‘Secret Box’ Single Object Photo Shoot

Following my previous shoot photographing a variety of objects, I found this approach quite challenging as I was uncertain of how the objects I was using could form a connection between each other.  I was also uncertain of how I could produce a narrative between different objects and so I have now moved forward to practice single object photography.

For this phase of this project, I decided to draw attention to something more specific and basic that is placed in a simplistic exterior environment.  I chose to photograph a velvet coloured box; I find this type of object symbolises importance in the keeping of personal and private belongings.  In the interior home environment, one tends to keep special items in a private, discreet place in which this can usually be a bedside draw or a box at the back of a wardrobe.  These types of objects where we keep private or secret things are only seen by the the individual who keeps them, perhaps with allowances to other close friends or family.  My intention is to ‘expand’ on the viewers imagination of what might lie inside the box.  I also intend to emphasise on the idea that even when the box is presented in an empty space where there is no one, it is still a vulnerable object.  Who knows what may be inside it? We can only imagine.

 

Unedited Images

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Post Production

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During the editing process, I firstly cropped the images to make them all equal as square wide landscapes.  I chose to have the images this way as I wanted to take advantage of the grass space as much as possible as this was a central factor in maintaining the contrasting element seen between the object and the surroundings.

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 13.11.13

I also adjusted the tonal value of the space.  As the object and the surroundings appear very different in colour, I chose to enhance this further by using the curves tool.

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As the photographs were taken during the last ‘golden’ hours of the day at sunset, the images did appear quite yellow and so I decreased this using the colour balance and adding more cyan/blue hues to the image.

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 13.33.13

As well as making lighting and contrast adjustments, I used the spot healing tool to eliminate any unwanted litter seen in the grass such as leaves.  I also increase the vibrance  slightly to bring out the colours more and this successfully brought the images to life.

Outcomes

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fig 1

This first image sees the box object placed in the centre of the image.  I find this image is perhaps the most successful as the composition is simple and the colour adjustments made are just right.  Here I intended to show the object and the landscape in their purest colour and definition.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fig 2

This image experiments more with the lighting and reflective aspects of the scene.  I moved the box to a position where reflective evening light could bounce off one side.  Here my intention was to intensify the display of the box’s surface and play more with contrast and creating shadows.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fig 3

This image sees the box in the centre once again.  My intention here was to experiment with creating an effective silhouette but also maintaining some colour of the subject matter present.  I find this image gives a more daring approach as shadow is introduced more so than colour, however I find this works well as the object is gives a major presence in the image.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fig 4

This image gives a side view perspective of the subject matter and once again is experimental with reflective lighting.  Here my intention was to experiment further in composition by placing the object in a different area and at a different angle in the space.  I find this image may be slightly too reflective, however, I find it gives a strong sense of distance as the object sits in the foreground.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Fig 5

This image gives basic focus on the box alone, observing detail and shape more closely.  I intended to photograph the object on a more personal level to give the viewer more visual information.  Here I also intend for the viewer to feel as if they are close to opening the box as throughout the series, it is always shut.  I also experimented with photographing the box with the lid open, however, I dismissed this objective as I felt this would take away the mysterious element of not knowing what lies within the box.

Conclusion

I found this shoot has brought about further potential ideas in photographing single objects and I find this practice has been successful in bringing across a narrative structure.  When I first began shooting, I found specifying an area of interest in my location quite challenging.  I firstly began to photograph the box against a woodland backdrop, however I feel this did not work very well as a supporting landscape as it appeared quite isolated and aspects in the background such as trees were too distracting.  I decided to experiment with photographing in a more open space and this worked more effectively as this brought a straight forward focus on the box and a clear, plain space.

I found shooting in the ‘golden hour’ quite rewarding as this encouraged me to bring focus on lighting in extension to the subject matter.  I found experimenting with photographing the subject matter as a silhouette, close up and at low and high perspectives very fulfilling as the vastness of the field space gave me opportunity to photograph from different viewpoints with easy access.  For future experimentation, I intend to approach this again in earlier daylight hours, perhaps using a different coloured box.

This conceptual idea can potentially be further developed by using various coloured boxes to create a series.  Another potential concept idea I may also investigate could involve photographing a box object in the hands of an individual.   Other ideas I would like to experiment with includes placing a box on a mirror and placing these items outside so that the sky reflects down onto the mirrors surface to create a surreal landscape image.

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