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  • Writer's pictureGareth Partington

The Photography Bar Competition - Part Three

The final theme for "The Photography Bar Podcast" was released and his time you had to create a photo based around the theme of 'Time'. Now this one was a head scratcher for me, I instantly thought of an egg timer, a watch, waiting around for someone but none of these were filling me with inspiration. How could I create a compelling image about time, which also worked with the other photos I had made?

A big old brain storm

I was a bit stumped with this theme so I spent quite a lot of time trying to figure out where I could go with it. This is how my brain decided to take the project.

Time = passing of time = passing of life = death = life ticking away

With this little notion in my head I decide to go back to creating a still life and I needed to assemble some props in order to do so.

During lockdown I had painted a fake skull so this was going to be the centre piece of the photo but I needed more than just the skull. I remembered in the loft I had a collection of watches which use to belong to my grandad, there were a couple of pocket watches and wrist watches so these would work well. It still needed more and I was running out of time funnily enough, in which to get the photo created for the deadline. So I went back to my collection of old books and started to flick through the stories and pages. A line stood out to me which I thought could really help to a tell a story of the still life.

"We talk of the horrors of war and tremble at the blood-thirsty men who are its instigators, but we forget the slow and peaceful massacre which is going on amongst us"

The set up

Everything was now in place to begin the construction of the image so I set up a studio in my office and begin to construct the composition.

With the lighting this time I wanted to keep it very simple and had a single light source coming from camera left. I was trying to emulate the light in paintings when the artists used just window light. The shadows were a bit too harsh though so I used a reflector to camera right to add a little bit of fill light.

Focus stacking

As with all the other still life photos I had created I went back to the technique of focus stacking. This was the forth or fifth time I had done this and I was now getting use to the lengthy process needed to undergo to create the highly detailed photos. There were thirty nine photos needed to be put together to create the final image. In the shot above you can see me exporting the images from Capture One after the initial edit ready to be converted into a focus stack.

A little edit no one will notice

So when it came to editing the photo there was one problem and that was the title of the old book I was using to give some contact to the image, it was actually called "Physical Education Of Females" A strange titled book considering the content of the pages so I decided to alter the book to one of my own creation by taking some of the words in the chapter and editing them together.

You can see in the above image the words I took just before I painted out the original title and then blended in the new words to fit the page.

The final photo

This is the final and last entry into The Photography Bar Podcast competition.

I decided to give this image a cold tone in the colour grading to contrast with the warm tones of the food and drink still life I created at the start of the competition. I feel it worked well to convey the feeling of death and the passing of time.

I'm still in love with the detail created in a focus stack image. It's such good fun when you get it right and feels very satisfying. I know that no one who just sees the image on my website or on instagram will notice these little details , but when you see it in print it is just jaw dropping.

What would you do to show the theme of time? Do you think I went in the right direction or would you have done something complexity different? I found it to be quite a hard theme to interpret but I was pleased with the final image.

Overall I think the three photos were successful and it was so good to have something to work towards. Which competitions have you entered or could you recommend some more for me to have a go at? Please let me know in the comment or via a direct message.

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