Six weeks ago I was given a broad photo project. The possible themes were ‘still life’, ‘a journey’ or ‘a document’, which meant I could shoehorn in anything I wanted; I just needed to come up with something interesting.
I had an idea. It only required dry ice, a prism, fifty light bulbs, and access to a physics lab. So one Saturday morning I was figuring all this out, and at the same time (in an uncharacteristic fit of forward planning) looking for decent non-religious Christmas cards. I idly tweeted about the dearth of good cards from the BHA/NSS, and Andrew of Apathy Sketchpad replied with a comment about making your own. Well, that did it. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass, so I changed my entire project in an afternoon1.
So I wanted to produce images for non-religious Christmas cards. Not in an avowedly there-is-no-god way – no need to be a jerk about it – but (somehow) pro-science and secular wonder. My lofty dream result was images that evoked a sense of awe. Not at the aesthetics or my photographic skill or anything2, but at the facets of nature they represented. They’d have a festive air, but be about reality and the joys of discovery. I also wanted them to work as images on their own, but with a ‘something else is going on here’ for anyone interested. If that makes sense.
That’s what I wrote in my project proposal, anyway. I figured this might be pretty difficult in practice, but really I just wanted to produce some cool science-y Christmas cards that I could actually send out. The only catch was the project needed to be on film, so I couldn’t use Photoshop – everything had to be done in-camera.
Anyway, I had good fun with this project, and did eventually produce some actual cards (until WH Smiths ran out of photo-card printing packs, anyway). If anyone’s interested, here are the final results (the captions were printed on the back of the cards):
The Candle Aquatic
(no Photoshop involved)
Pine cones grow to the Fibonacci golden spiral:
Oh say can you C
(yes, if you know one Smartie = 15mm)
More info after the break, for anyone interested.