permanently depressed. I wiggled the casing around until it popped back on, but the shutter button still doesn't look like it's seated correctly, and now every time I depress it to take a picture, the camera turns itself off. Not good - I think this may be a terminal problem. The camera is a Canon Powershot S30, and was a Christmas present from my husband 6 years ago, so I doubt that I can find anyone to fix it for me. Not that I won't try, but I don't have high hopes.

5 comments:

Bobbie said...

That's a shame about your camera, but six years is a pretty good run for a piece of electronics like that...but I know that doesn't make coughing up the money for a new one any easier.

About photographing this piece (and I know nothing about submitting materials for shows), I wonder if really exploiting depth of field in the photograph would give the viewer a better sense of the space around the different elements? But then again, it might be inappropriate to provide photos where elements are intentionally out of focus, especially if you can only submit one photo of a work. Just a thought.

I'm really enjoying your blog. I don't know much of anything about installation art, but I've always been drawn to work (whether art or craft) that re-uses materials in unexpected ways. Cool stuff.

alex said...

Bobbie, can you say more about depth of field? I'd need a camera that could use different lenses, right? I've had my daydreams set on a Canon EOS Rebel for a few years, mostly because the colors are really true (mine doesn't get blues right) and I'm pretty sure that one has lenses that can be changed out. Do you have any thoughts on the Canon Rebel, or other suggestions?

Bobbie said...

I don't know nothing 'bout digital SLRs. I don't know that you'd need different lenses (though a macro lens might help). Basically, with an old school SLR, you open the aperture wide to reduce depth of field. This gives you a faster shutter speed, but it means that, say, the mummy bird would be in focus, but the grape stems would not be--both in front of or behind. By closing the aperture down, you increase depth of field. You may be able to get a similar effect with a point-and-shoot, but I'd have to play with mine to figure out how. Really, though, being able to set the aperture is what lets you control depth of field. Different lenses have different apertures, but you can monkey around with depth on any lens.

(I've got a film Rebel and I like it, but I haven't used it in a while 'cause the shutter's sticking.)

Parsons said...

nice piece! despite your problems, i think the pic is pretty good. the bird looks like a bat- that was the first thing i thought of when I saw the first piece- the whole thing- grapes and mummy made me think of a bat, or other magical flying creature.

Beth said...

This is great info to know.