Friday, November 13, 2009

Pixietown Gothic

I always knew that if I hung around Museums for long enough, something interesting would happen. On the strength of my Gasworks Museum pictures, I recently picked up a little work shooting promotional material for the Otago Settlers Museum.

The first assignment was to show the brand new storage area, which is going to be open for the public to explore this weekend. My first thought was to try for a long perspective shot, showing rows of shelves stacked with miscellaneous exotica, something reminiscent of the closing scene from the first Indiana Jones movie. But then my eyes settled on Humpty.


Humpty and friends are part of the old Pixietown display. I've always found these things a little sinister myself. They're just a bit too lifelike for comfort and when the museum folks told me some of them had real human teeth, well that did it. I decided to try for something out of The Twilight Zone.


It took a while to play around with the mix of flashes and room lighting, and Humpty kept threatening to run away with the picture. After all, the shot is supposed to be about the space, so with that in mind, I slowly built my picture up, flash by flash.

Humpty-5 Humpty-2


My key was behind me and to the right. Some shots used a rim light behind Humpty and to the left - I even kept it in shot for a few frames. I like it, but think flash-in-shot is what HDR is to 2009, selective colour was to 2008, and what the starburst filter was to the 70's - stylish, but faddish. The soldier on the left needed a snooted flash all of his own, but the last addition really nailed it for me - a flash behind Humpty on the ground, setting up those rays of light on the floor.


Looking back, I'd have snooted my key a little to keep it off the floor and help those light rays a little, and gelled the floor flash to match the ambient fluoro lighting at the back of the room. But the client's happy, and after this little job, so am I. There are several more exhibits and events to shoot for the museum, requiring different approaches, so stay tuned.

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